To kick off the 2018 Florida Legislative Session that began on January 8th, New Florida Majority joined organizations across the state at “Awake the State” rallies in Miami-Dade, Broward and Duval counties, calling on Governor Rick Scott and legislative leaders to approve a 2018 state budget that invests in all Floridians, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
NewFM stands with those who are calling on the state to invest in education and health care, while also protecting our right to vote, our environment, reproductive rights, the immigrant community and low-income Floridians.
The Miami-Dade rally began at 11 a.m. at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center where NewFM political director, Sen. Dwight Bullard opened by emphasizing NewFM’s mission of centering the issues of black and brown communities.
“What’s happened traditionally is that people who live in the margins, who live in marginalized and underserved communities are often times left out of the process. We at The New Florida Majority strongly and adamantly believe that those folks should be the focal point of legislative session. When billions upon billions of dollars are being spent and allocated for services and needs, we need to make sure that those communities are put forward.”
The Broward and Duval County rallies ran concurrently, beginning at 12 p.m. NewFM climate organizer, Nancy Metayer, spoke in Broward, holding the state accountable for poor hurricane preparedness and response in low income communities.
Metayer noted that the “historical lack of maintenance and investment in infrastructure of low-income communities,” has made them vulnerable in the face of disaster.
“We look to the leadership of the state to make sure that all the residents of Miami-Dade County are ready to weather extreme heat, food insecurity, and other impacts of natural disasters,” said Metayer.
NewFM organizer, Devin Coleman spoke at the Duval County rally, raising NewFM’s voting rights and restoration work. Last year, NewFM joined a state-wide coalition led by the Florida Rights Restoration Coaltion fighting to restore voting rights to over 1.5 million Florida citizens who can no longer vote due to a previous felony conviction.
“In an effort to obtain 1 million signatures, the Say Yes to Second Chances campaign, brought together a diverse mix of individuals and organizations which resulted in the collection of 1.1 million signed Voter Restoration Amendment petitions,” said Coleman.
Coleman reiterated that once petitions are verified, the next phase of the campaign will call on Florida voters to support the amendment on the 2018 ballot. (Read more on the campaign here.)
Committee hearings are slated to begin this week, wrapping up in the beginning of March. Click here to view the daily and weekly session calendars and schedules.