Florida Parents Against Common Core preparing legislation for 2014 session

Florida Parents Against Common Core (FPACC) are putting together draft legislation to stop the implementation of the program in Florida.

In an email to WDW – FL Laura Zorc, FPACC SE State Coordinator, states, “What is happening in other states is what we are looking to do here in Florida. However, in our bill we will add a third review that would encompass a legal review to determine if violation with  state and federal constitution.  We have team of attorneys  working on establishing the need for review based on their findings.  Our intentions are to have this a back up support for our bill sponsor.”

Fifteen states have filed bills in their state legislatures to stop CCSS.

Below are of examples and actual legislation that addresses issues related to the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by delaying the implementation of the standards or assessments, not funding implementation, or withdrawing completely from using the CCSS.  These vary considerably in the scope of what is addressed.  Links have been provided for the History, Download, and Alternate.  Original bills as introduced are often stronger in nature before being subjected to changes as it is considered during the legislative process in each state.

  • History—link to official state legislative page or other page with bill history and info
  • Download—link to download the legislative bill
  • Alternate—an alternate download link in event official link is broken

Sample Legislation

Comprehensive Legislative Package Opposing the Common Core State Standards  Download

Actual Legislative Bills

2011 Texas HB 2923  An Act relating to the state sovereignty over curriculum standards assessments, and student information.  History   Download   Alternate

2011 New Hampshire HB 164 Requiring legislative approval for the adoption of the common core state standards in New Hampshire.  History   Download   Alternate

2011 South Carolina S. 604  A bill to provide that the common core standards may not be imposed on South Carolina.  History   Download   Alternate

2011 Washington HB 1891 Delaying adoption and implementation of the common core standards.   History   Download   Alternate

2012 Utah S.C.R. 13 Urges the State Board of Education to reconsider the board’s decision to adopt the Common Core standards and, in reconsidering the board’s decision, evaluate the cost, control, and quality of Utah standards and assessments compared to the cost, control, and quality of the Common Core standards and SBAC assessments.  History   Download   Alternate

2013 South Carolina H. 3943 To provide the State Board of Education may not adopt and the Department of Education may not implement the common core standards.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Georgia SB 167 To declare certain actions void ab initio relating to adoption of certain curricula; to prohibit state education agencies from entering into any commitments relating to the federal Race to the Top program; to require hearings and public input prior to adoption of state-wide competencies and content standards; to limit the compilation and sharing of personal student and teacher data; to prohibit the expenditure of funds for a state-wide longitudinal data system except for administrative needs and federal grant compliance; to provide notice to students or teachers if certain student or teacher data are provided to the United States Department of Education as a condition of receiving a federal education grant; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Alabama SB 190 Relating to education and core curriculum standards; to prohibit the State Board of Education from adopting and the Department of Education from implementing the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative; to prohibit the State Board of Education, the Department of Education, and other state bodies from compiling or sharing data about students or teachers, except under limited circumstances; to prohibit the State Board of Education from entering into an agreement or joining a consortium that would cede any control to an entity outside the state; and to require notice and public hearings before the State Board of Education adopts or implements any statewide standards.  History   Download   Alternate

2013 Alabama SB 403 Companion to SB 190.  History   Download   Alternate

2013 Alabama HB 565 Relating to curriculum standards; to clarify that the State Board of Education retains the sole authority to develop and adopt curriculum standards independent of the federal government or other agency or entity outside of the state. History   Download   Alternate

2013 Oklahoma HB 1907 An Act relating to schools; creating the Common Core Task Force; providing termination date; stating purpose of the Task Force; providing for membership; providing date for appointments and organizational meeting; providing for selection of officers; stating duties; exempting the Task Force from certain acts; providing for meetings; providing for travel reimbursement and staff assistance; requiring completion of the study by a certain date; providing for non codification; and declaring an emergency. History   Download   Alternate

2013 Kansas HB 2289 No school district, nor the department of education nor the state board of education shall expend any moneys to implement the set of educational curriculum standards for grades kindergarten through established by the common core state standards initiative.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Indiana SB 0193 Provides that the state board of education may not adopt as standards for the state any common core educational standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Voids any action taken to adopt common core educational standards. History   Download   Alternate

2013 Indiana HB 1427 This is the bill that passed and has been signed by the governor.  It pauses the implementation of the CCSS while a the standards are evaluated and hearings are conducted.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Missouri SB 210 The state board of education and the department of elementary and secondary education shall not implement the Common Core State Standards.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Michigan HB 4328 Budget approved.  Sec. 230. Prohibit Funding for Common Core and Smarter Balance – House adds language stating that funds shall not be used to fund the Common Core State Standards Initiative or Smarter Balanced Assessments, and that funds shall not be used to implement programs or assessments created by these organizations.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 Michigan HB 4276 Prohibits implementation of common core standards. History   Download   Alternate

2013 Texas HB 462 Prohibits school districts from using the common core state standards.   History   Download   Alternate

2013 South Dakota HB 1204 An Act to require the Board of Education to obtain legislative approval before adopting any further Common core standards.   History   Download   Alternate

Breaking News: Florida Patriot Groups feel betrayed by Senator Rubio

Conservative organizations throughout Florida met in Orlando this weekend. After the meeting these patriot groups have united in withdrawing support from Senator Marco Rubio over a string of broken promises made to the American people regarding Immigration.

In an April 16, 2013 letter from the Senator to Florida Patriot Groups, he pledged to not support legislation that is rushed through Congress, does not truly and legitimately secure our borders or that leads to further illegal immigration in the future. In a “Dear Friends” letter Rubio states, “First, there is absolutely no truth to the idea that l will support any immigration legislation that is rushed through Congress in typical Washington fashion.”

“The current bill, current amendment and the rush to ram the bill through the Senate by week’s end violate this letter and  earlier public statements by the Senator,” says Pat Wayman from the Venice 912 Group. “This bill will forever be known as the Rubio Amnesty bill.

As a result, Patriot groups are withdrawing their support for Senator Rubio and demand that he walk away from this bill.

These Patriot Groups announce “Kill the Bill” week beginning on Monday, June 24, 2013.

Monday will be called “Bait and Switch Day” in honor of the ineffective and costly 1,000 plus page amendment to the bill allegedly to strengthen border security provisions of the bill.

Wayman notes, “It is apparent that the Senate intends to pass an amnesty-first bill at all costs and that the amendment is only to give the appearance of increased border security.  Given the fact that there is no enforcement of existing border security laws, Senator Rubio’s support of this last minute amendment further erodes the public’s trust in the Senator and erodes the public’s trust in the ability of the federal government to protect its citizens. ”

Wayman says, “On Monday, citizens are urged to call and email Senator Rubio and Senator Nelson urging them to kill this amendment.  Most importantly, they are urged to visit the Senator Rubio’s local office and deliver a signed ‘You have lost our trust and support, Kill the Bill!’ statement.”

In his letter Rubio declares, “I will not support anything that makes our immigration system worse, that does not truly and legitimately secure our borders, or that leads to further  immigration in the future.” The groups that received his letter do not believe him.

The Text of the April 16, 2013 Letter from Senator Marco Rubio to Patriot Groups may be viewed here.

UPDATE: Senator Rubio sent a second letter to Florida patriot groups which may be read here.

RELATED COLUMNS:

10 Problems with the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill
Repackaged Amnesty Bill allows Napolitano to Nix Border Fence
Buchanan: Hispanic influx could break US into ‘two countries’…
Reid, Heller Slip In Las Vegas Tourism Handout…
Loophole Creates Permanent Amnesty for Illegals…
Reid schedules vote…
White House stealth role ‘revealed’…

The Government vs. YOU

The following column is from the Heritage Foundation:

Every day, more Americans get trapped by big government. In addition to groups targeted by the IRS, upstanding citizens going about their normal lives are suddenly targeted by law enforcement authorities and charged as criminals. Just a few examples:

The following are examples of Floridians caught up in this overreaching dragnet of criminalization:

These are only a few of the shocking incidents The Heritage Foundation chronicles in our new project, USA vs. YOU. Experts at Heritage’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies reveal the stories of 22 people from all backgrounds, races, and income levels victimized by carelessly written laws.

Get the FREE e-book USA vs. YOU now

When criminal laws are created to “solve” every problem, punish every mistake, and compel the “right” behaviors, this troubling trend is known as overcriminalization. Ultimately, it leads to injustice for honest, hard-working Americans at every level of society.

Public interest groups from across the political spectrum recognize how this flood of criminal laws violates our basic liberties. Diverse organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the American Center for Law and Justice, and Right on Crime, among others, have joined with Heritage to reaffirm the true purpose of America’s justice system: to ensure public safety and protect the innocent.

When was the last time you saw the ACLU work together with a faith-based group like Justice Fellowship? With USA vs. YOU, the problem is grave enough to bring together unlikely allies. And we’re delivering this bipartisan message just as the House of Representatives has launched a task force aimed at correcting this issue.

This morning, Heritage Senior Legal Fellow John Malcolm will testify at the first hearing of the Overcriminalization Task Force—shining a spotlight on the scope and severity of this threat to our liberties. Ending the practice of trapping our citizens with unnecessary laws will be no easy task, with an estimated 4,500 criminal law offenses and 300,000 criminal regulations on the books.

Experience the stories of Americans like you treated unjustly – download the FREE e-book now

Over the next six months, Members of Congress from both parties will study this issue in depth, hold hearings, and—with the right encouragement—take steps to enact real reform.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

RELATED COLUMNS:

When “Zero-Tolerance” Makes “Zero-Sense”

Melbourne, FL citizens outraged that red light cameras to be installed

With all of the national attention on government surveillance into the personal lives of citizens one method is drawing fire from citizens – the use of red light cameras. Citizens of Melbourne, FL are now expressing outrage at the City Council of Melbourne’s plan to install red light cameras.

Barbara Langland-Orban, PhD, John T. Large, PhD, Etienne E. Pracht, PhD from the University of South Florida (USF) conducted a study on red light cameras in 2008. They updated their study in 2011. Langland-Orban, et. al. found that red light cameras (RLC) increase the number of accidents at intersections by 28%. WDW – FL reported on red light cameras here and here.

Scott Ellis, a resident of Melbourne, in an email to WDW – FL states, “There is no safety to this issue at all.  I have been driving the intersection of US 1 and Eau Gallie Boulevard for 40 years and never seen an accident, as well as hundreds of hours of campaigning at the intersection.  But rather than rely on analogy, I requested the study performed by the City of Melbourne used to justify the Red light cameras.  In the city study there is NOT ONE MENTION of accident statistics for this intersection.  NOTHING.  This is supposedly all about safety yet no accident data is part of the study?” [Emphasis added]

The subject line of Scott’s email is, “Government Camera Looters Coming to Eau Gallie.”

Scott wrote, “This is all about the money.  If it was about safety the accident records would be a factor.  It is all about revenue and traffic count, US 1 and Eau Gallie Boulevard being one of the highest traffic counts in the entire county.  The City Manager’s comments are so ludicrous one must question his sanity in believing the general public is as gullible as the City Council.  However, let’s take him at his word and have the City of Melbourne donate their $75 skim of every ticket to various charities around the city.” The USF study seems to bear Scott’s concerns out.

The Melbourne red light camera ticket fine of $158.  The receiver gets 60 days to pay from date of infraction, not date infraction notification is received.  The new law specifies if the receiver requests a hearing the hearing officer is a City of Melbourne appointed special master. If the ticket is not paid by mail to the city. The City turns the red light ticket into a regular Uniform Traffic Citation (UTC) and fine increases to $267.

A brochure was mailed out by Melbourne residents. It is similar to brochures used in Edgewood, FL, and Moline, Iowa. Residents noted that the brochure is the same as one provided by Gatso USA the camera vendor.

Cities and counties look at red light cameras as revenue generators. However, some are seeing revenues fall.

Robert Napper from the Tampa Bay Times reported, “The number of tickets generated by the [New Port Richey] city’s red light cameras has dropped dramatically, along with the number of crashes at some of those intersections. That’s the good news, city finance director Doug Haag told the City Council last week. The bad news, he said, is that the city faces an $800,000 shortfall this year in red light ticket revenue.

Napper found, “The city had expected the cameras, installed in July 2011, to generate $1.15 million this year. So far, the city has collected $162,189, and officials expect to finish the fiscal year with just $350,000 in ticket revenue — a 70 percent shortfall. ‘That’s the big elephant,’ Haag said.”

Scott included a letter from an unnamed visitor to Florida subject – “Who won’t be back anytime soon”:

To whom it may concern,

My name is X and I received a letter from a collection agency called Municipal Services Bureau (MSB). It is a collection letter on a traffic infraction ticket for $396.20 in Brevard County  I am verifying that this letter isn’t a scam and if not to figure on how/why I got a ticket. It confused me that the offense was supposed to happen in Florida but the letter is coming from Texas. I was in Port Canaveral area in August of 2012 on a business trip with the military during the time frame of a hurricane in the area.

I had a rental car. I never got pulled over or came in contact with any policemen to receive a ticket. If you could please provide me information on this or information who could answers these question.

Stay tuned, more government surveillance coming to a town near you!

Are Rubio and Reid playing us for fools on immigration reform?

On the June 12th evening edition of the Bill O’Reilly Show Senator Marco Rubio stated,“It depends on border security, and it depends on ensuring that it doesn’t cost the American taxpayer. I think the bottom line is we can secure the border and ensure that this never happens again, and if we can ensure that it doesn’t cost the American taxpayer by people going on welfare and things like that, then I think it will pass. If it doesn’t do those things, it won’t.”

Earlier on that same day an amendment from Senator Grassley to strengthen border security was stopped from coming to the US Senate floor for an up or down vote by Senator Harry Reid. Surely Senator Rubio knew this because he voted against the amendment.

According to Breitbart.com, “On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blocked a vote on the border security amendment to the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill offered by Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley was pushing for an up-or-down vote by the Senate on his amendment, which would have required the border to be secured for six full months before any legalization of illegal immigrants in America began. Reid objected to Grassley’s motion, effectively implementing a 60-vote threshold that completely blocked any attempt at a fair vote on the amendment.”

Is Rubio being played by Reid or are Reid and Rubio playing all Americans for fools?

Eric Erickson from RedState.com in his column “No More Games” states, “… Marco Rubio is being played the fool or we are being played the fool by Senator Rubio. He has become the face of support for this legislation and much of the support of the legislation from those on the right has come because of the good will so many of us have for Senator Rubio.”

Erickson, who is a lawyer and has represented illegals, reports:

Contrary to the Americans for Conservative Reform advertisement in which he appears, the law does not prohibit illegals from getting benefits. Sure, some welfare benefits will be excluded as will, though it is debatable, Obamacare, but a sizable portion of entitlement benefits actually flow through tax credits in the tax code that these immigrants would get.

Contrary to the advertisement, the law does not secure the border in any meaningful way, in fact the “border security on steroids” as the ad claims does not begin until after the citizenship push starts, hence the pretend effort of John Cornyn now that this has been exposed.

Are Rubio and Reid a “Gang of Two” pushing a bill that is eerily similar to Obamacare through the US Senate for political gain? Is Rubio talking about border security but not willing to propose amendments himself to strengthen it? Time will tell.

Senator Rubio on the Bill O’Reilly Show:

UPDATE:

Erick Erickson reports:

Marco Rubio told Sean Hannity yesterday that he had wanted border security before amnesty, but now thinks we need amnesty first so, in paying the government for their amnesty, we can use the illegal aliens’ to pay for securing the border. After all, the border will take several years to secure, so we should encourage people to cross the border illegally and forge documents to prove they’ve met the deadline. Then they can pay the feds to secure the border in even higher numbers. Or something like that.

RELATED COLUMNS:

Double Agent: Marco Rubio Caught Making Different Amnesty Claims to Spanish, English Audiences
SENATE FIGHT: REID BLOCKS BORDER FIX…
FAST TRACK: Senators urge Obama to stay on sidelines…
COULTER: IF THE GOP IS THIS STUPID, IT DESERVES TO DIE…
Hispanic vote declined in 2012…

Rubio: ‘I should have been more artful’…
Rand Paul to Illegals: ‘We Will Find a Place for You’…
Nevada a ‘border state’…
Flake on Border Enforcement: This Time Is Different Because ‘They Have to Submit a Plan’…

Four Words to Watch in the Immigration Debate

This column courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:

The Senate will begin debate on the Gang of Eight’s immigration proposal next week. Here are four words to watch out for as the Senators make their case—and warnings about what they might mean.

1. COST

“Cost” is one word that should come up in the immigration debate, because the Gang of Eight’s amnesty proposal has a cost that is simply too high for Americans to bear. Heritage analysis found that amnesty would cost taxpayers trillions of dollars.

Amnesty means that illegal immigrants become legal—and become eligible for Obamacare benefits, Social Security, welfare, and Medicare. But they won’t pay enough into the system in taxes to cover the cost of all these benefits, meaning the rest of the taxpayers will have to bear the burden. This simply isn’t fair to hard-working Americans.

2. BORDER

Despite claims of security—and talk of amending the bill—the Gang of Eight immigration bill doesn’t secure the border. Instead, it “delivers nothing new—other than the promise of spending a lot more money and running up our debt.” As James Carafano, Heritage’s E. W. Richardson Fellow, explains: “Amnesty immediately creates an incentive for illegal border crossings and overstays. Thus, the bill’s strategy would drive up the cost of securing the border.”

3. AMNESTY

Heritage President Jim DeMint has said that it’s a false choice for people to say that amnesty is necessary to immigration reform. Amnesty encourages more illegal immigration, and that is not what immigration reform is supposed to do.

Former Attorney General Ed Meese, Heritage’s Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus, reminds us that America has tried this before, and it didn’t work:

Today they call it a “ road-map to citizenship.” Ronald Reagan called it “amnesty.” And he was right. The 1986 reform did not solve our immigration problem—in fact, the population of illegal immigrants has nearly quadrupled since that “comprehensive” bill.

4. “COMPREHENSIVE”

Beware the word “comprehensive.” As Meese notes above, the amnesty of 1986 was also called a “comprehensive” approach to immigration reform. It doesn’t work, and it’s not what we need. We need a separate, step-by-step approach to immigration reform. An approach that works—that the American people can trust—would start with reforming the legal immigration system and enforcing the security measures that are supposed to be in place.

Read the Morning Bell and more en Español every day at Heritage Libertad.

US War Games target Christians and Evangelicals as “The Enemy”

Todd Starnes from Fox News Radio reports, “A War Games scenario at Fort Leavenworth that identified Christian groups and Evangelical groups as being potential threats.” Fort Leavenworth is home of the Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC). The CGSC is a graduate school for United States Army and sister service officers, inter-agency representatives, and international military officers.

The college prepares US Army Majors and Lieutenant Colonels for battalion and higher command assignments and division and higher level staff positions.

Starnes also reports:

  • A 2009 Dept. of Homeland Security memorandum that identified future threats to national security coming from Evangelicals and pro-life groups;
  • A West Point study released by the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center that linked pro-lifers to terrorism;
  • A senior military official at Fort Campbell sent out a lengthy email officially instructing officers to recognize “the religious right in America” as a “domestic hate group” akin to the KKK and Neo-Nazis because of its opposition to homosexual behavior.

According to Starnes, “The House Armed Services Committee is considering a religious liberty amendment  to the National Defense Authorization Act Wednesday over fears the military is punishing soldiers for expressing their religious faith.”

marines-praying-630x286

Marines praying on battlefield

“The men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms should not have their own religious freedom jeopardized during their military service,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), who authored the amendment.

Other incidents reported by Starnes include:

  • A service member received a “severe and possibly career-ending reprimand” for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog.
  • An enlisted service member received a career-ending punishment for sending personal invitations to his promotion party which mentioned that he would be providing Chick-fil-A sandwiches due to his respect for the Defense of Marriage Act.
  • An Air Force officer was told to remove a Bible from his desk because it might offend someone. The officer had kept the Bible on the desk for 18 years;
  • A chaplain was relieved of his command over a military chapel because, consistent with DOMA’s definition of marriage, he could not allow same-sex weddings to take place in the chapel.
  • An enlisted service member was threatened and denied promotion by a senior NCO for expressing – during a personal conversation – his religious belief in support of traditional marriage.
  • Last month Rear Admiral William Lee told a National Day of Prayer audience that religious liberty was being threatened by Pentagon lawyers and service members are being told to hide their faith in Christ.“Leaders like myself are feeling the constraints of rules and regulations and guidance issued by lawyers that put us in a tighter and tighter box regarding our constitutional right to express our religious faith,” he said.

Read more by clicking here.

True The Vote files suit against the IRS

True the Vote (TTV), the nation’s leading voters’ rights organization, filed suit in federal court in Washington today against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), asking the Court to grant its long-awaited tax exempt status and seeking damages for the unlawful actions by the IRS in the processing of its application for exempt status. ActRight Legal Foundation, a 501(c)3 fundamental rights and public interest law firm represents True the Vote in the lawsuit.

“We’ve been waiting for three years to receive a decision from the IRS about our tax exempt status,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said. “After answering hundreds of questions and producing thousands of documents, we’re done waiting. The IRS does not have the power to pocket veto our application. Federal law empowers groups like True the Vote to force a decision in court – which is precisely what we aim to do.”

True the Vote is dedicated solely to promoting election integrity in our Republic,” Engelbrecht said.  “Our mission is to educate Americans on all of the rights they enjoy as voters. We do not pick winners and losers, but instead fortify the voting process so that it is fair and free. If this goal is deserving of such scrutiny, then we have serious questions that we, as a nation, must face,” she added.

Cleta Mitchell, counsel to True the Vote and of counsel to ActRight Legal Foundation, stated, “We are not going to allow the IRS to claim, as it has been doing in the past week, that the targeting of conservative groups is over and ‘everything has been fixed.’   It is not yet fixed and this litigation is a vital step both to resolve True the Vote’s status and to learn exactly what happened inside the IRS.”

True the Vote‘s lawsuit consists of three counts:

Count One:  Seeks recognition of True the Vote as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization pursuant to  26 USC § 7428.

Count Two:  Seeks damages and injunctive relief from the IRS and IRS employees and agents, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), for violation of True the Vote’s constitutional rights by virtue of the actions of the government in unlawfully targeting and delaying recognition of True the Vote’s exempt status.

Count Three:   Seeks damages and injunctive relief against the IRS and IRS employees, pursuant to 26 USC § 7431, for their unlawful intrusions into True the Vote’s activities by requiring the filing of voluminous materials with the IRS, then unlawfully inspecting and potentially disseminating the information.

“This is just the first of several cases ActRight Legal Foundation plans to file against the IRS and those within the agency who have violated the constitutional rights of these citizens’ organizations,” said Dr. John Eastman, Chairman of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and of Counsel to ActRight Legal Foundation.
To read the complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, click here.

True The Vote 

(TTV) a nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization focused on preserving election integrity is operated by citizens for citizens, to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

Voto Honesto 

(TTV) es una organización sin fines de lucro, no partidaria, enfocada en preservar la integridad en las elecciones y operada por ciudadanos para ciudadanos, ara inspirar y equipar a voluntarios para envolverse en cada una de las etapas del proceso electoral. TTT capacita a organizaciones e individuos a través de la nación para activamente proteger los derechos de los votantes legítimos, sin importar a que partido político perteneces. Para más información, por favor visite  www.votohonesto.org.

AARP files brief in the Florida Supreme Court challenging the Florida Public Service Commission

Attorney Jack L. McRay – representing the AARP – has filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court asking the Court to remand the recent decision by the Florida Public Service Commission (Commission) to approval a “secret” settlement agreement between Florida Power & Light (FPL) and three other parties related to FPL’s March 2012 petition filed with the Commission to raise electric rates for some 4.1 million customers.

McRay argues that AARP is a nonprofit organization with a membership that helps people 50+ years of age – have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. McRay argues that utility costs comprise a substantial portion of their housing expenses – that the burden can be severe – that even people who own their homes outright may pay over half their limited income for housing – due in large part to the high cost of utilities. Inability to pay utilities ranks as the second most common cause for eviction after inability to pay rent.

AARP is appealing to the Court to ensure that the Commission follows the law in setting residential utility rates that are fair, just, and reasonable. The Commission approved a non-unanimous settlement in the FPL case – contrary to Florida law – because it failed to make findings based upon competent, substantial evidence on the record as a whole to address the objections raised by OPC – representing the interests of residential ratepayers. Moreover, the Commission approval of the settlement includes new matters that should not be included in the rate case because no public notice of them was provided as required.

Soldiers of faith told Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Florida has twenty-one military installations, and is home to U.S. Central Command at MacDill AFB in Tampa. Florida has over 1.6 million veterans who reside in the state. The military is a major factor in Florida’ economy.

The morale and welfare of those active duty military in Florida is of importance to the national security of the nation. So why has the U.S. military become a social change petri dish?

Ken Klukowski from Breitbart reports, “The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”.

Klukowski reported in an earlier column, “‘Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.’ Those words were recently written by Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), in a column he wrote for the Huffington Post. Weinstein will be a consultant to the Pentagon to develop new policies on religious tolerance, including a policy for court-martialing military chaplains who share the Christian Gospel during spiritual counseling of American troops.”

“Weinstein then endorses the ultra-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), who publishes a list of “hate groups.” Alongside truly deplorable organizations like the KKK, the SPLC’s list includes a host of traditional Christian organizations (for their support of traditional marriage) and Tea Party organizations (for supporting limited government). Weinstein says SPLC correctly labels them all as ‘hate groups’,” writes Klukowski.

Klukowski states, “This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.”

In response to the Pentagon’s plans, retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who is now executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), said on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning:

It’s a matter of what do they mean by “proselytizing.” …I think they’ve got their definitions a little confused. If you’re talking about coercion that’s one thing, but if you’re talking about the free exercise of our faith as individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, especially for the chaplains, they I think the worst thing we can do is stop the ability for a soldier to be able to exercise his faith.”

 The FRC was attacked by domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II who used the SPLC list of hate groups to pick his targets. “Southern Poverty Law lists anti-gay groups,” Corkins tells interrogators in the below video, which FRC obtained from the FBI. “I found them online, did a little research, went to the website, stuff like that.”

Florida GOP says Dems ‘grandstanding’ over Medicaid expansion

Representative Dennis K. Baxley, FL District 23

Joe Saunders of BizPac Review reports, “Point made. Now, let’s get this session over with. That was the message Tuesday from two key Republicans about House Democrats’ decision to slow down business in protest over the GOP’s refusal to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Slowing floor action to a crawl, House Democrats under Minority Leader Perry Thurston invoked the state Constitution Tuesday to force line-by-line readings of bills before they could be discussed on the House floor.”

“By purposefully slowing deliberations at this critical juncture, I and other House Democratic Caucus members seek to bring greater public attention to our desire for legislative passage of the health coverage expansion plan that the Florida Senate approved [Tuesday,]” Thurston said in a statement.

“The maneuver marred what had so far been a reasonably congenial session, said state Rep. Dennis Baxley, a veteran legislator and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,” notes Saunders. Read more.

Avik Roy from Forbes reports, “On April 11, the GOP-controlled Florida House of Representatives passed an innovative, consumer-driven replacement for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, one that could be a national template for free-market health reform. But Republicans in the state Senate rejected the House plan, electing instead to expand Medicaid, as Obamacare prescribes. Senate Republicans’ inexplicable decision makes it likely that free-market reform will fail in Florida, an outcome that could easily have been avoided.”

“The House, led by Speaker Will Weatherford and PPACA Committee Chairman Richard Corcoran, passed a bill in which uninsured adults with children would receive $2,000 a year—plus their own contribution of $300—to fund a health savings account called a CARE account, which recipients could use for any health expense of their choice. They could use it to buy catastrophic coverage, or a high-end concierge primary care physician, or anything in between. In order to benefit from the subsidy, recipients would have to meet work requirements similar to those in the landmark, bipartisan 1996 welfare-reform law,” notes Roy.

SB 58 American Laws for American Courts is in jeopardy

According to the Florida Family Association, “SB 58, American Laws for American Courts, did not make it on the agenda for the Senate Rules Committee for Monday, April 22, 2013.  This is the last Rules Committee meeting for the 2013 Florida Legislative Session.”

The Florida House of Representatives passed American Laws for American Courts (HB 351) by a vote of 79 – 39 on April 18, 2013. SB 58 has passed all other Florida Senate Committees.

David Caton of FFA notes, “The failure of SB 58 to be heard in the Committee on Rules was unexpected.  There are enough votes in the Florida Senate to pass SB 58.  Additionally, Governor Rick Scott has said that he will sign the legislation. So why is the bill not going to be heard there?”

One Senate leader is reported to have received 300 phone calls in opposition to SB 58 during the week of April 15, 2013.  The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida web site is devoted almost entirely to defeating the American Laws for America Courts legislation (SB 58, HB 351). 

“It would appear that those who advocate (CAIR) for Sharia law are influencing top Florida Senators to derail legislation that would prohibit Islamic law from being considered in Florida Courts,” states FFA.

FFA notes, “Time is running out. The 2013 Florida Legislative Session ends May 2, 2013.”

If Florida courts accept provisions of Islamic Sharia law or other foreign laws and legal codes which are inconsistent with American laws it will undermine public policies enacted by our representative form of government and change our value system,” states FFA.

Miami, FL: Good guy with a gun, stops bad guy with a gun

This story is courtesy of Michael Dorstewitz from BizPac Review:

National Rifle Association spokesman Wayne LaPierre recently remarked, “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Florida man made this point crystal clear over the weekend.

At a Burger King on Miami’s Biscayne Blvd., a robber walked in, displayed his gun and demanded that a family turn over its valuables, according to NBC-6 News Miami.

What the robber didn’t consider is that Floridians respect the Constitution, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The father pulled out his own firearm and shot the robber in the leg.

Read more.

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

Illegal aliens receive $Billions Yearly via IRS Loophole

As part of National Tax Burden Month WDW –  Florida presents this column with videos of well known and documented tax fraud.

NBC Eyewitness News 13 in Indiana reports on a massive IRS tax loophole which provides over $4 billion per year in tax credits to millions of illegal aliens. In many cases recipients of American taxpayers’ misused monies have never set foot in the United States.

Watch this exposé put together by News 13 investigative reporter Bob Segall. He spent three months looking into this tax loophole:

Indiana is approximately 1700 miles northeast of the Mexican border.

A device known as the Additional Child Tax Credit is being used to pay for children living in Mexico — who have never lived here. One illegal admitted through an interpreter that his address is being used to file tax returns for numerous children, including multiple nieces and nephews. “If the opportunity is there and they give it [to him] why not take advantage of it?” he asked in Spanish. As a stunning example, thousands in tax credits have been awarded to an illegal alien who claimed 20 children live in a single trailer, that actually housed just one little girl.

“Our tax code should not reward those who enter the country illegally,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-13). “This is unacceptable, which is why last year I voted to immediately end the abuse of the Child Tax Credit by requiring those filing a claim to provide a Social Security number – a requirement that would save taxpayers $10 billion over the next decade.”

The IRS is aware of the magnitude of this fraud yet has done nothing to rectify it. In fact, this is the IRS website giving ten tips on how to apply. The application forms are easily downloadable.

J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says report after report sent from his office has been ignored by the IRS. 

Watch the below video as the Honorable J. Russell George, Inspector General, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, delivers his opening statement at an oversight hearing on Administration of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. October 22, 2009.

Heritage Foundation: Amnesty Costs 70 Times More Than Enforcement

The following is provided by The Heritage Foundation:

Summary:

    The Heritage Foundation issued two studies in 2007 pointing out that the big problem with mass legalization is that (a) most illegal aliens are low-skilled and therefore do not earn enough money to pay enough taxes to cover the government benefits they receive; and (b), amnesty would eventually make them eligible for the full array of welfare and medical benefits offered by local, state and federal governments. They found the cost of allowing illegal aliens to remain in the United States, and eventually to become citizens, would be $3.7 trillion through the year 2056. That works out to a present cost of $1 trillion, at a 5 percent discount rate. In other words, immediately upon passage of an amnesty bill, the United States government would need to put $1 trillion into an investment earning 5 percent per year if it were honest about paying for the costs of amnesty.

$14 billion cost of attrition through enforcement option #1.

Source: 

      Congressional Budget office Estimate for H.R. 4437.

Summary: 

      This option is the bill H.R. 4437 sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner that passed the House of Representatives in 2005. This bill would have been so effective in combating illegal immigration that some 1 million illegal aliens marched in cities around the United States on May 1, 2006 to protest it. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would cost $1.9 billion over the 5 years 2006-2010, which we extrapolate out to the year 2056 using a linear model to account for cost increases. Then we use a discount rate of 5 percent to bring the future costs back to a single present cost figure.

The resulting cost was actually $13.5 billion, which we round up to $14 billion to facilitate comparison to the other cost figures.

$177 billion cost of attrition through enforcement option #2.

Source:

       Congressional Budget Office Estimate for H.R. 4088.

Summary:

    This option is the SAVE Act (Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act) that was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2007. This is a strong attrition through enforcement bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would cost $40.7 billion over the 10 years 2009-2018, which we extrapolate out to the year 2056 using a linear model to account for cost increases. Then we use a discount rate of 5 percent to bring the future costs back to a single present cost figure.

Detailed Explanation:

Amnesty Would Have a Present Cost of $1 Trillion

In 2007, the Heritage Foundation issued two studies, one on the cost of low-skilled immigration and one on the cost of amnesty. The study on the cost of low-skilled immigration noted that low-skilled immigrants do work hard: “It is important to note, these families are rarely idle; they consistently work and pay taxes. However, the taxes they pay are seldom, if ever, sufficient to cover the cost of the government benefits they receive. In consequence, these households must be continually subsidized by other taxpayers.” The Heritage study concluded that low-skilled immigrant households will cost native born U.S. taxpayers $89.1 billion per year over each of the next 30 years.

The Heritage report estimated that illegal residents comprise 41 percent of low-skilled immigrant households.1 Simple multiplication indicates that illegal-immigrant households cost the U.S. taxpayer $36.5 billion each year. Over 30 years, that works out to $1.1 trillion in costs. Using a financial calculator, we assumed a discount rate of 5 percent, and computed the net present value of a cost stream of $36.5 over the next 30 years to be $589 billion.

Cost to Taxpayer for Government Benefits to Illegal Aliens:

Years Cost Each Year Total Cost Present Cost @ 5% discount rate
2007-2037 $36.5 billion $1.1 trillion $589 billion
2038-2056 $144.5 billion $2.6 trillion $410 billion
$999 billion

 

A second report was issued by the Heritage Foundation a few weeks after the report discussed above. This report discussed the costs allowing current illegal aliens to become United States citizens. They will become eligible for the full array of welfare and medical benefits offered by state and federal governments. This study concluded that the $36.5 billion per year figure is valid for the next 30 years. The average age of an illegal alien is early 30s. Beginning 30 years from now, the current illegal alien population will retire. The problem is that low-skilled illegal aliens do not earn enough money to support their families, send remittances back to their homelands, and save adequate money for retirement. The U.S. taxpayer will be stuck supporting most illegal aliens in retirement. And each retired illegal alien is projected to cost the U.S. taxpayer $17,000 per year.

The Heritage report continues, that of the 10 million retired illegal aliens, some 8.5 million will live to the retirement age of 67 years old. At that time, the statistically normal lifespan is an additional 18 years. $17,000 per year for 18 years is $306,000. That is the cost of supporting one amnestied illegal alien through retirement. Multiplied by 8.5 million people, and that comes to the astounding figure of $2.6 trillion.2 Using a financial calculator, we assumed a discount rate of 5 percent and computed the net present value of a cost stream of $144.5 billion per year for 18 years from the years 2039-2057. The net present cost was given as $410 billion.

Attrition Through Enforcement Would Have a Present Cost of as Little at $13.5 Billion

H.R. 4437, The “Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005,” had Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner as its original sponsor. This bill had several features to combat illegal immigration including:

  • mandatory E-Verify 6 years from date of enactment
  • end the “catch-and-release” policy for all persons apprehended at border
  • require DHS to reimburse counties within 25 miles of the border for the costs relating to illegal aliens
  • removal orders would become final more quickly and readily
  • facilitate removal of aliens who reenter the country illegally after having been deported
  • mandatory minimum prison sentences for offenses related to illegal entry into the United States
  • additional port-of-entry inspectors and canine detection teams

This was the bill to which Sensenbrenner offered an amendment to reduce the penalty for illegal presence (aimed at visa overstayers) from a felony to a misdemeanor (Amendment 656, Roll Call Vote 655).3 However, all but 8 Democrats voted against the amendment (in other words, they voted for upgrading illegal presence to a felony) because they wanted to use the provision as a rallying point from which to stir up opposition to the bill.

The passage of this bill attracted a firestorm of opposition from the open borders lobby, including illegal alien demonstrations in a number of cities on May 1, 2006.

The illegal alien lobby was opposed to this bill because it would have been effective. This is why we can safely conclude that effective attrition through enforcement would cost as little as $13.5 billion.4

Strong Attrition Through Enforcement Would Have a Present Cost of $177 Billion

The SAVE Act (Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement) Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on November 6, 2007. It never made it to a vote because the House leadership would not allow it. Among the key provisions of the bill were:

  • mandatory E-Verify 4 years from the date of enactment;
  • increased employer sanctions for those knowingly employing illegal aliens;
  • a “National Birth and Death Registration System” to reduce stolen identities;
  • 140 additional Criminal Alien Program (CAP) officers to identify and remove criminal aliens detained in federal, state and local facilities;
  • training at least 250 state and local law enforcement officers on how to perform federal immigration enforcement procedures;
  • 8,000 additional beds for illegal aliens detained by immigration officials;
  • 13 additional federal district judges in border states to increase the flow of deportations, including 4 for the District of Arizona and 5 for the Southern District of California;

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would cost $40.7 billion over the 10 years between 2009-2018.5