Republicans campaigned on the promise of focusing on job creation. Instead of putting Floridians back to work, the GOP majority has spent their first legislative session pushing their radical social agenda: regulating women’s reproductive health care just because they can.
Florida is leading the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act based on the GOP claims of government over-reach in the doctor/patient relationship. So it makes sense that Republican lawmakers crafted a proposed constitutional amendment that includes weakening personal freedom by expanding the government.
HJR 1179 will be on the 2012 ballot and if passed, exempts abortion from the state’s strong privacy rights.
The ultrasound bill (HB 1127) was brought back from the dead and sitting on Governor Rick Scott’s desk for a signature.
Last year, Governor Christ vetoed a measure that would force women to have an ultrasound and view the images while listening to a detailed description.
Ultrasounds are routine in abortion procedures, and the most recent version allows women to opt-out of the narrated viewing. So, Republican lawmakers haven’t actually done anything other than send the message that women are too incompetent to make decisions about her reproductive health and the state government has to intervene.
Senators Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, and Nancy Detert, R-Venice, said as much during debate. “I didn’t come up here to come and tell you what you must do with your bodies,” Sen. Lynn said. “I will vote no, not only on this bill, but every other bill we have on abortion.”
Sen. Detert added that she resents voting on a bill that “acts like I’m too stupid to confer with my own doctor on what I should do. This is not what we were sent up here to do.”
Florida’s Republican legislature is taking aim at dramatically overhauling the Supreme Court. The House passed 3 measures, including a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot next year.
If approved by 60% of voters, the 7 member Supreme Court would add 3 new members and be split into civil and criminal court divisions. The 3 most senior justices – the only remaining justices appointed by the last Democratic Governor – would be moved to the criminal bench.
The 3 new appointees to be picked by Rick Scott would sit on the civil division. The civil court would oversee social issues like abortion and political redistricting.
GOP has no love for the Florida Supreme Court
Also included in the proposed Supreme Court rigging amendment, The Governor would appoint all members of the Judicial Nominating Commission – only one third of which are currently appointed by the Governor. The Republican controlled Senate would be able to confirm the Governor’s appointments. It would also allow the state legislature to repeal court rulings.
“No one party should be in control of all levels of government,” said Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek. “This is an attempt by leadership to not only command the governor’s office, the House and the Senate — but also the judiciary.” Democrats charge the Republicans are overreaching – an attempt by the GOP legislature and Governor Scott to shape redistricting efforts by restricting the court’s independence.
Over 60% of Floridians who voted in November approved Amendments 5 & 6, the Fair District Amendments.
Republicans in the state have been working against the measures, first with their own amendment that was struck down by the courts for being intentionally misleading, and most recently with their lawsuit against implementation. Governor Voldemort even went so far as to withdraw the amendments for review by the DOJ (in compliance with the Voter Rights Act) before the state legislature resubmitted them with prejudicial language.