Florida lawmakers get a laundry list of legislative priorities from Hillsborough constituents

12/17/12 Janelle Irwin
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In Hillsborough County officials and residents took their wish lists to state lawmakers Monday at the legislative delegation meeting. Most of the requests were for new or continued funding, but some people asked for policy changes. Shirley Arcuri, president-elect of the Hillsborough County League of Women Voters, called on legislators to axe most of the changes Republicans made to the state’s voting law in 2010.

Florida Consumer Action Network’s Tim Heberlein came to ask for that too. But it was only one of the bullet points on his list. Heberlein said he also hopes Florida lawmakers will take advantage of federal funding that’s available for states that expand Medicare coverage for seniors.

There were also some public education advocates pleading for their share of the state funding pie. The president of Hillsborough Community College asked state Senators and Representatives to restore what’s called PICO funding that helps pay for maintenance and building projects on schools. Awake the State’s Susan Smith lambasted legislators who are pushing the so-called parent trigger bill that would allow parents to bring in a private managing company to turn around failing schools.

Food was also an issue. Lisa Streater with the group Food and Water Watch asked lawmakers to support a bill that would require labeling on foods that contained genetically modified organisms.

On the funding side of things, Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt wants more money to pay her lawyers.

And Pat Frank, Hillsborough County’s Clerk of Circuit Court just wants some consistency in how much money the state divvies out to her agency each year.

In all more than 50 citizens showed up to talk to legislators. When asked what requests might get some support from the delegation, chair Dana Young said she most liked a request by a middle school student to pass fireworks legislation that would make buying and using them legal.

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