Liberty First Network Tallahassee Update
December 16, 2016
This week concludes the early committee weeks in Tallahassee for the year.
Last week the House met to review the new House rules and procedures for the 2017 legislative session. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has implemented new rules to bring more transparency and disclosure reporting to the legislative process. These new rules are to make sure policy decisions are not being done secretly by big money special interest groups and their lobbyist using undue influence to gain special favors from the government.
This week the Senate met and reviewed Senate President Joe Negron’s rules and procedures. The Senate did not adopt the House’s new rules and will not have the same disclosure reporting now required in the House.
There have been over 100 bills already filed for the 2017 session, including SB 140 by Senator Greg Steube and HB 6005 by Representative Scott Plakon to allow open carry and campus carry of a firearm. Senator Frank Artiles filed SB 178 to repeal red light cameras, and Speaker Corcoran has pledged to make significant spending cuts and reign in the special interest big money influence in Tallahassee. As we have noted previously, the Senate which historically blocked pro-liberty bills has new leadership and several strong pro-liberty Senators coming over from the House.
LFN Lobbyist John Hallman has been up to Tallahassee the past two weeks meeting with key legislators and committee staff. John is very optimistic about advancing solid pro-liberty bills this session, especially in the Senate. Bob White, Chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida, traveled with John both weeks and were able to find sponsors for a Campaign Finance Reform bill that would reign in the big money controlling Tallahassee. Incumbent legislators and candidates can use and control Political Committees (similar to a PAC) to avoid limits on contributions, and take unlimited amounts of money from the rich and powerful special interests. It is the excessive level of power and control accumulated because of the corrupting influence of special interest money that our Campaign Finance Reform bill will address.
After going to Tallahassee with John Hallman the past two weeks, Bob White commented that he realizes the importance of being on the ground in Tallahassee. Meeting face to face with legislators and staff is much more effective. Advancing good policy requires seeing many different key legislative players and having them all in one building means getting things done much faster.
After a short Christmas break, the Legislature will begin their committee work to debate bills and put together a budget for the upcoming year. It is in these early committee weeks leading up to the regular session in March that are crucial for advancing pro-liberty legislation and stopping anti-liberty bills.