Rain, sleet, wind, and ice – the legislature grinds on.
Last week the media focus was on Governor Scott’s very public signing of three pieces of gun
related legislation. I was there, standing on the capitol steps behind him as chants of “Traitor”
were drowned out by chants of “Thank You”. The governor and I have plenty of political
disagreements, but he has earned my respect for political courage on this issue. It is not often
that powerful politicians are willing to say, “I was wrong” and change course knowing they will
anger many of their core voters.
Already the potential Fair Haven shooter has been served with an Extreme Risk Prevention
Order, one of the bills signed into law on Wednesday that prevents him from owning a firearm
for up to six months while other legal avenues are pursued. The immediate application of this
law indicates to me the need for such legislation.
Looking ahead to the coming week there are bills making it out of committee to preserve net
neutrality (though not as strong a bill as I would like to see), a requirement for the Agency of
Human Services to develop a plan to import lower cost pharmaceuticals drugs from Canada
(which requires a federal waiver), a proposal to fund water clean-up with a $2 surcharge on
room rental, as well as changes to debt collection, addiction treatment in prisons, and mental
health systems. On Friday there will be a hearing on banning corporate political donations to
candidates and political parties.
And – just like last year, after school budgets have been developed and approved at a cost far
lower than anticipated – the governor is demanding another $40 million in cuts to education. This
demand totally disrespects the work of school boards across the state who already complied
with cost cuts, and sets the stage for another protracted and pointless budget battle, veto, and