We had a tough morning yesterday, with Tallahassee once again displaying its very unpredictable side. Our long-sought opportunity to present SB 1606 before the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism got off to an inauspicious start when we learned that the committee chair – Senator Bill Montford, who is a supporter of our efforts and an anticipated “yes” vote – was not able to attend due to illness. Next, with the committee down to seven members as proceedings began, two other likely “yes” votes were suddenly absent presenting legislation before other committees. The lay of the land at this point was unnerving.
When called upon, however, Senator Annette Taddeo gave a strong presentation of her bill, receiving a significant number of “waives in support” from the audience. Of those who spoke publicly, only Americans for Prosperity voiced opposition, once more basing their argument on a purist approach to free market principles that of course applies strictly here in Florida but for some reason not so much in certain other states. But we must never ignore the AFP threat: it carries real weight, especially with Republicans expecting close elections in November.
At that point, down three votes and facing declared opposition, Senator Taddeo elected to temporarily postpone proceedings rather than risk a definitive defeat by committee. We live to fight another day, already preparing amendments that address concerns voiced during the meeting and petitioning to be rescheduled on the committee agenda.
Video from the meeting is not yet available. We will provide this and more in a post tomorrow.