Florida Legislature

Massive Puerto Rican Migration To Florida Promotes Likelihood Democrats Will Win “The Sunshine State” In 2016 Presidential Election!

Events in Puerto Rico are transforming the Presidential Election of 2016 before our eyes!

Puerto Rico, which is in the special status as a Commonwealth, and has flirted with the concept of possibly becoming the 51st state, is going through crisis times, with a massive debt, unable to pay it, and effectively going bankrupt.

As a result, we are witnessing a major migration of Puerto Ricans to the mainland of the United States, particularly to Florida, for economic opportunity.

Remember that Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States, and are not to be seen as “immigrants”, legal or illegal. They can register as voters immediately, and it is clear that they will play a major role in the Florida vote for President, as well as state and national offices, including the United States Senate and the US House of Representatives.

The vast majority of Puerto Ricans in the United States have been Democrats, and nothing that the Republican Party has said and done about Hispanics is about to convince them to vote Republican! This means that the crucial “swing state” of Florida could be expected to fall into the hands of the Democratic Presidential nominee, whoever it is, just about guaranteeing an Electoral College majority!

It is now believed that very soon there will be more Puerto Ricans in Florida than Cubans, and already there are more than one million living in the state.

This is particularly true in Central Florida, the Orlando-Tampa area, an area that tends to decide state and national elections, and could, therefore, increase the number of Democratic members of the state legislature, the House of Representatives, and help elect a Democratic Senator to succeed Marco Rubio.

Florida Disgracefully Working To Deny Right To Vote: Corruption In Action, Making Florida Look As It Was Pre Civil Rights Laws Of 1960s!

The state of Florida was part of the Confederacy that fought to break away from the Union during the Civil War of 1861-1865.

Florida was a promoter of racial segregation, and great racial violence, in the years from Reconstruction after the Civil War, up through the passage of the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s.

Florida promoted various methods to deny African Americans the right to vote, including the poll tax and literacy test.

Once Florida rapidly grew in population, with a massive increase of people from Northern states, in the decades from 1960 to the present, one would have thought the state had finally given up its infamous past.

But No to such an assertion!

Under a Republican state legislature that has three fourths of the members of their party, and with a corrupt, former medicare and medicaid fraud executive, Rick Scott, able to be elected Governor with no political experience, but having Tea Party support, what is now happening?

Florida is rapidly becoming corrupt in a way that reminds us of the old restrictions on voting that existed just five short decades ago.

So 180,000 poor, black, Hispanic, college student, and elderly voters will soon be off the voting rolls, without any recourse for most, with the design to fix the election of the members of Congress, and the Presidency, in the Republicans’ hands!

The Republicans have also made registration of new voters much more difficult a procedure, and they are ready to do what happened in 2000–use corrupt methods to help fix the vote, which led to the contested election of George W. Bush, by 537 votes, throwing the election to Bush over Al Gore, who had a national popular vote lead of over a half million votes,

Florida may be the fourth largest state, and soon to be number three, but it needs to overcome a disgraceful image that undermines its future in more ways that can be listed here! Time to get over the Old South mentality and promote fairness and equality!

Jeb Bush Must Take Blame For Signing Florida “Stand Your Ground” Law In 2005!

Beyond the tragedy and the turmoil caused by the death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, is to assess who is ultimately responsible for the passage of the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005.

One could blame the Florida legislature, and particularly the majority Republican Party, which passed a bill left purposely vague, and has caused the death of many people who could be alive today if the legislation had never passed.

But, in reality, one cannot blame the legislature as the primary source of criticism!

Rather, it is the job of the Governor of the state to use his wisdom and judgment, and utilize the veto if legislation passed is seen as unwise, dangerous, and reckless. As President Harry Truman said while in office, “The buck stops here”, meaning in the office of the executive, whether President, Governor or Mayor!

It is the job of the executive to stand in the way of emotional reactions by the legislative branch. No one can claim that he or she had to sign legislation, as that is what we elect him or her for, to use their best judgment, and if seen as wrong, that executive must be held accountable.

Ok, so therefore, who is ultimately responsible for this disaster? Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who now must take responsibility, but will he? Don’t bet on it! The Bush family has NEVER taken responsibility for anything they have done which went wrong, certainly not brother President George W. Bush, and the arrogance of their father, President George H. W. Bush is legion in public situations. The Bush family does not have a distinguished record of decency and honesty, so to expect an apology or taking any blame is highly unlikely to be the reaction of Jeb Bush.

However, with the recent discussion that Jeb might be running for President in 2016, or accept a Vice Presidential nomination from Mitt Romney, this is the time for it to be made clear to Jeb Bush that he has forfeited his right to run for Vice President or President!

And if he does, all good people will haunt him and his campaign for the arrogance, the egotism, the gall of Jeb Bush to do what he knew had to lead to disaster, but instead, he chose to cave in to the National Rifle Association and the right wing of his extremist party in the Florida legislature!

Look at it this way: Jeb Bush will likely forfeit a chance for the Presidency or be dogged by it if he does run, but his life will go on, and he will live in great comfort, while Trayvon Martin has forfeited his life and a chance to give joy to his family, to accomplish occupational goals, to fall in love, to have children, to have a normal, decent life!

One wonders how Jeb Bush can sleep at night knowing that what he failed to do, veto this despicable law, has caused the death of a promising young man, who should not have had to face the threat of a bully who thought he had license to kill, thanks to Jeb Bush’s lack of conscience!

The Further Decline Of Florida Education Under Rick Scott And A GOP Legislature

Florida is the fourth largest state in population, and will surpass New York in the next decade.

But Florida is operating educationally as a “third world nation”, with constant cuts in education at all levels.

After cutting $1.3 billion in educational funding in the present fiscal year, suddenly Governor Rick Scott, saddled by the lowest public opinion poll support of any Governor in America, came out this year for restoring about $1 billion of the funding lost this past year for education below the college and university level.

But higher education, the passport to the middle class for millions of young people in the state, is being asked to take even further cuts which will cripple the state university and state college system.

State spending is at 2003 levels and there has been a 24 percent cut in funding of higher education since 2008.

Some schools are being asked to take a cut that is draconian, including the University of South Florida in Tampa and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, and community colleges, now considered state colleges because they offer some bachelors degree programs, are also being harmed, and yet Governor Scott and his party want no or small tuition increases which will decimate the curriculum, and will cause massive layoff of personnel and cuts in services.

Every state is facing crisis in higher education, but Florida is near the bottom of all measurements of academic performance and achievement, and can ill afford the shabby treatment it is being forced to take.

It is shortsighted and fails to consider the future of Florida economically, as without the ability of young people to acquire an education, the long range economic future of Florida is doomed, and this comes as Florida becomes, more than ever, a state with large percentages of minorities, who have no way to advance socially and economically without state commitment to education.

Anyone with any common sense who has children will come to the conclusion to escape the “Sunshine” state if the opportunities for their children continue to be limited, and Florida will languish as one of the most backward states, an image one would think the state would wish to overcome, but not with the conservative, short sighted, and uncaring domination of the Republicans and Governor Rick Scott over the future of the state.

Florida Republicans Declare War On Democracy In Florida: Making It More Difficult To Vote!

The Florida legislature, more than two thirds Republican, in league with Governor Rick Scott, has decided to take democracy away from the people of the Sunshine State, and in so doing, return Florida to the first half of the 20th century, and in many ways, to the late 19th century.

The goal in America has been to expand the right to vote, not inhibit it, but remember Florida, as a southern state, did everything it could after the Civil War and up to 1965, a full century, to deny African Americans the right to vote.

Now the legislature has decided to do the following:

1. Cut early voting before election day from 14 days to eight days, making it more difficult for many voters to participate, since many may not want to wait in long lines, particularly senior citizens. One third of Florida voters went to the polls before election day, and this will make it more difficult for them to do what they prefer, and assuredly will cut down the vote numbers.

2. College students and newlyweds with a name or address change will have to cast privisional ballots, which might not be counted, as there will be no allowance to change information as one votes. Half of all provisional ballots were not counted in 2008.

3. Groups that help register voters, such as the League of Women Voters, would only have two days to return the registration cards to the supervisor of elections, or would face the possibility of fines up to $1000, plus volunteers who made mistakes in voter applications could also be fined.

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson made a public appeal to prevent these changes, but the GOP went ahead and did it anyway, so it is a bad sign for the future of Florida democracy!

The Degradation And Abuse Of The Elderly In Florida: The Tip Of The Iceberg!

The true character of a civilization is demonstrated by how it treats its elderly, and America does not look very good in that regard, and the forecast is that conditions will get much worse, particularly in the state which has more elderly citizens than any other, Florida!

An investigation by WLRN, the NPR station in South Florida, and the Miami Herald, has revealed shocking and horrific mistreatment of elderly in assisted living facilities, with lack of regulation and oversight by the Florida Agency of Health Care Administration. This is even before Governor Rick Scott and the overwhelmingly Republican legislature set out with the present massive budget cut to put all Medicaid patients into managed HMOs, a guarantee of even worse conditions in the future.

The stories of neglect and abuse are a scandal that the state of Florida should be ashamed of, but not in the present era of Rick Scott, who became wealthy by abuse and fraud in the hospital chain that he ran in the 1990s, and avoided prison by paying a heavy fine!

Anyone in their right mind who is elderly should have to start consideration of what will happen to him or her when disability or serious illness sets in, as to live in an assisted living facility, particularly in Florida, seems a ticket to a death sentence!