Interim Update on the 2016 Legislature, #1

From Marshall Ogletree, Interim Exec. Director, UFF:

GUNS ON CAMPUS – Battling Guns on Campus and the Process

HB 4001 by Rep. Greg Steube was voted on favorably by the House Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee earlier today. Representatives Katie Edwards (D-Sunrise), Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek), and Dave Kerner (D-Palm Springs) voted against the bill.

UFF opposes this legislation to allow carrying of concealed weapons on college and university campuses. UFF concurs with the vast majority of faculty, students, campus law enforcement, and the public at large who all oppose this legislation. We support the continuation of the prohibition against firearms on college and university campuses, except by trained law enforcement and security officers, as an essential element of an overall campus safety plan. UFF President Jennifer Proffitt gave a passionate and well-reasoned argument against the bill, but like other speakers, her remarks were dismissed. Both the Tallahassee Democrat and Tampa Bay Times quote Jennifer in their online stories.

These bills are also opposed by the Florida Board of Governors, the University Presidents, the University Police Chiefs, the Florida Association of Colleges, the League of Women Voters, and 73% of the public as recently polled by a USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey!

As egregious as the passage of HB 4001 by the Committee was, especially considering campus-wide opposition, equally egregious was the process whereby students, faculty, and interested citizens were given a total of 40 minutes to represent their points of view regardless of their support or opposition to this extremely important bill. It is only November; the Session begins in January. Why were voices silenced on this critical public policy when a bill cannot be approved until the full Legislature convenes?

This Committee meeting certainly did not represent “government by the people and for the people.” Shame on the Committee and the House leadership for allowing this sham of representative government to sidestep the truly democratic process of assembly and free speech!

UFF WILL CONTINUE OUR OPPOSITION TO THIS BILL AND ITS SENATE COMPANION, SB 68! Stay tuned for future Action Alerts and Legislative Updates.