Gardiner to Crisafulli: Reconvene your Chamber and Finish Your Work | The Orlando Political Observer
On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, you adjourned the Florida House of Representatives in contravention of express provisions of the Florida Constitution. Accordingly, I respectfully request that you reconvene your chamber to finish the important work of the people of Florida.
Article III, section 3 of the Florida Constitution, plainly states: “Neither house shall adjourn for more than seventy-two consecutive hours except pursuant to concurrent resolution.” Further support for this reading is found in the following subsection of Article III, section 3, granting the Governor the authority to adjourn a session, including the adjournment sine die. This framework, modeled after the United States Constitution, sets up a constitutional framework encouraging cooperation between our chambers and designating the Governor to resolve disputes when our chambers cannot agree on a time to adjourn.
This constitutional parliamentary requirement could not be clearer and trumps our own respective chamber’s parliamentary rules. The course of action you have taken is not only unconstitutional; it is unprecedented under our present state constitution. In fact, the last time there was a disagreement between the chambers on when to adjourn, it was resolved by Governor LeRoy Collins in 1956.
While our current parliamentary practices may gloss over this requirement where consent of the other chamber is taken for granted, such consent should never be assumed, particularly where one chamber transmits their bills and abruptly adjourns more than three days early in the 60 day regular session, effectively depriving the other chamber of providing meaningful legislative consent and dialogue.
Your own rules do not support the unilateral actions you have taken. House Rule 13.1 cites Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure as highly influential in interpreting the House’s rules. Section 204-3 of Mason’s provides “[n]either the senate nor the house can constitutionally adjourn sine die without the other.”
The Senate will remain available to conduct business upon the call of the President until the scheduled expiration of the 2015 Regular Session at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 1, 2015.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this critical constitutional issue.
Andy Gardiner, President
Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli is from Brevard County.
Florida governors dating back to Bob Graham (or further) know that Brevard embraces its own Exceptionalism … it only plays by the rules when it’s convenient, which is seldom.
It can’t have slipped Rick Scott’s mind, not just because I’ve sent him so much related correspondence, but because of newspaper articles and broadcasts.
Under Scott’s leadership, in 2011, secret 11th hour legislative budget negotiations took place – Sunshine be damned – between then-House Speaker Dean Cannon and then-Senate President Mike Haridopolos – of Brevard. The Tampa Bay Times reported:
In rare public remarks as he stood by Cannon on the House floor, Haridopolos noted that lawmakers struggled to come to a preliminary deal as they faced a nearly $4 billion budget shortfall. He said lawmakers didn’t raise taxes, fees or “take money out of the struggling Florida economy.”
But they do. By changing state-worker retirement plans and cost-of-living adjustments, lawmakers are essentially cutting pay 3 percent — a move that could minimally affect consumer spending in a state where the state is the largest employer. Also, lawmakers are raising college tuition and they’re lowering the value of state-subsidized scholarships, known as Bright Futures.
Glenda Carlin Busick covered 30 topics of Brevard Exceptionalism in her 1992 book, “Brevard Good Ole Boys: A taxpayer searches for truth in the “good ole boy” network of County Government.”
In the book’s introduction, Busick wrote:
Politicians depend upon people forgetting. They know that they can erase many past memories of bad deals, dirty tricks, and increasing taxes with enough campaign money, ads, posters, bumper stickers, and smiling TV appearances at election time.
It is my wish that you don’t forget.
It is my wish that you do more than “don’t forget.”
It is my wish that you call Rick Scott today and let him known that you want him to call a Special Session immediately so that legislators can finish their business, and that you want him to tell House Speaker Crisafulli to either leave his Brevard Exceptionalism at home, or just stay home, period.
Brevard Exceptionalism took us down an expensive, time-wasting legislative path before. Haridopolos championed a Florida Innocence Commission that was promoted to the public as being modeled on North Carolina’s, which reviews clouded convictions, frees innocents and tries to apprehend the actual criminals.
When Florida’s bill passed, it had nothing in common with North Carolina’s program. Florida’s Innocence Commission wasted two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on finding ways to “prevent future wrongful convictions,” which was the deadly and expensive equivalent of having firefighters ignore five-alarm fire after five-alarm fire so that they could study ways to prevent future five-alarm fires.
There was a reason for this bait and switch. Per capita, Brevard County, Florida is far and away America’s frame-up capital, even after Juan Ramos, Wilton Dedge and William Dillon’s release after wrongly serving a combined total of 54 years.
Rick Scott had an opportunity to opt out of Brevard’s decades of conviction corruption and Exceptionalism by the simple act of refusing to reauthorize the tainted transfer of the prosecution of Gary Bennett’s nearly identical Brevard frame-up to a circuit that had used the same charlatan dog handler that took the stand against Juan, Wilton, William, Gary and a yet-unknown number of others. Scott opted in; he reauthorized the tainted transfer, and is now part of the coverup of the additional harm done to Gary in his 31st year of wrongful imprisonment.
Year after drama-laden year, Florida balances its budget on the backs of our poorest citizens, preserving outrageous hand-outs to those in need of nothing … except a comeuppance.
The likes of Big Sugar, Big Ag and the Koch brothers continue to rape our environment; glaringly obvious frame-ups remain intact; stealing from most of us to oppress some of us goes on and on – framed Gary Bennett has survived it so far, but Charlene Dill and Darren Rainey didn’t.
Young Charlene Dill made too much money to qualify for Medicaid, and too little to qualify for Obamacare; she died from lack of access to medical care, leaving three children motherless. Mentally ill Darren Rainey was scalded to death by corrections officers, leaving a bewildered brother fighting – for nearly three years – for a homicide investigation that should have taken place immediately, without his asking.
Of course, making a phone call to Rick Scott that objects to Brevard’s Exceptionalism in any detail will probably make you sound like a conspiracy theorist. Or perhaps even feel like one.
Maybe it’s best to say that you are calling the Governor’s office to say that you want public servants to actually serve the public, not other public servants, and certainly not special interests, and that you won’t believe that you’re getting what you’re want unless a Special Session immediately takes place in which there are no theatrics, no secret meetings, and no caving in by the legislators who did their jobs to those that didn’t. If ending the cronyism that facilitates deadly oppression is so important to you that your next phone call will be to the Department of Justice, please say so. If you’re tempted to call the Department of Justice over Rick Scott’s failure to enforce the laws we already have regardless of whether he calls a Special Session, please say that, too … it may finally get Darren Rainey’s brother some justice, along with the increasing number of families of other inmates whose deaths were suspicious.