MidPoint with Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell

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Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell joined us to discuss the parade of horrible legislation that the Florida Republican-controlled legislature is planning now that they have a super-majority. We discussed everything from the dangerous and irresponsible “permitless carry” gun bill to the total gutting of public education funding in Florida by increasing school voucher eligibility for every student in Florida.  Rep. Driskell also tried to give us some “political therapy” and a dose of optimism so we don’t drown in a sea of political despair, and urged everyone to make their voices heard by their representatives and most importantly, at the ballot box. Brian Connolly, Vice President of the USF Faculty Senate also joined us to discuss the university faculty’s perspective on House Bill 999 and what they perceive to be the death of academic freedom in Florida in House Bill 999. Both Leader Driskell and Prof. Connolly agree that this bill would have devastating consequences for the reputation and quality of Florida higher education, but, like the school voucher bill, it would also have devastating economic impacts that could even lead to the need for a state income tax in Florida.

One positive thing…

The Florida High School Athletic Assn. was going to require all female student-athletes to disclose their menstrual history to their schools. Rep. Driskell’s caucus sent a letter to the FHSAA  demanding they reverse course and asking them questions as to why they were doing this, and within 48 hours, they withdrew that policy. While not a legislative victory, because the Democrats lack the numbers now to affect legislation, it was undoubtedly a policy victory that protected female and trans  Florida high schoolers.

The Florida legislative session with the new Republican super-majority begins next week, Tuesday. It’s the most dangerous time of the year in Florida.