How is a Legislator Supposed to Vote When a Bill Isn’t Perfect?

Some Florida Senators and Representatives voted no on bills banning fracking because the bills didn’t ban all fracking. One bill didn’t ban matrix acidizing. Environmentalists felt the omission was intentional and encouraged legislators to vote no on any bill that didn’t ban ALL fracking.

I listened to a committee meeting discussing a bill designed to take away home rule regarding the banning of plastic straws. GOP legislators introduced a bill to prevent a county from banning plastic straws and then added wording to the bill about generators at gas stations. Why did they do that? If a legislator didn’t like the preemption bill concerning plastic straws, then would the legislator be forced to also vote no on the part of the bill that would keep gas stations open during an evacuation from a hurricane?

What is a representative to do IF a bill isn’t perfect?

I feel this article is unfair to Senator Gibson:

Senator Gibson was asking that the bill (mentioned in the article) be more broad in terms. She wondered if singling out one religion might have unintended unwanted consequences to the group being singled out. For example, I also feel it would have better if Representative Fine used the following wording (instead of the wording in lines 61 to 78 of HB 741 that he used):

Bigoted language includes: calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of a group of people based on their religion, race or gender; making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about a group of people based on their religion, race or gender; denying the Holocaust or another well documented atrocity; accusing a citizen of being more loyal to another country just because another person of similar ethnicity or religion has demonstrated that proclivity.

The above wording was copied in part from Representative Fine’s bill EXCEPT he made the wording specific to ONE minority religion. I rephrased his wording so that bigoted language was defined more broadly.

I also have other issues with Representative Fine’s bill HB 741. Why doesn’t SB 1272 ( and the companion bill HB 741) drafted by Representative Fine apply to ALL schools receiving public monies either directly or indirectly? It only applies to the neighborhood schools and the magnet schools. Why didn’t Representative Fine want the bill to apply to charter schools and private schools receiving voucher money?

Another thing causing me to worry about Representative Fine’s bill (as it was worded when Senator Gibson voted no on the bill) is that adding religion to 1000.05 of the Florida Statutes might allow the evangelical dominionists to have more power to use religion as a sword to harm others.

We need the wording of the Do No Harm Act whenever we’re adding religious protection so that the law can be used as a shield against discrimination and not a sword to harm others. RFRA taught us that sometimes people use what was meant to be good legislation in a way that harms others. H.R 1450–The Do No Harm Act– is before the US House of Representatives now. We should all be worried that adding religion to the Florida statutes (without safeguards) might cause unintentional consequences (similar to what happened with RFRA). Why didn’t Representative Fine incorporate the wording of the Do No Harm Act into HB 741?

HB 741 adds religion to 1000.05 of the Florida Statute. Here is how the statute (before adding religion) reads now:

**** 1000.05(2)(a)Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, ….***

I am not saying that HB 741 doesn’t have the potential to be a good bill. It merely needs to make the wording broader with the goal of preventing bullying of people based on religion, race or gender.

More information about the rise of bullying based on religion, race and gender:

The current legislature and governor are diverting more and more taxpayer money to charters and private school vouchers. Why aren’t these anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws applying to those schools?


Susan Aertker

Concerned Citizen