Feb. 6—

The 2017 Legislative Session is right around the corner 
but we need your help to kill two bills before Session 
begins on March 7!
First, Redistricting!
Senate Bill 352, will impose unnecessary and potentially unconstitutional mandates upon the Judiciary regarding how the courts handle legal challenges to legislative or congressional boundaries.
The League of Women Voters of Florida is strongly concerned about potential threats passage of this bill will pose to the courts’ ability to fairly, effectively and autonomously handle cases challenging reapportionment. At larger issue is, if passed, this bill may serve as endorsement of further Legislative overreach into what is supposed to be an independent Judiciary.
CONTACT: Members of Florida’s  Senate Judiciary Committee and tell them that you DON’T support this bill because, if passed, it would:
  • contravene Judicial independence
  • encourage political gamesmanship
  • interfere with the courts’ ability to handle reapportionment challenges equitably and effectively.
Ask each committee member to KILL SB352!!

Chair:  Senator Greg Steube (R) (850) 487-5023

Vice Chair:  Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R) (850) 487-5027
  • Senator Randolph Bracy (D) (850) 487-5011
  • Senator Anitere Flores (R) (850) 487-5039
  • Senator Rene Garcia (R) (850) 487-5036
  • Senator Audrey Gibson (D) (850) 487-5006
  • Senator Debbie Mayfield (R) 850) 487-5017
  • Senator Bobby Powell (D) (850) 487-5030
  • Senator Perry E. Thurston, Jr. (D) (850) 487-5033

Provisions of SB 352 and the League’s View.

SB 352, Redistricting and Reapportionment legislation would:
  • require the courts to give redistricting challenges priority over other pending cases, set an immediate hearing and render a decision as expeditiously as possible
We agree that redistricting challenges should be completed as quickly as due process allows. However, procedural handling of challenges should be left to the court’s discretion, balancing expediency with sufficient time for all parties to prepare. The courts have historically handled redistricting cases expeditiously and have assigned them high priority.
  • require that if a legal challenge is pending at the close of the candidate qualification period, upcoming elections would be held on existing maps
This could encourage gamesmanship and delay efforts, and it impinges on the court’s established authority to modify statutory election deadlines to comply with constitutional requirements.
  • “encourage” judges to consult with the public in drawing new district maps by holding pubic hearings, allowing the public to submit and comment on alternative maps, and offering the public opportunity to comment on any proposed maps
Public input is always to be encouraged. But “encouraging” the courts to do that which is already in their discretion is unnecessary and will only serve to create confusion over compliance with the statute.

Next, Open Carry of Firearms — yes again!
Attention!  Your Action is Needed! On Thursday, February 9th at 10 AM, the FL Senate Rules Committee will take up SB 128. This bill would require prosecutors to try Stand Your Ground cases twice — once in a pre-trial hearing and once in front of a jury. 
Stand Your Ground laws give undue advantage to those using deadly force in cases of a perceived threat. There is no “duty to retreat,” before resorting to such force.
A recent study in the the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine shows that since the passage of the 2005 SYG law, homicides in Florida increased by 21%. Making it easier for defendants to use the SYG claim will only create a more dangerous Florida.

Take Action! Contact members of the Senate Rules Committee and tell them to vote

NO on SB 128!  This is the last committee to hear this bill before it will be scheduled to be heard before the full Senate. Now is the time to kill this bill!
Chair: Senator Benacquisto (R) (850) 487-5027
Vice Chair: Senator Perry Thurston (D) (850) 487-5033
Senator Lauren Book (D) (850) 487-5833

Senator Rob Bradley (R) (850) 487-5005

Senator Jeff  Brandes (R) (850) 487-5024

Senator Oscar  Braynon II (D) (850) 487-5035

Senator  AnitereFlores (R) (850) 487-5039

Senator Bill Galvano (R) (850) 487-5021

Senator Jack  Latvala (R) (850) 487-5016

Senator Tom Lee (R) (850) 487-5020

Senator Bill Montford (D) (850) 487-5003

Senator Wilton Simpson (R) (850) 487-5010

It is only through our collaborative efforts that the LWVF can truly make a difference and keep the Sunshine State safe. 
It’s only with LWVF members like you, and our thousands of members statewide, that we can make our message heard. Call these legislators now.
Yours in League,
Pamela Goodman, President
League of Women Voters of Florida

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