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.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Political Ju-Jitsu in Tallahassee

The action in Tallahassee is heating up mightily as the session winds down for 2016.  Of continuing, particular interest to me is seeing language become law that respects individual constitutional officers’ right to choose, individually, whether or not to belong to a taxpayer-funded membership association.

The Senate adopted the language in the house-passed HB1155 on Tuesday which would have allowed individual freedom of choice in advocacy for conservative school board members like me.  Yesterday, just before the vote on this bill was to happen, Sen Stargel, the bill’s sponsor, TP’d the bill (temporarily postponed it).
“She’s whipping votes” was the reaction from several supporters present in the Gallery.

Shortly thereafter-she added individual freedom of choice in advocacy language from HB 1155 to Sen. Gaetz’s massive Train  HB 7029 as a floor amendment.  This amendment passed 28-12—with notable support from two Democrats (Montford, Ring).

Next, Gaetz’s massive bill went back to the House.  According to sources familiar with the events

 that transpired next—the bill was reworked by the house and it will be coming back to the senate today or tomorrow.  Because the clock is ticking on this session, there is no guarantee that the Senate will accept the house’s modifications.  “It’s now down to about a 50% proposition” according to a source with experience and in-depth knowledge of this process.

So today and tomorrow will be huge.  What will happen next?  Will HB1155 be resurrected, modified and voted upon in the Senate?  Will it be voted on as is, straight up?  Will it pass?  Could it die in spectacular fashion via a 20-20 tie (like the parent trigger did a few years back)? The stand alone bill is not dead yet---and it can still be brought back up---although several Republican senators appeared to have concerns about this bill, regrettably.

But for the record, no matter how this turns out, Florida House, Rep Eisnaugle, Erik Fresen, Manny Diaz, and many others were rock stars in the effort to get this passed.  Senator Stargel, for her part, did a tremendous job of advocating for the bill yesterday on the senate floor, and she answered questions from her counterparts honestly and directly.   And Sens Bradley and Garcia were heroic in their advocacy for the passage of this bill in debate prior to the vote.

Behind the scenes, countless individuals have advocated for this bill tirelessly.

So right now, as it stands, the language that is so desperately needed is in limbo, as the ju-jitsu continues in Tallahassee at the conclusion of this session.  Anything can happen so I’m certainly not conceding defeat of this language yet.  There are 2 days left to get it done.

Hopefully it happens.

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