It is a great day to live in America! This week, across the State of Florida, school has begun again. There is much anticipation and excitement from students, parents and teachers. Excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and that we live in a great country where anything is possible. A country where a young man who got his start washing cars at Hiers funeral home, could go to school, get a degree and one day become the principle of that company. That same man is now your State Senator, and it is an honor and privilege to serve you in Tallahassee. This is the final column of a short series that has highlighted many of our accomplishments since joining the Senate in 2016.
Last year, your Senator was awarded an “A” by the Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida (ICUF) in recognition of our continued support for higher education in the 2018 legislative session. The ICUF is a diverse association of 29 private, not-for-profit, educational institutions based in Florida that serve more the 130,000 students. Continue reading
From the desk of Florida State Senator Baxley
Friends, Washington D.C. may be in turmoil and dysfunction, but hometown America is alive and well! In the State of Florida and Senate District 12, we remain committed to those core values of faith, family, freedom and opportunity. This is your government and I work for you. As promised, I will continue this series of letters to you, highlighting all that we have done together and some of the recognitions we have received along the way.
The Florida Bail Agents Association (FBAA) is an advocacy organization that works with policy makers to advocate continued high standards for all bail agents, works to defeat serious threats to eliminate bail in Florida, and pushes to improve professional standards of bail agents through licensing and educational requirements. In 2017, your Senator was recognized as the Legislator of the Year by the FBAA for our work on SB 680, which passed as HB 361 and was signed into law by Gov. Scott. This bill amends several provisions related to bail and bail bonds agents and received unanimous support in the House and Senate. Continue reading
In 1968, Florida became the only state to allow for its state constitution to be revisited and changed through a regularly scheduled commission called the Constitution Revision Commission. Once every 20 years, Florida’s Constitution provides for the creation of a 37-member revision commission for the purpose of reviewing Florida’s Constitution and proposing changes for voter consideration. The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) meets for approximately one year, traveling the State of Florida, identifying issues, performing research and possibly recommending changes to the (State) Constitution. Any amendments proposed by the CRC would be placed on the 2018 General Election ballot. You can visit their web site at flcrc.gov to see all of the proposed Commission and Public Proposals, the full text of each proposed ballot amendment and additional information about the commission.
You might want to consider voting by mail, mailed to you by the Supervisor of Elections 35 days prior to the election. This will allow you plenty of time to review the eight (8) amendments being proposed by the CRC. In addition, there are numerous other amendments and perhaps a few local issues for consideration. The eight proposals by the CRC are as follows: Continue reading
By Florida Senator Baxley
Keeping Each Other Safe: This week in the Florida Senate, we will be presenting a bill called The Church Protection Bill. Every week across our great state small and large communities of faith, meet to share their faith walk. As they open their arms wide to receive the troubled souls and receive offerings for their mission, they also bear responsibility for each other’s safety. We have seen these safe havens become targets for violence. This bill will empower concealed permit holders to be part of a safety team in their community of faith to prevent acts of violence becoming massacres, as we have witnessed across the nation in incidents such as Sulphur Springs, Texas and Charleston, SC. What we have learned is that if we empower law-abiding citizens to stop violent acts, they can, they will, and they have. Let us strengthen this right of Self Defense for communities of faith across Florida.
By Florida Senator Baxley
“Wreaths Across America” provided a highlight of inspiration this week as hundreds of volunteers and veterans spread out over Highland Memorial Park to place a wreath with a salute and gratitude for each fallen soldier. This is spreading all across the country at the Christmas season as we honor all those who have selflessly served, and remember them with honor and dignity.
We believe in remembering. America is strong and the world is safer when America is strong. All of these dedicated men and women, who took the oath of sacrifice for others, must be remembered. They were not policy makers. They were simply ordinary people ready to protect and serve in defense of others. Continue reading
Without a doubt, the massacre in Sutherland Springs has captured our awareness that good people trying to worship are now among those vulnerable to violence.
Churches are a safe place for the lonely and vulnerable and welcome all those who enter their doors. Yet, they have a new awareness to the responsibility they have to protect those among their congregations. We owe parishioners security and safety while they worship.
In that spirit, we intend to file the Church Protection bill which is now in drafting. This bill will allow concealed weapons permit holders to be utilized by their church officials to provide security in the event anything should happen. Many churches can’t afford elaborate professional security staff, but this bill will allow trained citizens, law enforcement officers, veterans, and sportsman to accept responsibility for the safety of themselves and others should such instances occur. Continue reading
By Senator Baxley
Floridians are finally starting to return to life as normal after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in our state for almost two weeks. Irma delivered a blow to millions of people throughout the Caribbean and the southeastern United States, leaving many left to piece their lives back together in its wake. Hurricane Irma’s furious march through Florida not only darkened millions of homes, it also flooded roads and piled them with debris, blocking off access to neighborhoods. This has presented more problems for local governments to figure out the best way to clean up and begin recovery efforts. Yet Florida, undoubtedly, has proven its resilience after Irma. Tap water is drinkable. Trash has been picked up. Public transit has slowly come back online. At airports, flights are regularly taking off. We must be grateful for the careful leadership and preparation that Governor Rick Scott and all our elected officials provided before and after the storm. Florida has never seen such widespread effects from a hurricane like this before, and were it not for the tireless efforts of so many, it could have been much worse. Continue reading
Hurricane Irma has had an unprecedented impact on our state. She has tested our emergency systems, our state leadership, our utility companies, and our commitment to our communities. The preparation engulfed the news cycle for weeks, and now the recovery will do the same. This storm has revealed character within our local and state officials and reminded many Floridians why it is so important to listen to their direction. She tested our ability to prepare and obstructed power supply and fuel supplies in a way that many had forgotten a hurricane could. She caused the cancellation of a committee week of the Florida Legislature and of school in many areas. And yet she also forced us together in amazing ways; reminding us of all those things that matter most like life, health, safety, home, family, community, service, and liberty to go meet challenges with one another. As we begin to recover in our own communities and as a state, we must remember to continue to engage in our community and help those around us that are in need. Continue reading
This is a short summer for the legislature as we will already be starting Committee Meetings next month. Already we are starting to look at new legislation and beginning to plan delegation meetings so we may hear from our constituents on their issues and ideas. Marion County will be having their Legislative Delegation Meeting on October 19th.
I have traveled a lot this summer and attended many conferences from Miami to Boston. I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures in Boston and was able to hear from Frank Luntz, one of the nation’s foremost political commentators and pollsters, about how many American’s trust their local and state officials much more than their federal counterparts. My office is always open and available to constituents for help or comment. Please do not hesitate to reach out. Continue reading
It’s a good time to be in the Sunshine State! Last month George Mason University released an evaluation they completed “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition”, and Florida came out on top! Florida’s No. 1 ranking ends Alaska’s three-year reign atop the leaderboard.
We work hard in the Legislature to ensure that Florida remains fiscally sound. That is our first responsibility to our constituents and all Floridians. If our state is not fiscally sound, all the rest of our goals and endeavors in Florida are put in jeopardy.
The group ranked Florida as the state with the strongest fiscal condition based on data collected from each state’s most recent audited comprehensive annual financial report. For the ranking, each state was evaluated on the amount of cash it had on hand as well as its budget solvency, long-run solvency, service-level solvency and trust-fund solvency. Continue reading