I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Membership Accountability/Individual Freedom of Choice in Advocacy Bills Filed for 2016 Session!

One of the really worthy bills from last year's legislative session that died when the Senate and House became deadlocked over the budget was HB 549.  It passed the house resoundingly  (85-28) but later died when the session was called early, prior to the Senate taking action on it.

This year, the bill has already been filed in the House by Rep Eric Eisnaugle (HB 1155), with a companion bill being filed in the Senate by Kelli Stargel (SB 1426).

Elected constitutional officers deserve to have choice in advocacy, and not be roped together into supporting high cost "association" groups that differ ideologically from individual elected officials and their constituencies.

As I have passionately stated in school board meetings, in the press, and in the offices of Florida legislators in Tallahassee----choice and freedom are hallmarks of our Constitutional Republic.

Allowing one group to monopolize the taxpayer funded educational advocacy business based simply on majority votes in school boards around the state is wrong; It alienates conservatives that are on

 school boards statewide.  To put it plainly, why would I ever want to help fund an organization that linked arms with the unions and special interests to sue the legislature!!!?  I don't want to and I won't waste taxpayer money in such a stunning fashion ---ever.  

I, as an individual school board member, should be able to individually determine whether or not I want to spend the exorbitant membership costs for belonging to such a group--a group that has and continues to support a platform with which I vehemently disagree on many issues.  I should have the ability to say no and pull my portion of the funding, or pick a different, much more efficient and effective association for advocacy --one that mirrors the conservative views of both me my district.

This law, once it is passed, will make such membership fees be charged on an individual basis, which will foster competition and ensure that the minority voices, the conservative voices in school boards around the state, are not drowned out by those that want to walk lock-step with the unions, educrats, and other educational special interests in Tallahassee.

Passage of this law is critical.

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