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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Will the 2020 Legislative Session Protect Floridians’ Freedoms or Greedy Corporations

Community Groups Discuss Florida’s Legislative Priorities that Protect Floridian’s Freedoms like Driving Without Fear, Affordable Homes, Dignity for Incarcerated Women and Access to Abortions, among others

FLORIDA – Today, community leaders and advocates from throughout the state joined a press call to discuss priorities ahead of the start of Florida’s legislative session, which include criminal justice and prison reform, protecting local democracy, tenants’ rights and affordable housing, protecting access to abortion and ensuring every Floridian is licensed, trained, and insured to drive. 

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Led by Governor DeSantis and Republican lawmakers, the 2019 legislative session served the interest of far-right extremists and the special interests of greedy corporations, such as Walt Disney World, Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy, US Sugar, Geo Group, Verizon and Publix. Fueled by a corporate agenda, the last session stripped freedoms and left families in fear; fear of family separation, fear of gun violence in schools, fear of unaddressed climate change, fear of homelessness, stagnant wages, and no healthcare access. We are committed to protecting these freedoms and reversing this trend in the 2020 legislative session. 

The groups also shared a calendar of all the mobilization to Tallahassee during session which can be found at the end.

The following are comments from each of the speakers during today’s call:

Jacqueline Cooney, member leader of the New Florida Majority and Steering Committee Leader of the Dignity Florida Campaign for incarcerated women and girls:

“My mother was a first time nonviolent offender and received an original sentence of 100 years. Thankfully, we were able to bring her home under compassionate release, but we are still facing the consequences of the effect that the prison system had on her health. We need to let legislators know that incarcerated people are still people, and deserve to be treated as such. Last year we were able to get legislators for the first time to talk about dignity for incarcerated women and their right to femenine hygiene products. This year, after what happened to Tammy Jackson who gave birth in solitary confinement, we are going to ask legislators to pass a law that makes sure no other pregnant women are treated like that and, instead, receive all the medical treatment they need.”

Julio Calderon, Florida Immigrant Coalition, undocumented Floridian who migrated to the United States as a child: 

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“Having access to a driver’s license would give the opportunity to thousands of Floridians like me to have the right to mobility and live without fear. It will also boost the economy and create safer roads.”

Shamisea Grier, member of Organize Florida and its Affordable Housing Committee, Resident of Robles Park Village:  

“Being homeless and not being able to afford housing eventually caused me to lose my kids. No one should have to live in their cars, bathe at laundromats or be treated badly because of their circumstances. Florida is facing an affordable housing crisis that must be addressed. Everyone deserves to live in a safe, affordable home. Working families deserve better.” 

Marie Rattigan, Dream Defenders’ Field Organizer in Tallahassee and the incoming Vice President of her local NAACP. Marie has been organizing since the killing of Trayvon Martin, where she was a leader of multiple high school direct actions: 

“Working people, young people, immigrants, people of color in Florida will not put up with the same corruption and harm from our legislators. We know their vulnerable districts, when they’re up for re-election, we can see what corporations they’re tied to and that they are not, in fact, acting in the interest of our safety and freedom. Last legislative session was a disaster for every day Floridians but it was a total victory for Ron DeSantis and corporate sellouts at the Capitol.  And they’re on notice.”

Calendar of upcoming events during the 2020 Legislative Session:

  • Jan 13: Teachers Rally “Take On Tallahassee” 
  • Jan 14: The People’s Response Press Conference following the State of the State Address 
  • Jan 21: Dignity Florida Press Conference – 12pm, 4th Floor Rotunda
  • Jan 28: We Are Florida Day – Led by the Florida Immigrant Coalition  
  • Jan 29: Housing Justice Day in the Capitol – Led by Organize Florida 
  • Feb 5: Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform Day 
  • Feb 12: New Florida Majority Advocacy Day – Groups will lobby on Criminal Justice, Voting Rights, Climate, Immigration, Housing  
  • Feb 18: Dignity Day 
  • Feb 26: Black Girls Day at the Capitol

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