The Florida legislature will be back in Tallahassee in just a few weeks to begin the 2018 legislative session. In election years, the Florida legislature begins their 60-day session in January, instead of beginning in March in off-election years. Legislative committees will begin hearing bills starting in September and will hold six weeks of committee meetings (interim committee weeks) from September to December. Also, legislators are preparing and filing bills right now.
We made progress in the 2017 session, but many pro-liberty bills were left on the table. As we have written before, passing good legislation is a process that can take years to pass. The secret is to keep coming back every session and doubling down on our efforts to influence legislators.
Here are a few pieces of legislation that failed to pass the last session and are too important to not fight even more aggressively to pass in the next session.
Campaign Finance Reform
Government has an interest in providing the electorate with information about election-related spending sources. Transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different messages. Transparency has been lost with the proliferation of political committees being formed in Florida and their ability to move money around to operate in the shadows. Special interests can hide the millions of dollars they use to control legislation that benefits their own self-interest at our expense.
Repealing state mandated “gun free zones” such as airports and college campuses
Gun free zones are an open invitation to criminals that know law abiding citizens are not armed and unable to defend themselves. Individuals should always be able to defend themselves in private, public and government facilities.
Hold Judges Accountable with term limits
Currently, the Florida Supreme Court justices and Appellate Court judges are appointed by the Governor and only face a merit retention system where citizens vote yes or no on the judge every six years. This merit retention system has failed to hold judges accountable and no judge has ever been ousted in a merit retention vote. Because judges know once appointed, they will never be voted out in a merit retention vote, they are free to push their political agenda in irreversible ways that affect the everyday lives of Floridians.
Repeal Red Light Cameras
Red Light Cameras have become a public hazard. Numerous studies show increased accidents at red light camera intersections proving what we always knew, that Red Light Cameras were not about safety and were all about revenue.
Protect Physicians Direct Care Primary Agreements
Protect direct patient/doctor agreements from burdensome government regulations. Direct Care agreements represent a first step toward real healthcare freedom in Florida. A Direct Primary Care agreement gives Doctors a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee that covers all or most primary care services and benefits patients by providing substantial savings. Big insurance companies and their lobbyist want to define Direct Primary Care agreements as a form of insurance that would be under a mountain of regulations and bureaucratic red tape.
End the Slush Funds for Politicians
Under Florida law, local governments can designate areas as Community Redevelopment Areas and create a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). CRA’s are funded by property taxes and are billed as anti-poverty measures. But CRAs are being used to subsidize museums, concert halls, production studios and other pet projects of local political officials. CRAs are now slush funds to reward political donors who fund elected official’s campaigns.
Stop giving our taxpayer dollars to billionaire sports team owners
The state of Florida is taking our taxpayer money and handing it out to billionaire sports team owners. The Florida Legislature currently budgets $2 million every year to each of the nine major sports franchises like the Miami Dolphins. In 2014, the Florida legislature decided to give sports team owners even more of taxpayer money by making available funding for privately owned stadiums to build or renovate sporting centers.
Allow small Craft Breweries to Self-Distribute
Craft Breweries are prohibited by law (Three-Tier System) from distributing directly to retailers and are required to sell their beer to distributors, who then sell to retailers. Using a distributor can be an efficient way to get products into the marketplace — when it is voluntary. But mandatory wholesaling can prevent other competitive business models from emerging, especially small breweries. Craft breweries know what’s best for their beer; from how it should be stored, to how it’s sold, where it’s sold and how it’s delivered. Selling directly to a retailer allows higher profit and the ability to develop their product and brand.
How you can help pass critical pro-liberty legislation
Contact your representative and let them know what you expect of them in the 2018 legislative session: Make sure your voice is heard and where you stand on these issues. CLICK HERE to find your State House Representative and CLICK HERE to find your State Senator.
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