Friday, April 30, 2021

Transphobic legislature responds to bigotry, once again

Florida legislature approves measure that curbs mail voting and use of drop boxes. (WaPo)

Not one of Florida's dozens of Republican Supervisor of Elections supported this lousy legislation, but Flori-DUH's dodgy Governor RONALD DION DeSANTIS, and his gang of bullies in the Flori-DUH legislature, have passed another voter suppression bill, 

Democrats and Independents must work with good and decent Republicans to defeat the formidable forces of voter suppression, which are a stench in the nostrils of our Nation.

Inept other-directed legislators like CYNTHIA WARD STEVENSON are hunkered down like ticks in Tallahassee, collecting copious quantities of ca$h from bundlers like louche lobbyist THOMAS MARTIN FIORENTINO, Jr., promiscuously spending our site tax money on millions of dollars of litigation defending unconstitutional laws. 

Dull Republicans in Tallahassee have repeatedly violated the 14th and 15th Amendment over the years, repeatedly reversed by federal courts. 

Bring it on.,

ACLU and the League of Women Voters will sue, and likely win.

That's the "Tallahassee Two-step," the "Dance of Legislation."

From The Washington Post:

Florida legislature approves measure that curbs mail voting and use of drop boxes

A worker at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department brings an official ballot drop box into the building after polls closed in the August 2020 primary election in Doral, Fla.

Florida’s ‘shameful’ push to ban transgender athletes could prompt lawsuits, critics say

Check out the Orlando Sentinel story on anti-trans athlete bill  -- latest angry outburst of bigotry from our maladroit, other-directed Florida State Legislature.  

Lawsuits will follow.

NCAA may boycott.

The only people benefitting fromj the hateful demagoguery are cynical political consultants, right-wing fundraisers and their captive Republican Party of Florida. 

Hate is not a "family value."

As Saint Augustine of Hippo, wrote, "An unjust law is no law at all."

I believe in America, and it hurts my heart to see more unjust laws being proposed to hurt people. 

St. Johns County School Board foolishly forced a trans boy, Drew Adams, to go to federal court to win his rights to use the men's room.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees -- you paid for it!

Bigotry is the stock in trade of today's Nasty Republicans, who resemble an electronic Ku Klux Klan.

"Be not afraid."  (It's in the Bible some 106 times -- first words spoken by Saint John Paul II after his election as Pope.) 

GLBTQIA+ bashers control today's Republican Party.

Until 2015, there were some thirty (30) states that passed state constitutional amendments banning Gay marriage. Those were all held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court; last year, enforcing Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Court  outlawed anti-GLBTQIA+ discrimination in employment,

  • State Rep. CYNDI WARD STEVENSON has a lot to answer for.
  • I called and left a message for State Representative CYNTHIA STEVENSON, but she never called me back.  
  • She has a lot of explaining to do about her voting record, 2004-2021, first as a County Commissioner, then as a State Representative.  
  • She's evidently forgotten that she works for us.

Footnote: Our Florida Secretary of State has sent me the paperwork to qualify to run agains STEVENSON.

"As scarce as truth is, the supply seems greater than the demand," in the words of former United Nations Ambassador, Adlai Stevenson.

IF elected, I would look forward to "speaking truth to power" in our State House of Representatives. 

It's about time we had more of that.  

Hate is not a "family value."

From Orlando Sentinel:

Florida’s ‘shameful’ push to ban transgender athletes could prompt lawsuits, critics sayLeslie Postal, Orlando Sentinel  12 hrs ago

Newly passed legislation that would ban transgender females from playing on girls’ and women’s school sports teams in Florida was criticized Thursday as “despicable,” “full of hate” and a “solution in search of a problem” by opponents, some of whom said the proposal could face a legal challenge should Gov. Ron DeSantis sign it into law.

The Florida Legislature late Wednesday revived and then passed the transgender ban, which last week appeared to be dead in the Senate. In doing so, Florida joined a nationwide push by conservatives who tout what they call “fairness in women’s sports” acts as a way to protect girls and women from unfair competition from athletes who were born male.

Idaho, the first state to ban transgender females from school sports teams, quickly had its 2020 law challenged in court. That law is now on hold after a federal judge ruled Idaho could not keep transgender athletes from playing.

The ACLU helped challenge the Idaho law in court. Kara Gross, legislative director of the ACLU Florida, said she could not say whether a Florida lawsuit would be filed but told reporters during an online press conference, “We are fighting these types of bans throughout the country, and we will continue to fight these bans where they pop up.”

Gross and other critics said the measure is bigoted, unnecessary and unfair to transgender children, already marginalized and often bullied, who want to play team sports like other students. They urged DeSantis to veto it.

“Transgender girls have the right to participate in school sports just like everyone else,” Gross said, adding the bill was unconstitutional and “helps no one.”

It is, she added, “shameful” and “a solution in search of a problem.”

DeSantis’ office did not respond to a request for comment but previously told The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald that the governor liked the idea.

Bills similar to Florida’s has been proposed in more than 25 other Republican-controlled states. Governors in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia have signed them into law.

Former President Donald Trump signaled his support at his Feb. 28 speech at CPAC, or the Conservative Political Action Conference, which was held in Orlando this year.

“It’s just crazy what’s happening,” he told the audience, saying women and girls were being “forced to compete against biological males” and that if things didn’t change “women’s sports as we know it will die.”

But critics say such complaints aren’t grounded in facts and only serve to harm transgender youngsters.

“It’s a solemn day,” said Lakey Love of the Florida Coalition for Trans Liberation, during the press conference. Love called the Legislature’s action a “backroom deal” that was “full of hate” and “targeted the most vulnerable.”

Critics of the legislation note that both the Florida High School Athletic Association and the NCAA already have policies that provide ways for transgender students to join school sports teams and that there have been no documented problems since those policies were enacted.

Lawmakers said they know of just 11 transgender students cleared to play high school sports in the state.

Most transgender females are taking hormones to suppress testosterone, the male sex hormone, so do not have an unfair advantage over others on the team, they added.

“There’s never been any problem noted in the state of Florida of a transgender student negatively impacting female sports,” said Emily Gray, transgender outreach coordinator for the LGBTQ Center of Bay County, who also took part in the online press conference.

“We’re talking about children. Children that just want to play with their friends. Just want to play. We’re not talking about Olympic gold medalists here,” Gray said.

The FHSAA requires documentation of “consistent identity and expression” and medical information as part of its process to clear transgender students to play on school sports teams. The NCAA allows transgender women to compete on women’s teams after a year of hormone therapy. The International Olympic Committee also allows transgender women to compete based in part on testosterone levels.

The FHSAA did not respond to a request for comment on the legislation.

A spokeswoman for the NCAA said the organization’s statement from earlier this month still stands. On April 12, the NCAA said that it was keeping tabs on the push to change state laws and only would look to hold its championships in states that are “free of discrimination.” Its own policy, it added, was based on “inclusion and fairness.”

The NCAA has a number of championship events scheduled in Florida in the coming year. But Republican lawmakers who supported the transgender ban said they aren’t worried about NCAA threats.

“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act has passed the House and Senate and is now headed to the Governor. Your turn to do nothing, NCAA,” tweeted Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater.

These transgender sports ban bills have not prompted the outcry there was after North Carolina passed its so-called “bathroom bill” in 2016, which was assailed by critics as an attack on transgender people and repealed a year later. That law prompted the NBA to move its all-star game out of the state, and high-profile college sports events left the state, too.

But many prominent companies have signed a petition in opposition to the sports bills, and other legislation viewed as anti-transgender, now being pushed nationwide. The petition, signed by Amazon, Apple and Nike, among others, said the bills’ passage could influence where they “invest and grow” and urged state leaders to abandon the “discriminatory” legislation.

Republicans who supported the bills acknowledged there were no documented problems in Florida but said they were being proactive and trying to prevent situations like that in Connecticut. In that state, four girls and their families sued the state high school athletic association after two transgender girls won numerous track events.

A judge on Sunday dismissed that case on procedural grounds, saying the two transgender students had graduated and those who sued had identified no other transgender athletes who would be their competitors in the upcoming track season, making their complaint moot, the Hartford Currant reported.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group, represented the girls and said they will appeal, arguing a policy “that allows males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletic events” have deprived their clients of “honors and opportunities to compete at elite levels.”

The alliance helped the Idaho Republican lawmaker who filed that state’s transgender sports ban bill craft her legislation, which later served as a model for bills filed in Florida and across the country.

A spokesperson for the alliance did not respond to a request for comment. But the group Wednesday commended West Virginia’s governor for signing his state’s bill into law “in the face of ongoing pressure from woke corporations and special interests to reject this type of legislation.”

Flori-DUH Chonicles: Why did Florida and other Sunbelt states fall short in census? (AP)

Bragging for years of their voter suppression techniques, retromingent rebarbative Republicans are attempting to make a Pig's Breakfast of our democracy, with years of continuing voter suppression. 

But, once again, have Dull Republican's ham-handed voter suppression efforts fizzled, with contrarian consequences? 

Predictably, afraid of retaliation, many immigrants ducked responding to the U.S. Census -- scared by Trump's failed effort to impose a citizenship question in violation of the Constitution's Enumeration Clause requirement to base Congressional districts on "the whole number of persons" in each State.  

So Florida came close to having two more Congressional Districts, with increased clout and federal aid based on funding formulae.  But less than muscular efforts to get people to the Census let us down.

A Census enumerator called into NPR Jacksonville "First Coast Connect" with Melissa Ross this week, testifying that Republicans and Trump supporters adamantly refused to participate in the Census, because they did not want to give any information to the government.  

So Dull Republicans and fearful immigrants withhold their information from Census enumerators, depriving Florida of an additional Electoral College vote and Congressional seat. 

That's why we've called it "Flori-DUH" from time to time, since USA Today used that as a headline on. the 2000 Bush v. Gore recount. 

From Associated Press: 

  Why did Florida and other Sunbelt states fall short in census?

When compared to the most recent population estimates, the three Sunbelt states underperformed. Florida and other Sunbelt states didn't grow in the 2020 census as much as many experts predicted. 

By Associated Press Published Apr. 27 Updated Apr. 27 

 According to the new census, the booming Sunbelt isn’t booming quite like the experts thought. Population counts released Monday came as a shock to many demographers and politicians who expected to see growth that could add numerous congressional seats to a region that’s apparently been gaining people rapidly all decade. 

Instead, the census found more modest growth that added only three seats total in Florida and Texas. Arizona, the second-fastest growing state in 2010, didn’t add a seat at all. The questions that advocacy groups and officials are now asking are whether all the new subdivisions and shopping centers are a mirage; whether those states erred in not investing more in encouraging residents to fill out census forms — and whether Latinos in particular were reluctant to trust the Trump administration with their information. 

 Many demographers caution it’s too early to conclude that the nation’s once-a-decade count missed any specific population groups. That won’t be known until more local data is released later this year and the Census Bureau has completed an independent survey measuring the accuracy of the 2020 head count. 

 But one thing is indisputable — when compared to the most recent population estimates, the three Sunbelt states underperformed during the count used for determining how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets. Texas got two extra seats instead of three; Florida added only a single new seat instead of two, and Arizona failed to gain the seat it was expecting to add. All three states are led by Republican governors who devoted less resources than other states to encouraging participation in the 2020 census. And in all three states, Hispanics have accounted for about half of the population growth over the decade, according to American Community Survey data. 

 In Arizona, activists blamed Gov. Doug Ducey for supporting the Trump administration’s failed effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census questionnaire. 

Those efforts intimidated Latinos and kept them from fully participating in the census, they said. “What we saw from the government, Ducey and the Trump administration, was intimidation from Day 1 on the census,” said Eduardo Sainz, national field director for Mi Familia Vota, a political advocacy group. 

“Because of this narrative of fear, and this narrative of not funding, we lost that seat.” The Ducey administration released a statement from the state demographer saying that more data is needed to determine why the count fell short of estimates of Arizona’s growth. During outreach efforts to get people to fill out their census forms, Hispanic residents would ask Adonias Arevalo about Trump’s push on citizenship. 

Arevalo, state director for Poder Latinx in Phoenix, said, “Despite the fact that we said a citizenship question will not be present, folks didn’t trust the Trump administration.” He said Arizona’s undercount is partly the legacy of Republican leaders, including former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and anti-immigration laws. 

“For years, people have distrusted the system,” Arevalo said. “People fear to participate in these processes due to years of criminalization.” Arizona, Florida and Texas were laggards compared to other states in efforts to form statewide committees aimed at driving census participation. Arizona only named members to its committee in August 2019, and Florida set one up in January 2020, just weeks before the national head count began in a rural Alaska village. Texas never even set up a statewide committee, which some census activists attributed to Texas lawmakers not wanting to take a stand on the citizenship question by promoting the census. 

 A spokeswoman for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t respond to an email inquiry. 

 Paul Mitchell, a redistricting expert in California, a state that spent $187 million on census outreach, said there was a clear pattern in the numbers. States that funded major census-participation campaigns did well, while Republican-led ones, who viewed efforts like that as criticisms of then-President Donald Trump, did not, he said. “Texas, Florida, Arizona, they didn’t do big outreach efforts to improve the count,” Mitchell said. “In Texas, particularly, it was anathema to say anything in the Legislature that could be seen as critical of Trump.” 

 Mitchell said the dynamic with Latinos seems clear given the populations of the underperforming states. He noted that some states that did comparatively better, like his own California, promised to protect their immigrants while low-spending GOP ones did not. “It does just kind of stare you in the face,” Mitchell said of the pattern. The actual population count from the 2020 census for Arizona was 3.3% short of what previous population estimates had shown. Florida and Texas were short by 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively. 

On the flipside, the population counts in two states that had been expected to lose seats, Alabama and Rhode Island, exceeded their estimates by 2% or more. During this census cycle, Rhode Island for the first time devoted $1.5 million in public and private money on census outreach efforts. 

That, along with the fact that Rhode Island hosted the only test run of the census in 2018, helped keep the head count in the public eye, said John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island. 

“There was this constant drumbeat that we could lose our second seat,” Marion said. If New York had counted 89 more residents, and all other states stayed the same, the state would have kept its seat. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said the state was exploring its legal options. “Because when you’re talking about 89, that could be a minor mistake in counting,” Cuomo said. The narrow margins by which New York narrowly lost a seat, Alabama and Rhode Island hung onto theirs and the three Sun Belt states underperformed have aroused suspicions that something “doesn’t seem quite right,” said Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO Educational Fund, a Hispanic advocacy group. “I smell smoke,” Vargas said. “We will have to wait a few months to see what kind of fire there is.” 

 By NICHOLAS RICCARDI and MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press. AP reporter Marina Villaneuve in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Farmer out as Minority Leader with only three days left in Legislative Session. (Capitolist)

Farmer out as Minority Leader with only three days left in Legislative Session by Karen Murphy | Apr 28, 2021 At a time when the Democrats should have been celebrating one of their few successes during this legislative session, they found themselves Wednesday morning squabbling in a backroom instead. Once they emerged, the 16-member Florida Senate Democrat Caucus announced it had unexpectedly ousted its party’s leader. With only three days left in the legislative session, Senator Gary Farmer, (D-District 34) was removed from his post as Senate Minority Leader and replaced by either Senator Lauren Book (D-District 32), who was on deck to take over as leader next year or Senator Bobby Powell (D-District 30), the Leader Pro Tempore, depending on who you ask. Book’s spokesperson Claire VanSusteren told the Sun-Sentinel, a no-confidence vote on Farmer, taken during that private meeting, was the culmination of issues that had been building through the 2021 legislative session that ends on Friday. “There’s just not a whole lot of trust between the members and their leader,” VanSusteren said. According to reports, following 14 Democrat senator’s unified stance on Tuesday against a bill which would have protected candidates for Florida university president positions from public records requests, rumors were floated that there was dissension in the ranks. Farmer was reportedly accused of spreading those rumors. All 14 of those Democrat senators’ votes were needed to block the two-thirds majority needed to pass that bill. Under Senate rules, a senator on the winning side of an issue can make a motion to reconsider the vote. If any Democrat changed his or her vote, the bill would pass. According to multiple reports, during Wednesday morning’s caucus, Senator Shevrin Jones (D-District 35), said he had heard his name was being circulated as a possible vote-switcher. He, reportedly, told Farmer that “not being truthful is something that pisses me off … to have my character put on the line.” Farmer told Jones: “You had told me you were a no on that bill, and I absolutely took you at your word.” A few minutes later, the senators ended the caucus and gathered in a private room just off the Senate floor. Following the conclusion of that meeting, it was reported Farmer was removed by a vote of no confidence. Book announced that she was chosen as Farmer’s immediate successor. However, according to Florida Politics, Farmer claimed the vote was out of order and then resigned. He also indicated Senator Bobby Powell (D-District 30) would take over. “I hereby resign as Democratic Leader in the Florida State Senate, and pursuant to Senate and Caucus rules Leader Pro Tempore Senator Bobby Powell shall assume the role and responsibilities of the Senate Democratic Leader effective immediately,” he said.

Gary Michael Farmer, Jr. Removed As Florida Senate Democratic Leader. (Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times)

Good move by Florida Senate Democrats in removing their Senate leader, Gary Michael Farmer, Jr.  (D-Lighthouse Point).  

Farmer left his wife to have an affair with a lobbyist.  Now he's been removed by Democrats for other good reasons.

One Broward senator replaces the other in late-session revolt by Democrats

UPDATED APRIL 28, 2021 07:40 PM
Sen. Lauren Book of Plantation, who was already selected to lead Senate Democrats starting in November 2022, is assuming leadership of the caucus now after an unusual late-session revolt within the party ousted current leader Gary Farmer of Lighthourse Point. Book is shown during the 2019 special session concerning Gov. Ron DeSantis’ dismissal of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
Sen. Lauren Book of Plantation, who was already selected to lead Senate Democrats starting in November 2022, is assuming leadership of the caucus now after an unusual late-session revolt within the party ousted current leader Gary Farmer of Lighthourse Point. Book is shown during the 2019 special session concerning Gov. Ron DeSantis’ dismissal of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.  AP

Democratic senators voted to replace their leader in a rare late-session revolt on Wednesday.

Just three days before the end of this year’s legislative session, Democrats unanimously took a vote of no confidence in Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer, a Lighthouse Point lawyer.

Sen. Lauren Book, a children’s advocate from Plantation who was set to lead Senate Democrats in 2022, was chosen as his replacement, effective immediately.

The intra-party conflict was the result of long-simmering frustration with Farmer, who’s failed to unite his caucus on several bills this year. Democrats make up just 16 of the 40 senators, making them powerless to stop the vast majority of Republican bills.

But this week, Democrats had a rare opportunity to stop one Republican priority: a bill that would make secret the names of people who apply to be college or university presidents.

Unlike most bills, which require a simple majority vote to pass, bills that restrict public records require a two-thirds majority. On Tuesday, 14 of the 16 Democratic senators united to stop that bill from passing.

In the wake of that victory, however, Farmer tweeted that Republicans were considering holding a second vote, and he urged Democrats not to switch sides.

LegislativeSessionSheriff (2).JPG
State Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Lighthouse Point, left, is out as the leader of Senate Democrats after a late-session intra-party revolt. Farmer is shown with Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, during a 2019 special session concerning Gov. Ron DeSantis’ dismissal of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. Steve Cannon  AP

The frustration boiled over during a Wednesday morning caucus meeting, when Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, suggested Farmer had given reporters names of people he thought were considering switching their vote.

As a member of the Florida House, Jones had previously supported the exemption. But as a senator, Jones joined his Democratic colleagues to vote down the measure on Tuesday.

Read more here:

Farmer denied giving Jones’ name.

“Did not happen. It absolutely did not happen,” Farmer said.

As tensions rose, the audio and video of the meeting which was being broadcast via Zoom, shut down.

“We lost audio,’’ said one of about a dozen lobbyists and reporters watching the livestream of the meeting.

About five minutes later, the audio and video resumed.

Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, told Farmer that Democrats sometimes didn’t feel protected by their leader.

“You are a leader, and you are supposed to just lead us and protect us,” she told Farmer.

As Senate President Wilton Simpson delayed the start of the Senate floor session, Democrats huddled in a side room on the Senate floor to oust Farmer and replace him with Book. Farmer was going to be the Democrats’ leader until 2022.

Farmer later objected, saying the meeting wasn’t noticed. He then resigned, and Book and 11 of her Democratic colleagues elected Book a second time. Only Farmer, Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville, Bobby Powell of West Palm Beach and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale didn’t vote for her.

In a statement, Farmer denied “many of the representations conveyed at that meeting and believe there is significant misunderstanding at multiple levels.”

“While I do not believe that the calls for my removal as leader were justified, it has become clear that my zealous advocacy of core Democratic principles and driving of my members to act and vote in accordance with those principles has become problematic to several of my members,” he said.

Jones, who expressed personal fondness for Farmer, said afterward that each senator had his or her own reason for moving to oust him.

“It’s bad we have to do this now. But you can’t move on internally if we are not OK,” Jones said. “Members did not feel we were unified as a caucus.”

Book, a savvy dealmaker with close ties to Senate President Simpson, now takes over a fractious caucus that will need to be united to challenge Republicans during an upcoming redistricting process.

This session has seen Democratic senators switch sides at critical junctures. When Republican leaders proposed cutting the state’s struggling prison system by $140 million, Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, led a highly unusual revolt against his own party — only to lose when the swing vote, Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, sided with Republicans.

Enough Democrats, including Book, also switched sides on another Republican-sponsored public records exemption, related to a bill that gives the Florida attorney general new powers to investigate social media platforms that fail to alert users when their content is censored.

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Legislature halts unnecessary road projects

Good news.  Florida Legislature gets something right for a change.  Of all of the ill-conceived examples of Corporate Welfare in our time, his one flunked the laugh test and the smell test.  Thanks for listening, legislators.   

M-CORES hits dead end, repeal sent to Governor’s desk

by  | Apr 28, 2021

In a year of in which the Florida Legislature faced uncertain revenue projections, a controversial toll-road project was an easy sacrifice to the proverbial chopping block. This week, the Legislature sent a bill that does away with much of a controversial toll-road plan, called the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Approved by the Florida legislature in 2019 with the enthusiastic support of Governor Ron DeSantis, M-CORES called for building a toll road from Collier County to Polk County, extending Florida’s Turnpike to connect with the Suncoast Parkway, and extending the Suncoast Parkway toll road from Citrus County to Jefferson County.

Plans to build these tolls roads through rural areas in the middle and northern part of the state drew public outcry from community leaders who said the roads were not needed or wanted and would cause environmental harm.

While the bill does not completely terminate the project, it does scale it back significantly.

Senate Bill (SB) 100’s sponsor Senate Transportation Chairwoman Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) told the Senate, “The pandemic has really required that we reevaluate things and one of the things that I really believe that is both a policy and a budget issue is M-CORES.”

SB 100 eliminates the Southwest Florida connector between Collier and Polk counties.

The Florida Department of Transportation plans for the extension of the turnpike west from Wildwood to the Suncoast Parkway remain.

Plans for the Suncoast Parkway north were modified and will now utilize the existing route of U.S. 19 and ultimately connecting to Interstate 10 in Madison County, instead of Jefferson County. The bill also includes non-tolled alternatives for local traffic along U.S. 19 and would allow property owners impacted by the roads at least one access point for each mile of land owned.

The bill returns $35 million tapped for those projects back to Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise fund to be used for specific purposes and recurring for the next 30 years.

The Senate approved the measure in March and the House passed it unanimously Tuesday. Senator Janet Cruz (D-District 18) was the only lawmaker in either chamber to vote against it.

The repeal of M-CORES was called for by Florida TaxWatch, several environmental groups and local county representatives.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro called the M-CORES project an “unnecessary gamble that could cost Florida and its taxpayers dearly.”

“Florida TaxWatch has raised substantive concerns about the M-CORES project, which revealed a serious lack of planning, analysis, or proper vetting used in the development and 2019 approval of this massive expansion of Florida’s Turnpike System,” said Calabro. “Our 2020 report found this project was a highly expensive gamble that could have cost Florida and its taxpayers billions of dollars. Thank you to the Florida Legislature for reconsidering and repealing this measure and we look forward to Gov. DeSantis’ signature on SB 100.”

The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association also supported the M-CORES repeal.

“Prioritizing infrastructure investments, as the Legislature has done with the passage of this important bill, is vital to the future success of Florida,” said the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association President Ananth Prasad. “As Florida’s population continues to grow, there will be an increasing number of vehicles traveling on our roads and we will need both new and improved roadways throughout our state to accommodate them. This legislation is a sensible approach to begin addressing this issue. With the passage of SB 100, the Florida Legislature is taking action to responsibly address both short-term and long-term infrastructure needs in our state.”