Just Say NO! to the 11 Constitutional Amendments on the November Ballot
From Congressman Alcee L. Hastings
Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. But 11 times, hell no!
The whacko tea party dominated Florida Republican Legislature has offered up amendments that sound good but are so bad that the nonpartisan League of Women Voters are asking voters to oppose these deliberately deceptive add ons to our states constitution.
These people give right wing social engineering new meaning. Be mindful that their well organized, extremely well funded #### backward (this is a family newspaper) attack machine is operating full tilt. They step up the war on women, obliterate the historic and fundamental separation between church and state, foster tension between the state and federal government, and they give greater power to the Legislature over the Judiciary.
It is downright shameful to attempt to fool citizens this way. But it would be equally shameful if we let them pull the wool over our voting eyes. And, they are well positioned to do just that. Why? Because these 11 amendments are down bal-lot and a lot of voters won’t get to them let alone understand them.
So Stephen I am using your words from your editorial that appeared in the Sun-Sentinel on Sept. 2, 2012 as follows:
Stephen begins with “Amendment 8 because it’s designed to really “put one over” on unsuspecting voters by using deceptive language to destroy our historic separation between church and state. Called the “Religious Freedom” Amendment, it is nothing of the sort. There are no cases of anyone being denied their religious free-dom. It is only about allowing religious organizations to receive unlimited tax dollars for anything and everything from church services to schools. As it should do, currently, the Florida Constitution prohibits the direct or indirect use of tax dollars for religion. But Jeb Bush is pushing Amendment 8, as yet another part of his effort to take funds from public schools and give them to charters and private schools. The Catholic Church is pushing for Amendment 8 because, after paying all those pedophile settlements, it’s cash-strapped. Vote against it — and urge everyone you know to do the same.
Amendment 1 is another attempt to keep Floridians from enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obama-care). In spite of the pro-ACA U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Amendment 1 would allow Florida to opt out of the federal health care reform. You like being able to keep your sons and daughters on your health insurance until they are 26? The Legislature would stop that. You like receiving your rebate check from insurers that exceed the percentage of profit they are allowed to take? The Legislature and governor would put an end to that! As the League points out, Florida has the second highest number of un-insured citizens in the United States. Vote against Amendment 1 or it’s going to stay that way, because all the state has done is fight Obama’s universal health insurance (using your tax dollars) — without providing any constructive alternative.
Amendments 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11 are part of the tea party/GOP effort to destroy government services and the quality of life by reducing revenue. They sound like compassionate efforts (reducing property tax, limiting growth in state revenue, increasing a business tax exemption). But the majority in the Legislature is not a bunch of dogooders. Their sinister agenda needs to be stopped.
Amendment 5 is a raw power grab by the Legislature over the courts. It adds the requirement that Supreme Court justices appointed by the governor need to be confirmed by the Senate. It also allows the Legislature to repeal a court rule by a simple majority instead of the two-thirds majority now required. In important cases, the Florida Supreme Court has been a check on the extremism of the Legislature. Amendment 5 should properly be titled the “Getting even with the Supreme Court.” Allow it to pass, and you’ll see an erosion of your constitutional rights faster than you can say, “Rick Scott’s a disaster.”
Amendment 6, part of the GOP War on Women and yet another attempt to ban all abortions, is a predictable piece of red meat dangled in front of ultra-conservative voters to bring them to the polls.
Amendment 12 is about which student should represent the state university system on its Board of Governors. Vote against it because it’s an insult to our intelligence and priorities.
These 11 Amendments are part of a disturbing trend in Florida to ensconce ultra-radical priorities near-permanently in the Constitution. They are issues more properly left to legislation, if addressed at all. Prove to members of the Legislature that they can’t fool you. Reject them all.”
Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto!