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Florida: The Truth about Open Carry — Erroneous Claims Exposed

Many folks remember that during the fight to pass Florida’s Concealed Carry law, the Florida Sheriffs Association opposed concealed carry.  They literally said they didn’t like “hidden guns.”

At the time, open carry was legal in Florida and had been for decades.  They said if people were going to be allowed to carry guns, they needed to carry them openly so law enforcement officers could see them and know who had guns — they claimed it was a matter of officer safety.

Now, they have reversed positions.  They claim concealed carry is fine and they don’t mind concealed guns.  BUT, open carry is dangerous. They claim they won’t know the good guys from the bad guys, and one sheriff (now retired) said law enforcement would have to “draw down” and anybody carrying openly.  You’ve probably heard or read most of the rhetoric.

They always lead off saying they are strong Second Amendment supporters then proceed to explain why they OPPOSE Second Amendment rights.

The Constitution guarantees your right to keep and bear arms and it certainly doesn’t say you can only exercise your rights if your sheriff agrees with it.

Below are the facts about open carry — it is a rebuttal of some the latest claims.  You may also click here The Truth About Open Carry to download a copy for the fact sheet to share with others.

The Truth About The Open Carry Bill & the 45 States that Allow Open Carry

In recent Palm Beach Post Blog articles and a Tampa Bay Times Blog article, the Chairman of the Florida Sheriffs Association’s Legislative Committee (FSA) is quoted with some erroneous claims regarding the proposed open carry bill in Florida (SB-300 by Sen. Don Gaetz and HB-163 by Rep. Matt Gaetz).

In recent Palm Beach Post Blog articles and a Tampa Bay Times Blog article, the Chairman of the Florida Sheriffs Association’s Legislative Committee (FSA) is quoted with some erroneous claims regarding the proposed open carry bill in Florida (SB-300 by Sen. Don Gaetz and HB-163 by Rep. Matt Gaetz).

Below are some of those claims and our responses.

FSA CLAIM: “The bill as currently drafted is extremely broad, lacking limits on when, how or where firearms could be carried.”

FACT: The same provisions and restrictions that apply to concealed carry also apply to open carry (s.790.06).  Only a person with a license to carry concealed will be able to carry openly. Additionally, the improper exhibition of firearms law (s.790.10) applies whether carrying concealed or openly.

Further, because of these and other erroneous claims, a clarification amendment, to stop open carry opponents from continuing to make such false claims, was added to the bill in Senate Criminal Justice Committee the morning of 10/20/15 – We know the spokesman made that claim even AFTER the clarification amendment was added because the spokesman made reference to an amendment “that didn’t pass” in the same committee meeting.

Since the FSA spokesman obviously doesn’t want to believe the NRA’s data, the following data was provided by Florida Carry, Inc. – and their data confirms ours.

FSA CLAIM: “The bill’s proponents claim that 45 other states already allow open-carry. But that’s not really accurate.”

FACT:  To the contrary, it is accurate.   Forty-five (45) states allow open carry of firearms.  Varying restrictions on open carry in some states does not alter the fact that 45 states allow open carry.

  • 15 of 45 open carry states require a license to carry concealed or openly.
  • 30 of 45 open carry states do not require any license to carry openly.
  • 0 of 15 of the concealed carry license states require additional training to carry openly.
  • 0 of 45 states offer a separate “open carry” license.
  • 2 of 45 states require an open carry holster.  On 1/1/16 Texas will require a holster.
  • 0 of 45 states require a retention holster.
  • 5 of 15 are “may-issue” states where law enforcement issues licenses.
  • 15 of 15 states require the license holder to produce the license on lawful demand by a law enforcement officer.

FSA CLAIM: “… most open-carry states have strict rules about … producing the permit on demand.”

FACT: This is a red herring.  FLORIDA law already requires license holders to produce a license on demand by a law enforcement officer.  And for the record, all 15 states that require a license, require producing the license on lawful demand by a law enforcement officer.

FSA CLAIM:  “…[I]t’s ‘intellectually dishonest’ to say open carry laws are working in the 45 other states because there are so many variations in the laws and the demographics.

FACT: The open carry laws are working in 45 states. Opponents have presented no evidence to the contrary – no evidence that it isn’t working in any state and no evidence of problems in any state. These are just baseless allegations.  Simply because different states have variations in their laws does not in any way alter the fact that open carry is allowed and that it’s working.

FSA CLAIM:  “In Pennsylvania, for example, cities can opt out of its open carry law and some, including Philadelphia, do just that, Gualtieri said. Florida cities don’t have the option to opt out of a state law.”

FACT:  Pennsylvania DOES NOT allow cities to opt out of its open carry law. Pennsylvania does not require a license for a person to carry openly.  Philadelphia cannot “opt out” of the state open carry law.  Pennsylvania state law allows the city of Philadelphia (and only Philadelphia) to require a license to carry openly in Philadelphia.

FSA CLAIM:  As for demographics, “You can’t compare Sioux Falls, S.D. to downtown Miami or downtown Tampa or downtown Orlando,” Gualtieri said.

FACT: This argument is illogical and perhaps intentionally misleading. Seventy percent (70%) of the American public live in open carry states from all regions of the country.  Many of the 45 open carry states have large and diverse cities just like Florida and where you live geographically, whether it’s Trilby, FL or Fanning Springs, FL, you have the same constitutional rights as citizens who live in Miami, Tampa, or Orlando.

FSA CLAIM: “…the state’s trespass law gives businesses the right to ask anyone openly carrying a weapon to leave their property,” but they … “will be reluctant to tell a person wearing a .45 to leave.”

FACT: Posting signs prohibiting open carry inside a business establishment is a simple solution.  Proper notification will stop citizens from even entering the establishment.  Property owners already must post trespass signs to notify the public to stay off private property.

Businesses have the right to refuse service and evict anyone they wish unless it’s done on the basis of race, gender, or religion.  Further, it is common to see signs that say, “No shirt, no shoes – no service.”  Why are they reluctant to post signs saying, “No open carrying of firearms?”

FSA CLAIM: “..if you are McDonald’s you won’t be able to exclude somebody from putting their gun on the table and sitting there and eating.”

FACT: Again, any business may evict a customer for behavior they deem to be offensive, dangerous or inappropriate.   Further it is a criminal offense under s.790.10 to exhibit a firearm in a rude or careless manner.

Florida: Pensacola Yacht Club Embraces former Cuban Communist Naval Officer

This week the Communist sympathizers from the Pensacola Yacht Club set sail from Pensacola, Florida (imagine that) to meet up with Commodore Jose M. Diaz Escrich, a former member of Fidel Castro’s Communist Navy and  leader in his Communist Maritime forces.

The Pensacola News Journal on writing about this wonderful send off did not include the former Communist Navy Captains last name, but that’s okay nobody hides from the Senior Chief……I found it.

Escrich, one of Fidel Castro’ s closest military friends, was born on December 21, 1946 in the port city of Santiago de Cuba.  He entered into the formerly free Naval Academy of Cuba when he was 16 and worked for more than 25 years in the Communist Cuban Navy.

His duties included tracking down and arresting people trying to flee to Key West, Miami and other Florida cities to free themselves from the chains and bondage of Communism.

When the sailors from the Pensacola Yacht Club Show up in Havana Cuba the Castro – Communist Cuban Ministry of Tourism, will be on hand to recognize the participants’ efforts with gifts of flowers flown in from North Korea.

As of October  31st 2015 the number of political prisoners held in Cuba without due process or trial has climbed to 114, the opposition Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) noted.

I wish the Pensacola Yacht Club leadership much success with their mission to bring American dollars to the Communist Island to aid and assist in the continued efforts of Fidel and Raul Castro to oppress their people.

If you would like to contact the Cuban Ministry of Tourism and ask about all the tourists that have disappeared over the years the contact information is listed below. I called them up and they got irritated when I asked if I could speak to Fidel.

I am now on the Cuban Communist Party leadership most wanted list of not welcome with a potential shot at becoming a political prisoner for free speech.

Happy Trails…… The Pensacola Yacht Club is not too happy with me either but they can kiss my free, red blooded, American, flag waving, hamburger eating, apple pie filled you know what.

For those readers wishing to contact the Cuban Ministry you may do so using these links;

National Tourism Organization HAVANACUBA

Plaza de la Revolucion Calle 3ra. N? 6 entre G y F. El vedado HAVANA,CUBA

Tel.: 0053 7 8327535, 8345283, 8365269

UPDATE: Who sponsored the Pensacola Yacht Club sail boat race to Communist Cuba?

The Pensacola Yacht Club have almost concluded their sail boat race to the port of Havana in the Communist controlled island of Cuba.

The trophies will be presented to the winner’s of this race by Commodore José Miguel Díaz Escrich of the Communist Cuban Navy (retired) .

Commodore Escrich worked his way up through the ranks to Commander in Castro’s Communist Navy working with anti-submarine ships and maritime legal issues…. rounding up dissidents trying to flee Cuba to freedom.

The Commodore then returned to the classroom in Cuba, first as a professor at the Communist Naval academy, then as a master’s degree student-candidate at the highest level in the naval academy of the former Soviet Union. How sweet is that ?

Returning to Cuba after four years, he worked in Naval Base Operations on the General Staff, focusing on international maritime and legal issues otherwise known as “Arresting and hunting down Cubans trying to flee the country”.

After 25 years in the Communist Cuban Navy, Commander Escrich then created the Club Náutico Internacional Hemingway de Cuba (Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba)

The Pensacola Yacht Clubs latest port of call.

Fidel Castro and Ernest Hemingway met and fished together in a 1960 Hemingway game fishing tournament, celebrated at the Barlovento Tourist Residence, later named Marina Hemingway. Thus the name of the Marina.

This is also where the American – Communist and author Hemingway presented the Communist Cuban dictator with several trophies. Three photographs of Ernest Hemingway hang in the yacht club’s office today, including one of Hemingway and his boat, Pilar, dated 27 May 1950.

Perhaps the Pensacola Yacht Club sailors will get a tour and pose for pictures also with the new crowd of Communists running the marina.

So the Pensacola Yacht Club have sanctioned, embraced and met with a former member of Castro’s Communist maritime forces whose job it was to capture and arrest fellow Cubans fleeing to safety in Florida. They are soon meeting this Communist to receive trophies and break bread with people that have to date arrested and imprisoned 114 political prisoners for wanting only to be free.

To ensure this event was a success (excluding the bad storm that blew in the following start of the sail boat race) the following companies are listed as sponsors to the Pensacola Yacht Club’s sail boat race to Communist Cuba:

  1. Frontier Motors Pensacola
  2. Technology Associates
  3. Zern Rigging Pensacola
  4. Schurr Sails Pensacola
  5. Weather Routing Inc.

There are currently 114 political prisoners held in Cuban prisons for speaking out against oppression and servitude. Some of which are in jail because of the Cuban naval forces led by Commodore Escrish the new friend of the Pensacola Yacht Club and its leadership.

Perhaps the companies I listed above would now like to offer sponsorship to the political prisoners held in Castro’s gulags next time around and now disassociate itself from the Pensacola Yacht Club, a team that affords hospitality and salutations to a member of Fidel Castro’s Communist Naval forces to satisfy what ? Who knows the answer to that…perhaps they can figure it out.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of CookImages.com.

Donald Trump and Ben Carson Top the GOP field, Jeb Bush trails nationally and in Florida

SAINT LEO, FL /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson has basically tied with billionaire businessman Donald Trump as the leading presidential candidate among likely Republican voters surveyed nationally by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

Meanwhile on the Democratic side, likely voters nationally again put Hillary Clinton in the lead.

Carson Makes Impressive Show in Crowded National Field
Among likely Republican voters nationwide, those polled said their favored candidate was: Donald Trump (22.7 percent); retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (22.2 percent); U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, (11.1 percent); former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (8.4 percent); former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (5.8 percent); and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (4.0 percent).

“We’re starting to see some ‘Trump fatigue’ setting in,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science atSaint Leo University. “Donald Trump thrives on the media attention. With the lull between debates and his upcoming ‘Saturday Night Live’ appearance (November 7), the soft-spoken, ‘anti-Trump’ candidate Ben Carson, has emerged as a viable candidate,” said Orlando.

Interestingly, Orlando noted, when support for Carson, Trump, and Fiorina are combined, 51 percent of the national likely Republicans voters support non-politicians. Orlando interpreted the collective sentiment as a signal that: “These voters would rather have people with no specific plans than people who they are afraid would let them down.”

Democratic Politics Continue to Favor Clinton
Among the likely Democratic voters nationwide, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drew 54.8 percent of the respondents’ support. Since Vice President Joe Biden announced on October 21 that he will not run for president, the 15.8 percent of Democratic likely voters who favored him will likely become Clinton supporters, Orlando said. U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders was selected by 12 percent of the likely Democratic voters.

“Hillary’s still the horse in the Democratic race, and I think that [Vice President] Biden’s support will now gravitate to her,” stated Saint Leo’s Orlando. “It (Biden’s support) won’t jump to Bernie Sanders as he’s more of an anti-establishment candidate. At the same time, Sanders needs to be more aggressive in his attack on Clinton and increase his rhetoric.”

Florida Results Surprising

Among Florida likely Republican voters, Donald Trump is first (25.8 percent). Trump was followed in Florida by Senator Rubio (21.5 percent); then former Governor Jeb Bush (15.3 percent); and then Carson (14.7 percent). The margin of error was 7 percentage points, based on a sample of 163 respondents.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has a substantial lead (50.9 percent). Senator Sanders pulled 13.3 percent. (Vice President Biden had 15.2 percent.) The margin of error for this question was plus or minus 7 percentage points, based on a sample of 165 likely Democratic voters in the state.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of the Associated Press.

Florida: Targeting Elder Guardianship Abuse [Video]

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by ABC’s I Team on guardianship abuse in Florida. Please take a few moments to learn about a hidden war against our senior citizens in the Sunshine state:

Florida Minority Leader supports parents who opt-out of standardized tests

Representative Mark Pafford (D – FL District 86), Minority Leader in the Florida House, stated this week that he supports parents who tell their children to opt-out of standardized assessment testing.

Florida Parents Against Common Core (FPACC) states, “Mr. Pafford wisely recognizes the overuse of assessments and testing in the State of Florida. Such overuse has indeed created a toxic environment between education stakeholders – students, parents, principals, superintendents, school board members, and residents. The trust and  confidence necessary for mutual cooperation, in search of moving the conversation forward regarding best processes and practices for curriculum and standards, is missing.”

For parents, testing and assessments, particularly the non-validated and improperly implemented Florida Standards Assessment, institute an environment of punishment versus an environment nurturing learning. For teachers, unreasonable and out-of-balance accountability measures, focused almost exclusively on student assessment scores, encourage an already acknowledged faulty methodology of  “teaching to the test”.

On September 25, 62 out of 67 Florida county education superintendents agreed with the Florida Association of District School Superintendents’ statement stating that the superintendents had “lost confidence” in the current accountability system for students and schools, which were largely based on the controversial Florida Standards Assessment. In a decision of concern for  students and teachers, the superintendents asked for suspension of the accountability system and a review.

Luz González, FPACC State Coordinator says, “While Florida Parents Against Common Core applauds the unity and aggressiveness of the  superintendents on the issue of easing the unreasonable burden on the adults in the “education room”, i.e. the teachers and administrators, we are vastly disappointed in the lack of similar concern for the well-being of the students in the same classroom.  We ask that they follow Representative Pafford’s lead by placing children, entrusted into their care, as their top priority.

After several years of parents attending school board meetings complaining about standards, curriculum, textbooks, and testing, after numerous hearings on parental and teacher concerns across the state and in Tallahassee, after a contentious Governor’s race where Common Core Standards were a critical divide in the voting population, the Florida Department of Education and its Commissioner Pam Stewart have provided unacceptable mediocre solutions to the ongoing crisis in education, both in standards and assessments. It has been band-aid after band-aid of ineffective management on education reform intentionally ignoring the many voices of those most concerned and closest to the student – the parent.”

Thus, importantly, Florida Parents Against Common Core parents are committed to alleviating the source, the root, the insidious virus of the massively abusive accountability structure – Common Core Standards.  Federal coercion combined with state legislature collusion have destroyed meaningful and necessary local control by developing a structural system where co-dependency of mandates, data, funding, waivers, standards, curriculum, and assessments are currently inexplicably & irrevocably tied between local and federal governments.  At this time, FPACC will contact all presidential candidates before the 2016 Florida Primary for their pledge, should they become President, to on their first day stop the federal implementation of Common Core Standards.

Education is most often the best tool for creating opportunity, prosperity, and happiness.  Let’s    treat each child like an individual, not with a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all approach to learning. Let’s listen to each child’s learning needs, not increase grossly invasive stressors by forcing  inappropriate developmental education requirements. Let’s encourage proven and successful education tools in cooperation with promoting creativity and innovation, recognizing the   constantly evolving information highway technology world of today and tomorrow – all the while knowing that an individual student’s inherent aptitudes and skills should have preemptive value in the classroom.

Every child should have an individualized education plan.  Not a common one.

ABOUT FLORIDA PARENTS AGAINST COMMON CORE

Florida Parents Against Common Core was started by four mothers and grew into the State of Florida’s largest grassroots parent organization in opposition to the continued implementation of Common Core Standards. Laura Zorc, the organization’s former State and National Director from January 2013 to June 2015 is  currently serving on Governor Scott’s 11 member Keep Florida Learning State Committee.

Since October 1st, over 50 Muslim Syrians arrived in U.S. — Kentucky ‘welcomed’ the most

As we know, the Obama Administration is aiming to resettle 10,000 Syrians this year.  The resettlement contractors, including the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, are pushing for 100,000 (by the way, this post on the Bishops and 100,000 took off on social media in the last few days).

From the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center for October 1-October 15 (hat tip: Diane).

KY 12 Syrians

As we previously reported, 97% of the Syrians resettled to the U.S. in FY 2015 are Muslims.  Make no mistake, this is not about saving the persecuted Christians or Yazidis.

Related:  Have a look at this AP article about Syrians going to Michigan where the Republican governor is welcoming them (and wants many more).  It was only posted yesterday and has 2,786 comments already (as of this writing) with the vast majority opposed to what Governor Snyder is doing.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Uruguay: Syrian refugees have (already) worn out their welcome

Sweden: so much for socialism as capitalists use the system in refugee crisis to rake in the bucks

Big pow-wow of the refugee pushers and the no-borders gang coming up in December

Nashville World Relief office to give tour of local mosque/Islamic center

Florida Federation of Republican Women Elect New Statewide Leaders

ORLANDO, FL — The Florida Federation of Republican Women elected their 2016-2017 officers and statewide leaders at the FFRW 65th Anniversary and Biennial Convention in Orlando on October 10, 2015.

The common trait among the new statewide leaders is proven GOP activism.

GOP award-winning leader Dena DeCamp of Polk County was elected FFRW President. She is well known and recognized at the state and national level for her campaign leadership. DeCamp has served in FFRW leadership since 2009 as an award-winning local club president, District Manager, and as the Vice Chair of the Polk County Republican Party.

“Women are the majority of the vote here in Florida and nationwide. Fresh off of our 2014 sweeping victories, our Florida women are determined to once again lead the charge for the GOP in the 4th largest state in America. The FFRW is largest statewide political organization for women the members have elected a stellar team to lead our battleground team,” said Dena DeCamp.

Deborah Tamargo, REC Chairman of Hillsboro County, was elected as First VP; Jean Wingo of Walton County was elected as Second VP; Kim Carroll of Seminole County was elected as 3rd VP; Meg Merritt of Pasco County will serve as Secretary; and Suzie Loving of Duval County as Treasurer.

Elected Members at Large are Doris Cortese of Lee County, Patti Febro of Brevard County, and Kate Boland of Martin County. Rounding our the leadership team as FFRW District Executive is Beth Young of Brevard County.

District Representatives include Libby Hill, Okaloosa County; Dotty McPherson, Leon County; Laureen Pagel, Nassau County; Barbara Qualls, Sumter County; Mary Jane Anderson, Volusia County; Jennifer Wagner, Seminole County; Emma Runion, Hillsborough County; Carmen Salomee, Lee County; and Celeste Eliche, Broward County.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN

The Florida Federation of Republican Women is celebrating 65 years of activism and is the largest women’s political organization in the state. Visit their website at: www.ffrw.net

Florida: Muslim leader says the Sunshine state will get 1,000-2,000 Syrian migrants this year

He is guessing on the numbers and basing it on the fact that Florida is one of the top states receiving mostly Muslim Syrians so far. We listed the Top Ten states here.  And, we listed all the cities receiving Syrians (so far) here.

Dr+Doured+Daghistani

Dr. Doured Daghistani

This is from WLRN (Miami) (I sure hope there are a lot of mental health dollars available in Florida!):

According to the State Department, the six states that have housed the most Syrian refugees so far are Texas, California, Michigan, Illinois, Arizona and Florida.

Dr. Doured Daghistani, a pediatric oncologist and board member of the Syrian American Council of South Florida, says the culture shock endured by Syrian refugees arriving here is unlike any other immigrant experience.

“They’re coming with a big psycho-social burden on them,” said Daghistani.

[….]

Last month, President Obama said his administration is preparing to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming budget year. Daghistani said he expects 10-20% of the refugees to relocate to Florida and at least 10% to South Florida.

Recent polls show a majority of Americans are opposed to Obama’s plan, with most believing it poses a threat to national security.

[….]

“I think bringing the Syrian refugees here will help the humanitarian issues and will beef up the diversity of South Florida,” Daghistani said.

Syrian American Council of South Florida Facebook page is here.

What you can do!

I urge all of you in Florida to visit my post yesterday and contact your state’s resettlement agencies.  You will be asking for a schedule of upcoming “quarterly consultations” and the “FY 2016 Abstract” for your city.  Report to me what you find out!

Meeting tomorrow in Orlando

Although not Southern Florida, a reader yesterday told me about a meeting TOMORROW in Orlando.  If you are in the area please attend!

Orlando Area Refugee Task Force Meeting

Event Type:

Public Meeting

Date/Time:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – 10:00 to 12:00

Location:

Florida Department of Transportation
133 S. Semoran Blvd
Orlando Florida 32807
United States

The purpose of this meeting is to increase awareness of the refugee populations, share best practices, spot trends in refugee populations, build collaborations between agencies, help create good communication among service providers, get informed about upcoming community events, and discuss refugee program service needs and possible solutions to meeting those needs.

I’ve been told that the Florida Dept of Children and Families has other PUBLIC meetings on refugees as well, so Floridians need to find out how to be notified of upcoming opportunities around the state.

RELATED ARTICLE: New members added to Senate Jihad Caucus as legislators tell Obama to speed up screening of Syrians

Florida and Texas Win Again

The far Left’s actions with regard to tax policy rarely match up to their lingo. Whether it’s John Kerry’s tax savings by docking his boat in Rhode Island rather than Massachusetts to dodge the penalty, or the Clinton’s avoidance of a hefty real estate tax bill by using slick accounting, it’s clear that the far-left’s luminaries do not practice what they preach.

As I reported in August when I wrote about the mass exodus from high-tax states toward more profitable areas, a number of blue state residents are following the same “do as I say, not as I do” approach. To be fair, many of those fleeing blue states for more business-friendly environments are conservatives fed up with having their hard-earned money pilfered by the blue state tax-vacuum, but the laws of probability state this exodus cannot be comprised of conservatives alone.

With the release of a new batch of IRS tax migration data for the 2013-2014 filing year, the evidence keeps piling up that Americans are voting with their feet, and their feet are voting for lower-tax, business-friendly states.

With the release of a new batch of IRS tax migration data for the 2013-2014 filing year, the evidence keeps piling up that Americans are voting with their feet, and their feet are voting for lower-tax, business-friendly states. This data has to be devastating to tax-and-spend liberals who keep insisting that the economic arc of history bends in their direction, but when the IRS data—along with something as simple as market-based U-Haul rates—conclusively indicate otherwise, it’s time to reevaluate that approach.

So, who are the winners and who are the losers? Again, low-tax, business-friendly, Florida and Texas are the big winners, while the high-tax, big government states like New York, California, Illinois, and New Jersey are the big losers.

Recently released IRS tax migration data from the 2013-2014 year indicate that an astonishing 5.4 billion dollars in taxable income fled the state of New York alone, while 4.2 billion left California (hat tip to Jim Pettit, who has written frequently on this topic, for organizing the data). Where is the money going? Florida enjoyed an influx of 10.6 billion dollars in income and Texas gained 4.9 billion. This is in addition to the 17.5 billion, which flowed into the top four finishers, Florida, Texas, South Carolina and, North Carolina, in the 2012-2013 filing year.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that tax rates are the only reason that people are leaving blue states for lower-tax red states, but it defies common sense to insist that this isn’t a major contributing factor. I even had someone write to me that it’s “the weather” that best accounts for the shifts. Really, the weather? I’ve heard a number of complaints from Californians about things ranging from taxes to traffic, but I’ve rarely heard complaints about the weather.

Adding to this pervasive “do a I say, not as I do” phenomenon—in which liberals vote for higher taxes and then move away from regions where their policies have won the day—is that the migration is happening at the county level as well.

As reported by Andrew Blake in the Washington Times and congressional candidate Frank Howard, Washington D.C. and its surrounding suburbs, which overwhelmingly vote Democratic in local, state, and federal elections, witnessed nearly 2 billion dollars flee from the city and its surrounding bedtime communities.

I witnessed this firsthand during my campaign for Congress.

I witnessed this firsthand during my campaign for Congress. I would knock on doors in Frederick County, MD, a largely conservative county just north on I-270 from Montgomery County, a D.C. bedtime community, which has zero countywide elected Republicans. People in Frederick would tell me that they just moved in. When I inquired, “Where from?” they would often respond: “Montgomery County. You just can’t run a business there.”

There’s a crucial election cycle right around the corner. If you are running for office, or supporting someone who is, please do your future constituents a favor and tell them in a clear and well-thought out message why you are running, and why people are running away from tax-and-spend liberal governance.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. FULL DISCLOSURE: Frank Howard, referenced herein, served as Dan Bongino’s campaign chairman for a brief period during his 2014 congressional campaign.

Florida: Open Carry Bill Passes 1st House Committee

Tuesday, October 6, 2015,  the House Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing on  HB-163 by Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The bill PASSED by a Vote of 8-4.

HB-163 is a bill to allow persons with a Concealed Weapons & Firearms License to carry firearms concealed or openly.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey (Brevard) and representatives of Sheriff Charlie Creel (Wakulla) expressed support for the bill at a press conference with bill sponsors Sen. Don Gaetz and Rep. Matt Gaetz, before the committee meeting.  Among other sheriffs who have expressed support for open carry are Sheriff Gordon Smith (Bradford) and Sheriff Chris Nocco (Pasco).

Voting FOR the bill were Republican Reps. Carlos Truijillo, Dennis Baxley, Jay Fant, Gayle Harrell, Ray Pilon, Scott Plakon, Ross Spano and Charles Van Zant.

Voting AGAINST the bill were Democrat Reps. Randolph Bracy, Dave Kerner and Sharon Pritchett — Rep. Clovis Watson did not vote.

The only Republican to vote against the bill was Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater).

BACKGROUND:

This bill will prevent CW license holders from being charged with the crime of violating the “Open Carry” law because a concealed firearm, being legally carried, accidentally or inadvertently became visible to another person.

According to our attorneys, allowing license holders to carry openly is the only way to truly keep them from being arrested and/or prosecuted for violating the open carry ban if firearms are accidentally and unintentionally exposed.

IT IS UNFORTUNATELY TRUE that anytime you are carrying a concealed firearm you are in danger of being charged with a crime and treated like a criminal if your firearm accidentally becomes exposed to the sight of another person and law enforcement is called.

In 2011, we attempted to fix that problem.  We supported language that clearly says it is NOT a violation of the open carry ban “for a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm as provided in s. 790.06(1), and who is lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, to briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.”

Not only did that language NOT stop the abuse.  It has gotten worse.

In one case, a young man was arrested when his firearm was accidentally and unintentionally exposed.  Someone saw it and called 911.  It took law enforcement 5 minutes to arrive.  They arrested him because they said 5 minutes wasn’t brief.  It didn’t matter that it was accidental and unintentional.  He was prosecuted and convicted.

In another case a man was arrested, and convicted because the accidental and unintentional exposure of his firearm was for only 2 minutes.

Further, it has been reported that State Attorney Angela Corey’s office in Jacksonville says that exposure isn’t brief, if it is more than an instantaneous glance before being covered up again.

And to make matters worse, there is a case pending on a motion for review before the Florida Supreme Court — because a lower court didn’t think a young man was dressed appropriately to hide a gun when it accidentally became visible.

Concealed Weapons License holders whose firearms are seen by others seem to be targets in some jurisdictions.

This bill will only allow persons who have a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm to carry concealed or openly.  All of the provisions of the concealed carry law apply to those who chose to carry openly. Including:

  • You must have your license on you at all times when carrying and you must show it to a law enforcement officer who asks if you have a license.
  • You cannot carry a long gun — rifle or shotgun — concealed or openly under this law.
  • You cannot carry concealed or openly onto private property of any business or person who chooses to prohibit it.
  • You cannot carry openly in any place where concealed carry is prohibited.

THANK YOU for your email and phone calls to Committee members.  Taking a few moments to communicate with Legislators is very important.

Email addresses of the Committee members are below.

carlos.trujillo@myfloridahouse.gov,
charles.vanzant@myfloridahouse.gov
,
dennis.baxley@myfloridahouse.gov
,
Jay.Fant@myfloridahouse.gov
,
gayle.harrell@myfloridahouse.gov
,
Chris.Latvala@myfloridahouse.gov
,
ray.pilon@myfloridahouse.gov
,
Scott.Plakon@myfloridahouse.gov
,
Ross.Spano@myfloridahouse.gov
,
Randolph.Bracy@myfloridahouse.gov

Dave.Kerner@myfloridahouse.gov
,
Sharon.Pritchett@myfloridahouse.gov
,
Clovis.Watson@myfloridahouse.gov

UPDATE: Rep Gaetz is holding an Open Live Forum Conference on the “Open Carry Bill” that he proposed which passed in the subcommittee. The live event will be
Thursday, Oct 8th at 6:15 pm via telephone. Below is the link to “subscribe” to be able to participate.

https://vekeo.com/event/representativemattgaetz-19481/

Florida must become energy independent by 2020

What will promote human life? What will promote human flourishing — realizing the full potential of life? How do we maximize the years in our life and the life in our years? Answer: cheap and reliable power.

Organic Fossil Fuels are the Lifeblood of Civilization!

Florida’s Governor, Congressional delegation and state legislature must make it their number 1 priority to make the Sunshine State Energy Independent by 2020 or sooner!

Florida:

  1. Imports all of its natural gas and 99.9 % of its oil.
  2. Imports all of its refined petroleum based products (e.g. gasoline).
  3. Is the second largest user of natural gas, Texas being the largest.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

  1. Geologists believe there may be large oil and natural gas deposits in the federal Outer Continental Shelf off of Florida’s western coast.
  2. Florida was second only to Texas in 2014 in net electricity generation from natural gas, which accounted for 61% of Florida’s net generation; coal accounted for almost 23%, the state’s nuclear power plants accounted for 12%, and other resources, including renewable energy, supplied the remaining electricity generation.
  3. Renewable energy accounted for 2.3% of Florida’s total net electricity generation in 2014, and the state ranked 10th in the nation in net generation from utility-scale solar energy.
  4. In part because of high air conditioning use during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months, Florida’s retail electricity sales to the residential sector were second in the nation after Texas in 2014.
  5. Electricity accounts for 90% of the site energy consumed by Florida households, and the annual electricity expenditures of $1,900 are 40% higher than the U.S. average, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Even as human populations have grown dramatically and increased their use of fossil fuels, the world has become a much better place.

As CO2 emissions have risen so too have the GDP per person, life expectancy and the population.

Florida politicians are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). It is a maxim embraced by government planners and regulators in the Sunshine state at every level. They do not even want to determine what organic fossil fuels lay off of Florida’s coastlines. The precautionary principle worked to stop the building of nuclear power plants in the United States after the 3 Mile Island incident. Today the same tactic is being used to stop off shore drilling using the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Off shore drilling naysayers use the example of the Deepwater Horizon spill to strike fear into the hearts of Floridians. But as FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  An example of using the fear factor (precautionary principle) is what happened in Japan following the meltdown of a nuclear power plan in Fukushima. The facts are that no one has died from radiation, nor has cancer increased however, 1,600 did die of stress due to the unnecessary evacuation of people from the area.

Fear kills.

What off shore naysayers, fear mongers, don’t tell you is that mother nature is the greatest polluter in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA over 2,500 barrels of oil naturally seeps daily from fissures in the Gulf. This seeping has been going on for tens of thousands of years, yet the Gulf is doing just fine. Would it not be better to capture this oil, and natural gas, than have it continue to seep into the Gulf?

Some argue that even if natural gas is discovered in Florida’s waters that building an on shore natural gas processing plant is not economically feasible or politically doable. There is an answer to this negative with a positive via new technology. Israel is faced with the same concerns about onshore natural gas processing plants. To solve the problem Nobel Energy and Shell Oil have come up with a solution. Process the natural gas using floating plants. According to Robert Sullivan of the New York Times:

It’s called Prelude, and it’s bigger than big. More than 530 yards long and 80 yards wide, it was constructed with 260,000 metric tons of steel, more than was used in the entire original World Trade Center complex, and it’s expected to displace 600,000 metric tons of water, or as much as six aircraft carriers. Even the paint job is huge: Most big vessels dry-dock every five years for a new coat, but Prelude’s paint is supposed to last 25 years. It will produce more natural gas than Hong Kong needs in a year. And it’s so big that you can’t really photograph it, at least not all at once.

[ … ]

What makes this giant liquefied-natural-gas enterprise feasible, paradoxically enough, is the miniaturization its construction represents. It’s much smaller than landlocked equivalents — imagine shrinking your local refinery until it fits on a barge. Shell Oil, which has the biggest stake in the project, describes Prelude as more environmentally friendly than an onshore site. There are no estuaries under threat, no shorelines to run pipe across and reduced risks to population centers, given the explosiveness of natural gas. And it is designed to ride out extreme weather, thanks to three giant 6,700-horsepower thrusters that can turn it into the wind and waves. “These are the things that the naval architects had to worry through,” says Robert Bea, co-founder of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, at the University of California, Berkeley. “It works like a big-ass weather vane.”

Read more.

Environmentalists use the fear factor when talking about drilling for natural gas and oil off of Florida’s shores. The same is true for some of Florida’s Congressional delegation, such as Rep. Vern Buchanan. Fear is not good public policy.

What is good public policy is insuring that Floridians have access to cheap and reliable power in the foreseeable future. Now it the time to take action. Waiting is not an option.

If Governor Rick Scott and Republicans are committed to creating jobs, then they must diversify the economy by promoting energy independence. Energy independence will lead to reduced costs for electricity, gasoline and diversify the economy. That is good public policy.

RELATED ARTICLE: Miami-Dade County school district accepts BP oil spill settlement, sets maximum tax rate

Florida: Hillsborough County Schools Loses Both Gates Money and Financial Reserves

In November 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Hillsborough County (Florida) Public Schools a $100 million grant as part of its “Empowering Effective Teachers” effort:

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Date: November 2009
Purpose: to support Hillsborough County as part of a cohort of Intensive Partnership Sites to improve teacher effectiveness to transform outcomes for low-income, minority students
Amount: $100,000,000
Term: 80
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Tampa, Florida
Grantee Website: http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/

The grant was to be paid in 80 installments; if such installments were monthly, then the grant would be paid over roughly seven years, with the final payment made at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Of course, Gates had some ideas about how this “teacher effectiveness” business should work. The report linked above has as its second sentence, “A teacher’s effectiveness has more impact on student learning than any other factor under the control of school systems, including class size, school size, and the quality of after-school programs.” When pro-corporate-reform organizations toss around such statements, they never seem to follow it with the fact that factors external to the classroom hold far more sway that does the teacher. (In analyzing the proportion of teacher influence captured via value-added modeling– VAM– the American Statistical Association notes that teacher influence accounts for between 1 and 14 percent of variance in student test scores. Thus, between 86 and 99 percent of a student’s test score is out of the teacher’s control.)

Nevertheless, ignoring that the teacher controls so little of student outcomes in the form of market-driven-reform-loving test scores, in its efforts to try to purchase higher student test scores, the Gates Foundation offered ten school districts nationwide the multi-million-dollar-funded opportunity to prove that teachers could indeed be cajoled into producing better “student achievement” (i.e., ever-higher test scores) when such teachers were measured by their students’ test scores and offered more money for “raising” said scores.

As a 2009 winner of an Empowering Effective Teachers grant, Hillsborough was thrilled (“We’ll be a national model!”). A December 21, 2015 archive of Hillsborough schools’ “Empowering Teachers” webpage includes a number of enthusiastic responses regarding the newly-acquired, $100 million Gates grant. Front and center in these celebratory public statements is then-Hillsborough superintendent, MaryEllen Elia (Then-Governor Charlie Crist: “I commend Superintendent MaryEllen Elia and the Hillsborough County School District for their enthusiasm and commitment to working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation during the next seven years to improve student academic performance through rewarding high quality teachers both professionally and monetarily. The foundation’s generous grant award of $100 million will greatly enhance the work the district has already done in this area.”)

However, part of the Hillsborough-Gates agreement involved Hillsborough’s ponying up money of its own– which ended up eating into the Hillsborough schools’ reserves and threatening its bond rating. As reported in the August 04, 2015, Tampa Bay Tribune, the Empowering Effective Teachers initiative is not the only financial stressor affecting the Hillsborough bond rating, but it is nevertheless noteworthy:

In 2013, the school district was heading into the fourth year of a seven-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help raise the bar among its teaching staff — a major factor, the foundation maintains, in student success.

Under its partnership with the foundation, the district needed a new salary schedule that tied raises more closely to a new system of evaluations — a change adopted statewide soon afterward.

Teachers in their first, second or third year on the job automatically switched to the new scale, which ties raises to evaluations, and those on their fourth year or higher chose whether to move to the new scale or stay on the old one. Because those changes were made mid-year, after the school board receives its yearly budget presentation, the school board never saw the financial effect of moving thousands of teachers to a new pay schedule, [new Superintendent Jeff] Eakins said.

About 10,000 school district employees moved to the new schedule, which meant their paychecks increased from $5,000 to $15,000 that year. The new scale averaged out to a 4 percent raise for each teacher. Last June, the school district used money in the reserve fund to make payroll several times near the end of the school year, Eakins said.

Yes, Hillsborough has a new superintendent. In January 2015, Elia was terminated via a school board vote of 4-3. The drain on Hillsborough’s reserves– down from $360 million to $152 million in about the past five years– happened on Elia’s watch– and allegedly without the knowledge (much less the approval) of the Hillsborough school board:

“The school board had no idea,” chairwoman Susan Valdes said. “We instructed the former superintendent not to touch the fund balance.”

Elia, selected by her peers as one of the top four superintendents in the country, was hired as commissioner of education for the state of New York. Her office said Tuesday she is traveling and could not be reached.

Elia is now in New York, where she runs the risk of jeopardizing her position with parents in New York’s growing opt-out movement. Elia publicly called opting out of standardized testing “unreasonable” and asserted that teacher encouragement of opting out is “unethical.”

But back to Hillsborough and its “Empowering Effective Teachers” Gates grant:

The August 04, 2015, Tampa Tribune article notes, “Next year is the final year of the $100 million Gates Foundation grant, called ‘Empowering Effective Teachers.’” Thus, it appears that Hillsborough believes Gates will follow through on its entire $100 million commitment during the full term of the grant.

Alas, it is not to be.

On September 21, 2015, the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Gates Foundation has only paid $80 million of the $100 million.

The Gates Foundation maintains that it did not agree for certain to fund the entire $100 million:

…Records indicate the relationship between Gates and the district has had some bumps.

Late in the process, the foundation rejected several of the district’s funding requests for Empowering Effective Teachers, which involves evaluating teachers using specially trained peers and bumping their pay with the idea that it would boost student performance.

“Each of the proposals were robustly outlined and presented,” a district report said.

But Gates officials responded by pointing to language in the original agreement saying the foundation had promised “up to” $100 million, not necessarily the whole amount, according to the report.

The district picked up the unpaid costs.

It is not unusual for a nonprofit like the Gates Foundation to require reports of how the grant project is proceeding in order to decide to continue to fund a project. However, a notable issue in this case appears to be “a change in Gates’ philosophy”:

Much of the disagreement [about funding the entire $100 million] amounted to a change in Gates’ philosophy, Brown said. “After a few years of research,” she said, “they believed there was not enough of a connection between performance bonuses and greater student achievement.” …

Gates spokeswoman Mary Beth Lambert said that while the decision on bonus pay is final, the two sides could agree on another funding opportunity later in the year. “It’s an ongoing conversation,” she said. “The door is still open.” [Emphasis added.]

So. The winds have changed. Gates no longer believes in a pay for performance. But there is another notable issue, and it concerns the original terms of the Hillsborough-Gates agreement– terms that Hillsborough schools did not follow through on: Mass firing of teachers, and no pay at all for seniority. As the September 21, 2015, Tampa Bay Times reports:

Since 2009, key components of the Gates program have changed.

The original proposal and a 2010 timeline called for the district to fire 5 percent of its teachers each year for poor performance. That would amount to more than 700 teachers. The thinking was they would be replaced by teachers who earned entry level wages, freeing up money to pay the bonuses for those at the top.

But the mass firings never happened. While an undetermined number of teachers resign out of dissatisfaction or fear that they will be fired, only a handful of terminations happen because of bad evaluations.

Also, while the initial proposal sought to pay teachers based on performance instead of seniority, the actual pay plan does both. Teachers receive pay bumps at three-year intervals and, if they score highly in the ratings system, they get bonus pay.

Evaluators were supposed to serve two-year stints, then cycle back to the classroom. Instead, many stay three and four years.

What strikes me is that Elia and others were so enthusiastic about a grant “opportunity” that would require firing five percent of teachers each year.  (Read Elia’s et al. enthusiastic May and August 2009 letters to all employees here.)

Elia’s cheerleading about a Gates grant requiring constant churn via teacher firings reminds me of something Shirley Jackson would have written in one of her short stories.

As Hillsborough faces the issue of $20 million less from Gates for a grant that initially agreed to fire five percent of teachers per year, Elia is in New York, where the cowering Board of Regents on September 16, 2015, approved Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push to increase teacher evaluation based on test scores to as much as 50 percent— and where numbers of students opting out could well serve as a catalyst for– dare I write it– *empowering* teachers.

However, it is not likely that Gates will take any interest in funding any parent, student, or teacher empowerment that works by defying standardized testing.

Go figure.

Florida: Campus Concealed Carry and School Safety Bills Advance

Bills to remove the prohibition against Concealed Weapons License Holders carrying firearms on college or university campuses were heard in committees in both houses today.

Wednesday, September 16 at 9:00 AM SB-68, Campus Carry by CW License Holders  by Sen. Greg Evers (R- Baker) was heard in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee House and PASSED by a vote of 3-2.  Republican Senators Bradley, Brandes, and Evers voted in Favor of the bill while Democrat Senators Clements and Gibson voted Against it.

On Wednesday, September 16 at 10:30 AM HB-4001, Campus Carry by CW License Holders by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was heard in the House Criminal Justice Committee and PASSED by a vote of 8-5.  Republican Reps. Baxley, Fant, Harrell, Latvala, Plakon, Spano, Trujillo and VanZant voted in Favor of the bill while Republican Ray Pilon voted Against it.  Democrats Bracy, Kerner, Pritchett and Watson also voted Against it.

Under this bill, adults 21 years of age or older who have a valid Florida Concealed Weapons or Firearm License will have their rights restored and will be able to carry their concealed firearms on college or university campuses for protection.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D) Confronted about his Support for Iran Nuke Deal

A concerned Floridian confronts Sen. Bill Nelson about his SUPPORT of the Obama Iran Deal in Reagan National Airport, on the day after the Stop Iran Deal Rally in Washington, D.C.

Watch his reaction.

RELATED ARTICLES:

The Iran deal bait-and-switch – The Boston Globe

Senate Republicans Doing Nothing to Stop Obama’s Lawless Iran Treaty

An Interactive Timeline of 73 Islamist Terror Plots Since 9/1/2001

This Retired Navy SEAL’s Brother Was Killed by Hezbollah. Why He’s Against the Iran Nuclear Deal

Senate Democrats Block Vote to Reject Iran Nuclear Deal, Handing Obama Victory

VIDEO: What is the U.S. Constitution? Why is it important?

The James Madison Institute recently visited a college campus in Florida, camera in hand, to ask students walking by if they’d like to answer those questions and more.

Yes. You heard that right. We randomly asked students if they would like to do an on-camera interview about the U.S. Constitution and many said, “Sure!”

We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. What we heard was, well, you’ll just have to watch to find out!

Watch the short video. Take a break from your day and hear what these students had to say!

Constitution Day is fast approaching. As part of JMI’s Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for American Ideals and our Campus Representatives program, we will host several events on college campuses across Florida the week of Sept. 14 to commemorate this important day. This video was created to help promote these events, which are also featured on our website jamesmadison.org.

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