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October 2014  Voter

In This Issue

1 Forums
Calendar
President's Message
4 Voter Registration
Amendments

Picture Gallery
Contacts
 



 









Candidate Forums

2014 General Election


The League of Women Voters of Polk County will sponsor Candidate and Ballot Amendment Forums this year to assist voters in learning about the candidates and issues affecting Polk County.  The Forums are scheduled for the following dates at:

 
County Administration Building
Commission Chambers
330 W Church St, Bartow
 
Tuesday, October 7, 7 p.m.
Constitutional Amendments & Polk Referendum
Paula Dockery, Grady Judd, John Morgan,
Larry Hardaway, Tom Phillips, Sandy Fortin

Tuesday, October 14, 7 p.m.
US Congressional Candidates
Dennis Ross, Alan Cohn, Will Bronson
Marko Milekovich, Michael McKenna,

Thursday, October 16, 7 p.m.
State Senate and House Candidates
Darren Soto, Devin Norton
Neil Combee, Carol Castagnero,
Colleen Burton, Ricky Shirah,
John Wood, Celeste Williams,
(Note PGTV will broadcast all Fourms on
Brighthouse Ch 622, Concast Ch 5, Verizon Ch 20)

Anyone interested in assisting with the Forums, please contact Sue Schultz at president@lwvpolk.org or646-4634
 
Facebook
Twitter
Our Website
YouTube
Email Us

Calendar
 

Oct 3, Fri, 6 - 9 pm
Voter Registration Event, Downtown Lakeland First Friday
 
Oct 6, Monday
Last day to register for General Election
 
Oct 7, Tues, 7:00 pm
Forum: Amendments
& County Referendum

County Admin. Bldg.
Bartow

Oct 8, Wed, 12:30 pm
LWV Board Meeting
United Way, Highland
City  (bag lunch) 

Oct 13, Monday
Columbus Day
 
Oct 14, Tues, 7:00 pm
Candidate Forum:
US Congress

County Admin. Bldg.
Bartow

Oct 16, Thurs, 7:00 pm
Candidate Forum:
Florida Legislators

County Admin. Bldg.
Bartow
* * *
Nov 4, Tuesday
General Election Day

Nov 11, Wednesday
Veterans' Day
  - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
     
Volunteers Needed for Candidate Forums
 
We need volunteers to serve as greeters, questioners, question gatherers and timekeepers.  The General Election Forums are scheduled for
October 7, 14  16

 
Help make the LWV of Polk County a thriving and energetic League.
Please call Sue Schultz to volunteer or with any questions at 646-4634.

President's Message

 

We are in the middle of a very busy election season.  We have completed the Candidate Forums for the Primary, but have three planned for the General Election (see above).    All our Forums will be televised by PGTV.  Be sure to watch if you cannot attend. 

Our membership learned the pros and cons of the Constitutional Amendments and County Referendum on Wednesday, September 24.  The meeting was well attended and everyone had a good time.

Our Speakers Bureau is ready to speak to groups interested in learning about the amendments.  Our most important job is to educate voters to make informed decisions at the polls.  We will be at Bnai Brith in Lakeland on Oct 19.

National  Voter Registration Day activities went well.  We were in several locations around the county including Florida Polytech, our newest University.  Thanks to all who helped.

The League is also inviting all candidates participating in the General Election to come to Lakeland's First Friday on October 3, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
We have a table to register voters, distribute Voter Guides, and hand out flyers supporting Amendment 1, Water and Land Conservation. 

We will be in space 13 in front of the Curtis Peterson Building.   Come join us. 
 

 

Sue Schultz, President

 











 
      
 
National Voter Registration Day
 
     

 

Nation Voter Registration Day, September 23, has come and gone.  Members working with the Supervisor of Elections staff collected 39 applications.  Thank you to Bernadette Carney, Joan Verret, Nancy Futch, Sue Schultz, and Ann & Jerry Weeks.  Also, thanks go out to Sonya Miller and Petula Williams from the Supervisors office for their support.

On September 27th Ann Weeks and Ana Torres worked a registration drive at the Eloise Resource Center’s Hispanic Heritage Festival.  League member, Jessica Sanchez, was working a booth for Young American Dreamers.

Remember the last day for NEW VOTERS to register is October 6th.  The registration must be 29 days before the November 4th election.
 

P.S. AND A FUN TIME WAS HAD BY ALL
 

Ann Weeks, Voter Registration Chair

2014 Ballot Amendments


Amendment 1, Water and Land Conservation
 
Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.
 
Background:  Amendment 1, if approved by voters, will “dedicate 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund”.  The Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) is an initiative which was brought about by the state legislature in 1963, and was designed to help purchase land for parks. The LATF originally was funded by a sales tax on outdoor equipment, bathing suits, and other outdoor clothing. This policy ended in 1968, when the legislature decided to fund the LATF through the sale of recreation bonds. In recent years, appropriations for the fund have been cut significantly. Amendment 1 seeks to provide alternative funding for the LATF.  (Source: ballotpedia.org)
 
According to Ballotpedia, “The Land Acquisition Trust Fund would be expended to acquire and improve conservation easements, wildlife management areas, wetlands, forests, fish and wildlife habitats, beaches and shores, recreational trails and parks, urban open space, rural landscapes, working farms and ranches, historical and geological sites, lands protecting water and drinking water resources and lands in the Everglades Agricultural Areas and the Everglades Protection Area.”
 
A “YES” vote on this amendment would provide a long-term funding mechanism for environmental conservation without a new tax, remove reliance on yearly legislative funding for water and land conservation projects, and enhance publicly held recreational lands, possibly contributing to economic growth through increased eco-tourism.
 
A “NO” vote on this amendment would not establish a long-term funding mechanism for environmental conservation, retain the legislature’s ability to make budgetary decisions on a year-to-year basis, and not place language in the Florida Constitution relating to environmental conservation where it would be.
 
In Support:  This measure is supported by various organizations including the League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, Inc., the Florida Green Party, and the Sierra Club.  Moreover, Sen. David Simmons (R-10), Former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham (D), and Former Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan (D) support the measure.

According to former Republican Party of Florida vice chair Allison DeFoor (R):
“I support Amendment 1 because, without raising new taxes, it will enhance sources of drinking water, manage fish and wildlife habitats, add and restore lands, protect beaches and shores and maintain state and local parks...Supporting Amendment 1 falls squarely in line with my belief that conservation is all about conservative values and ideas. Conservation is, by definition conservative. Republicans have a long tradition of it, nationally and in Florida. Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush were leaders. In Florida, Gov. Bob Martinez created Preservation 2000. Gov. Jeb Bush created a similar effort, Florida Forever. In Jacksonville, Mayor John Delaney led the way in local conservation, creating a legacy that will continue for generations. All Republicans, like me...Conservatives believe that government spending should be directed first toward the limited number of things that only government can do well. Securing a clean water supply and the conservation of lands falls in the wheelhouse of this definition.” (Source:ballotpedia.org)

In Opposition:  Senate President Don Gaetz (R-1), House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-38), and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) oppose the amendment.  Also, the Florida Chamber of Commerce opposes this measure.
 
Commissioner Putnam states: “I've certainly demonstrated my support for buying easements and accomplishing water and wildlife benefits from the use of acquisition programs. But I'm troubled by writing into the constitution elements of the budget.” (Source: ballotpedia.org)
Amendment 2, Medical Marijuana
 
Use of Marijuana for certain medical conditions.


Background:  This amendment will allow for a physician to authorize the use of medical marijuana for their patients. The Department of Health would become responsible for registering and regulating centers that would be producing and distributing medical marijuana. This law will only apply to Florida residents, no one else would be effected.  When a patient is under the influence of medical marijuana they will not be allowed to operate a boat or car. This amendment allows for institutions to ban medical marijuana from their facilities. The Amendment would also issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.

Fiscal Note - “Increased costs from this amendment to state and local governments cannot be determined. There will be additional regulatory and enforcement activities associated with the production and sale of medical marijuana. Fees will offset at least a portion of the regulatory costs. While sales tax may apply to purchases, changes in revenue cannot reasonably be determined since the extent to which medical marijuana will be exempt from taxation is unclear without legislative or state administrative action.” (Source: ballotpedia.org)

Charlotte’s Web
On June 16, 2014, Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.”  The legislation legalized low-tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis, such as the strain Charlotte’s Web, for medical patients suffering from cancer or "a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures," such as epilepsy, "or severe and persistent muscle spasms."

A “YES” Vote would provide for the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes by individuals with debilitating diseases, as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Maintain the current prohibition on marijuana use for recreational purposes. Also require the Department of Health to monitor centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and to issue ID cards to patients and caregivers.

A “NO” Vote would not affect the current prohibition on marijuana use in the state of Florida.  Maintain the status quo as it relates to enforcement of the marijuana laws currently in place. Not place language in the Florida Constitution relating to medical marijuana where it would be difficult to modify or remove.

In Support:   Officials: Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-27), Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-36), Rep. Dave Kerner (D-87), Rep. Katie Edwards (D-98) and Alan Clendenin, vice chairperson of the Florida Democratic Party. Former Officials: Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) and Former Sen. Nan Rich (D-34).  Organizations: Florida Cannabis Action Network, Florida Cannabis Industry Association, CannaMoms, Service Employees International Union of Florida, Libertarian Party of Florida. Individuals: Attorney John Morgan, Jeremy Bufford, marijuana cultivation expert, and George Soros.

In Opposition:  Officials: Gov. Rick Scott (R), Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), US Sen. Marco Rubio (R), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-23), Sen. Don Gaetz, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-4), Rep. Will Weatherford (R-38), Rep. Daniel Davis (R-15).  Former Officials: Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Former Supreme Court Justice Kenneth B. Bell, 2003-2008, Former Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero, 2002-2008, Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Wells, 1994-2009, Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Major B. Harding, 1991-2002, Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen H. Grimes, 1987-1997, Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Leander J. Shaw Jr., 1983-2003, Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Parker Lee McDonald, 1979-1994. Organizations: Florida Family Policy Council, Florida Medical Association, Institute on Global Drug Policy, Drug Policy Institute, Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Save Our Society from Drugs, Brevard County Medical Society.
Amendment 3, Judicial Appointments
 
Prospective Appointment of certain judicial vacancies.

Background:  Amendment 3 was introduced by the state legislature and,“upon voter approval, would empower the governor to fill judicial vacancies by appointing a justice or judge from among at least three - but not more than six - candidates selected by the judicial nominating commission.”  Moreover, under this amendment, the governor could pick judicial successors before a judge finishes their term if the judge reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70, fails to qualify for a retention election, or fails to be retained through election. (Source:ballotpedia.org)
 
It is also important to note that because it is possible for a judicial vacancy to open on the same day that a new Governor takes office, the Florida Supreme Court said in 2006 that the newly sworn-in Governor should make those appointments, not the outgoing Governor.
 
A “YES” vote on this amendment would invalidate court interpretations of Florida’s Constitution as to who has the authority to fill judicial vacancies, enable an outgoing governor to make appointments to the Florida Supreme Court or a district court of appeal, and possibly shorten the time of a judicial vacancy.
 
A “NO” vote on this amendment would ensure that a newly sworn-in governor will fill prospective judicial vacancies, keep language relating to judicial appointments out of the Florida Constitution, where it would be difficult to modify or remove, continue to allow judicial vacancies to exist for up to 120 days, possibly creating workload issues within the courts.
 
In Support:  Senators Tom Lee (R-24) and Jack Latvala (R-20) support the measure; there are currently no organizations who support the amendment.  According to Senator Lee, who introduced the bill, “Despite how politically volatile this issue will be, the good governance answer is to let the outgoing governor make the appointments.”

In Opposition:  Senator Jeremy Ring (D-29) and Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-97) oppose the amendment. It is also to be noted that the League of Women Voters of Florida opposes the measure.   Rep. Moskowitz states, “It's not good policy to be having an outgoing person deciding the balance of the court. The state Supreme Court justices are of a higher importance than who the secretary of the Department of Transportation is, so their logic just doesn't add up.”
Polk County Referendum, Transportation Surtax
 
Sales surtax increase of 1% to fund transportation needs.

Background:  This referendum would call for a 1% increase on the current Polk sales tax of 7%. Current sales tax is made up of:  6% state sales tax, ½ % county tax for school construction (Expires 12/31/2018) and ½ % county tax for Indigent Health Care Services (Expires 12/31/2019).  This 1% Sales tax would go towards MyRide/MyRoad Public Transportation, Roadways, and Bus System.  County Property Taxes for transportation would be reduced 1 mill and Lakeland Area Transit Property Tax another .5 mill.

A “YES” vote would add a 1% sales tax to the current 7% sales tax from 1-1-2015 through 2027 including
  •   ½%  tax for Transportation Trust Fund to expand bus service in the county
  •   ½%  tax for Trust Fund to provide for maintenance of roadways and bridges
It would also reduce county property taxes by 1.0 mill and reduce Lakeland Area Mass Transit District (LAMTD) millage an additional ½ mill for a total of 1.5 mills.
 
A “NO” vote would keep Polk County’s sales tax at 7%.

In Support:  Friends of My Ride/My Roads, a private PAC

In Opposition:   Florida Taxpayers Defense, a corporate PAC and Florida Retail Federation
 
 
Submitted by
  
                                   Quay Parks          &            Katie Widner,        LWV Polk Interns

Picture Gallery

Sheriff's Leadership Council Tour
 (September 18)

Voter Registration Tables
Lakeland: Florida Polytechnic (Sep 23)
Auburndale:  Havendale Blvd Walgreens (Sep 23)
Winter Haven: Hispanic Heritage Festival (Sep 27)

 

Back-to-League
 (September 24)

 CONTACTS:
   LWV POLK COUNTY  -
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
 
Sue Schultz, President
646-4634

President@lwvpolk.org

Nancy Simmons, Vice President
291-3734

Vicepresident@lwvpolk.org


Sandy Sheets, VP Programs
619-0048
VPPrograms@lwvpolk.org

Mary Jo Jarrett, Secretary/Membership
644-8527
Secretary@lwvpolk.org

Vanessa Hammill, Treasurer
409-5548

Treasurer@lwvpolk.org


Shannon Allen
326-2651
sallen@allenlawllc.org

Paula Mims
258-1988
pmmims@aol.com

Connie Prince
646-7101

prince.connie@gmail.com

Jerry Weeks
648-4127

2weeks@tampabay.rr.com

Jean Harden
646-2404
jshardenfl@gmail.com

Salma Nawlo, Marketing
226-4067

nawlo.salma@gmail.com

Ann Weeks
648-4127

bonaire37@yahoo.com




Off-Board Specialists:


Natural Resources, Beverly Sidenstick,
Chair
299-8514
bjsidenstick@earthlink.net

Fundraising & Government
Paula McKay Mims
pmmims@aol.com

Library, Barbara Stampfl
687-2787
stampfls@tampabay.rr.com

Speakers Bureau, Ann Weeks
648-4127
bonaire37@yahoo.com

Voter Editor / Webmaster
Jerry Weeks
648-4127
Webmaster@lwvpolk.org


Interns:

Quay Parks

Katie Widner

lwvpolk@gmail.com



LWV Websites:

National: www.lwv.org

State: TheFloridaVoter.org

Local: http://www.lwvpolk.org


 
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