Week in Review 4-2-17

This week the Florida legislature steals from the working poor, votes to bust public sector unions, and a congressman forgets that he serves his constituents and not Trump. Here’s a review of some of the more important things that happened last week with bolded lines as calls to action.

  • For the 16th year in a row the Florida Governor and legislature will roll some of the $292 million ear marked for affordable housing into the general fund. The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund, established in ’93 takes 20 cents of every real estate transaction and puts it in a trust fund to be spent on affordable housing. But since the start of the great recession in 2008 the state has raided over $1.3 billion from it, stealing money from from low income families and the working poor. The boldness of this year’s theft varies from chamber and branch with the Governor proposing to steal $248 million while the senate steals $130 million. Call Sen. Perry (R, Gainesville) at 352-264-4040 and  Rep Chuck Clemons (R, Gainesville) at 352-313-6542 and tell them that it’s called it trust fund for a reason. Tell them to spend the full $292 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund on affordable housing.  (link)
  • HB11, a bill that would bust public sector unions if their membership drops below 50% has passed the Florida House. The bill is an indefensible attack on unions whose only goal is to hurt workers and their institutions. Three Republicans voted against the bill. Rep. Clemons wasn’t among them even though he told a group of Gainesville workers lobbying in Tallahassee last week that he’d vote against the bill. This commitment came after he was accused of supporting policies he doesn’t really like for other people, his party, and for powerful lobbyist. After hearing him talk about his brother, who started the Gainesville firefighters union, he assured this group of workers that he would be voting against this anti-union bill. He’s so afraid that he’ll face a primary in 2018 that he’s forgotten that he has his own politics. Feel free to call Rep Chuck Clemons (R, Gainesville) at 352-313-6542 and tell him to grow a spine. Also tell him that there’s no difference between a far-right politician and a moderate Republican who votes like a far-right politician. (link)
    The Senate version of this bill will likely not be heard this year which makes the likelihood of HB 11 becoming a law very, very unlikely.
  • Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who is likely running for Florida Governor, wants to put a living wage on the state ballot in 2018. He led Miami Beach in their vote to increase the city’s minimum wage last year. This effort was predictably shut down by the courts because it’s not legal, which is why other cites and counties haven’t followed suit. I’ve never been impressed with Levine but if he helps put living wage on the ballot in 2018 then I’m all ears. (link)
  • The Florida House released their healthcare budget this week. It includes over $620 million in cuts to hospitals, mostly for poor people. The budget does include “$132.7 million more for health care and nutrition programs for children and women; $49 million more for nursing home and elder care; $37.9 million for mental health and disability programs; and another $13.1 million for state and local health departments.” This good is outweighed by the deep cuts to hospitals that service the poor. Call Rep Chuck Clemons (R, Gainesville) at 352-313-6542 and tell him that low income Floridan’s need MORE healthcare, not less. (link)
      Meanwhile the Florida Senate passed a budget with over $1 billion increases to healthcare. This includes $11.7 million more in medicaid payments and a $21 million increase to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. (


  • Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) held a rally at the Capitol this week. They did so to call out the racist, anti-immigrant bills that are working their way through the house right now. The most onus of which is HB 687 , a bill that would essentially deputize local county and city workers to become ICE agents and punish cities that refuse to comply with ICE orders. Call Rep Chuck Clemons (R, Gainesville) at 352-313-6542 and tell him to vote against this anti-immigrant bill. (link)


  • West Palm Beach became a “Welcoming City” this week. They stopped short of calling themselves a “Sanctuary City” but have all the criteria needed in place. They’re not holding people for ICE without a warrant or judges orders and are not asking about immigration status. (link)


  • Manatee’s were reclassified from endangered to threatened due to rebounding numbers. In the 70’s there were only a few hundred left and now there’s over 6,500. (list)
  • HB 15, a bill that would greatly increase state funding for private schools, passed the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee this week. If the bill becomes law it’ll greatly increase the amount of money tax payers give to private, mostly religious schools. The Senate version is SB 1314 and it’s our best shot to stop it.  Call Sen Hukill (R, Port Orange) chair of the Senate Education Committee at (386) 304-7630 and tell her to un-agenda this bill which gives tax payer money to private, mostly religious schools. (link)
  • Congressman Yoho suffering from foot in mouth disease, defended Sen. Nunes’ contact with the White House over leaks by saying that Sen Nunes works for the president. It’d be useful to call Yoho at 352-505-0838 and remind him that he works for us, not Trump. (link)
  • Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared war on sanctuary cities. Alachua County falls under this category according to this administration. Contact his office at 202-353-1555 and tell him to that undocumented people have rights and that we’ll protect them in Alachua County. (link)
  • Who pays for the border wall? Trump promised that Mexico would pay for it but his recent budget requests that Americans pay for it. His proposal includes $18 billion in cuts to medical research, community grants which would go towards building a useless wall. (link)
  • VP Mike Pence broke a tie vote in the Senate to reverse an Obama era rule that prevented states from stripping funds to Planned Parenthood. (link)