Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The worst bill to emerge in the Florida legislature: House Bill 703 / Patronis … by gimleteye

House Bill 703 was filed in Tallahassee last week by Rep Jimmy Patronis of Panama City.

Patronis is the newest iteration of legislators who will do anything that Big Ag / Big Sugar wants. He follows in the path well worn by earlier generations of compliant state legislators: Ken Pruit, Marco Rubio, Gaston Cantens come to mind. From the state legislature to serving billionaires is a frictionless move.

HB 703 is aimed at crippling local governments so they can’t pass or enforce environmental restrictions. It also kills the right of local government to have a super-majority vote on comprehensive plan amendments that are really important to the community. Urban Development Boundary changes in Miami-Dade come to mind. It’s retroactive and bad. Really bad.

It is hard to know if this Patronis effort is just another one of those decoys that the incumbent radical right deploys, knowing it will send civic activists scurrying, each legislative session in Tallahassee. No different from a diversionary, military tactic in the field. Meanwhile, the alarms raised by citizens on a desperate field trip against the radical right provides a kind of smoke screen for organizers like Patronis to pass milder measures, hidden in other bills.

What happens at the end of the day is that civic activists and environmentalists are left to say, "well it could have been worse" or "we don't like what happened here, but we stopped worse from happening there." It is a ceaseless, relentless chipping away that occurs in Tallahassee and stands for "gu'vment".

There is only one way to block the bad guys and their billionaire sponsors: Florida voters. Send your thoughts about HB 703 to:

aad@miamidade.gov; Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com; Gaetz.Don.web@flsenate.gov; Will.Weatherford@myfloridahouse.gov; negron.joe.web@flsenate.gov; gharrell@gayleharrell.com; marylynn.magar@myfloridahouse.gov; larry.lee@myfloridahouse.gov


Millie Herrera said...

It's plain and simple greed. Large corporate interests have found out that it's cheaper to buy politicians with campaign contributions and well paid lobbyists than to do things the right way.

They also have the capital to influence voters via media campaigns or just leaning on the media executives with thinly veiled, or just outright threats to pull advertising dollars if their editorial line does not conform to the corporate client's "vision".

On the other hand, voters are so overwhelmed with trying to survive the onslaught of the recent economic meltdown, low wages and lack of opportunities - by the way, mostly caused by the same corporate greed and short-sighted callous tactics - that it takes almost catastrophic events such as Bridgegate to temporarily wake us up from our daily grind stupor, and into the voting booth to kick the bad ones out!

In the meantime, our rights, our very existence as individuals with the inaliable rights to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness, are being eroded and taken away. Like a thousand papercuts that one by one may not amount to much, but in unison weaken the body and eventually can cause its death, these bad laws threaten to damage our environment, quality of life, and eventually our survival in this world.

It's not doom and gloom. It is a reality unless we take action and stop them in their tracks.

Let's not sit on the sidelines and wait for that elusive "someone else" to call, email or write! The big corporate interests behind this bill are counting on us to just look the other way. It's part of their P&L and business strategy that we all sit on our hands and just shrug it off.

If you don't like this bill, call, email and let them know, and ask others to do the same.

Anonymous said...

The other problem is people don't pay attention to the State Rep or State Senate races. They're secondary to their local elected officials, even though Tallahassee can and will do more damage to us locally. It's another mind set we need to change.

Anonymous said...

Patronis tries this bill every year and is never able to get it through. Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough, together with environmental groups work behind the scenes to kill it. He also once filed a bill that made wetlands permit applications automatically approved as long as they were signed by an engineer, geologist or architect. What a joke.

Sandy Oestreich said...

Nicely said, Millie H! Congrats. It MUST begin to resonate with all Floridians asap! One thing "they" have perfected is the strategy to starve constituents so that all efforts go toward surviving thus no one has time to dig out the latest evils by lawmakers.
PS You were a hit at LegDel! Lots of callers are turning things around for ERA there. Keep up the push for ERA. Thank you.