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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Andy Ford thanks me for my support

In my school inbox. -cpg


In our latest effort to combat the destructive actions of this year's Florida Legislature, we have gone to court once again. Last month, we challenged the 3-percent pay cut that was pilfered from our members and all other public workers and their families so that Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders could balance the budget without asking their corporate cronies and those who have been lavished with tax breaks over the past dozen years to pay their fair share.

Today, FEA joined with other groups that support public education and several individuals from the religious community to file a lawsuit against Amendment 7, which was added to the ballot this spring during the legislative session. This constitutional amendment, which is slated to be on the November 2012 ballot, would significantly alter the no-aid provision in the Florida Constitution.

We believe this is backdoor attempt to allow school vouchers to everyone. Some of the proponents of the measure said as much during the legislative session. Legislative leaders know they would never get approval of vouchers if they labeled them as such, so they've come up with an amendment titled "Religious Freedom." That's misleading and so is the summary of the amendment that is scheduled to appear on the ballot.

The constitutional amendment, labeled Amendment 7 by the office of the Secretary of State, would substantially alter the no-aid provision of the Florida Constitution, which has been in effect for more than 125 years. The no-aid provision protects the religious freedom rights of all Floridians by barring taxpayer-funded aid to religious institutions.

We are joined in the lawsuit by the Florida School Boards Association, the Florida Association of School Administrators and a half dozen members of the clergy from throughout the state.

The lawsuit also challenges another piece of legislation passed by the Legislature this year that provides that the state attorney general may rewrite a ballot title or summary if the court removes it from the ballot. The lawsuit says that under the Florida Constitution, the Legislature may not delegate its expressed duties to another branch of government.

Stay tuned because we'll be turning to the courts once again to challenge another unfair and unproductive action of the Florida Legislature. FEA will continue to stand by you and work to turn our great state around.

Thank your for your support.

Andy Ford

President, Florida Education Association (FEA)

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