Supervisor of Elections Conducts Candidate Workshop

Supervisor of Elections Conducts Candidate Workshop

Supervisor of Elections Conducts Candidate Workshop

Broward County, FL. - The Supervisor of Elections will be conducting a candidate workshop for candidates, treasurers, political parties, political committees and the general public. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. The workshop is follow:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Voting Equipment Center
1501 NW 40 Avenue

DIRECTIONS: The VEC is located on the back side of the Lauderhill Mall. From State Road 7/441, turn west on NW 16 Street and left into the parking lot where the Ideal building is located. Proceed straight ahead and the entrance will be on the left.

Topics to be covered will include forms, campaign financing, review and impact of any Election Law changes, qualifying information, review of forms and services available. Feel free to contact Mary Cooney, (954)712-1960 with any questions regarding the workshop.

To register for the Workshop contact (954)712-1961 or send an e-mail to .

Dr. Brenda C. Snipes, Supervisor of Elections
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Broward Mayor Congratulates Recipients of the BSO Annual Awards

- Mayor Ken Keechl First Mayor to Deliver Keynote Address at Ceremony -

The Broward Sheriff's Office recognized outstanding deputies, firefighters, civilian employees and local businesses at the BSO

Annual Awards Ceremony held Monday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Mayor Ken Keechl set a precedent, becoming the first Broward County Mayor to deliver the keynote address at the ceremony. "You

are here today because you are the best of the best in Broward County," said Mayor Keechl. "You have shown courage, dedication, discipline and commitment to public service and I thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty. Everyone in Broward County benefits from your service."

Notable awards included the Samaritan of the Year award given to train conductors Willy Brommell and Raymond Alcala. When a 22-year-old motorist became stuck on the railroad tracks, Brommell and Alcala saw what was happening and their situational awareness allowed them to stop the train without harm.

The Citizen Life Saving Award was given to dive boat captain Shane Creech and boaters Lawrence and Julie Fitzpatrick for stopping an unmanned boat that was travelling at a high rate of speed toward shore and rescuing the four juveniles who had abandoned the vessel.

George Selimos received the Citizen of the Year Award for apprehending a burglary suspect after he witnessed the suspect ram a police vehicle during a pursuit.

The Gold Cross Award, recognizing acts of heroism that involve great personal risk or serious injury, was given to nine Pompano Beach deputies. Sergeants Mark Alexander and Tincu Taranu and detectives Eric Cieza-Aguilar, Albury Burrows, Erick Quigley, Kevin Vieira, Steven Handras, Ana Murillo, and Ryan Zimber exchanged gunfire with a robbery suspect who was under surveillance. The suspect survived and was arrested along with two others.

Numerous BSO law enforcement, fire rescue and detention employees were honored for myriad examples of exceptional service, courageous acts and volunteer work.

McCollum's Frivolous Lawsuit

Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman released the following statement responding to Attorney General Bill McCollum's frivolous lawsuit against President Obama's historic health insurance reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

"Because he has no plans to move Florida forward or bring jobs to the Sunshine State, Attorney General Bill McCollum has filed a frivolous lawsuit to block President Obama's historic health insurance reform - this is just another petty partisan ploy from a Washington politician.

"Bill McCollum has spent much of the last 30 years, since he was first elected to Congress in 1980, either ignoring the growing crisis in our healthcare system or fighting against commonsense solutions to cover the four million Floridians who lack health insurance. That's why Bill McCollum repeatedly voted to cut funding for Medicare in Congress.

"The fact of the matter is, health insurance reform that ensures security for those with insurance, coverage for more than 31 million Americans currently living without health care, and lower costs for everyone has passed in both chambers of Congress and been signed by the President. The people of Florida can't afford more delays, obstruction, or political stunts-they want reform implemented now.

"If Bill McCollum wants to deny middle class families and small businesses relief from soaring insurance premiums, seniors help in paying for their prescription drugs, or sick people a way to be insured once again, that's his choice to make-but he will find himself on the wrong side of Floridians.

"But it is unacceptable for AG McCollum to once again waste taxpayer dollars for his political stunts. Rather than filing politically-motivated lawsuits, McCollum needs to stop wasting our taxpayer money and start doing his job -- like cracking down on Medicaid fraud that is costing our state billions of dollars."


NPR: "Hatch And Several Other Senators Who Now Oppose The So-Called Individual Mandate Actually Supported A Bill That Would Have Required It...'It Was Invented...[For] George Bush Sr. Back In The Day, As A Competition To The Employer Mandate Focus Of The Democrats At The Time.'" NPR's Julie Rovner reported: "For Republicans, the idea of requiring every American to have health insurance is one of the most abhorrent provisions of the Democrats' health overhaul bills. 'Congress has never crossed the line between regulating what people choose to do and ordering them to do it,' said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). 'The difference between regulating and requiring is liberty.' But Hatch's opposition is ironic, or some would say, politically motivated. The last time Congress debated a health overhaul, when Bill Clinton was president, Hatch and several other senators who now oppose the so-called individual mandate actually supported a bill that would have required it. In fact, says Len Nichols of the New America Foundation, the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea. 'It was invented by Mark Pauly to give to George Bush Sr. back in the day, as a competition to the employer mandate focus of the Democrats at the time.'" [NPR, 2/15/10]

Business And Consumer Groups All Support An Individual Mandate For Obtaining Health Care. "Support grew on Friday for insurance industry demands that all Americans be required to obtain coverage as part of a planned healthcare system overhaul, with a senior Senate Democrat and a coalition of business and consumer groups promoting the idea. ... The coalition includes groups such at the AARP, which represents older Americans, the American Hospital Association, America's Health Insurance Plans industry group, the healthcare advocacy group Families USA, the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce." [Reuters, 3/27/09]

Frist Supported Individual Mandate: "I Believe In Limited Government And Individual Responsibility...[But] It Is Time For An Individual Health Insurance Mandate." In an op-ed, former Senate Majority leader Bill Frist wrote, "I believe in limited government and individual responsibility, cherish the freedom to choose, and generally oppose individual mandates-except where markets fail, individuals suffer, and society pays a hefty price. Let's face it, in a country as productive and advanced as ours, every American deserves affordable access to healthcare delivered at the right time. And they don't have it today. It is time for an individual health insurance mandate for a minimum level of health coverage. Catastrophic coverage would be an appropriate place to start." [US News & World Report Opinion, 9/29/09]

Sen. Frist Voiced Strong Support For Individual Mandate. Former Senate Majority Leader Bill First told Time magazine that, "he strongly supports other aspects of the bill--most notably, its requirement that individuals be required to purchase coverage, if they do not receive health insurance through their employers or under government programs." [Time, 10/2/09]

Sen. Grassley: "I Believe That There is a Bipartisan Consensus to Have Individual Mandates." "'Individual mandates are more apt to be accepted by a vast majority of people in Congress than an employer mandate would be, as an example,' Grassley said. 'I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates.'" [Bloomberg, 6/14/09]


Yale Law School Constitutional Scholar: "The Supreme Court Will Almost Certainly Uphold The [Individual Mandate]...To Strike Down The Individual Mandate, It Would Have To Reject Decades Of Precedents. It Is Very Unlikely [That The Court Would Stage] Such A Constitutional Revolution." Jack M. Balkin, J.D., Ph.D., Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment of the Yale Law School wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine: "The individual mandate taxes people who do not buy health insurance. Critics charge that these people are not engaged in any activity that Congress might regulate; they are simply doing nothing. This is not the case. Such people actually self-insure through various means...Moreover, like people who substitute homegrown marijuana or wheat for purchased crops, the cumulative effect of uninsured people's behavior undermines Congress's regulation - in this case, its regulation of health insurance markets. Because Congress believes that national health care reform won't succeed unless these people are brought into national risk pools, it can regulate their activities in order to make its general regulation of health insurance effective. One final argument against the individual mandate is that it violates the Fifth Amendment by allowing the government to take property without just compensation. 'Takings' occur when the government seizes property from particular individuals...The individual mandate is just such a tax - not a taking. Although opponents will challenge the individual mandate in court, constitutional challenges are unlikely to succeed. The Supreme Court will probably not even consider the issue unless a federal court of appeals strikes the tax down. In that unlikely event, the Supreme Court will almost certainly uphold the tax, at least if it follows existing law. To strike down the individual mandate, it would have to reject decades of precedents. It is very unlikely that there are five votes on the current Court for staging such a constitutional revolution." [New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/10]

Stuart Taylor: Most Experts Agree That The Individual Mandate Is Constitutional. "A healthy 20-something might ask: Can the government really order me to spend more than $5,500 a year to buy comprehensive health insurance just because I live in the United States, even though the most I might need or want is catastrophic coverage costing less than $800? Can they really force me to pay a big penalty 'tax' if I won't buy government-approved insurance? And can they use my money to subsidize people who are twice my age, and obese or sick, even if they have more money than I do? The answers are yes, yes, and that's the point! according to most of the experts who have weighed in on whether the Supreme Court would uphold a mandate for individuals to buy comprehensive health insurance unless they're already covered by employer-based plans. They cite the justices' very broad reading since the New Deal of Congress's powers to regulate interstate commerce and to tax and spend." [Stuart Taylor, National Journal, 12/12/09]

David Frum: Health Reform Is "Unquestionably Constitutional. The Federal Government Already Requires Every American To Purchase Health Insurance. That's What Medicare Does." David Frum wrote: "Is the Obama-Reid health reform plan unconstitutional? The answer to that should be obvious: the Reid-Obama plan may be unwise, unsound, and unaffordable ... but it is unquestionably constitutional. The federal government already requires every American to purchase health insurance. That's what Medicare does. The difference now is that everyone will be required to buy a private plan to cover them up to age 65 in addition to the government-run plan they are compelled to buy to cover them after 65. I don't hear anyone in Congress suggesting that Medicare violates the Constitution. So how can the new plan be unconstitutional if the old plan is OK?" [David Frum, 12/26/09]

Prof. Schwinn Of U. Chicago: "Whatever The Merits Of The Policy Arguments Against An Individual Mandate, These Commerce Clause Arguments...Do Not Render Them Unconstitutional." Steven D. Schwinn, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School examined claims that health reform and in particular individual mandates would be unconstitutional: "Whatever the merits of the policy arguments against an individual mandate, these Commerce Clause arguments based on 'state sovereignty' and lack of economic activity do not render them unconstitutional." [Constitutional Law Prof. Blog, 12/4/09]

Prof. Mark Hall: Unconstitutional Argument "Is Unconvincing And Deeply Flawed...There Is No Fundamental Right To Be Uninsured, And So Various Arguments Based On The Bill Of Rights Fall Flat." Mark A. Hall wrote on the Seton Hall University School of Law, Health Law & Policy Program blog: "Is it unconstitutional to mandate health insurance? It seems unprecedented to require citizens to purchase insurance simply because they live in the U.S. (rather than as a condition of driving a car or owning a business, for instance). Therefore, several credentialed, conservative lawyers think that compulsory health insurance is unconstitutional. See here and here and here. Their reasoning is unconvincing and deeply flawed...Under both liberal and conservative jurisprudence, the Constitution protects individual autonomy strongly only when 'fundamental rights' are involved. There may be fundamental rights to decide about medical treatments, but having insurance does not require anyone to undergo treatment. It only requires them to have a means to pay for any treatment they might choose to receive. The liberty in question is purely economic and has none of the strong elements of personal or bodily integrity that invoke Constitutional protection. In short, there is no fundamental right to be uninsured, and so various arguments based on the Bill of Rights fall flat." [Seton Hall University School of Law, Health Law & Policy Program, 8/25/09]

Prof. Hall's Georgetown University Paper: "The Constitution Permits Congress To Legislate A Health Insurance Mandate." Prof. Mark Hall concluded in his paper published by the Georgetown University O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law: "The Constitution permits Congress to legislate a health insurance mandate. Congress can use its Commerce Clause power or its taxing and spending powers to create such a mandate. Congress can impose a tax on those that do not purchase insurance, or provide tax benefits to those that do purchase insurance." [Georgetown University paper: The Constitutionality of Mandates to Purchase Health Insurance, February, 2009]

Prof. Dorf Of Cornell University Law School On Individual Mandate: No Different Than Federal Mandate To Compel Citizens To Jury Duty, No Different From States Imposing An "Affirmative Obligation" On Parents To Educate Their Children. "The CBO memo claims, then, that an individual mandate would be unique because it would impose an affirmative obligation on persons. Most laws either forbid some form of conduct (say, bank robbery) or impose restrictions as conditions on activities that the government could forbid altogether (say, by requiring that companies that are engaged in various lines of business comply with environmental laws, or that professionals pass licensing examinations). As the CBO memo states: 'Federal mandates that apply to individuals as members of society are extremely rare.' The only one that the CBO staff could think of was the requirement that draft-age men register with the Selective Service System...To begin, the CBO memo's authors apparently forgot about jury duty. A federal statute that was already in effect in 1994 provides that 'all citizens shall have . . . an obligation to serve as jurors when summoned for that purpose.'...Consider that every state imposes an affirmative obligation on parents to educate their children--whether in public school, private school, or via home schooling. Surely this obligation cannot be said to be a mere condition on the privilege of raising children, for the state has no authority to prevent people from becoming parents." [FindLaw, 10/21/09]

Prof. Dorf Of Cornell University Law School: "The Individual Mandate Is...Constitutional." Professor Michael Dorf of the Cornell University Law School wrote: "the individual mandate is 'plainly adapted' to the undoubtedly legitimate end of regulating the enormous and enormously important health-care sector of the national economy. It is therefore constitutional." [FindLaw, 11/2/09]

Prof. Shapiro Of Emory University School Of Law: "Whatever One Thinks Of The Wisdom Of The Individual Mandate...It Would Be Surprising If The Constitution Prohibited A Democratic Resolution Of The Issue. Happily, It Does Not." Sen. Max Baucus noted that: "Robert Shapiro, Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law, stated: 'Whatever one thinks of the wisdom of the individual mandate, or of health care reform generally, it would be surprising if the Constitution prohibited a democratic resolution of the issue. Happily, it does not.'" [Statement by Sen. Baucus, 12/22/09]

Constitutional Law Prof. Schwinn: Claim That Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional Is "Wrong...An Individual Mandate Is Almost Certainly The Kind Of Economic Activity That The [Supreme] Court Would Uphold Under Congress's Commerce Clause Authority." Prof. Steven D. Schwinn of the University of Chicago Law School critiqued an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by David Rivkin and Lee Casey arguing that the individual mandate provision was unconstitutional: "The authors are wrong on two counts. First, an individual mandate is almost certainly the kind of economic activity that the Court would uphold under Congress's Commerce Clause authority under Raich, Lopez, and United States v. Morrison. These cases allow Congress to regulate activities that have a "substantial effect" on interstate commerce, and they look to the commercial nature of the activity and to the connection between the activity and interstate commerce (among other considerations). An individual mandate is almost surely commercial in nature--in requiring folks to buy health insurance, it requires a commercial exchange. Rivkin and Casey argue that the mandate is not commercial in nature, because it's triggered simply by 'being an American.' This may be true, but it misses the point of the regulation: It requires Americans to engage in a commercial exchange. This is the definition of commerce...The Supreme Court may be on a path to limiting congressional authority under the Commerce Clause, the Taxing Clause, or any clause. But even so, the individual mandate all too squarely falls within the recent and settled jurisprudence." [Constitutional Law Prof. Blog, 9/25/09]

Prof. Mark Hall Of Wake Forest University School Of Law: There Are No Plausible Tenth Amendment Or States' Rights Issues Arising From the Imposition By Congress Of An Individual Responsibility To Maintain Health Coverage." Sen. Baucus said in a statement: "I refer my colleagues to an article by Mark Hall, law professor at Wake Forest University. Professor Hall's article is a comprehensive, peer-reviewed analysis of the constitutionality of a Federal individual responsibility requirement. In it, Professor Hall concludes that there are no plausible Tenth Amendment or States' rights issues arising from the imposition by Congress of an individual responsibility to maintain health coverage. Professor Hall notes further that health care and health insurance both affect and are distributed through interstate commerce. And that gives Congress the power to legislate a coverage requirement using its Commerce Clause powers. Professor Hall notes that the Supreme Court indicated in its decisions in United States v. Morrison and United States v. Lopez - two other cases relied on by the other side - that the non-economic, criminal nature of the conduct in those cases was central to the court's decisions in those cases that the Government had not appropriately exercised power under the Commerce Clause. Health insurance, on the other hand, does not deal with criminal conduct." Prof. Mark Hall wrote, "[p]erusing some of [the Senate health reform bill's] 2000 pages, I came across the following, SEC. 1501 (p. 320), which should put to rest any argument that an individual mandate exceeds Congress' powers under the Commerce Clause." [Statement by Sen. Baucus, 12/22/09; O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, 11/24/09]

Town Hall Meeting W/ Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Yesterday, the House of Representatives made history. Even with the bill's flaws, health care reform is the most important piece of progressive legislation in decades.

Below is a list of ten of the most important things health care reform will accomplish for everyday Americans—none of which would've been possible without the dogged efforts of grassroots progressives and the support of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.1

But Republicans are already unleashing their spin machine to target Democrats who voted for reform, so we've got to show that we've got their backs. We've set a goal of making 129 thank-you calls from Fort Lauderdale to Rep. Wasserman Schultz's office today—can you join in?

Here's where to call:

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Phone: 202-225-7931

And after you call, take a moment to check out the list and share it with all your friends. Big Insurance and right-wing extremists are already ratcheting up their campaign to spread misinformation about the bill, so it's critical that we get the truth out as widely as possible.


1. Once reform is fully implemented, over 95% of Americans will have health insurance coverage, including 32 million who are currently uninsured.2

2. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions—or to drop coverage when people become sick.3

3. Just like members of Congress, individuals and small businesses who can't afford to purchase insurance on their own will be able to pool together and choose from a variety of competing plans with lower premiums.4

4. Reform will cut the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and a whopping $1.2 trillion in the following ten years.5

5. Health care will be more affordable for families and small businesses thanks to new tax credits, subsidies, and other assistance—paid for largely by taxing insurance companies, drug companies, and the very wealthiest Americans.6

6. Seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs because the legislation closes the "donut hole" gap in existing coverage.7

7. By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.8

8. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million low-income people.9

9. Instead of losing coverage after they leave home or graduate from college, young adults will be able to remain on their families' insurance plans until age 26.10

10. Community health centers would receive an additional $11 billion, doubling the number of patients who can be treated regardless of their insurance or ability to pay.11

To share this list with your friends using Facebook or Twitter, visit:


1. Final vote results on motion to concur in Senate amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 21, 2010

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11. "Affordable Health Care for America: Summary," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 18, 2010

4. "Insurance Companies Prosper, Families Suffer: Our Broken Health Insurance System," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Accessed March 22, 2010

5. "Affordable Health Care for America: Health Insurance Reform at a Glance: Revenue Provisions," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 18, 2010

8. "New Jobs Through Better Health Care," Center for American Progress, January 8, 2010

9, 10. "Proposed Changes in the Final Health Care Bill," The New York Times, March 22, 2010

11. "Affordable Health Care for America: Health Insurance Reform at a Glance: Addressing Health and Health Care Disparities," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 20, 2010

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Anthony Niedwiecki was sworn in as Vice-Mayor Of Oakland Park, FL

Anthony Niedwiecki was sworn in as Vice-Mayor Of Oakland Park, FL. He was elected in a landslide victory last year, all the while running as an out and proud LGBT activist.

As the top vote getter in the three open seats of last election cycle, Anthony became a commissioner last year, gets sworn in as Vice Mayor tonight and becomes Mayor of the city in 2011 (it's a rotating mayor ship based on votes).

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Call Center Technology, Text Messaging, Voice Broadcasts
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Gay Adoption Debated in Florida

Sen Nan Rich: “I know this amendment is not going to pass today and that Florida’s discriminatory adoption ban will not fall today. It’s been four year since there’s been any debate on this issue in any official Senate proceeding in any Senate committee and it’s been 33 years since this issue has been debated on the floor of this chamber. It’s about time we did something about that.”

The 33-year law is currently under review by a state appeals court to determine if it is unconstitutional.

Adoption For All Press Conference

More than 2,000 children in Florida are awaiting adoption, and half of them have no family members able to provide them care. House Bill 3 by Representative Mary Brandenburg (D-Lake Worth) would give more foster children an opportunity for a family and a home by repealing the ban on adoptions by same-sex couples and individuals.

Representative Brandenburg will hold a press conference on Wednesday to discuss House Bill 3.

The details of the event are as follows:

DATE: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TIME: 11:15 a.m.

LOCATION: Fourth Floor, The Capitol, Outside the chambers of the Florida House of Representatives
Tallahassee, Fla.

Take 30 seconds right now and be a Virtual Lobbyist!

Take 30 seconds right now and be a Virtual Lobbyist!

Write to your lawmaker right and ask them to take a stand against discrimination. Ask them to sponsor three important bills:

  • The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (HB 391 by Skidmore and SB 798 by Gelber) This bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state law that already protects people in employment and housing based on race, religion, sex, age and disability.

  • Repeal of Florida's Adoption Ban (HB 3 by Brandenburg and SB 102 by Rich) Equality Florida continues to work with legislators to repeal the ban. With approximately 3,000 children waiting for adoption in Florida's foster care system, the state desperately needs to open up the pool to include qualified gay and lesbian parents.

  • Domestic Partnerships (HB 477 by Steinberg SB 232 by Sobel) This bill would create a statewide domestic partnership policy in Florida. Dozens of cities and companies in Florida already offer some form of domestic partnership benefits, but right now there are no statewide protections for our families.
Click here to send a letter to your state legislators now!

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BREAKING NEWS: Florida House and Senate Set to Debate Adoption Ban


For the first time in 33 years, the Florida Legislature is scheduled to debate whether people should be asked about their sexual orientation when applying to adopt.

Tune in at 12:30 to watch.

The bill would prevent people from being asked if they own guns. Our amendment would prevent people from being asked about their sexual orientation.

Thanks to Rep Scott Randolph and Sen. Charlie Justice, Equality Florida succeeded in getting amendments filed in both chambers to an adoption bill that heads to the floor of both the House and Senate right now.

Right this moment, House and Senate leadership is actively trying to silence the discussion, but top allies in both chambers will fight as hard as they can alongside Equality Florida to ensure that does not happen.

Hundreds are in Tallahassee right now talking to leg on the equality issues. Take 30 seconds right now to join them as a virtual lobbyist.

Click here to send an email to your legislators.

Pro-equality legislators are fired up and ready to make the case that the adoption ban tears families apart prevents children from being adopted.

More than one hundred Floridians are in Tallahassee right now at Equality Florida's Lobby Week having face-to-face conversations with their state legislators. Today more legislators than ever are signing on to sponsor pro-equality bills, but more are still needed to pass critical legislation. That's where you come in....

Take 30 seconds right now and be a Virtual Lobbyist!

Write to your lawmaker right and ask them to take a stand against discrimination. Ask them to sponsor three important bills:

  • The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (HB 391 by Skidmore and SB 798 by Gelber) This bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state law that already protects people in employment and housing based on race, religion, sex, age and disability.

  • Repeal of Florida's Adoption Ban (HB 3 by Brandenburg and SB 102 by Rich) Equality Florida continues to work with legislators to repeal the ban. With approximately 3,000 children waiting for adoption in Florida's foster care system, the state desperately needs to open up the pool to include qualified gay and lesbian parents.

  • Domestic Partnerships (HB 477 by Steinberg SB 232 by Sobel) This bill would create a statewide domestic partnership policy in Florida. Dozens of cities and companies in Florida already offer some form of domestic partnership benefits, but right now there are no statewide protections for our families.

Click here to send a letter to your state legislators now!

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School Board of Broward County Affirms Safe Schools for LGBT Youth

Broward County Public SchoolsImage via Wikipedia

School Board of Broward County Affirms Safe Schools for LGBT Youth

Fort Lauderdale, FL – On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, for the second consecutive year, The School Board of Broward County, FL, voted unanimously to affirm its support for the National Day of Silence observed on April 16, 2010, one of the largest student-led actions in the country sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The purpose of the National Day of Silence is for students to silently and peacefully protest anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) bullying, harassment, and name-calling. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), because students who are targeted for anti-gay or anti-transgender bullying often do not identify as LGBT, the Day of Silence represents a peaceful a protest of a problem that affects all students no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The board resolution was once again sponsored by Broward County School Board Chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb who recognizes the critical role for the National Day of Silence as an effective tool in the fight for equal protections of all Broward County students. Below is a statement School Board Chairwoman Gottlieb read on behalf of the District’s Office of Prevention Programs:

“The resolution for the ‘National Day of Silence’ is more than a simple recognition supporting an LGBTQ/sexual minority activity in April. The resolution speaks to the importance of building a broader, critical, cultural norm in our school district.

Providing our LGBTQ/sexual minority youth and their allies the opportunity to bring awareness to the issues of discrimination and prejudice that shadow this youth population every day is a responsibility of our educational system.

Empowering youth to reach out, connect and collaborate with their greater school population on this specified day provides a vehicle for peace building that is a human right. There is no greater place than the American school, to teach about issues that serve to strengthen our morality, our obligation to serve our community and our ability to make a stand for those that are marginalized. This is the premise behind the National Day of Silence resolution.”

Prior to the Board’s unanimous vote, School Board Members Stephanie Kraft, Phyllis Hope, Ann Murray, Maureen Dinnen and Robin Bartleman engaged in a heartfelt discussion voicing their strong support to ramp up on programs to reduce bullying in Broward County Public Schools.

The Board’s Student Advisor and Alternate Student Advisor also spoke in support of National Day of Silence. Both self-identifying as heterosexual, shared their experience of speaking with classmates and students throughout the District who all support having activities that ensure for greater protection and inclusion of LGBTQ students. The Board’s Alternate Student Advisor shared with the Board of the model created at Nova High School and the value these efforts contribute to safer schools for their classmates, but more specifically, their LGBTQ peers.

During an earlier agenda item, the Board’s Student Advisor shared with the board that during his past visits with various schools throughout the District, that students are asking for the District to ramp up on its sex-education curriculum and programming. Students reported not getting the information they need to make smarter and healthier choices.

Jeanne Jusevic and Michael Emanuel Rajner, who both serve on the District’s Diversity Committee, spoke as Broward County residents in support of the resolution. Jusevic, a mother, parent activist and of Mormon faith, spoke passionately about having a gay brother living with AIDS, a lesbian aunt shared the story of her son’s adolescent friend who was rejected from his home simply for being openly gay. Jusevic also urged the School Board to support the resolution and made it clear that all students have the right to feel safe in our schools. Rajner spoke as an openly-gay man living with AIDS and urged for vigilant efforts to be implemented at the middle school level where data consistently shows an increased incidence and prevalence of bully and suicide of LGBT youth. Rajner also advised the board to reject any criticism from parents fueled by American Family Association (AFA), Liberty Counsel and other organizations with a mission to actively marginalize LGBT youth. Rajner shared an example of the divisive harm these organizations are culpable when he briefed the Board on the recent spike at the end of 2009 in new HIV-infections of self identified gay Black men under the age of 24 who are not receiving age-appropriate comprehensive sex-education in the schools or at home. Rajner noted that the lobbying efforts of these organizations contribute to the State of Florida’s failure to adopt legislation which would establish a statewide minimum standard for sex-education and reject the legalized discrimination of LGBT youth based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida ranks third (3) in the nation, behind New York and California in the total number of HIV/AIDS cases.
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A bill to extend expiring unemployment benefits to nearly 50,000 Floridians is held up in the U.S. Senate

{{w|Kendrick Meek}}, U.S. Congressman.Image via Wikipedia

A bill to extend expiring unemployment benefits to nearly 50,000 Floridians is held up in the U.S. Senate due to Bunning's objections, his political agenda of "No."
Kendrick Meek: "Florida's families are experiencing insult after injury because ideology is trumping public policy. This is what happens when politicians put party philosophy first, and people last."

Nearly 50,000 Floridians will lose their unemployment benefits in the coming weeks because one U.S. Senator is holding up legislation extending unemployment benefits to out of work Americans.

"Florida's families are experiencing insult after injury because ideology is trumping public policy. This is what happens when politicians put party philosophy first, and people last," said Kendrick Meek, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. "Hard working Floridians didn't cause this recession, but they are paying for it. This pain is evident with every Florida family I meet and in every small business I enter. Floridians deserve relief and instead they are becoming casualties of an ideological battle that has nothing to do with our everyday lives."

The House of Representatives voted unanimously last week to temporarily extend unemployment benefits for out of work Americans.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Senator Bunning's parliamentary maneuvering today, noting: "Many Republican leaders, cognizant of the political peril surrounding Mr. Bunning's action, quietly distanced themselves. But others, including Arizona's Jon Kyl, the Senate's second-ranking Republican, supported Mr. Bunning's right to raise the cost issue."

Asked Kendrick Meek campaign manager Abe Dyk: "With so many Floridians negatively affected because of the actions of one senator, do Florida's Republican Senate candidates Governor Charlie Crist and former Speaker Marco Rubio side with Senator Jim Bunning or do they stand with Floridians and their families who desperately rely on these benefits to survive? The Republican Party's dysfunction in Washington should not trickle into the homes of Florida's families."

The press release issued by the U.S. Labor Department announcing how states will be affected by this inaction appears below:

US Labor Department releases state-by-state figures on number of Americans who stand to lose unemployment benefits without congressional extension of program
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor today released state-by-state figures on the number of individuals who will lose their unemployment benefits in the coming days if Congress fails to extend unemployment insurance benefits.

If Emergency Unemployment Compensation and full federal funding for the Extended Benefit program are not extended, 400,000 Americans will lose unemployment benefits during the first weeks in March. By May, nearly 3 million people could be left without these benefits. Furthermore, if the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act subsidy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is not extended, thousands of families will lose access to affordable health care.

If the extension is not approved, an estimated 500,000 workers who lose their jobs will be ineligible for subsidies to cover the cost of health care over this month. Over the rest of 2010, an estimated 5 million workers will be ineligible for the Recovery Act COBRA subsidy that covers 65 percent of the cost of coverage. Without this assistance, many of these families will be forced to join the ranks of the uninsured.

"It is essential that Congress extend the unemployment insurance and COBRA subsidy programs that are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The consequences of partisan obstructionism could not be clearer. If the extension is not approved immediately, millions of Americans could lose the safety net programs they deserve and desperately need."

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to temporarily extend crucial benefits -- including unemployment insurance. In the Senate chamber, however, Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky is blocking the extension. Senate leadership has called for the Senate to unanimously move this package on multiple occasions, but Sen. Bunning has blocked the process each time.

Without an extension, the number of Americans who lose unemployment insurance benefits will increase to 1.5 million within a month. Within two months, nearly 3 million Americans will have lost their benefits. Even if Congress acts down the road to retroactively reinstate UI benefits, a gap in the program forces administrative burdens onto states, which may cause significant delays in getting checks to unemployed individuals.

Projected unemployment insurance exhaustions (by state) as result of no congressional extension of the program

STATE UI Claimants Not Eligible for
Week ending March 13
Alabama 3,600
Alaska 0
Arizona 8,300
Arkansas 5,200
California 0
Colorado 9,000
Connecticut 0
District of Columbia 600
Delaware 2,100
Florida 49,600
Georgia 41,000
Hawaii 1,600
Idaho 0
Illinois 28,200
Indiana 16,100
Iowa 4,600
Kansas 0
Kentucky 4,300
Louisiana 4,300
Maine 2,200
Maryland 4,700
Massachusetts 0
Michigan 0
Minnesota 0
Mississippi 2,700
Missouri 8,700
Montana 0
Nebraska 1,300
Nevada 0
New Hampshire 0
New Jersey 0
New Mexico 0
New York 54,300
North Carolina 0
North Dakota 500
Ohio 16,200
Oklahoma 4,600
Oregon 0
Pennsylvania 0
Puerto Rico 0
Rhode Island 0
South Carolina 14,400
South Dakota 300
Tennessee 7,500
Texas 27,400
Utah 2,700
Vermont 0
Virgin Islands 100
Virginia 10,700
Washington 0
Wisconsin 0
West Virginia 2,600
Wyoming 900

Note: State estimates may not add to the national total. State and national figures are calculated separately to allow the use of the best available data to develop estimates for each state.
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