From Marshall Ogletree, UFF Statewide Interim Exec. Director, comes this FINAL report on the 2015 legislative session:
REGULAR LEGISLATIVE SESSION MELTDOWN
In an unanticipated turn of events, the Florida House took their ball and went home on Tuesday, April 28th leaving the Senate in Tallahassee accusing the House of violating the constitution and demanding their return to session on Friday. Apparently, that will not happen.
The fight over using federal money for people without healthcare and to support hospitals which provide services for those in the Low Income Pool has melted down the 2015 Legislative Session. Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) exchanged letters Wednesday. Gardiner urged the House to reconvene and “finish the important work of the people of Florida.” Crisafulli wrote, “I told you that the House could not pass Obamacare expansion.”
Senator Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee (R-Brandon) was quoted saying, “The culture is toxic right now.”
Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) said Governor Scott was culpable in the collapse and that a “real governor” would have tried to mediate a solution.
The good news is bad bills died. The bad news is good bills died. In the end, the Legislature will return and will pass a budget before the new fiscal year which begins July 1st. The real questions that remain are how funding of healthcare for Florida’s neediest citizens will be resolved and what impact the stalemate will have on funding our schools, colleges and universities for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
BILLS ON GUNS ON CAMPUS AND SECRET JOB SEARCHES
UFF has opposed these bills throughout the Session and it appears both issues are dead for 2015. It is highly unlikely such bills would be in the call of any Special Session.
All during session, UFF members stood toe-to-toe against the shrill and enmity of the gun lobby and fought against the guns on campus legislation. Your testimony, your calls and emails made a difference and demonstrated even more than ever that we need to expand the UFF voice of reason and knowledge in defense of our higher education system and in support of our members. UFF is beginning to build legislative teams throughout our chapters in Florida. For more information or to volunteer to be part of that effort, call Marshall at the UFF Office, (850)224-8220.
UFF wants to acknowledge the strong support of the “FSU 4” who experienced the wrath of the NRA directly. They were challenged by the gun lobby and threatened with an ethics complaint but never backed down. They are Jennifer Proffitt, UFF Government Relations Chair and President-Elect, Nancy Rogers, Matthew Lata and Michael Buchler.
Stay Tuned for news regarding the Special Session.