With a veto-proof majority, a hard-right conservative governor, and a determination to seize the moment in a nonelection year, legislative leaders have packed the agenda — and Democrats are powerless to stop them.
-- From "Republicans in Legislature hold all the political cards" by Mary Ellen Klas, St. Petersburg Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau, 4/3/11
The proposals are detailed, sweeping and encompass many conservative issues that legislators have resisted enacting in the past. And they are moving forward for one reason: They have the votes.
. . . on the docket are plans to ask voters to amend the state Constitution to remove the ban on providing tax dollars to religious organizations, to make it easier for the Legislature to overturn rules imposed by the state Supreme Court, to ban public funding of abortions and to prohibit any laws requiring a person to buy health insurance.
Republican leaders say the proposals are a response to voter outrage — fueled by tea party activists in Florida and nationwide — to reduce government and balance the budget with no new taxes in the face of a $3.8 million shortfall. Democrats say the ideas are moving because there is nothing to stand in their way.
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From "Fla. Legislature likely to curtail abortion rights" by Bill Kaczor, The Associated Press 4/3/11
With economic issues dominating Florida's political rhetoric, little was heard about abortion during the November election, but the results may profoundly affect abortion rights in the state.
At least 18 measures that would restrict abortions have been filed in the Legislature and sponsors are optimistic about their chances of passing because of the Republican sweep in Florida.
Not only did the GOP strengthen its control of both legislative chambers, many first-term Republicans are more conservative than the lawmakers they replaced regardless of party.
The Florida legislation includes bills (HB 1127, SB 1744) virtually identical to a measure that [Governor] Scott's predecessor, Charlie Crist, vetoed after it passed in the closing hours of last year's legislative session. It would have required pregnant women to view and listen to a description of a live ultrasound picture of their fetuses before getting an abortion.
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