Fed, State and Local Activity, Mar 11 – 15

LOCAL

In case you live under a rock, Gainesville Elections are fast approaching!Early voting began March 9 and will continue through the 16th. More info can be found here. Election day is March 19th, of course. Here are the early voting times and locations:

Dates & Times
March 9 to March 16
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Tuesday and Thursday)

Locations
Millhopper Library, 3145 NW 43rd St.
Senior Recreation Center, 5701 NW 34th Blvd.
Supervisor of Elections Office, 515 N. Main St.
J. Wayne Reitz Union, 655 Museum Rd.
Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 1028 NE 14th St.

Alachua County Commission Regular Meeting. A nice summary of the meetings (something more helpful than an agenda) can be found here. Of note to some folks, there has apparently been a set-back with respect to the High Springs-Newberry rail trail that will be discussed during the 9am session.
Date: Tuesday, March 12
Time: 9am and 5pm
Location: 12 SE 1st Street, Second Floor, John “Jack” Durrance Auditorium, Board Room 209

STATE

SO. MANY. BILLS. The legislative session opened last week. Our March Other Voices column, which can be found here, focuses on issues the legislatures will tackle like voter reform (which we’ll get to below) and home rule, as well as ways that you can follow all the chaos.

Speaking of which, while everyone is trying to wrap there arms around the hundreds of bills that have been introduced, there are a few that appear to be on a fast-track that we would like to highlight.

A comprehensive election reform package is making its way through the Senate. A reaction to the 2018 midterms in which three statewide elections faced recounts and other controversies came to light, such as certain counties’ ballot design, the bill(s) were written with the input of numbers of Supervisor of Elections and have received bi-partisan support in the Senate. The Senate President can send the bill to other committees (where it has to be discussed and approved) or he can send it directly to the floor for a vote. If the bill does pass, it reportedly faces an uphill climb in the House. More information can be found here and here.

A number of healthcare bills, including some deregulations, are working their way through the House. One of the most controversial bills (CS/HB 21) seeks to do away with Certificates of Needs (CON), which you can learn more about here. A good report on the bills can be found here.

HB 1707 (and its Senate companion SB 186) seeks to make certain videos and pictures taken during active shooter incidents exempt from public record. Proponents say this is to prevent victims’ images from being displayed or to prevent copycat killers. But some open government watchdog groups fear that this law is designed to shield public servants from accountability. More information can be found here.

FEDERAL

The Senate will have to vote on whether or not to disapprove Trump’s (Fake) National Emergency declaration this week. It looks like it will pass, as four Republicans have expressed their support for the denouncement. Even though Trump is certain to veto the bill should it pass–and there is not enough votes in the House to override the veto–its mere passage will be an embarrassing rebuke. More information can be found here.

Have a great week!

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