Monday, April 25, 2011

The Florida Legislature - UGH! (updated Tuesday 4/26 @ 1:50 PM)

The Florida Legislature has some really bad things underway.

What the Florida League of Women Voters is calling a "terrible elections bill" would make major changes to Florida's elections laws.  From the League's Capitol Report of April 22nd:
House Bill 1355 would make major changes to Florida’s election laws and contains burdensome provisions that would impact the League’s ability to carryout one of our core missions; to register voters. The bills set an unrealistic deadline of 48 hours for League members or other voter registration groups to turn in a completed voter registration form. Missing the deadline means you may be fined.
Other bad provisions contained in the bill includes no longer allowing voters who have moved to a different county to change their address when they go to the polls, prohibiting giving voters legal advice when they are standing in line to vote and shortening the time period that citizen initiative petitions are valid from 4 to 2 years.
[Today]... the Senate Budget Committee [heard] a similar elections bill. In addition to the House provisions, Senate Bill 2086 would also reduce the time period for early voting from 15 day to 7 days before an election. The League believes Senate Bill 2086 represents an attempt at partisan voter suppression and is an attack on voter’s rights.

This just in (4/26 at 1:22 PM) from the LWV:
This is outrageous. Today, after only 2 minutes of public testimony, the Senate Budget Committee voted to pass the controversial elections bill, SB 2086. Although a number of organizations and individuals had traveled to Tallahassee to provide input on this important issue, Committee Chairman J.D. Alexander limited public input to 2 minutes via a procedural move. This is a travesty of democracy. 

Despite the fact that the League was unable to speak today in committee, we will not be silenced. It is likely that SB 2086 will go to the Senate floor this week.  

It is vital that you contact your State Senator today. When you call, please let the receptionist know that you are a constituent and feel free to use the below talking points.
  • Senate Bill 2086 represents an all-out attack on voters' rights. Provisions contained in this bill that are particularly troubling include:
  • Burdensome new regulations for third-party voter registration groups that will have a chilling effect on those groups' ability to register voters.
  • Reducing the ability of voters to change their address at the polling place. This will hurt college students, relocating professionals and other mobile voters who can currently change their address when they come to the polls to vote.
  • Forcing voters who've moved from one county to another to cast a provisional ballot. These ballots are expensive to process and are not always counted.  
  • Shortening the time period for early voting. Current law allows 15 days for early voting, and SB 2086 shortens that to 7 days, which will create longer lines at the polls during early voting and on election day.
In addition, a friend emailed me this list of bad stuff affecting a woman's right to choose:
HB97  abortion restrictions in insurance coverage;
HB501  fees from CHOOSE LIFE LICENSE PLATES to go directly to their organization;
HB1127 mandatory ultra sound;
HB1179 constitutional amendment barring any public funds for abortion;
HB1247 more difficult for minors to obtain judicial  bypass of Parental Notification requirements;
HB1397 targeted regulation of abortion providers.

She says that "each of these has passed with a big majority in the respective committees and [all] are currently scheduled to be placed on the calendar.  You can get detailed info on each of these on the legislative website, of course.  I just thought it would be helpful for you to know some detail how despicable the agenda of the anti choice adherents in the Florida legislature is and provide you with some tag lines if you decide to contact our local delegation."  Great info; great help, friend

The Legislative session only lasts for 60 days.  As we well know, they can do a lot of damage in that short amount of time.  Contact your legislators here AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and let them know how you feel.

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