Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New York Times Editorial on Florida Citizens Getting the Shaft on Solar, Environment, Land and Conservation, Voting, and More! By Geniusofdespair

HOW ON EARTH CAN I GET YOU TO READ THIS? PLEASE DO IT. This is what happens when your State legislature is over-loaded with one party:


Florida voters who heartily approved important amendments to the state Constitution can only wonder how the will of the people is being strangled by the obstructionist toils of the Republican-led Legislature.

Lawmakers insist they are merely refining details for measures approved by voters on the environment, medical marijuana, solar power, education and anti-gerrymandering rules affecting their own districts. But it’s increasingly clear that legislators are trying to foil and blunt the ballot-approved initiatives.

In the case of the amendment to expand access to medical marijuana, approved last November by 71 percent of the voters, Republican lawmakers are proposing tighter rules on doctors’ prescriptions, as well as other obstacles for patients who want to use medical marijuana. Similarly, a constitutional amendment to expand the use of solar power, which drew 73 percent approval last year, has been met by a raft of obstructionist proposals that would bog down rooftop solar installation. They include rules language drafted by the state’s major utility, Florida Power & Light. This isn’t healthy legislative give-and-take, as supporters claim. It is transparent homage to the powerful utility and its generous political contributions.

The anti-gerrymandering amendment, which calls for strictly nonpartisan drawing of legislative district lines, struck fear into politicians after 63 percent of voters approved it in 2010. It’s been marked by years of expensive, bare-knuckle resistance by a Legislature determined to draw the voting map in ways that favor incumbents.

Republican lawmakers now propose to dig in further by restricting the time period for legal challenges to new district maps. They would also subject judges who reject party machine maps to cross-examination during appeals — a move as vindictive as it is unconstitutional, and an insult to voters who approved a mandate for cleaner politics.

Other threatened initiatives include a land and water conservation amendment approved in 2014, designed to preserve open space and improve water quality. House Republicans propose to raid it for $22 million in subsidies to farmers, who are already well taken care of. A long fight to restrict class size in schools, which voters thought they had settled by amendment, also is being undermined.

Ballot initiatives can be an inefficient way to govern. But voters resort to them because elected officials will not act on issues the public cares about. And when these officials respond to the decisive voice of the people with regressive machinations, they should themselves be dealt with at the ballot box.


Anonymous said...

Just as every so often, there rains a scary flyer in to my mailbox, warning me about the treacherous nature of sexual predators lurking in my hood, so should there be a scary, unflattering picture of all the Tallahassee miscreants thwarting the will of the people, appearing monthly in every house hold.
Paid for by a tax on lobbyist.

Steve Hagen said...

Alan and Nancy, It must feel great when your stories pay out. But how can this be poured into the skulls of the voters?

Geniusofdespair said...

We just put the stuff out there. It is up to people to take action. We can't change things.