April 20 — The most powerful event of the Legislative Summit was the Press Conference tackling concerns with the Constitutional Revision Commission, which had its first Public Hearing in Orlando later that evening.
As dozens of supporters watched, Pamela Goodman, LWV President, said the CRC’s self-adopted rules are at odds with Florida’s tradition of open government and public access. Goodman and members representing a coalition of organizations, including Damien Filer-Progress Florida, Hannah Willard-Equality Florida , Aliki Moncrief-Florida Conservation Voters and Peter Butzin-Common Cause, said the CRC rules fail to provide timely notices of meetings, schedules too few hearing, and lack safeguards to shield the 39 commissioners from undue influence. To see the video of the entire Press Conference, click here.
The most emotional moments came during the LWVF Historic Capitol Gala. “Making Democracy Work Awards” were presented to Representative Carlos G. Smith for his tireless efforts for smart gun safety legislation following the Pulse Massacre in Orlando. There was not a dry eye as he talked about the motivation of his efforts. Senator Anitere Flores also received the award for her efforts, but was not able to attend. She graciously accepted her award later in the week.
The most thoughtful and intelligent moments came as The Summit kicked off with an afternoon of Lobby training, and dinner with over 150 League members. The evening began with a warm welcome from Tallahassee Mayor Pro Tem Gil Ziffer, who highlighted upcoming challenges for the state of Florida, including the increase in our aging population and the impact that it will have on our families and state and local services.
Keynote Speaker Martha Barnett gave everyone a comprehensive review of the Constitution Revision Commission.
We then jumped to a powerful panel on “Fake News vs Real News” . Panelists included Mary Ellen Klas, Capital Bureau Chief for the Miami-Herald and Co-Bureau Chief of the Tampa Bay Times, Joshua Gillin, Politifact Florida, and Mike Vasilinda, Mike Vasilinda Productions.
To see a recording of this Panel Discussion, click here.