The real reasons for some legislation?
Reporters keep asking Florida legislators: Why are House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 90 necessary? Aren’t these solutions in search of problems?
The answers from those elected to represent our best interests are always some version of: “We are proactively protecting the people of Florida from rioting crowds and rigged elections.”
Really? Why don’t we start asking these elected officials what the outcomes of these bills will be? We know the answers even if they are not far-sighted enough to imagine their results:
- With the passage of HB 1, fewer people will be exercising their constitutional rights of assembly and free speech.
- With the passage of SB 90, fewer people will be voting.
Those outcomes are their real purposes of those bills.
What about the bill limiting Bright Futures funding or appropriations maintaining the 1992 level of funding for libraries? Are we to believe that our Legislature is really all about supporting a more informed, well-educated electorate?
What about HB 259? Does anyone think more guns will solve the real problem? (HB 259 would allow people licensed to have guns to carry them, for specified purposes, on certain property of religious institutions, according to a state Senate web page. -— editor)
Please call your state senator and representative and ask how they can justify the certain outcomes of their work for us.
Madelon V. Stewart, Fort Myers area
If election ran well, why new laws?
Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Nov. 4, 2020, praising Florida’s electoral system for its accuracy and security.
“People are actually looking at Florida and are asking the question ‘Why can’t these states be more like Florida?’ ” he said.
So it is difficult for me to understand why DeSantis and his fellow Republicans are so eager to pass laws modifying our election process, based on the premise it would make voting more secure. Our current election laws were secure enough for Trump to win our state in 2020.
Legislators and bureaucrats are basically self-interested individuals who try to make themselves better off; and because legislators are interested in re-election and maximizing their power, they respond to special-interest groups, their political base and lobbyists who can benefit them.
But what history has taught us is that when self-serving laws are passed, they often backfire and those who pass them find their political lives cut short. One has to look no further than Trump.
During his one term as president, he and the Republican-led Congress rolled back Dodd-Frank’s critical financial regulations, repealed anti-corruption and transparency requirements for oil companies, delayed implementation of key protections for American retirees, eliminated key protections for clean water, and rolled back myriad other regulations, benefiting big business and the top 1% in this country.
As a result, he is the first president since 1932 to oversee the loss of the White House and both houses of Congress in a single term.
Michael Troop, North Naples
‘Stop stigmatizing’ medical marijuana
Columnist Phil Fernandez pulled every joke out of his gag bag for a piece on medical marijuana dispensaries in the Bonita Beach Road area. Their growth, especially when Collier County still refuses to allow them, is a legitimate news story. But is making jokes about legal, medically proven treatments appropriate?
Pot gives you the munchies. Ha ha. For a cancer patient with nausea and loss of appetite, it’s a lifesaver.
Mellow you out so your chronic arthritis doesn’t hurt so much? God forbid smoking a joint helps you walk your dog around the block.
You wouldn’t stigmatize chemotherapy or a hip replacement, so stop stigmatizing legal marijuana.
Vicky Bowles, Fort Myers
Dangerous debt common to migrants
A reader wrote to ask how an asylum seeker amassed $27,000 to pay smugglers. Good question.
The sad answer is almost all who hire coyotes, snakeheads or “facilitators” for such trips go deeply in debt for the money. It’s common to sell house and land, have relatives mortgage their property and agree to pay off the balance at a high rate of interest. The smugglers credibly threaten death or mutilation if payment is not made. Family members back home are very much under threat. Forced prostitution or labor is often demanded.
The solution is not easy. We have previously used a variety of “tools” to help blunt this threat, which is as much a threat to our nation as it is to the individuals. Robust migration, asylum and assistance programs in the countries of origin, coupled with increased efforts to institute rule of law, can work.
Refugee protection is vital to any program. I know. I have run refugee, protection and migration programs in Southeast Asia, the Balkans and Mexico.
The Biden administration has started on this path. I hope the efforts will increase as the new team is built.
(From a retired Foreign Service officer.)
Bruce Beardsley, Naples