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Florida Voters Refused To Listen – Now They Have Been Taken Again!

Many of us have done the research and then try to teach exactly what is happening with our lawmakers. Florida’s reputation for corruption and deceit is at the top of the charts. There is a great deal to be said regarding one party being in control for far too long – and that is certainly the case in Florida.

We have been lied to over education, environmental issues, Enterprise Florida, Charter School legislation, Public Private Partnerships and the list goes on.

Today we find out the Florida lawmakers have made very little progress in regard to budget negotiating sessions and their special session is almost over. Standing at the fore front of the disagreements between the Florida House and Senate are health care, education and the environment.

Now comes the truth – House members want to borrow nearly $300 million in bonds for projects related to Amendment 1, a referendum passed by the very voters we tried to educate before the last election showing the false statements being made in relationship to the environment. Legislators were contending they were going to use the money for conservation and environmental clean-up projects.

Voters didn’t listen to the warnings!

Sen. Alan Hayes, R-Umatilla doesn’t want to use any bonds in relationship to any Amendment 1 projects. “B-O-N-D is a four letter word” Hayes said.

House environmental budget chief Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, withdrew bonding from the House’s latest offer Sunday, calling it an “olive branch.” “I cannot be any more clear: the House is very interested and supportive of bonding as (budget negotiations) go forward ,” Albritton said.

Now why would the legislators want to do this when Amendment 1 didn’t call for raising taxes one nickel; using bond money or borrowing any funds? Amendment 1 was merely about prioritizing, forcing the state to set aside a tiny percentage of its massive budget for clean water, fresh air and preserved land. (Specifically, we’re talking a third of existing doc-stamp taxes on real-estate, which equals about 1 percent of the state’s $77 billion budget.)

At least that is what the legislators wanted us to believe. Today, June 7, 2015 Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel did a marvelous job of exposing the Florida legislators and the massive shell games they continue to play:

Remember the Lottery?  Florida Politicians May Try the Same Shell Game With the Environment!

by Scott Maxwell

Most Floridians are painfully familiar with the Florida Lottery shell game.

It was the political con of the century — one that involved tens of billions of dollars.

It started in 1986 when voters were told that, if they approved a lottery, the money would go to education.

We even called it “The Education Lottery.” That way, when you plunk down 10 bucks for a scratch-off, you’re not really gambling … you’re donating to a scholarly cause. How altruistic of you.

Well, folks started “donating” by the droves. A billion bucks. Then $10 billion. Then $20 billion … all of it supposed to improve our schools.

But Floridians didn’t notice much change in education. We still had one of the lowest-funded school systems in America. We still do.

In fact, 20 years after the lottery started, the Sentinel did an investigation and determined that education funding had actually dropped from 59 percent of the state budget in 1987 to 51 percent in 2007.

Yes, after the “Education Lottery” raised billions of dollars, the percentage actually went down.

How? Well, politicians played shell games.

Yes, they spent the lottery money on schools. But they took money they had previously spent on schools and started spending it on other things.

Admittedly, it was important things, like renovating the Legislature’s dining room, but it was other things, nonetheless.

Now, we may be doing the whole sick shell-game thing again … only this time with the environment.

Last fall, Florida voters approved Amendment 1 to demand that Florida spend more on the environment.

The amendment didn’t call for raising taxes one nickel. It was merely about prioritizing, forcing the state to set aside a tiny percentage of its massive budget for clean water, fresh air and preserved land. (Specifically, we’re talking a third of existing doc-stamp taxes on real-estate, which equals about 1 percent of the state’s $77 billion budget.)

It’s hard to overstate how overwhelming the support was. Amendment 1 passed with 75 percent. No statewide candidate got anything close to that.

But Legislators are once again playing shell games.

For instance, the House budget proposes spending $38 million of this money on existing payroll for the state’s park services and $40 million on existing forest service employees.

Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal included $17.5 million for a wastewater-treatment project in the Florida Keys.

The Senate has $10 million for salaries in the Environmental Protection division.

Were you able to keep your eye on the pea? Did you see the shells move?

Most of those endeavors aren’t new. None of them involve land preservation.

Environmental groups are crying foul. So are government watchdogs. The Florida Today newspaper in Melbourne took the rare step of running a front-page editorial last week demanding that lawmakers “Respect voters, Obey Constitution on Amendment 1.”

Many critics complain there isn’t enough money for Florida Forever land preservation — practically nothing ($8 million-$15 million) this year compared to the days when Jeb Bush was governor ($300 million).

I don’t think we should be buying land simply for buying’s sake. But I do think we need to honor the amendment.

That means protecting natural areas, restoring wetlands and cleaning up our water supplies. Fixing the Everglades, improving the Indian River Lagoon and providing recreational trails.

There is no shortage of worthy ways to spend money in a state where water is both polluted and scarce enough that we have restrictions.

The amendment’s title was clear: “Water and Land Conservation: Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.”

And this time, those pushing it were smart. They included a provision that said this money can’t be “comingled” with the general funds the state had already been using.

That means if legislators play shell games with this money, there may be grounds to sue them.

It needn’t come to that.

Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott are looking at a record budget. And they are free to spend 99 percent of it on education, roads, incentives, public safety, their own health-care plans — or whatever else they want.

They simply have to dedicate 1 percent to the environment.

It’s what voters wanted — and now what the constitution demands.

Scott Maxwell June 7, 2015 Orlando Sentinel  smaxwell@orlandosentinel.com

I smell a lawsuit in relation to the use of the funds to be collected from the doc-stamp taxes on real-estate. The Florida legislators have proven to us numerous times they are not to be trusted and this reaches to Governor Scott’s office also.

The lies, deceit, manipulation and corruption have been on-going for far too many years. Time for them to have to answer to the people who not only pay their salaries, but put them in those seats in Tallahassee.

Hawaii House Rejects Religious Freedom Restoration Act (HB 1624)

Jim Hochberg, President of Hawaii Family Advocates, writes, “In special session last November, your State Government created legal homosexual marriage with language in the law that clearly puts your religious liberty in danger whenever it comes up against homosexual marriage issues.  At the time, our friends in the House sought to amend the bill to protect religious liberty and fix other issues with 24 amendments.  Each one failed.  At the time, the idea was that the majority in the House would take up the issues in this session.”

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (HB 1624)

House Bill 1624 was introduced to strengthen religious liberty, but House Judiciary Committee Chairman Karl Rhoads (District 29: Kalihi, Palama, Iwilei and Chinatown) steadfastly refused to schedule a hearing on the bill because he viewed it as “re-litigating SB1” which he refused to do.

On February 13, 2014, Representative Bob McDermott (District 40: Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry and Iroquois Point) made a motion on the floor during session to pull the bill from the Judiciary Committee so that it could be voted on by the full House for Second Reading without the committee hearing. Seventeen House members voted with him (18) to bring the bill to a vote (listed as support in the chart below), but of the other 33 House members, 28 voted to recommit (listed as oppose in the chart below) the bill to the committee where it is dead for this session.  The other five members were absent.

What is truly disturbing is that our citizen-driven push by 2,500 of you who contacted the House members requesting a hearing on HB1624 was completely ignored by the majority in the House.  This majority apparently does not view your religious liberty as important enough to have a committee hearing or a vote on the floor.

ABSENT

Representative Faye P. Hanohano HI-004 Absent
Representative Karen Awana HI-043 Absent
Representative Mele Carroll HI-013 Absent
Representative Romy Cachola HI-030 Absent
Representative Roy M. Takumi HI-035 Absent

 

SUPPORT

Representative Henry J. C. Aquino HI-038 Support
Representative Isaac Choy HI-023 Support
Representative Ty Cullen HI-039 Support
Representative Richard Fale HI-047 Support
Representative Beth Fukumoto HI-036 Support
Representative Sharon E. Har HI-042 Support
Representative Ken Ito HI-049 Support
Minority Leader Aaron Johanson HI-031 Support
Representative Jo Jordan HI-044 Support
Representative Derek S.K. Kawakami HI-014 Support
Representative Lauren Matsumoto HI-045 Support
Representative Bob McDermott HI-040 Support
Representative Marcus R. Oshiro HI-046 Support
Speaker Emeritus Calvin K. Y. Say HI-020 Support
Representative James K. Tokioka HI-015 Support
Representative Clift Tsuji HI-002 Support
Representative Gene Ward HI-017 Support
Representative Ryan I. Yamane HI-037 Support

 

OPPOSE

Representative Della Au Belatti HI-024 Oppose
Representative Thomas Brower HI-022 Oppose
Representative Rida T.R. Cabanilla HI-041 Oppose
Representative Richard P. Creagan HI-005 Oppose
Representative Cindy Evans HI-007 Oppose
Representative Mark Hashem HI-018 Oppose
Representative Linda Ichiyama HI-032 Oppose
Representative Kaniela Ing HI-011 Oppose
Representative Bertrand Kobayashi HI-019 Oppose
Representative Chris Lee HI-051 Oppose
Representative Nicole E. Lowen HI-006 Oppose
Representative Sylvia Luke HI-025 Oppose
Representative Angus L.K. McKelvey HI-010 Oppose
Representative John M. Mizuno HI-028 Oppose
Representative Daynette Morikawa HI-016 Oppose
Representative Mark M. Nakashima HI-001 Oppose
Representative Scott Y. Nishimoto HI-021 Oppose
Representative Takashi Ohno HI-027 Oppose
Representative Richard H.K. Onishi HI-003 Oppose
Representative Karl Rhoads HI-029 Oppose
Majority Leader Scott K. Saiki HI-026 Oppose
Speaker Joseph Souki HI-008 Oppose
Representative K. Mark Takai HI-033 Oppose
Representative Gregg Takayama HI-034 Oppose
Representative Cynthia Thielen HI-050 Oppose
Representative Justin H. Woodson HI-009 Oppose
Representative Jessica Wooley HI-048 Oppose
Representative Kyle T. Yamashita HI-012 Oppose

SB1 gave homosexuals legal liberties they did not have before, while your religious liberty was trampled on by SB1.  Remind your representative that tolerance is a two way street.

ACTION:

If your representative opposed the recall of HB1624, please today or early next week call, email or visit them in person and find out for yourself why they did not represent your interests on HB1624.  If your representative supported the recall of HB1624 so that people of faith would be protected, please contact them and let them know you support them and their actions.  Please do not leave this action to others.  Every one of us must take the five minutes to make the contact so they know you have not gone back to sleep.  They believe you have and that is why they don’t think they need to care about your religious liberty.  (Click the link on the bottom of this email to send a message to your legislator).

If you need help identifying your Hawii Representative, please CLICK HERE.

Hawaii Family Advocates is a 501C4 organization associated with Hawaii Family Forum. Click the link below to log in and send your message: https://www.votervoice.net/link/target/hiff/4J5K7WqbW.aspx