March 25, 2010

Florida House committee chair calls security?

Wow: Florida House PreK-12 policy committee chair Rep. Anitere Flores apparently threatened to call in security when a Democratic representative complained that his amendments were not being heard or voted on, and at the end of the committee a group of Capitol security guards stood at the front of the room, between the audience/witnesses and the committee members and staff. This apparently after several hours of mostly hostile testimony on the House equivalent of Senate Bill 6.

There's no claim in the Miami Herald blog report (linked above) that the audience was threatening any of the committee members, so I'm curious why the guards were there.  spent a few minutes watching passionate, civil testimony earlier today over the streaming connection from Tallahassee. The Florida Education Association had declared this a Rally in Tally Day (or Virtual Rally in Tally Day) and asked all teachers in Florida to wear red to protest Senate Bill 6, attacks on retirement funds, and budget cuts. Over the video feed, I saw several members of the audience wearing red shirts, and my guess is that Rep. Flores has had little experience with running meetings when substantial audiences didn't like what her side of the meeting was doing. 

I understand that last year, several thousand community members confronted Senator Mike Haridopolos in a town-hall meeting over expected budget cuts. I have no clue what the political consequences of Senate Bill 6 might be, but I have heard from a number of K-12 teachers that they see the bill (along with proposed changes to the state's retirement system) as a direct attack on them. 

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Posted in Education policy on March 25, 2010 2:46 PM |