State Senator Gary Farmer who represents all of coastal Broward County issued the following statement today in response to news that Governor DeSantis would be issuing an executive order to invalidate the Broward County School Board’s decision to mandate masks in public schools: [Read more…] about Broward County Senator Gary Farmer Defends School Mask Mandate
Senator Gary Farmer
As the CDC urged both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates (which covers most of Florida) to wear masks, Florida’s cities and counties are left with their hands tied after the Legislature passed a DeSantis priority bill which eliminated their ability to effectively enforce their own mask mandates. [Read more…] about Senator Farmer Calls For Protection of County and Local Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic
Today State Senator Gary Farmer called for the State Legislature to override Governor DeSantis’ veto of SB 274 related to juvenile diversion program expunctions. [Read more…] about Senator Farmer Calls for Veto Override on Juvenile Diversion Program Bill
Prominent advocate for consumer rights and
protections takes helm for 2020-2022 legislative term
State Senator Gary M. Farmer, Jr. (D-Lighthouse Point), a prominent legal advocate for the rights and protections of consumers in Florida, has been unanimously elected Leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus for the 2020-2022 legislative term. [Read more…] about Senator Gary Farmer Unanimously Elected Senate Democratic Leader
With the number of Covid-19 infections surging and testing data still lagging, state Senator Gary Farmer (D-Lighthouse Point) on Monday called on Governor Ron DeSantis to close non-essential businesses and issue a stay home order to protect the people of Florida. [Read more…] about Senator Gary Farmer calls on Governor to close non-essential businesses/issue stay home order statewide
In response to the excessive use of force by Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a fifteen year old, African-American child last Thursday, Senator Gary Farmer (D-Fort Lauderdale) issues the following statement: [Read more…] about Senator Gary Farmer Statement on Excessive Use of Force by Broward County Sheriff’s Deputies
Yesterday, Senator Gary Farmer (D-Fort Lauderdale) filed SB 372 authorizing smokable medical marijuana in order to bring Florida into compliance with a judge’s ruling that the Legislature’s implementing bill violated the intent of Amendment 2, which was overwhelmingly passed by more than 70% of voters in 2016. [Read more…] about ICYMI: Senator Gary Farmer Files Legislation to Authorize Smokable Medical Marijuana
Today, the Florida Cabinet, acting in their capacity as the state’s Clemency Board, issued pardons to Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Earnest Thomas, collectively known as the Groveland Four. Senate Democratic Leader Designate Gary Farmer and Representative Bobby DuBose issue the following statements: [Read more…] about Statements from Senate Democratic Leader Designate Gary Farmer & Representative Bobby DuBose on Today’s Pardon of the Groveland Four
The Bill Still Arms Teachers and Brings Guns Into Classrooms
State Senator Gary Farmer today released the following statement with the intent of clearing up a misunderstanding about the “school guardian” provision of Senate Bill 7026:
My primary concern with SB 7026, as shared by many of my Democratic colleagues, is a provision that permits teachers to carry guns in classrooms. In order to assuage this issue the Senate Republicans proposed an amendment that appeared to exclude teachers from the program. In reality however, this restriction is nothing more than window dressing. Instead of removing guns from classrooms, this amendment simply provides an illusionary limitation on the class of teachers who may carry, and provides for numerous exceptions to that rule.
The amendment language states that the limitation only applies to teachers that “exclusively perform classroom duties.” This means that if a teacher performs any additional service on behalf of the school he/she will be allowed to carry a gun into a classroom. If a teacher is also a coach, or the moderator of a club, as is often the case, they would be allowed to carry a firearm at a school.
The exclusion is also narrowly tailored in a manner that fails to cover many individuals that will be interacting with students in classrooms every day. The exemption only covers 1 out of 5 categories of instructional personnel at our schools. Under the current bill language school counselors, psychologists, librarians, cafeteria workers, learning specialists, adjunct educators, and physical education teachers will all be allowed to carry guns at our children’s schools.
Many reports from both national and local media outlets represent the Senate version of SB 7026 as stripped of the controversial classroom carry provisions. This is simply not the case. Those who believe the Senate adequately addressed this point in yesterday’s amendment are mistaken.
While I support some of the better features of this bill, such as restrictions on firearm purchases for those under the age of 21, the ban on bump stocks, additional mental health funding, and school hardening, I will be unable to support this legislation as long as it allows civilians to be armed in the presence of our children. If these provisions remain in the final version of the bill, I urge the Governor to exercise his veto authority, and to call a special session to address this issue in a more responsible manner. I would be happy to return to the Capitol this summer if it means bringing forward a plan that will both keep our children safe by preventing more guns from entering our schools, while addressing the long overdue issue of gun safety.
Senator Farmer this morning filed SB 726, a bill to legalize the smoking of marijuana for medical use. While Floridians successfully amended the State’s constitution (Amendment 2) in November of 2016 to allow for the use of medical marijuana, the Governor and the legislature specifically excluded the smoking of marijuana as a valid medical use in statutes written to implement the Amendment. This decision has been widely criticized as a violation of the Amendment’s intent. The text of Amendment 2 made it clear to the 71% of Floridians who voted for it that the smoking of marijuana in private for medical purposes would be constitutionally guaranteed.
SB 726 would attempt to reconcile the State’s statutes with the mandate established by the voters, and enshrined in the Florida Constitution.
“Each and every legislator including myself swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the State of Florida. An overwhelming majority of voters ratified Amendment 2, and its intent could not be more clear: to allow for the use of medical marijuana, including smoking. The fact that the text of the Amendment specifically disallowed the smoking of marijuana in public places indicates that a patient should be allowed to do so elsewhere. With the passage of the implementation language last session, we as a legislature failed to uphold our oath to defend the State’s Constitution. We owe it to the people of Florida to fix this mistake,” said Senator Farmer about allowing the smoking of medical marijuana.
Senator Farmer believes that this bill is especially necessary in the face of the growing opioid crisis. “The passage of this bill (SB 726) is required now more than ever,” Senator Farmer said. “Right now when a patient is faced with chronic pain and other pain inducing ailments, doctors have limited options available to them as to how to help provide relief for their patients. We need to make sure that our medical professionals are equipped with a full range of options to care for their patients’ needs, while not subjecting them to the horrifying possibilities that can result from the prescription of opioid-based medications. We know that the best delivery method for medical marijuana can vary depending on the patient and the circumstances involved. It makes sense for us to allow doctors and patients to find the best treatment plans on an individual basis. It is not for the legislature to determine treatment the proper plans for our citizens.”
Senator Farmer hopes to see bipartisan support for SB 726, as it will both adequately reflect the mandate of Florida’s Constitution and provide Floridians with the best possible healthcare.