Veto SB 900

The Florida Legislature passed SB 900, which will essentially make it impossible for grassroots groups to exercise their constitutional right to organize constitutional ballot initiatives.  Governor Crist has publicly stated that he is not sure whether or not he will sign the bill.  The Florida Chamber of Commerce is pulling out all the stops – now it is our turn.  Dozens of statewide groups, representing over 2 million voters, are joining this effort – we need your help. 
If SB 900 had been the law of the land, we would not have smaller class sizes, a state minimum wage, universal Pre-K, Clean Everglades Act or any of the other progressive policies we have been able to enact over the past ten years.  Don't lose your rights – don't give all power to the Florida Legislature – call and email the Governor now. 
Contact the Governor's Office – tell the "People's Governor" to look out for the people, protect their right to amend their constitution and
VETO SB 900! 
E-Mail Governor Crist -
Phone the Governor's Office - 850-488-7146
or 850-488-4441

Election 2004: Redux

Everything in the known universe about Florida Election Fraud Scandal 2004

Maroone Endorses Ron Klein

 Shaw moneyman helps Klein
The host committee for freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein's Wednesday fund-raiser in Fort Lauderdale includes auto magnate Michael Maroone, who last year opened his home to President Bush for an event that raised more than $800,000 for former Republican... [Read More...]
For Florida Politics Read:
For Broward Politics Read
For Political Junkies Read
For Non Partisan Election News
For Just Rumors Read

Ouch That hurts

Democrats' primary may not count. So what, some say
St. Petersburg Times, FL -
Which helps explain why Florida Democrats are in such a bind now that America's biggest swing state has decided to snub the rules of the national parties ... READ MORE.......

Key West Hits Domestic Partner Milestone

 It's Gay Days in Orlando and as reported in the Keynoter:
Key West hits a milestone:

The 100th couple to register for domestic partnership in Key West took their oaths in front of City Clerk Cheri Smith Thursday morning.
"This is a big deal," City Clerk Smith said. "We were so happy when they came through our door this morning. This is a milestone for the entire city."
John Darryl Ennis and Ronald Jay Yates officially became domestic partners after having been together as a couple for more than 16 years.
They are the 100th couple to register with the city since Key West adopted its Domestic Partnership ordinance in February 1998. The first couple registered that March.
Ennis and Yates paid the $50 administrative fee to be officially recognized by city government as a domestic couple.
The city's Domestic Partnership Ordinance was created in "to recognize the change in family demographics in the United States and in Key West." It establishes "a procedure that formalizes domestic partnerships, entitling partners to the same or similar benefits of married spouses."

Meanwhile Hillsborough County carries on its spiteful Gay Pride ban.

Open Letter To: Hon. John Conyers Jr.

This week, we learned from the opening statement of Monica Goodling that Bush-appointee Tim Griffin was involved in "caging" of Black voters in the 2004 elections. It's time to start asking questions about the Parsky Commission:

Despite my and others' best efforts, [Deputy Attorney General, Paul McNulty]'s public testimony was incomplete or inaccurate in a number of respects. As explained in more detail in my written remarks, I believe that the Deputy was not fully candid about his knowledge of White House involvement in the replacement decision, failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of the White House's interest in selecting Tim Griffin as Interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, inaccurately described the Department's internal assessment of the Parsky Commission, and failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote "caging" during his work on the President's 2004 campaign.

This is of stunning import, and should be addressed immediately by the Judiciary Committee, the White House, and all of Congress. An explanation is demanded--now--by we the American public. We're aware that you're going to want to sweep this under-the-rug, but we're not going to let you. This entire investigation of the U.S. Attorney scandal hedges on caging-lists, the real crimes committed by the Bush administration and their attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, as well as operatives of the national Republican Party.

This is literally the last straw, and we're going to wash all of you out if we don't see a real commitment to democracy and the rule of law regarding "caging" practices in our elections. They are a violation of federal voting-laws, in-particular, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There can be no faith in this government--or in the notion that we live in a democracy--until the issue of caging-lists and the illegal, coordinated elimination of voters from elections is addressed. Also, you have some charges to file against former-Deputy Attorney General McNulty, he has perjured himself before a committee of Congress, a gross violation of federal law. Get to work, we're not taking any excuses.
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Republican Party Of Florida Distributed 2004 caging List(s)

Someone need to use these emails and Prosecute the Florida Republican Party, CAGING
is illegal.
these emails were going around using the White House Server also illegal
this was part of Karl Rove's Stop The Vote Program.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kelly Porter []
> Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 5:47 PM
> To: Lindy Landreaux - Political; Miriam Moore - Research/Communications; Victoria Newton - Research/Communications; Tim Griffin - Research/Communications; Shawn Reinschmiedt - Research/Communications;; Stephen Shiver;
> Subject: caging
> The total to date is 1771.
> Thanks.
> Kelly
-----Original Message-----
From: Carrie Thompson []
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 8:55 PM
To: Sarah Anderson []
Cc: Andy Palmer [];
Subject: CSV Files

Defend Democracy and Citizen Initiative Process

HB 7009/ SB 900- Relating to Petition Initiative Process
This bill would restrict the time period alloted to collect petition signatures, placing a particular burden on volunteer organizations; restrict organizations from compensating petition gatherers for their work, taking away a built in mechanism that makes organizations more accountable for signatures; and creates a revocation process that would encourage "counter campaigns" to set up shop in Florida.
HB 559/ SB 1920- Ballot Initiatives and Trespass
     This bill would unconstitutionally allow shop keepers and their agents to pick and choose which issues could be discussed in parking lots and sidewalks outside of "quasi-public" areas.
HB 233/ SB 736- Anti-free speech bill.
     Allows employers, owners and their agents to discriminate against persons or groups engaging in any type of activity they deem detrimental to business. Affects civil rights, free speech in front of strip malls, shopping centers.
Florida Offices
Broward County ACORN
>> Visit Local Website
Hialeah ACORN
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Jacksonville ACORN
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Orlando ACORN
>> Visit Local Website
Palm Beach County ACORN
>> Visit Local Website  
St. Petersburg ACORN
>> Visit Local Website
Tallahassee ACORN
>> Visit Local Website  
>> Visit Local Website

Hillary Snubs GLBT Activist's

Hillary Snubs GLBT Activist's
On Sunday May 20Th, Hillary was making the Rounds in South Florida, or was she?
While The Florida  Black Caucus was meeting in Jacksonville, the Small County Coalition was meeting in Gainsville the GLBT Democrats were meeting in Sarasota.
The most influential democratic GLBT leaders were meeting in Sarasota. on May 18,19 and 20Th as were the others, Back Democrats and the Fly Over Counties. The Florida GLBT Caucus had invited Hillary to attend a Coffee on Sunday May 20Th, which was more than feasible for her schedulers, seeing how she would be in New Orleans on Saturday May 19Th and could be in Sarasota Before going on to A fundraiser in Parkland.
Here was her Schedule instead, she went to a Coffee  in North Broward, then on to Parkland then on to a Dinner in Fort Lauderdale, all of these events were for the Insiders of Broward and the Wealthy, while the Hillary camp were snubbing the hard working activist of the Democratic Party   the Black Caucus The GLBT Caucus and The Small Counties.
Speaking of the GLBT Activist , Nation Wide most GLBT Leaders Have Already signed on to the Edwards Campaign,   While Many in  Florida are still undecided, If I were Hillary's Team,and wanted to Demonstrate that I wanted Florida's GLBT support I would not have Snubbed 65 of some of the strongest GLBT leaders in Florida.


Why We Need The Matthew Shepard Act

An 18-year-old has been charged with murder in the death of a gay man in US state South Carolina who suffered fatal injuries after being punched in the face outside a bar that was having a "Teen Night."

Investigators believe Sean Kennedy, 20, was targeted because of his sexual orientation, the Greenville News reported Friday. Kennedy's friends told authorities he was openly gay. 

For Story.......
Attacker of Savannah Gay Man Gets a Three Hundred Dollar Fine
Travis McClain
On May 7th, Charles Thomas Prickett was sentenced to a three hundred dollar fine for the brutal beating of Travis McClain, a gay man from Savannah, GA. Prickett received credit for time served for his sentence of one year in jail, even though he did not serve any jail time, and his eighty hours of community service was waived.

Georgia currently does not have hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity. In both the 2006 and 2007 Georgia legislative sessions, hate crimes legislation was introduced, but the bills did not make it through before the session ended. We need a federal law on the books to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from hate crimes in states like Georgia. The passage of the Matthew Shepard Act
will provide government an additional tool in the fight against hate-motivated violence.
To Contact Your Senator to tell them to support:Matthew Shepard Act (formerly know as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007), this bill is an appropriate and measured response to the unrelenting and under-addressed problem of violent hate crimes committed against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability.
We also urge you to sign the Erase Hate Petition to help support our efforts in "Replacing Hate with Understanding, Compassion & Acceptance!"
Sign Erase Hate Petition Text Graphic


The Matthew Shepard Act would strengthen existing federal hate crime laws in three ways:
1) Expand the law to authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Current law only includes race, color, religion or national origin.
2) Eliminate a serious limitation on federal involvment under existing law which requires that a victim of a bias-motivated crime was attacked because he/she was engaged in a specified federally-protected activity such as voting, serving on a jury or attending school.
3) Add "gender" and "gender identity" to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act
For full details on the Matthew Shepard Act, please download the HRC One-Page Fact Sheet


St. Petersburg Times -- May 20, 2007
by Steve Bousquet
Tallahassee -- The next time someone asks you to sign a petition for a ballot initiative at a park or a mall, that person may be wearing a badge advertising that he or she is being paid for each signature collected.
As always, you're free to sign or keep walking. But if you sign, you'll have several months to change your mind and have your name removed from the list.
Those are two of many changes to Florida's initiative petition law passed in the recent legislative session.
Gov. Charlie Crist says he has not decided whether to sign or veto the bill.
For the past three years, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has lobbied lawmakers to impose new limits on groups that gather voter signatures for ballot initiatives.
The chamber contends that it's much too easy to amend Florida's Constitution, that a profit motive leads to fraud in signature gathering, and that voters should know whether petition circulators are being paid by interest groups.
The group has lost high-profile ballot battles in recent years, like the 2004 amendment that raised the minimum wage, and is fighting a proposed 2008 initiative that would require voter approval for land use changes.
The chamber had plenty of supporters in the Legislature this year, and both houses gave overwhelming passage.
"Most people will sign anything, no matter what it says, to avoid the hassle, " said Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka, calling paid petition circulators mercenaries.
But the chamber's success in the Legislature has outraged groups active in ballot initiatives, many with liberal agendas hostile to the chamber's probusiness philosophy.
They say the changes would pose new barriers to individuals' constitutional right to petition their government. They want a veto.
"This is a nightmare, " said Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti of Palm Harbor, a leader in the League of Women Voters of Florida.
She framed her challenge to Crist this way: "You call yourself the people's governor. What are you doing to protect the people's right to petition their government?"
Crist said both sides' arguments have merit. Then he recalled the words of former Gov. Reubin Askew, who spearheaded a ballot initiative on ethics reform in the 1970s and who has offered advice to the new Republican governor.
"Gov. Askew told me something. It's important to remember whose Constitution it is, " Crist said.
Other critics of the legislative changes include the Florida AFL-CIO, American Cancer Society, Common Cause, Florida Public Interest Research Group, Humane Society and People for the American Way.
Among their biggest complaints is a new requirement that petitions to be submitted to election supervisors within 30 days of being collected. Political groups say that's too little time in statewide, grass roots volunteer efforts, and would encourage them to rely even more on paid petition circulators to meet the new deadlines.
"We're talking about volunteers who are going door to door, " Laura Beven of the Humane Society told senators at a hearing in March. "It takes a lot longer to get those signatures and get them back to a central location."
Mark Herron, an election-law expert who represents groups pushing ballot initiatives, said it was revealing that the Florida Chamber of Commerce was touting the changes as reform.
"The most powerful special interests in this town, and in this state, are in favor of this legislation, " Herron said.
But such criticism did little to slow the bill's momentum: It passed the Senate, 27-9, and the House, 96-22. The only Republican who voted against it was Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico.
The bill SB 900, sponsored by Sen. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, is formally called the "Beatrice T. Posey Truth in Petition Act" after the senator's mother.
The senator said she once signed her name to a petition after being told that her son supported the issue in question, which he didn't, only to find out she could not revoke her signature.
"You shouldn't be married to that petition for life, " Posey said. "You ought to be able to get off of it."
Fast Facts:
Changing the rules
A bill awaiting final action by Gov. Charlie Crist would change the rules, effective Aug. 1, for collecting signatures on ballot initiatives in Florida:
- Paid petition circulators must wear prominent badges that identify them as paid.
- Petition forms must be submitted to election supervisors within 30 days of being signed by voters.
- Voters have 120 days to revoke signatures after being verified by election supervisors (a separate bill would make it 150 days).
- Election supervisors must make petition-revocation forms available to the public.
- Names and addresses of petition circulators must be legible on forms signed by voters.
Source: Florida Legislature


FL-13: Our Sarasota Worm Virus Attack Story Followed Up by MSM

Posted at
Election Supervisor Refuses to Comment; Jennings Camp Says Documents Were Turned Over; Why the Hell Are We Running Our Elections This Way?
A number of mainstream news outlets (for a pleasant change) followed up on our report yesterday (full version here, quick summary here) on the SQL Slammer Worm virus which hit Sarasota County's database network on the first day of Early Voting last year, wreaking havoc which disallowed voting for two hours in the now-contest FL-13 U.S. House election between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R). No telling what got into the MSM'ers, but perhaps it's because we ran the story at Computerworld first instead of here at the "dreaded" and "unreliable" blog.
Either way, several outlets picked up the story  which "caused a stir Wednesday," and even advanced it an aspect or two (see the link below for details), leading us to opine:
We've allowed small, underfunded governmental entities --- such as the thousands of county election offices around the country --- to build the precious and precarious machinery of democracy on top of extremely sensitive, virus prone, high-tech, mission-critical IT hardware and software which even well-funded, highly-trained experts in the private sector have enough trouble keeping secure and online.
What must America be thinking to believe that these types of incredibly complicated systems can be properly maintained and secured by small time, local governmental officials who have absolutely no idea how these systems even work --- or don't --- in the first place?


Bill Signing Ceremony for HB 537 - Elections

On Monday, Governor Charlie Crist will hold a Bill Signing Ceremony for HB 537 - Elections.  Below are the details for this event.  If you will be able to attend, please contact our office at 850.410.0501.

Date:   Monday, May 21, 2007
Time:   10:15 AM
Location:       Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Office
                240 S Military Trail
                West Palm Beach, FL 33415
Chelsey Clifton
External Affairs
Executive Office of the Governor
The Capitol, Room 705
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
(850)410-0510 Fax

Join Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Support the Troops. End the War.




Democratic-led Broward delegation gets voice heard

Broward's mostly Democratic delegation didn't play the political odd man out this year in the Republican-led Legislature.

Broward lawmakers had more success than in past years getting their heavily Democratic voices heard over the Republican din in the state Capitol.
They didn't get everything they wanted. Legislators still left Tallahassee without property tax relief or a streamlined health insurance program for the state's poor children. Property taxes will be addressed in a special session starting June 12.
But Broward lawmakers did take the lead on issues such as election reform and revised gambling rules, placing a host of bills on the governor's desk by the end of the regular session May 4.
''Broward wasn't ostracized because we had a majority Democratic delegation,'' said state Sen. Nan Rich, a Weston Democrat and chairwoman of the Broward delegation. ``We were a part of the process.''
This year, Broward lawmakers had more clout in the GOP-controlled Legislature thanks to a new governor, calls for bipartisanship from other state leaders and November elections that brought new Democratic faces to Washington and Tallahassee.
The House also benefited from seven more Democrats than last year, including the newest legislator, state Rep. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat who won his seat in an April special election.
''I was very suspicious,'' said Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller, a Cooper City Democrat. 'Everyone kept hearing me say `We are working well thus far, but I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.' It didn't.''
Throughout the session, Geller and state Sen. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat who also represents part of Broward, worked closely with Senate Republicans to craft that chamber's property tax plan, which received unanimous Senate approval.
Geller also passed several laws loosening gambling rules around the state.
One bill, sponsored in the House by state Rep. Jack Seiler, a Wilton Manors Democrat, revises the rules for Broward's new casinos, which began adding Vegas-style slots last year.
The law will allow the county's four parimutuels to add 500 slot machines at each facility and remain open 18 hours a day during the week and 24 hours a day on the weekend. It also will permit the racetracks and jai alai fronton to install ATMs as long as the machines stay off the casino floor.
Another bill allows poker rooms around the state to stay open any 12 hours a day all year. Under current state law they can only be open between noon and midnight on days the parimutuel hosts live racing or jai alai play. The change also permits a $5 maximum bet.
But opponents of gambling expansion blocked proposals that would have allowed televised high-stakes poker tournaments and class II slot machines at all the state's parimutuels.
Florida also will replace its infamous touch-screen voting machines and move up its presidential primary, thanks to legislation sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Fort Lauderdale, and state Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs.
Other Broward-sponsored bills will:
• Provide an $8.5 million settlement for former Broward resident Minouche Noel, who was paralyzed during a botched surgery in 1989. The bill by Rich and state Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, will split the money between Noel, now 19, and her parents, who have recently moved with her to Brevard County.
• Remove state investment funds from companies that do business with Iran and Sudan. The change has been compared with the boycott that helped end apartheid in South Africa.
Broward delegation members sponsoring the bill include: state Rep. Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs; state Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood; state Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach. The entire Senate and more than 25 House members also co-sponsored the bill.
• Allow certain foster children to get driver's licenses and open bank accounts. The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Rich, also extends their Medicaid eligibility through age 21.
• Make it a second-degree misdemeanor for parents to leave a child younger than 6 alone in a car for more than 15 minutes. The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach and state Sen. Mandy Dawson, D-Fort Lauderdale.
They also managed to bring home roughly the same amount of money for local projects as last year, a solid performance given the tight state budget, lawmakers say.
But even with all their success, Seiler said, the ''overriding disappointment'' was the property tax stalemate.
A plan to reform KidCare, the state's health insurance program for low-income children, also died in the final days of session. Numerous lawmakers blamed the breakdown on the rigid rules of Senate President Ken Pruitt and on Dawson, the bill's Senate sponsor.
Some Broward lawmakers also point out that while many Democratic bills passed, other proposals receiving widespread support in House and Senate committees never made it to the House floor for a vote.
For example, three of seven bills introduced by state Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, made it to the House calendar, but never come up for a vote.
One of the bills would have increased penalties for certain video voyeurism offenses. Another would have required that people ticketed for littering perform their community services hours in the same city where they were caught.
''I know it was powdered as all this kumbaya stuff,'' said state Rep. Franklin Sands, a Weston Democrat who has been named the next House minority leader. ``I didn't feel it.''


The End Of Florida No-Fault

Special Session Could Save No-Fault Auto Insurance System

Florida's 37-year-old no-fault auto insurance system is scheduled to expire Oct. 1 because state lawmakers failed to reach agreement on how to change the system before the end of the regular legislative session Friday.
But no-fault, or some version of it, could still be revived.

GOP Gov. Charlie Crist said he was disappointed that the law would end and that it was likely no-fault would be taken up at a special legislative session on property tax reform that starts June 12.

The end of no-fault would mean lower auto insurance rates for many drivers because they would no longer be required to buy $10,000 worth of personal injury protection, or PIP, which pays the medical bills and lost wages of people injured in auto accidents and funeral costs for those killed.

The system's demise also would end restrictions that now prevent injured motorists from filing pain-and-suffering lawsuits against the at-fault driver unless a doctor or chiropractor certifies that the injury is permanent.

"This is a victory for consumers," said Chris Neal, a spokesman for State Farm Mutual Insurance Co., Florida's largest auto insurer.
But the Florida Hospital Association warned Friday evening that emergency-room trauma care could be jeopardized.

"The seriousness of this issue cannot be ignored," Wayne NeSmith, the association's president, said in a statement. ''Some hospitals may have to reconsider whether they can continue to operate their trauma centers, and that would be a tragic loss for the people of Florida.'' Hospitals are heavily dependent on reimbursements paid by auto insurers. Without no-fault, a person's health insurance would replace PIP as the primary payer of auto-accident medical treatment.
Auto insurers say they also plan to offer new optional medical coverage.

The legislature has been divided over what to do with no-fault and have heard conflicting views from dozens of lobbyists representing auto insurers, health insurers, medical groups and trial lawyers.

The Senate this week passed a bill that would extend the no-fault law until 2012 and would tell the state's Financial Services Department and Office of Insurance Regulation to use the extension to review the no-fault system and assess how it affects insurance rates, consumers, health-care providers and the trial court system.

The House made major changes to the Senate proposal, including limiting medical care to $10,000 for emergency care and $3,000 for outpatient care. But a divided House failed to take up the issue.
In 2000, a statewide grand jury concluded that the no-fault system was full of fraud and that a cottage industry of auto-accident medical clinics had developed.

After several years of debate, the legislature agreed in 2003 to let no-fault expire this year, with the idea that the pending disappearance would force legislators to write a new law. But even that threat was not enough to bring lawmakers together.

"We had been working for a number of weeks, trying to get everyone to buy into real reform, and there were some special-interest groups blocking it in the Senate," said Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale.

"We'll see what happens when it sunsets. Maybe nothing happens," she said. "Maybe we can save Floridians a lot of money on their car insurance, and we can do our own Geico commercial." Sen. Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, predicted that the issue would be addressed during the special session.

"It allows everyone to take a deep breath, and allows the presiding officers to perhaps revisit the issue," he said.
By The Palm Beach Post, Fla.


Overall, not a good week for issues critical to Democracy and the voters of Florida


HB537 Paper Ballots mixed with initiative deforms and  SB 900 citizen
initiative deforms and SB1920 Property Rights allows a Publix to pick
who is allowed to set up for signature gatherings; these bills passed during
the final two days of floor action by the Florida Legislature May 3-4.
SB1920 passed 4/30/07.

            On Thursday 5/3, the House unanimously accepted the
"Election Reform" train which included the HB537 Paper Trail reforms and SB900
restrictions against citizens' initiatives.    On the last day of session,
the House backed down from its even more anti-citizen version of
Initiative Reforms and accepted the Senate's version, and both bills are heading
for the Governor's desk.    At first glance, the two so-called "good
government" bills are opposites, with the latter bill including changes to only a
single statute and the former boasting comprehensive (and expensive) reforms
to a variety of elections related subjects:

  a.. "Paper Trail" voting machines; funding and requirement of optical
scan machines and marksense technology replacing touchscreens in the fifteen
counties where they currently exist (and twenty-nine counties authorized for
ballot-on-demand for early voting sites);  CONGRATULATIONS TO SO MANY
  b..  Third party Voter Registration Organizations (similar to the
legislation declared unconstitutional previously);
  c.. Citizens' Initiative restrictions against petition drives,
including an onerous and expensive, new process for gathering signatures AGAINST
petitions signed by citizens who would be singled out and lobbied to
subsequently "Revoke"  the original petition signature;
  d.. The earlier Presidential Primary date for the last Tuesday in January
  e.. various Elections Commission changes, including weakening
citizen's complaints against possible violators;
  f.. internal changes for political parties;
  g.. changes in campaign contribution restrictions;
  h.. streamlining the transfer of campaign contributions for political
committees and "committees of continuous existence," but also requiring
unions to list all dues-paying members in their reports;
  i.. changes in eligibility and timing for different levels of
political candidates, including municipal, special district and federal
  j.. changes in early registration for young voters;
  k.. removal of two of the identification documents to allow voters to
  l.. NO Severability Clause, which appeared in earlier versions, and
which usually are necessary in legislative "trains" in order to protect the
other provisions if one or more sections of the bill are later found to be
Unconstitutional.    This decision was deliberate to intimidate
supporters of Paper Trail legislation from participating in ANY legal challenge to
the remaining anti-citizen provisions of the bill.
  m.. Effective date of January 1, 2008, unless otherwise indicated in
specific sections.

So, is this 80-page bill a Legislative TRAIN?    You betcha.      Parts of
this bill (there are 57 "sections") came from various bills and
amendments from both the Senate and House;  the final bill looks very little like
the original HB 537 which passed the House floor on March 21 by a vote of
115-1; and, for example, when the bill was substituted for SB 960, which had
already become a train in the Senate, the legislation faced 20 floor
amendments during the last six days of session.  The bill now changes
or creates 52 sections of Florida Statutes, ranging across 13 different
Chapters of Florida law.

This bill makes all future initiative campaigns very difficult to even
put new changes on the ballot anywhere in Florida (besides proposed
constitutional amendments).     This restrictive new structure will
apply to Florida Hometown Democracy, as well as any future reemergence of
Redistricting Initiatives, or clarifications or strengthening of
Constitutional Rights, citizen-sponsored proposals for changes in
government financing or election opportunities, etc.  The so called good
government bill changed dramatically for the worse on a 3-2 vote on April 24 when
Senators Fasano, Diaz de la Portilla and Webster voted to use the paper
trail bill against citizen initiatives.


This bill was stripped of several Bad provisions which had been passed
by the House.   Since sponsor Joe Pickens and other supporters knew the
session was winding down, they chose to accept the Senate version rather than
get only the provisions in the HB 537 Elections Train which already passed
the previous day.  Under statutory construction rules, the later-passed
bill supersedes, so the language in SB 900 would replace the new sections in
Florida Statute 100.371 as changed in HB 537.    Significantly, the new
language in SB900 would go into effect on August 1, 2007  (as opposed
to 1/1/08 in HB537).

         (SB 900 and HB 7009) did record opposition votes in both chambers:  
passed the Senate 27-9 on 4/27,  82-35 on the House floor 5/2, and
96-22 on 5/4.  HB 7009 came out of its Council of origin March 8


After the Senate passed the Publix/ Chamber's  so-called private
property rights bill allowing mall owners to prohibit citizen petitioners on
4/27 , the House unanimously sent the bill on to the
Governor at the beginning of Week 9 by a vote of 119-0.

Overall, not a good week for issues critical to Democracy and the
HB. 537- The Bill Is 80 Pages Long Read It  HERE


Bogdanoff's Latest "Stealth Tactic"

for more see:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Christian Chiari at 954-803-4844
Bogdanoff's Latest "Stealth Tactic" Puts Insurance Companies before Taxpayers
Latest in Series of Sneaky Moves Smacks of Payback to Biggest Donor
Ft. Lauderdale—Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff has once again demonstrated that she favors a government in the dark on behalf of special interests and ideologues over open government on behalf of the people. This time her champion is none other than the insurance industry and its desire to do away with personal injury protection insurance (also known as PIP).
As highlighted in an editorial in today's edition of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel , Rep. Bogdanoff's latest maneuver, designed to stall any attempts to renew the state's no-fault insurance law, will result in increased insurance company profits at the expense of taxpayer dollars.
"For months now, I have been talking about Rep. Bogdanoff's preference for government in the dark on behalf of the special interests," Christian Chiari, Democratic challenger to Rep. Bogdanoff in Florida's 91 st House District said, "And I am encouraged by the fact that such abuse of our government will not go unnoticed or unchallenged.
"I would call this a Bogdanoff 'triple play,'" Chiari said. "She is managing to help big insurance, hurt average Floridians and pursue her policy of government in the dark all at the same time. For her and her insurance company friends, it's a good day. For the rest of us it's trouble. "
Chiari said that Bogdanoff's latest trick demonstrates her allegiance to the insurance industry and echoed the sentiments of the Sentinel editorial which blasted Bogdanoff for "carrying water for the special interests."
"This is a deceitful legislative tactic that seeks simply to ensure the death of no-fault insurance and personal injury protection insurance in the state," Chiari said. "There is no genuine solution being put forward here. It's just a sneaky way to give the insurance companies what they want.
"It's shameful and tragic that with so many other legislative priorities Rep. Bogdanoff chooses to spend her time further obstructing the legislative process," Chiari said.
Chiari said that with the 2008 election a year and a half away that it is important for her constituents to keep Rep. Bogdanoff in check.
"The bottom line is that we know Representative Bogdanoff is for a government in the dark on behalf of the insurance industry," Chiari said. "And no matter what happens she still has another year and another session. And I intend to work night and day to make sure that is all she has."

-- for more see:


(Janet Folger Never Reclaimed America For Christ)

Failed 'Ex-Gay' Poster Boy Michael Johnston Helped Lead to Theocratic Center's Demise

MIAMI BEACH - Truth Wins Out today rejoiced over the downfall of the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, a political arm of theocratic-leaning Coral Ridge Ministries. In 1998, the Center, which was then led by anti-gay activist Janet Folger, gained notoriety by leading a divisive national advertising campaign that featured so-called "ex-gays." The Center's influence quickly declined after its "ex-gay" poster boy Michael Johnston was caught in a 2003 sex scandal.

"Today we celebrate the demise of one of the most insidious anti-gay groups in America that incited intolerance by pumping out virulently anti-gay propaganda," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ bet the bank on the 'ex-gay' message, and by doing so, bankrupted their credibility after their rising 'ex-gay' star crashed and burned."

The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ featured Michael Johnston, an HIV+ "ex-gay" leader in a million dollar print and television advertising campaign in 1998. In the notorious TV ad, Johnston's mother, Frances, used convoluted logic to explain how homosexuality led to her son contracting HIV. In a full-page print version that ran in national newspapers, Johnston is shown as a young boy blowing out birthday candles under the headline, "From Innocence to AIDS."

In August 2003, Johnston's claims at sexual conversion collapsed. Michael Hamar, a Virginia attorney, contacted Besen to say he had a client who had been having an affair with Johnston, not realizing, at first, Johnston's true identity as a prominent ex-gay figure. Besen was also introduced to another young man who claimed to have had unprotected sex with the ex-gay leader. While in Virginia, Besen was shown a video of a man that looked eerily similar to Johnston having unprotected sex with several men. Hamar's client signed an affidavit swearing the man was Michael Johnston.

The news broke in Southern Voice, a respected gay publication in Atlanta. Johnston resigned his ministry in disgrace and fled to a sex addiction facility in Kentucky, Pure Life Ministries, where he sought counseling. The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ never recovered from this scandal and lost much of its self-proclaimed moral authority on gay issues.

"This is a cautionary tale for right wing organizations that think jumping on the 'ex-gay' bandwagon is good politics," said TWO's Besen. "In the short term, it might cause some opponents to shudder, but in the end, it may lead to the shuttering of windows and doors with a sign that reads, 'Out of Business.'"

Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit

- 30 -


A Tree Grows on Las Olas Boulevard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Christian Chiari at 954-803-4844
A Tree Grows on Las Olas Boulevard
Chiari blasts Rep. Bogdanoff's $1.3 million Palm Tree Boondoggle
Ft. Lauderdale— Describing her request as a "fiscal insult" in the middle of both a funding and water shortage, Christian Chiari, Democratic candidate for State House in District 91, called on incumbent Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff to withdraw her budget request of $1.3 million for planting palm trees along Las Olas Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale.
"You've heard of the bridge to nowhere, well these are the trees to nowhere," Chiari said. "With this budget request, Rep. Bogdanoff is demonstrating to the people of Florida that she is completely unable to consider the seriousness of the budget or water crisis here in the state. This is a fiscal insult to all taxpayers."
Chiari said that he is urging Bogdanoff to withdraw her request for the $1.3 million as a show of good faith that she is serious about the budget crisis now raging in Tallahassee . The House is expected to vote on the budget tomorrow.
"As a member of the House negotiating team that is blindly fighting for the largest sales tax increase in Florida 's history, it is Rep. Bogdanoff's obligation to demonstrate that she has at least a shred of fiscal responsibility," Chiari said. "Pushing for $1.3 million for trees in the middle of what is shaping up to be one of the worst droughts in our state's history is simply ridiculous. She should drop this nonsense now."
"Local governments are being forced to get their spending under control and rightfully so," Chiari said. "But meanwhile the state budget has ballooned from $50 billion in 2000 to nearly $72 billion today. This is not what I would call practicing what you preach.
"Beautifying our neighborhoods is always an important goal, but right now we need to be considering our priorities," Chiari said.
for more see:

Support House Bill 537 and pass a "clean" voting reform bill

In the next few days, the Florida legislature will decide if our flawed electronic voting systems will be backed up by a paper record - or if we'll let another election be tarnished by unreliable results.
What good is the right to vote if your vote is lost or miscounted?  
We need your help.

We need you to call you legislator today - the session ends on Friday.  

Click here to find the contact information for your legislators.  

Tell them to support House Bill 537 and pass a "clean" voting reform bill that gives Floridians paper ballots and doesn't include the Senate amendments that will undermine the bill.

The House bill was passed by the Senate last Friday and is now awaiting action by the Florida House again. The bill provides funding to replace the touchscreen electronic voting machines in Florida with optical scan machines capable of producing a paper, voter verifiable ballot.

But Senators have also added a number of bad amendments that would weaken the enforcement of election laws in Florida, restrict third party voter registration efforts and make it more difficult for citizens to use the initiative process to propose needed reforms.

Please call your legislators today and tell them to pass a strong voting reform bill.   

Click here to find the contact information for your legislators.

Tell your legislators to oppose efforts to:
  • Make it harder for citizens to file complaints alleging a violation of the state's election laws. 
  • Place burdens on the petition gathering process.
  • Create harassment of voters who have signed petitions by allowing moneyed interests to pressure them to revoke their signatures. 
  • Put a band-aid on the unconstitutional third party voter registration law passed in 2005.


Property-tax session set for June

The leaders of the Legislature can't agree on property taxes and must come back for a special lawmaking session.


Support Governor Crist’s plan

Governor Crist has a good plan to replace Florida's voting machines with PAPER BALLOTS. Now, the Florida Legislature must pass the Governor's plan. That's where you come in. Take instant action to let Florida officials know you want the Governor's plan passed NOW. 
Then visit the articles  here at to learn more about this important initiative.

TAKE ACTION NOW!! Please use the EZ-auto-eMail form to send a message to the Florida Legislature to encourage them to fully support Governor Crist's plan.


More Feeney News

"Tom Feeney Writes Op/Ed on Scotland Golf Junket with Jack ...

Tom Feeney (R-Abramoff) writes an op/ed headlined "Let me clarify facts about trip" in which he speaks about some mysterious trip to Scotland with some ...
Rep. Feeney Letter Tied to Abramoff
Lakeland Ledger, FL 
Tom Feeney insists he never helped convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but in 2003 Feeney was among several lawmakers who wrote to the Energy Department ...
Clear the air Fort Wayne News Sentinel


State Owes Counties $40,000,000.00

Contact: Sandy Wayland
swayland@mindspring .com


The Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition is demanding that Secretary of
State Kurt Browning to account for millions of dollars given to the State of
Florida in 2003, under the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).

"Those funds were supposed to have been distributed 100% to Florida's
counties to reimburse them for replacing of their outdated punch card
systems. Now we find out that according to the Secretary of State in his
testimony before the Elections Assistance Commission that only 20% of the
funds were given out to the counties and that the Secretary of State's
Office secreted away the remaining 80%," stated Sandy Wayland, President of

According to Wayland, the issue of the withheld funds came to light during a
hearing held earlier today before the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in
Washington, D.C. "The purpose of the hearing was for the EAC to determine
whether the State of Florida could use "HAVA funds" to purchase the new
optical scan voting systems being proposed by the Governor and the Florida
legislature, stated Wayland. "But lo' and behold, it comes out for the
first time that the Secretary of State's Office intentionally withheld funds
that were supposed to reimburse the counties for getting rid of punch cards,
and it put away that money without anyone knowing," Wayland concluded.

According to MDERC, the secreted funds appear to exceed $40,000,000. "We
are calling on Secretary of State Kurt Browning to publicly account for the
monies in question and to fully reimburse the counties for the replacement
of their punch card systems because that's what that money is for," demanded


Florida Paper Charges Feeney 'Owes Public Answers, Now' Concerning Abramoff Dealings

Florida Paper Charges Feeney 'Owes Public Answers, Now' Concerning Abramoff Dealings
St. Petersberg Times Editorializes That Corrupt Congressman 'Looks Complicit', Has 'Cloud Over His Head'
Sun-Sentinel Says 'Smart, Thorough, Careful' People Like Feeney Not Easily 'Duped'...
St. Petersburg Times, which hasn't historically been an anti-Feeney paper, calls on him to come clean. Now.
When asked to explain the similarity [between the cost of his trip to play golf in Scotland with Abramoff and the amount which Abramoff's office told him to report, despite claims by Feeney that he didn't know Abramoff had paid for the trip] his press secretary would say only that: "Representative Feeney is anxious to discuss this matter further when the time is appropriate."
If the congressman believes his constituents and a public fed up with scandal can wait until "the time is appropriate, " he is mistaken. Eleven people now have been convicted in the Abramoff investigation, and Feeney is being labeled in court records as "Representative #3." He has said he was "duped and lied to, " but these records make his office look complicit.
Feeney's attorney may be urging him to keep quiet, but his legal tactic is at odds with his official responsibilities. He is a congressman with a cloud over his head, and the public is owed some answers.
While over at the Sun-Sentinel, Scott Maxwell --- who has historically been far too kind to Feeney in light of his storied transgressions --- is still being very kind. Even if he's finally beginning to show some doubts as of yesterday:
Tom Feeney is smart, thorough and careful.
Smart, thorough and careful people don't usually get duped --- which is essentially Feeney's defense in this whole mess.