Sunday, March 27, 2022

SB 1078 not as innocent as it sounds. (SAR)

Perceptive letter by Bruce Kading in this morning's St. Augustine Record.  Senator Hutson's conflicts of interest require an ethics investigation and a federal grand jury investigation. He reminds me of what Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) said of his Republican opponent in 2020:  "‘It’s not just that you’re a crook, Senator. It’s that you’re attacking the health of the people that you represent." Jon Ossoff went off on Sen. Perdue in this must-see moment from their Georgia debate.

Bruce Kading's letter from this morning's St. Augustine Record is spot on.

Letters to the editor

St. Augustine Record

SB 1078 not as innocent as it sounds

You have to give credit to Sen. Travis Hutson. He is not shy about using his position to benefit his family-owned development company. And if he doesn’t agree with the decision of voters to elect a public official, his answer is to craft a law that would throw that elected official out of office.

Hutson has sponsored two bills, SB 620 an SB 1078, both of which have passed and await signature by Gov. DeSantis. The first would allow businesses to recover damages from county or municipal governments if business profits are affected by local ordinances. Imagine the litigation costs to local governments if this were to be signed into law. This is great if you want higher taxes.

Even worse is SB 1078, which would require anybody elected to Soil and Water Conservation Districts to be an agricultural worker. This may sound innocent, but it isn’t. Nicole Crosby came to Hutson’s attention by successfully leading an effort to stop development at the pristine conservation area known as the Outpost. She ran in 2020 for a position on the SWCD against a candidate bankrolled by Hutson and other developers and she won, receiving almost 74,000 votes.

So Hutson decided that anybody elected to any of the state’s SWC Districts had to work in farming or ranching, even though the statute creating those districts includes no such restriction and makes clear that its primary mission is to protect water quality, wildlife and public lands. Yet under Hutson’s proposed law, not even a soil and water scientist would qualify to serve on the SWCD. 

So Crosby would be deemed unqualified and ousted from office in November. That’s what will happen unless DeSantis vetoes the bill.

The question for Senator Hutson is: How do you justify disenfranchising the thousands who voted Crosby into office?

Bruce P. Kading, St. Augustine

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