As we approach the 2016 election, the Liberty First Network has compiled its analysis of the last two sessions from 2015 and 2016 and present our scorecard of Florida legislators. The Liberty First Network believes in educating the voters of Florida on the legislative process and we feel it is important that you know how legislators voted on key issues of liberty.
The biggest disappointments over the last two sessions include the failure to pass pro-gun bills and repealing red light cameras. The fight also continues to eliminate Common Core from our education system. The good news is that we are making headway in those battles.
There were several major legislative victories which included stopping corporate welfare, with the legislature not funding the “quick action closing fund.” Also, there was no additional funding for sports teams and the film industry. Attempts to expand Medicaid were stopped in both sessions and Amendment One funding was used for maintaining our current inventory of conservation land with a minimal amount used for buying more land. Civil liberty protections were passed with reforms to asset forfeiture and the use of drones. We successfully fought back attempts to add more regulations to craft breweries and passed legislation to allow the sale of the 64 oz. growlers to enable craft breweries to increase their business.
As we saw in 2014, the State House as a whole scored better than the State Senate, both of which have a fair mix of Republicans and Democrats in the ranks, although both chambers are majority Republican.
Collectively, Republicans scored on average slightly better than Democrats did as a whole. We noticed that Republicans generally voted cohesively on most issues, whereas Democrats tended to break ranks more often. In all, our scorecard identifies a noticeable streak of individualism on the part of a few legislators. It is also clear that, while some speak well on issues, their voting records do not always substantiate their rhetoric. Others have exceedingly taken on pro-liberty issues despite their positions being unpopular among their colleagues.
The key takeaway from the last two sessions is that we are making major strides in advancing liberty in Tallahassee. Much of the progress is due to your hard work. Making phone calls and sending emails to legislators is making a difference. The bottom line is, because of your dedication, we are moving the agenda in Tallahassee and they are hearing us: “we want liberty first!”