News & Announcements (118)
“ A lot of us feel the health-care law wasn’t perfect. But it was needed. Our system was broken and we had to do something. Insurance companies were refusing to cover people or dropping those who got sick. So, we passed legislation to prevent insurers from running roughshod over people. And today, the Supreme Court upheld most of these reforms. Now, I think it’s time we finish the job of fixing our economy and creating more jobs. “
Chairman Smith Blasts Mitt Romney for Saying That We Don’t Need “More Firemen, More Policemen, More Teachers”Written by Brevard Dems
"Governor Scott still hasn't figured out that there are limits to his authority," said Representative Kriseman. "Florida's elections supervisors deserve support from statewide officers and they shouldn't have to succumb to meddling by the governor. I am confident that county elections supervisors are willing to participate in meaningful surveys, but I am sure they are opposed to the governor meddling in and undermining both their work and the confidence of voters."
TALLAHASSEE – Responding to Republican Governor Rick Scott's announcement Thursday that he would appeal a federal court ruling striking down as unconstitutional his executive order requiring mandatory drug testing of Florida state employees, Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich (D-Weston) and Senate Democratic Leader Pro Tem Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) called on Scott to stop wasting taxpayer money.
"The governor's cavalier use of taxpayer money to defend clearly unconstitutional policies and laws is unconscionable," said Senator Rich. "He took an oath to uphold the constitution, not trample it."
"The governor's 'my way or the highway' attitude might work in the private sector where the Bill of Rights does not apply, but not in government where it most certainly does," said Sen. Joyner. "If investors want to throw good money after bad to enable a personal crusade by a company's CEO, that's their choice. But taxpayers shouldn't be forced to do likewise."
Both Senate Democratic leaders applauded the decision by U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro earlier in the day which found that blanket drug testing of state employees without cause or whose jobs are unrelated to public safety was a violation of the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. It was the latest setback to the governor and Republican-dominated Legislature involving questionable bills they pushed during the past two legislative sessions and later struck down by the courts.
Last year, for example, Senator Joyner was a staunch critic of Scott's similar attempt to mandate drug testing of welfare recipients. The law was later temporarily suspended after a federal judge found it unconstitutional.
Refusing to accept the judge's decision, Governor Scott filed an appeal. And Sen. Joyner faulted both Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi for challenging the judge's ruling based on wrong data manufactured by one of the governor's friends and putting taxpayers at risk. Despite his claims that such welfare recipient drug testing would save the state as much as $9 million per year, the latest numbers show that the testing is actually costing Florida tens of thousands of dollars due to the low number of positive tests. The state must reimburse those applicants who do not test positive – about 97% of those tested.
"I hope," said Senator Rich, "that this latest defeat sounds an alarm bell to the governor and his like-minded Republicans in the legislature. You cannot continue to pass bad legislation and expect it to withstand judicial scrutiny guided by the constitution. And you should not expect taxpayers to continue paying for your unconstitutional mistakes."
BREVARD COUNTY CAUCUS UPDATE
We have great news. The state party just approved our request to hold early voting on Friday, May 4th for county Democrats who can't make it on Saturday because of religious reasons. Full details are below:
WHAT: Early Volting for Congressional Districts 15 and 24
WHEN: Friday - May 4th - 12PM-6PM
WHERE: Brevard DEC Office - 1103 Hibiscus Blvd Suite 402, Melbourne, Florida 32901
For more information about the 2012 Brevard County Caucus, click here.
Hollywood, FL – State Senator Eleanor Sobel (D–Hollywood) said Wednesday that she is extremely disappointed by Governor Rick Scott's veto yesterday of funding for a one-of-a-kind historical project at the Holocaust Education and Documentation Center and Museum in Hollywood, FL. The project would have completed the restoration and housing of a rail car used during the Holocaust to transport victims to concentration camps.
"This is the second year in a row Governor Scott has vetoed this important project. State funding would have allowed us to identify the prisoners transported by this car. No other rail car in the world has identifiable numbers in order to trace back the real history of what happened during that horrific period. Not only would it be a Holocaust memorial, but it would also increase tourism to South Florida," said Sen. Sobel.
Florida has the second largest number of Holocaust survivors in the United States. Approximately 15,000 of them live in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties.
"It speaks leagues about the Governor that he would veto this item in the budget, but that will not deter this community," said Sen. Sobel. "We will continue to work to further the mission represented by this rail car project, never to forget and to teach future generations so that history is never repeated."
Rep. Charles Chestnut Comments on Governor Scott's Budget Action
"THIS BUDGET FAILS FLORIDA'S FAMILIES"
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Rep. Charles Chestnut (D-Gainesville), the Democratic Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the governor's action today on the state budget for Fiscal Year 2012-13.
"The Republican-crafted budget signed by Governor Scott today is an assault on Florida's middle class with deep cuts to health care and higher education. At a time when the Legislature could have focused more extensively on job creation, the Republican spending plan cuts more than 4,300 positions from state government and slashes funding for hospitals, nursing homes and universities. Though monies are put toward important projects, this budget fails to meet the overall needs of our state and eliminates jobs that could bolster Florida's economic rebound.
"The education portion of the budget is $2.1 billion less than what the Legislature put toward public schools only five years ago, and it fails to fully restore the massive cuts to our schools that the Republican leadership approved only a year ago.
"While some people say that the budget is crafted without new taxes, it raises tuition and relies upon mandatory contributions, or what I call a personal income tax, of 3 percent on teachers, firefighters, police officers and hundreds of thousands of other participants in the Florida Retirement System.
"In addition, we cannot forget that the Republican-run Legislature has passed on to Florida's middle class millions of dollars in new costs in the form of higher driver's license and auto-tag fees starting three years ago.
"This budget fails Florida's families and moves our great state in the wrong direction."
TALLAHASSEE – Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich (D-Weston) issued the following statement following Republican Governor Rick Scott’s approval today of the 2012-2013 state budget:
“For the second year in a row, Governor Scott has underscored how little he truly understands about Florida and the priorities of the people he pledged to serve.
“Despite earlier announcing his intent to join Democrats in their long-standing commitment to public education, he approved a $1 billion band aid that doesn’t cover the $1.3 billion in state money his fellow Republicans slashed from Florida’s K-12 schools last year.
“The Governor also insisted he was against raising tuition at Florida’s universities, but today signed off on a budget built on those very same tuition hikes. The Governor was correct when he said ‘increasing education funding is the best investment we can make for our state’s future.’ But he left out the part about where this investment money was going to come from. Not from state government which is supposed to be paying the bills. But from students and parents who have watched the costs of a college education soar while their paychecks sank in the opposite direction.
“To add insult to injury, Governor Scott vetoed programs critical to residents throughout Florida. These weren’t so-called ‘turkeys.’ These were programs that impact all of us statewide: He struck more than $900,000 that would have immunized children against meningitis, an often fatal and highly contagious disease.
“He eliminated $3 million from the University of Miami College of Medicine- money dedicated to training Florida physicians for practice in Florida. He vetoed more than $4 million earmarked for Nova Southeastern to train Florida residents enrolled in pharmacy, nursing, and other allied health sciences, as well as an additional $2 million that would have steered these same professionals to Florida’s rural and underserved areas.
“Our seniors fared no better. Governor Scott decided to veto $6 million from Florida’s Aging Resource Centers – a well-respected network that has been guiding seniors through the daunting task of determining the best options for care in their final years. The veto of these funds results in no resources for the enormous workload that will soon be created by the implementation of the Medicaid Managed Long Term Care program, approved by the Legislature two years ago.
“Governor Scott may have found a receptive audience in the affluent enclave where he signed off on increasing the debt load on Florida’s middle class and abandoning his obligations to our children and our elderly. But for the millions of Floridians beyond those city limits, his signature on this budget means there is still no relief in sight.”