No: Amendments 5 & 6 benefit outside interests, not voters
By: Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos
In 2008, President Obama won 20 of Florida’s 40 Senate districts. Still, there are those who suggest that Florida’s districts are uncompetitive and gerrymandered.
Of course, everybody supports fair redistricting. But Amendments 5 and 6 are not the answer. These amendments would impose new rules on redistricting — rules written by liberal union bosses, trial lawyers, and special interests, many located outside Florida.
Just follow the money.
The amendments’ sponsor, Fair Districts, has raised $3 million from lawyers and labor unions, including $1 million from state and national teachers unions and $625,000 from the Service Employees International Union.
Fair Districts received $400,000 from America Votes, a union-backed coalition whose members include the AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood and MoveOn.org. Its stated mission is “to advance progressive policies.” Fair Districts is also funded by EMILY’s List, an extremist group dedicated to the election of pro-abortion Democrats. It even accepted $25,000 in 2007 from the Florida affiliate of ACORN, the shady, left-wing organization suspected of nationwide voter-registration fraud.
These highly partisan, liberal groups did not invest millions for nothing. Their agenda is not disinterested civic reform, but a more liberal Congress and Legislature.
“Tell me what company you keep,” Cervantes wrote, “and I will tell you what you are.” From the company that Fair Districts keeps, we know that Amendments 5 and 6 are a power grab by liberal interest groups — plain and simple.
Fair Districts is not a grassroots movement of mainstream Florida citizens. In the last four weeks alone, Fair Districts raised nearly $2 million from four ultra-partisan Democratic mega-donors. Most of these funds came from Washington.
Amendments 5 and 6 are an attempt by Washington special interests to amend our constitution for their political gain. It’s no secret. One prominent, out-of-state supporter of the amendments boasted in news accounts that, if the amendments pass, Democrats would gain up to five seats in Congress. Florida voters — not Washington special interests —should make these decisions.
To date, Fair Districts has spent $5.8 million to convince voters that Florida’s redistricting process is broken. They claim that Republicans owe their legislative majority to gerrymandered districts, but plain facts prove otherwise:
First, Republicans gained their majority under a map drawn by Democrats.
Second, the number of Republicans in the Legislature today, under Republican-drawn districts, is exactly the same as one decade ago, under Democratic-drawn districts.
Third, while Republicans hold 63 percent of seats drawn by the Legislature, they fare even better where redistricting is not a factor, winning 73 percent of statewide elections in the last decade.
The Legislature takes redistricting very seriously. Florida will conduct an open and responsible redistricting process, with or without the partisan rules proposed by trial lawyers and union bosses. Floridians should vote “no” on Amendments 5 and 6.
Mike Haridopolos is the incoming Florida Senate President.
The left’s ploy to kill the conservative comeback
Northwest Florida Daily News
By Rep. Matt Gaetz
The air is cooler, the humidity is lower and political TV ads are virtually staked on top of one another. That’s right: It’s campaign season, and excitement is in the air among conservative voters this year.
Republicans are poised to have the most significant revival in a generation. Congress is likely to switch. If the election were held today, Florida would elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate, the governorship and every cabinet position.
So, is there any reason for conservatives to worry? Absolutely.
Floridians have become all too willing to amend our state constitution at a whim. This election cycle is no exception. In fact, Amendments 5 and 6 pose a greater risk to the conservative cause than any liberal currently running for office.
If passed, Amendments 5 and 6 would essentially toss the redistricting process to the Florida Supreme Court to draw legislative and congressional district lines. Keep in mind that this same court sided with President Obama and denied Floridians the right to reject federal health care reform by removing Amendment 9 from the ballot. Not very unbiased, in my book.
The standards set forth in Amendments 5 and 6 are blatantly inconsistent. According to the proposals, no district lines could be drawn that would favor any incumbent. Likewise, no lines could be drawn that would disfavor any incumbent. Thus, there would always be a basis for endless litigation of the redistricting process, which would cost taxpayers millions of dollars in a tough economy.
This is the strategy of the left: Try to win in courtrooms what cannot be won in the ballot box. Besides, in 1994, Republicans won majorities in districts drawn by Democrats.
It is no surprise that Amendments 5 and 6 have been funded almost exclusively by left-leaning interest groups. ACORN, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Service Employees International Union and George Soros have been major supporters. Only 8 percent of the contributions to Amendments 5 and 6 have been under $500.
If the special interests are successful — if Amendments 5 and 6 pass — Florida will be a very different place to live and do business. Democrats could sue their way into a majority in the Florida Legislature. State income taxes, increased business regulations and limitations on the free market would all be back on the table. Our state would move quickly in the wrong direction. A weakened conservative minority could offer only token resistance.
We all get it. This election is critically important to the future of our nation and our state. Vote no on Amendments 5 and 6 and keep the conservative comeback alive in Florida.Tweet