With a large area of Florida imperiled by spreading toxic algae blooms, and as the death toll of marine life continues to mount at a staggering pace, State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) on Friday called on Governor Rick Scott to immediately reverse his executive orders issued seven years ago which allowed unfettered deregulation of critical protections once safeguarding the state’s fragile environment. [Read more…] about Senator Stewart Calls on Governor Scott to Rescind Executive Orders, Begin Steps to Halt Massive Environmental Destruction
Senator Linda Stewart
Alarmed by evidence of policy violations involving a probe into ineligible concealed weapons permits, and the recent admission of erroneous statements left unchanged for more than a year by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s top watchdog, state Senator Linda Stewart on Monday requested an independent investigation by Florida’s Chief Inspector General.
With President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy still intact, and the fate of more than 2,000 children and their separated parents still hanging in the balance, state Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) called on U.S. Senator Marco Rubio to co-sponsor federal legislation to end the nightmare plaguing the country’s southern border. [Read more…] about Senator Linda Stewart Doubts New Trump Executive Order Will End Immigrant Familes’ Plight
Jolted by Commissioner Adam Putnam’s admission that his Department of Agriculture (DACS) issued hundreds of concealed carry permits to ineligible applicants, and the subsequent failure to immediately disclose the breach until news reports appeared Friday, state Senators Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) and Kevin Rader (D-Delray Beach) on Monday called for a special Senate investigation. [Read more…] about Senators Stewart and Rader call for independent Senate investigation into Commissioner Putnam’s agency background check failure
Demands background checks be re-run by FDLE to protect Floridians’ safety
State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) on Friday called on Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to immediately resign following the disclosure that his agency failed to conduct national background checks, allowing possibly dangerous individuals to obtain concealed carry permits.
She also called for the background checks to be handed off to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and for those under question to be re-run through the FBI’s crime database.
“I am extremely alarmed at the failure by Commissioner Putnam to disclose that his agency had failed to conduct these critical background checks – allowing possibly mentally disturbed individuals and others who should be disqualified, to be legally armed in Florida,” said Stewart. “I’m equally alarmed that officials from his agency tried to conceal the lax oversight by pushing legislation to cover up that failure, and downplayed the real reasons for the bill.
“He needs to resign.”
During the 2018 legislative session, Senator Stewart said that officials from Putnam’s agency came to her office to push for passage of legislation that would have required concealed permits to be approved if the applications had lingered.
Asked about why such a move was necessary, the Senator said that Putnam’s representatives downplayed the motives, insisting that it was more of a housekeeping move, and not a big deal.
That provision was only pulled from consideration following the Parkland massacre.
“These are the kinds of tricks that cannot be tolerated,” said Senator Stewart. “Lives were put in jeopardy by their attempts to conceal what had actually happened, and remain in danger now because of their ineptitude. This process needs to be immediately taken over by FDLE and these applications need to be re-examined.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services failed to run applicants for concealed carry permits through the FBI crime database for more than a year because an employee of the agency could not log in.
The failure means that those individuals who should have been barred from receiving a permit due to disqualifying backgrounds, such as a mental illness, were never flagged.
As Orange County officials ready to discuss new measures aimed at curbing the gun violence epidemic, state Senator Linda Stewart on Monday urged the mayor and commissioners to first take stronger action closing a loophole allowing many questionable gun buyers to remain under the radar.
“I applaud the county for doing something, but we need strong, specific, and direct action that has been ignored so far,” said Senator Stewart. The Orlando Democrat was referring to a memo sent last month from Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs to County Commissioners that outlined gun control proposals, but omitted closing gun show loopholes and adding longer waiting periods.
Senator Stewart and other long-time leaders in the movement for gun safety have long called for such proactive safety measures to be enacted.
In a letter to the mayor, Senator Stewart urged county officials to include closing the gun show loophole, which continues to allow buyers to purchase firearms from private sellers without undergoing any background checks, and to lengthen waiting periods to 5-days.
“Especially in our community, failure to do everything we can to prevent senseless and unnecessary gun violence like the tragedy at Pulse nightclub and recently at Parkland school is absolutely unacceptable,” said Stewart, who has been a fierce gun control advocate following the Pulse massacre. Since her election to the Florida Senate in 2016, Senator Stewart has filed bills and amendments to ban assault weapons, ban bump-fire stocks, and additional measures to curb gun violence and honor the victims of Pulse. She plans to file legislation to address an operational statewide database, which she hopes will be eventually picked up as universal database for our country.
Inspired by the historic movement of high school walkouts nationwide calling for gun safety measures, Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) will be traveling with her teenage granddaughter to Washington, D.C. to participate in the March For Our Lives demonstration taking place on Saturday, March 24, 2018.
“I will be joining our youth as they lead the way to march for common-sense gun safety legislation,” said Senator Stewart, whose district witnessed a 29-year old’s assault weapon siege on Pulse. “Enacting laws that ensure our communities are safe from gun violence has been a goal of mine for both years I’ve been in the Senate, having sponsored a bill to ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines, as well as a bill to ban bump stocks.”
Senator Stewart will be available for interview during her time in Washington, D.C. and is scheduled to return to Central Florida on Sunday, March 25, 2018.
An amendment offered by Senator Stewart onto a bill tightening gun laws would have banned assault weapons and large capacity magazines, but failed to pass in the Senate by a narrow vote of 17-20 after having earned bipartisan support. The same amendment failed in committee once by a vote of 6-7 and again by 8-12.
Honoring a pledge she made immediately following the 2016 massacre at Pulse Nightclub, State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) on Wednesday reissued her call on Senate lawmakers to adopt amendments banning assault weapons, high capacity magazines and bump-fire stocks, as well as strengthening school safety zones. So far, every one of these amendments has been rejected during the committee hearings as a proposal that arms teachers but falls short on gun reform measures sought by victims of the Parkland massacre heads to the full Senate for a vote.
“This bill has failed Floridians’ outcry for action,” said Senator Stewart, whose district witnessed a 29-year old’s assault weapon siege on Pulse. “I will continue to press for changes in our laws that will deliver substantial, meaningful change. Students and parents have asked their lawmakers to do one thing, to stop enabling the spread of weapons of war and the high-capacity magazines that make mass murders efficient. Instead, we have a bill that puts more guns in classrooms. It is my hope that we can, as Senators, as a chamber, as human beings charged with the life, liberty, and happiness of our fellow human beings, be the authors of action.”
SB 7026 establishes the Florida Sheriff’s Marshal Program to arm teachers and faculty—which is largely opposed by educators and Floridians—but fails to include common-sense measures such as an assault weapons ban that addresses the core of Florida’s epidemic of violence and that has overwhelming support by the public, according to most recent polls.
The Florida Senate convenes on Thursday, March 1, 2018 to take up SB 7026 for consideration. Senator Stewart has vowed to offer an amendment that bans assault weapons and high capacity magazines once again from the Senate floor.
State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) has filed two amendments to confront the urgent need for gun safety reform onto bills presently scheduled for a floor vote this morning. Both amendments ban the sale of civilian versions of military assault weapons and the high capacity magazines that make them so lethal. For the past two years, Senator Stewart has relentlessly pushed to enact gun violence prevention legislation. The amendments filed Tuesday afternoon ensure that the 17 souls lost in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre were not in vain, but instead are a call to action. Each amendment revises SB 1048 and HB 55, bills that were designed to promote the proliferation of firearms in Florida, including in schools.
“These bills quintessentially reflect how out-of-touch our state legislature has become,” said Senator Stewart. “My amendments are simple: Ban high-capacity magazines and weapons of mass murder. If you stand for life and family values, how can you sit idly as children are being slaughtered and lives are being forever shattered? How can we, as lawmakers charged with the safety and well-being of our state’s citizens, continue to do nothing?”
Senators will convene in the Senate Chamber at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, February 21, 2018. The amendments are intended to prevent weapons specifically designed to deliver high rates of lethal gunfire without the need to pause and reload from falling into the hands of people such as the shooter who carried out the MSD High School massacre. Students from MSD High School will be present in the gallery before they join the Rally Supporting Gun Safety Reforms.
Today by unanimous approval, State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) presented and passed the Child Safety Alarm Act through its first committee. The legislation comes after the tragic death of an Orlando three-year-old child last summer, Myles Hill, who was left unattended in a hot daycare van that reached temperatures of 144 degrees.
“This is a bipartisan effort to keep our children safe,” said Stewart. “We need to be doing everything we can to try to prevent our most precious cargo from being left in hot vans and I look forward to the same vote outcome at the Transportation Committee.”
Senate Bill 486 is designed to curtail the frequency of incidents in which children are left in hot daycare vehicles. The bill requires daycare centers that transport children to equip their vehicles with reliable safety alarm systems by 2019. These systems will alert drivers to inspect their vehicles for any children who may have been left behind.
The bill is expected to be taken up next for a vote in the Senate Transportation Committee, followed by the Rules Committee and a full floor vote.
A companion bill, House Bill 305, has been filed by Representative Bruce Antone (D-Orlando).