Eyeing what she sees as overreach by the federal government to combat a phantom problem in Central Florida, state Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) on Thursday urged local officials to join South Miami in its sanctuary cities lawsuit. [Read more…] about Senator Linda Stewart Urges Orlando and Orange County Mayors to Join South Miami In Sanctuary City Lawsuit
Senator Linda Stewart
Anticipates support from Governor-elect, who campaigned on environmental protections
State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) has filed legislation to permanently ban fracking in Florida. [Read more…] about Senator Linda Stewart files bill to ban fracking in Florida
State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) has filed legislation for the upcoming session that would remove the statute of limitations for prosecution of rapes involving victims under the age of 18 when the attack occurs. [Read more…] about Senator Linda Stewart files legislation to lift barriers on rape prosecutions
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
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.