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The Okaloosa & Walton County League strives to be a voice for citizens and a force for progress on the Emerald Coast, so thank you for caring enough to take action and advocate for League priorities.

2019 Action Alerts
NWF Legislative Delegation Contact Info
How to Take Action

What can you do?

So, what can you do now?After soliciting input from local Leagues, the League of Women Voters of Florida compiled a list of Legislative Priorities for 2019, as well as a list of questions for our legislators. You can make an impact by staying in touch with your legislators, sharing important items on social media and providing input to government agencies. Time-sensitive items are typically featured on the home page, but you’ll also find them here, with tips on how to how to take action.

2019 Action Alerts

Posted 4/25/19

Keep guns out of the classroom! The Florida Senate passed a bill (SB 7030) that would allow the arming of Florida’s public school teachers and it is now on the House floor—it can be taken up as early as today. Currently “individuals who exclusively perform classroom duties as classroom teachers” are exempt from the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, but this legislation would repeal that provision. The only people who should have access to firearms on campus are highly-trained law enforcement officers. Send an email to your representative right now to say NO to more guns in schools.

Posted 4/23/19

SB 7070 is scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor for a vote on Wednesday, April 24. This sweeping “train” bill has a number of provisions, the most egregious of which would greatly expand taxpayer-funded school vouchers. School choice is a good idea—sacrificing our public schools’ funding to pay for it is a bad one. SB 7070 has flawed and unconstitutional logic that diverts scarce resources to benefit a few chosen children while leaving behind the vast majority.

We oppose SB 7070 because it uses general revenue funds to support private religious school vouchers. We oppose it because rather than giving our teachers raises, the proposed teacher and principal bonus program is based on a single high stakes test. This bill isn’t just a train—it’s one long train wreck for public education. Send a message to your Senator right now and ask them to vote no on SB 7070.

Posted 4/22/19

Act now to protect Florida’s precious environment! SB 7068 would carve three corridors through Florida’s undeveloped areas:

  1. “Southwest-Central Florida Connector” extending from Collier to Polk County (a previous highway was planned for this route called the Heartland Parkway);
  2. “Suncoast Connector” extending from Citrus to Jefferson County;
  3. “Northern Turnpike Connector” extending from the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway.

Building these roads is very expensive (over $500M between 2020 and 2023 and more after that), and will take money away from other infrastructure projects such as wastewater, drinking water and repair of existing roads and bridges. These roads will also destroy important wetlands, forests, springs and aquifer recharge areas, and will further threaten endangered species.

This bill will be heard on the floor on 23 April, so it’s important to act immediately. Please contact your Senator and ask them to oppose SB 7068.

Posted 4/22/19

Take action on SB 7030! This bill would allow the arming of Florida’s public school teachers and it is now on the Senate floor for a vote on Tuesday, 23 April. Currently “individuals who exclusively perform classroom duties as classroom teachers” are exempt from the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program. SB 7030 would repeal that provision and set up scenarios where our children could be exposed to guns in the classroom, cafeteria, gym and playground. Our teachers and administrators have stated that they do not want to be armed. Our students have stated that they do not want their teachers to be armed. The only people who should have access to firearms on campus are highly-trained law enforcement officers.

Click here to send a message to your Senator: Tell him to please vote NO on this bill.

Posted 4/19/19

Take action to protect Amendment 4: For years, Florida residents have supported ballot initiatives, only to see the state Legislature undermine the will of the voters during the implementation phase of these initiatives. History repeats itself again with Amendment 4—the initiative that restored the eligibility to vote to 1.4 million Floridians—which passed last November with 65% of Floridians voting in favor. Once again the Legislature is thwarting the will of the people—pushing forward a SB 7086, which would prevent a large portion of these newly eligible voters from casting a ballot. But our advocacy against the bill is working. Each time a committee has heard the bill, it has made positive amendments to a still bad bill.

The Senate Rules Committee will be the next to hear and vote on the bill on Tuesday, 23 April at 2 PM. Call the committee members and use the following script:

My name is _____ and I’m speaking on behalf of the 1.4 million formerly convicted people throughout Florida who had their eligibility to vote restored by Amendment 4 last November.

As a Florida voter, I am opposed to both the House and Senate Amendment 4 bills (SB 7086 and HB 7089) because they will restrict the number of people who are eligible to vote — undermining what the nearly 65% of Florida voters intended when passing Amendment 4.

I’m urging the Senator to please vote NO on SB 7086. Thank you for your time.

Here is a list of the Senate Rules Committee members and their phone numbers.

Senate Rules Committee
Chair Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
(850) 487-5027
Gary Farmer (D)
(850) 487-5034
Jose Javier Rodriguez (D)
(850) 487-5037
Vice Chair Audrey Gibson (D)
(850) 487-5006
Anitere Flores (R)
(850) 487-5039
David Simmons (R)
(850) 487-5009
Lauren Book (D)
(850) 487-5032
Travis Hutson (R)
(850) 487-5007
Wilton Simpson (R)
(850) 487-5010
Rob Bradley (R)
(850) 487-5005
Tom Lee (R)
(850) 487-5020
Kelli Stargel (R)
(850) 487-5022
Jeff Brandes (R)
(850) 487-5024
Bill Montford (D)
(850) 487-5003
Perry Thurston (D)
(850) 487-5033
Oscar Braynon (D)
(850) 487-5035
Kathleen Passidomo (R)
(850) 487-5028
 

Posted 4/7/19

Take action to protect Amendment 4: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear SB 7086 on Monday, 8 April, at 4:00 pm — a bill that could impact full implementation of Amendment 4, narrowing the language of those eligible to register to vote. Stop Florida legislators’ attempt to circumvent the will of the people and go beyond what voters intended. Let’s put the people’s voice over that of the politicians.

Call or email the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and say this:

My name is _____ and I’m calling on behalf of the 1.4 million formerly convicted people throughout Florida who had the eligibility to vote restored by Amendment 4 last November.

As a Florida voter, I am opposed to both the House and Senate Amendment 4 bills (SB 7086 and HB 7089) because they will restrict the number of people who are eligible to vote — undermining what the nearly 65% of Florida voters intended when passing Amendment 4.

I’m urging the Senator to please vote NO on SB 7086. Thank you for your time.

These are the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Chair David Simmons (R): 850-487-5009
Vice Chair Jose Javier Rodriguez (D): 850-487-5037
Dennis Baxley (R): 850-487-5012
Audrey Gibson (D): 850-487-5006
Travis Hutson (R): 850-487-5007
Kelli Stargel (R): 850-487-5022

Posted 3/25/19

Act today on SB 7030! The Senate Infrastructure & Security Committee is scheduled to hear SB 7030 on Tuesday, 26 March, at 4 PM. This bill would allow the arming of Florida’s school teachers. Under the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, “individuals who exclusively perform classroom duties as classroom teachers” are currently exempt from the program. SB 7030 would repeal that provision. Our teachers and administrators have stated that they do not want to be armed. Our students have stated that they do not want their teachers to be armed. The only people who should have access to firearms on campus are highly-trained law enforcement officers. Call or email the Senate Infrastructure & Security Committee members today. Ask them to vote NO on SB 7030.

Chair Tom Lee (R) 850-487-5020 lee.tom@flsenate.gov
Vice Chair Keith Perry (R) 850-487-5008 perry.keith@flsenate.gov
Aaron Bean (R) 850-487-5004 bean.aaron@flsenate.gov
Janet Cruz (D) 850-487-5018 cruz.janet@flsenate.gov
Ed Hooper (R) 850-487-5016 hooper.ed@flsenate.gov
Travis Hutson (R) 850-487-5007 hutson.travis@flsenate.gov
Linda Stewart (D) 850-487-5013 stewart.linda@flsenate.gov
Annette Taddeo (D) 850-487-5040 taddeo.annette@flsenate.gov

Posted 3/22/19

SB 7086: The Florida Senate is challenging the Voter Rights Restoration passed by 65% of Florida Voters who approved Amendment 4 last fall. The Senate Criminal Justice Subcommittee is voting on SB 7086 on Monday, 25 March, at 1:30 PM and we need all hands on deck to ensure that the voters are heard! Among other damaging things, this bill redefines certain crimes and seeks to deny voting eligibility to people who have served their time but have not paid certain fines or other fees, beyond what was given by the judge during sentencing. This overreach also seeks to expand the definition of completion of sentence beyond what was previously established by the Clemency Board.

Call these Senators immediately and demand they reject this bill that will massively reduce the number of Floridians able to register to vote.:

Keith Perry: 850-487-5008
Jeff Brandes: 850-487-5024
Randolph Bracy: 850-487-5011
Anitere Flores: 850-487-5039
Jason Pizzo: 850-487-5038

Say this to the staffer who answers the phone:

“Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling on behalf of the 1.4 million formerly convicted people throughout Florida who had the eligibility to vote restored by Amendment 4 last November. As a Florida voter, I am opposed to Proposed Committee Bill 7086 because it will restrict the number of people who are eligible to vote — undermining what Florida voters intended nearly 65% of them passed Amendment 4. I’m urging the senator to please vote NO on SB 7086. Thank you for your time.”

Posted 3/19/19

SB 7030 update: This bill is scheduled for the Infrastructure and Security Committee Wednesday, March 20th at 4:00 pm. Commonly known as the “Guardian” bill, it would allow teachers to carry a gun into the classroom. Opposition to SB 7030 is a high LWV priority. Our teachers do not want to be armed and students do not want their teachers to be armed. League strongly believes that the only people who should have access to firearms on campus are highly-trained law enforcement officers. Call your Senator today and ask him to oppose SB 7030.

Posted 3/18/19

HB 7075, School Choice: This bill pertains to school voucher programs. Passage would greatly expand “scholarships” and would also increase eligibility to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level for 2019–20, and to 375% by 2022–23. To put that into perspective, a family of four with an annual income of $97,000 would be considered “in need” and be eligible for a voucher. The League affirms that funneling general revenue dollars to private and religious schools reduces general revenue for public schools, and is clearly unconstitutional based on a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision

The House Education Committee referred the bill to its Appropriations Committee today, despite League’s lobbyist making the case that not only is this program unconstitutional, but it doesn't hold schools accountable and evidence shows that voucher programs are leading to the re-segregation of schools. You can view the discussion here (starts at 53:40). Stand by for alerts when it’s discussed in Appropriations.

Posted 3/14/19

Just say “NO” to fracking in Florida. League has been opposing efforts of the oil and gas industry to introduce fracking in Florida for over six years. Yesterday Senators Gainer and Broxson joined Senator Albritton on the Agriculture Committee in approving SB 7064, which attempts to define the term “fracking” and prohibits it in Florida. Although the language in the bill does ban fracking, it does not ban matrix acidizing, which is the type of fracking that oil companies want to use here! This is an important issue for the Panhandle, because it’s one of only two places in Florida that are candidates for matrix acidizing. For details and references on fracking in Florida, please review the article on page 2 of our March/April 2017 Voter. League wants language that specifically bans matrix acidizing, and as residents of the Panhandle, so should you!

Please let Senators Broxson and Gainer know that SB 7064 falls far short of what Florida—and Panhandle residents—need, and that you much prefer SB 0146 and SB 0314, which address our concerns with SB 7064. Both bills distinguish the difference between well stimulation for water versus for oil. SB 0314 also specifically defines the use of matrix acidization. LWV supports both bills.

Posted 3/5/19

Americans across the country voted for democracy reform up and down the ballot in 2018, sending the 116th Congress a clear message that the country is ready for bold, comprehensive democracy reforms, and now HR 1, For The People Act, is on the verge of passing the House of Representatives – THIS WEEK. Call your Representative TODAY at the numbers listed above and urge him to vote to YES on HR 1, which will revamp our voting system, implement fair redistricting, and crack down on dark money in elections so that voters have a stronger voice at the ballot box.

Posted 2/5/19

Keep guns out of Florida’s classrooms! On 4 Feb the Senate Education Committee filed their proposed committee bill SB 7030. While it contains some good school security measures, this bill would also allow the arming of Florida's school teachers. Under the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, individuals who exclusively perform duties as classroom teachers are currently exempt from participating in the program. SB 7030 would repeal that provision. Our teachers have stated that they do not want to be armed. Our students have stated that they do not want their teachers to be armed. The only people who should have access to firearms on campus are highly-trained law enforcement officers. The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to hear SB 7030 on Tuesday, February 12th at 4 PM. Call or email your Senator—tell him that our teachers do not want to be armed, and that firearms belong only in the hands of highly-trained law enforcement officers.

Posted 1/5/19

Welcome your US Representative to Washington, DC, with a call to support HR 1: For the People Act, a new sweeping democracy reform bill that will make elections fairer and put the power back in the hands of the American people. HR 1 includes comprehensive reforms, like restoring the Voting Rights Act, improving Automatic Voter Registration, creating a public financing system through small donor matching funds, overturning Citizens United, ending partisan gerrymandering and more! This bill will make our elections fairer and put the power back into the hands of the American people, and it deserves bipartisan support. Call Rep Matt Gaetz today at the numbers listed above.  

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Northwest Florida Legislative Delegation Contact Information

State Representatives

House District 3: Representative Jayer Williamson (Okaloosa only)
850-717-5003 (Tallahassee)
850-995-3698 (Pace)

House District 4: Representative Mel Ponder (Okaloosa only)
850-717-5004 (Tallahassee)
850-833-3713 (Fort Walton Beach)

House District 5: Representative Brad Drake (Walton only)
850- 717-5005 (Tallahassee)
850-951-0547 (DeFuniak Springs)
850-718-0047 (Marianna)

State Senators

Senate District 1: Senator Doug Broxson
(Okaloosa only)
850-487-5001 (Tallahassee)
850-595-1036 (Pensacola)

Senate District 2: Senator George Gainer
(Walton & Okaloosa)
850-487-5002 (Tallahassee)
850-747-5454 (Panama City)

US Congressional Delegation

Senator Marco Rubio
850-433-2603 (local)
202-224-3041 (DC)

Representative Matt Gaetz
850-479-1183 (local)
202-225-4136 (DC)

Senator Rick Scott
850-942-8415 (local)
202-224-5274 (DC)


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How to take action

  • Contact your representatives about specific issues. Even if you don’t participate in legislative interviews or the Legislative Summit, you can still take action by contacting your legislator about important issues, like the ones listed on this page. Be sure to
  • Review these tips and our Make Your Voice Heard briefing when you’re preparing to make a phone call or write a letter or email.
  • Observe government meetings to hold elected representatives accountable. Be a part of your League’s Observation Corps by attending meetings and reporting on what went on there. Let your officials know you care about how they’re conducting the public’s business.
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