A Balanced Budget for the Federal Government
Senate President Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach has proposed a resolution, which passed in the Senate, that sends a very strong message to Congress: it is time to reign in federal spending.
One of Florida's strengths is that the Florida Constitution requires a balanced budget. In this spirit, Atwater's proposal calls upon the United States Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider new constitutional amendments for two purposes: to require a balanced federal budget, and to limit how the federal government can tell states how to spend their money. The resolution would be revoked if the constitutional convention attempts to go beyond the parameters of the resolution.
The resolution now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Automated External Defibrillators for Assisted Living Facilities
Two representatives want to save lives with legislation to require assisted living facilities to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on site. House Bill 945 by Representative Tom Anderson of Dunedin and Senate Bill 2008 by Senator Mike Fasano of New Port Rickey are both moving rapidly through their respective chambers.
Facilities with 17 beds or more would be required to install an AED and would be encouraged to register the location of the AED with local emergency services personnel. Users of an AED are protected from liability by Florida’s Good Samaritan Act.
Representative Anderson has worked hard throughout his legislative career to make AED’s available in such areas as senior centers. Both he and Senator Fasano agree that assisted living facilities are ideal locations for an AED to help staff possibly save a life if someone goes into cardiac arrest.
New 2012 Legislative Session Schedule Gets Reapportionment Done in Time
As everyone who has a television or a mailbox knows, the United States Census has begun. One of the consequences of the census is the reapportionment of both federal and state seats. Based on population shifts some states may face the loss or gain of members on their congressional delegations starting in 2012. Federal funding of many important programs will be impacted by the populations reported in each state. Additionally, the Florida Legislature will be tasked with redrawing congressional seats and state legislative seats based on the population numbers reported to the federal government.
Senator Joe Negron of Palm City has sponsored SB 2284 pertaining to the state’s role in reapportionment. The legislation states that the Florida Legislature will convene in regular session on January 10, 2012 and will conclude on March 9, 2012. That moves it up two full months. Currently the 60-day session begins on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March.
The purpose of the early start of session is to ensure that legislature’s redistricting plan is passed in time to meet the Florida Supreme Court’s deadline of April 16, 2012 for plan approval. Once the state’s highest court signs off, the plan must then be submitted to the United States Attorney General who has 60 days to review it. Barring any objections the plan finalizes on June 15, 2012.
What's Up For Week Four
As Week Four beckons the state budget will be front and center as the various departmental budgets are debated by the full body. Also, important criminal justice, property tax issues and many other bills that will bring greater protections to Floridians stand ready to be considered and voted on.
Greg Giordano is the Chief Legislative Assistant to State Senator Mike Fasano. To read last week's update, go here.