To Tallahassee and Back: What is on Your Mind?

As a Floridian the time for your input about the legislative process never ends. In fact, it is needed now more than ever.

The start of the annual legislative session is little more than one month from now.  Legislators in both chambers have been filing bills, working on budgets and generally preparing for the rush of the sixty-day session.  This two-month period will determine the direction the state of Florida will take for not only the coming year, but potentially for many years to come.  While the time for lawmakers to file bills to be considered this year is nearing its end, the time for your input as a Floridian never ends.  In fact, it is needed now more than ever.

Between the House and the Senate a thousand or more bills are filed each year.  Nearly every aspect of our lives can potentially be impacted by the work of lawmakers.  What is important to you?  What issues have you read about in the media that you would like to learn more about?  Where do you stand on proposed legislation that will be considered by your elected representatives?  These are all important questions that Floridians should consider.

“My constituents are my number one priority,” Representative Mike Fasano states.  “All the work that is done in Tallahassee is done with the best interests of those I represent in mind.  How will the people back home be impacted by my vote for or against a particular piece of legislation?  That is a question that I ask myself each and every day.”

In last week’s post I encouraged readers to participate in the legislative committee process.  I fully understand that not everyone has the means, time or reason to travel to Tallahassee to testify before a House or Senate committee.  That does not mean your input is still not needed or desired.   On the contrary, communication from you is a vital part of the legislative process.   If an issue comes before the state that may impact you then you have the right to express your opinion.  Where you stand on any particular issue has the potential to alter the direction of any given bill.  One policymaker’s vote swayed from its originally intended course could change the final destination for any bill under consideration.

Phone calls, e-mails and letters are all effective ways of expressing how you feel about matters that come before the Florida Legislature.  I invite you to communicate with our office in any form you like.  I am also encouraging you to utilize this blog space by leaving a comment at the end of this post.  I check the blog nearly every day. If you have a question about the legislative process please let me know.  If you would like to express your thoughts on a bill or issue that is being debated in Tallahassee, please take this opportunity to share your position.   If you would like to see a law created, this office is always seeking ideas for the future.

The time is now so please don’t delay.  Your opinion may not ultimately change the world, but it is certain that if you don’t express it, the world will not have the opportunity to be changed by it.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marilynn deChant February 01, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Thanks for another great blog, Greg. I find them most helpful and informative and a pleasure to read. Then again, I am a fan of government and enjoy learning more about the process. Thanks!
Greg Giordano February 01, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Thank you, Marilynn. I always apreciate your comments and insight as well. You have a great understanding of the issues that impact our community. I value the fact that you are willing to share them.
Teresa Jones February 08, 2013 at 05:41 AM
Hi Greg, Thanks for the information. Is there a schedule on topic's the Legislature will be discussing? I have always wondered how people find out what is being discussed and how one would go about visiting an open event in which I could put my 2 cents in. I always hear about things on the news after the meetings have taken place, and had wish I could have been involved, but I do not know the proper process to be involved. I would really appreciate any information you could give me. Thank-you, Teresa Jones
Greg Giordano February 08, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Teresa, Thank you very much for your comments. In a word, yes, there are ways for you learn about what the Legislature is doing before or as it occurs. The local and state media have many good outlets that cover the activities in the Capitol each spring (and throughout the interim committee weeks). The Florida Channel broadcasts live floor sessions and committee meetings. Many online news sites stream up-to-the minute updates. Two of the best sources of information regarding legislation are the official sites of the the two chambers: www.flsenate.gov and www.myfloridahouse.gov Even though this year's meeting has already taken place, the county legislative delegation meets annually as one body to listen to members of the community presents their ideas and concerns. I suggest that you contact our office next fall and I will gladly let you know when the delegation meets next. You may want to look at my blog post from a previous week regarding committee meetings. In this post I explain how important public participation is in this process. That post may have some information of interest to you. I hope I have been able to be of some small assistance to you. If you have any other questions or need any additonal information please do not hesiate to leave me another comment. Greg


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