The 2010 Florida Legislative session drew to a dismal, dangerous conclusion on April 30th. There was shouting, crying, fear & loathing, as the majority Republican Party stormed forward with its extremist right wing agenda.
Much of the closing day melodrama revolved around the GOP's successful effort to jam through a last-minute anti-abortion bill - legislation so radical it brought more than one state representative to tears during the course of the heated debate. This bill now awaiting Governor Crist's signature would force all women seeking an abortion to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for a first trimester sonogram - during which the ultrasound technician would have to point out and describe in detail just how "alive" the fetus really is.
The only hope now for Florida females with reproductive capacity is that a massive backlash of outrage floods the governor's office with enough phone calls and emails to force a veto of this appalling attack on Women's Rights.
Also on the last day of this session, the same crew of Republican ideologues forced a new amendment onto the 2010 ballot - yet to be named or numbered - that would abolish the two critically important "Fair Districts" reform amendments - 5 & 6 - that are already on the ballot.
Amendments 5 & 6 have received nearly universal support from newspapers and civic organizations all across the state and nation. They got on the ballot after nearly two million people signed petitions to make it so, and seemed destined to get the Yes votes needed to become law.
But Abracadabra - by virtue of their two thirds majority in the legislature, the Republicans now have a chance of undoing the will of the people, thereby holding onto their corrupted reins of power.
Then there was an earlier GOP amendment they succeeded in advancing - the ironically named "Health Care Freedom Act", which in true reactionary style would actually interfere with the state's freedom to provide more affordable access to health care for all citizens.
And that's exactly the kind of duplicity & double talk that this Orwellian legislative session was all about, from top to bottom. Black is White, Good is Bad, Greed is Generosity, Obstruction is Protection.
Oh, yeah. They also managed to fulfill their single mandatory task of the 60-day session, passing a 70-billion dollar budget - which "No Party Affiliation" Governor Crist may yet veto. The budget cuts back sharply on a whole host of social service programs that provide a vital safety net for seniors, children, the poor & needy - while still leaving a 3- billion dollar state budget deficit.
Because Republicans refuse to raise taxes for their large corporate benefactors. Because they won't raise taxes or close gaping loopholes for rich real estate developers and ultra-rich individuals who live off their estates without working for a living.
Now that this horrible bunch of elected officials has run roughshod over the 2010 legislative session, they are marching off into the final months of their midterm election battles - which gives us voters our one opportunity to pay them back for all the damage they've done, and still plan to do.