Florida HB1355 – Purchase of Firearms by Mentally Ill Persons
I have been bombarded with a flurry of emails in which I am being urged urged to call, write or email Governor Scott to veto HB1355 that is waiting on his desk for signature.
Within these emails are statements such as, “pro-gun lawmakers are moving forward with compromise bills”, “big-city gun-grabbers are foaming at the mouth to tack on even more draconian gun-control measures” , and “the NRA is once again proving it is the weakest link and the first to broker anti-gun ‘deals’ not just in Washington and in the hall of your own state capitol.” They name Marion Hammer of the Florida NRA as someone who teamed up with “gun grabber” Democrat Barbara Watson to work on this anti-gun law.
I began questioning what I was reading. Had the NRA turned traitor as the emails suggested? How is it that this bill passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House on a 117-1 vote? Was there more to this than what was being told or what I understood?
National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR)
From what I could determine, it appears that the push for veto is in part from a group called the “National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR)”. They started a campaign by sending out an email to its members stating “Don’t allow the healthcare industry to determine who can and cannot own firearms.” I decided to find out who exactly was the NAGR and what I discovered concerned me.
In one case the NAGR ran a scare tactic campaign about a bill in another state that they claimed would ruin lives, steal guns and cost tax money. The only problem was that the particular bill they were concerned about died in committee long before their ad, but they were still asking for donations to fight against this bill. One blogger stated “These guys know that it is dead and yet they use the fear of it to bilk you out of support funding.” .
The PJ Tatler talked about how NAGR is an association who touts “join us because the NRA stinks.” They go on to state, “Their goal is twofold: make money off fear-mongering and undercut confidence in the NRA.”
The Smith & Wesson website had a blogger, who said he had done some deep checking into NAGR, found them to be an organization looking to raise money for the two people who run it. There are many more websites with comments like these that you can see for yourself. Check for yourself by doing a search on ‘who is NAGR”.
Marion Hammer explains HB1355
Marion Hammer, Florida NRA, worked on this bill so I contacted her and asked if she could help me understand HB1355 and why it should or should not be vetoed. Here is her answer to me which she has allowed me to publish:
Thank you for checking with me.
Erroneous information is being circulated about HB-1355 by people who don’t have a clue what the bill actually does or why it is needed.
HB-1355 is very limited. It is NOT about people who voluntarily go to private counseling for help. It is NOT about people who voluntarily go to a doctor for help. It is NOT about people who voluntarily go to a public clinic for help.
It ONLY applies to people with mental illnesses who are already in a mental health facility under a Baker Act petition and who have subsequently been diagnosed as being an imminent danger to self or others. It has two triggers: the Baker Act commitment and the diagnosis of being an imminent danger to self or others. The bill has no effect on anyone else.
Currently the people who are effected by this bill may voluntarily agree to commitment for treatment. If they don’t agree voluntarily, a petition is filed for court ordered involuntary commitment. When a court orders commitment, their names are entered into the NICS database of people who are prohibited from purchasing firearms. If they voluntarily agree to commitment their names are NOT entered in to the database.
The problem is that some of these dangerous people immediately revoke their voluntary agreement as soon as they reach the treatment facility and must be released within 24 hours. And they do it repeatedly. The system is failing. People with mental illnesses, who are known to be a danger to self or others, are not being stopped from purchasing firearms.
Under the bill, these people may still agree to voluntary commitment/treatment but they would be informed that because they are deemed to be dangerous, their names will be entered into the NICS database until they have had treatment and are no longer considered a danger to self or others and may apply to have their names removed from the database. The process for removing a name from the database is exactly the same as proscribed in law for those who have been involuntarily committed for treatment.
If the person disagrees or feels strongly about not giving up his gun rights, the person can refuse voluntary commitment and a petition for involuntary commitment would move ahead through the full court process and he/she can fight it in court.
Recently, NRA conducted a national scientific survey of NRA members nationwide to determine how NRA members view today’s issues.
On the question of guns in the hands of the mentally ill – 91 % of NRA members said they SUPPORT laws to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illnesses.
When NRA was asked by the Judge who chairs the Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Mental Illness and by Rep. Barbara Watson to help solve the problem of constructing language to give the maximum protection to the rights of dangerous people with mental illnesses, we agreed to try.
The NRA worked with the Judge, bill sponsors, FDLE, FBI and legislative staff to protect gun rights as well as find a way to help keep dangerous people with mental illnesses from being able to purchase firearms. That’s what the bill does.
Right now, some organization or someone who has not been involved in the legislative process here in Florida; who has not worked with the Judges or bill sponsors, or FDLE or the FBI; who has not been in Florida for committee hearings or meeting with legislators; and who is obviously challenged when it comes to reading and understanding legislative bill construction and existing law – has been sending out erroneous, inflammatory information and encouraging people to ask Florida’s Governor to veto this bill. They are also using these “alerts:” to solicit money – to some extent it has all the earmarks of stirring people up as a means to raise money.
They essentially are telling the Governor that they think it’s OK for dangerous people with mental illness to be able to purchase guns. And obviously, anyone asking the Governor to veto the bill is doing so based on erroneous information.
I hope this helps you understand the real issue.
In doing this exercise, I learned quite a bit about HB1355 and I have made my own decision about whether or not it should be vetoed. You might still be questioning that if someone is really determined to do harm to others by shooting them, will this bill make it more effective in stopping them? I can only rely on those who worked on this bill along with the NRA, one of them being Judge Steven Leifman, who is one of the most well-respected advocates for the mentally ill in the nation. All of these people have been out in the field and understand the problem much better than me. I do know that I have been in agreement with those who have said that more focus needs to be put on how we work with the mentally ill. Maybe this is the first step towards fixing a small portion of that problem.
If there is one thing I have learned from Glenn Beck, it is to question everything with boldness and to do my own research. This was the case when I saw an email being circulated about a “pledge” that had been taken by all 67 of Florida Sheriff’s in support of the second amendment and the citizens right to bear arms.
One author of an email was very concerned that he could not find any evidence that our Brevard Co. Sheriff, Wayne Ivey, had ever signed the pledge. I began to wonder, if Sheriff Ivey didn’t sign it, why. Continue reading
The following is a list of Brevard Co. employees (who report to the County Manager) and receive a salary of $90,000 or over. This is an update to the data that was posted on June 2012.
As part of the County’s re-organization to their reporting structure last December, Howard Tipton added a new layer of management between himself and those who report to his Assistant County Managers. The new position of Deputy Co. Manager was created and Stockton Whitten, previously the Assistant Co. Manager, was moved up to that position with a new posted salary of $139,363.90. A new Assistant Co. Manager, Venetta Valdengo, has been hired for the vacancy left by Stockton. The new organization chart also shows another created position of Economic Development Director. Mr. Post will also get moving expenses, per the guidelines of Brevard’s County Policy.
The new county organization chart can be found at:
The new positions are proof that Brevard Co. Government is committed to creating jobs!
|QAISER||SAJID||District Medical Examiner||
|TIPTON||HOWARD||County Manager||County Manager||$184,500.16|
|KNOX||SCOTT||County Attorney||County Attorney||$163,953.40|
|PODJASKI||KRZYSZTOF||Associate Medical Examiner||Medical Examiners Office||$158,837.90|
|WHITTEN||STOCKTON||Deputy County Manager (New Position)||County Manager||$139,363.90|
|SCOTT||MELVIN||Assistant County Manager||County Manager||$126,694.10|
|WILSON||SHANNON||Deputy County Attorney||County Attorney||$125,536.06|
|BENTLEY||EDEN||Deputy County Attorney||County Attorney||$124,401.42|
|VALDENGO||VENETTA||Assistant County Manager (New Hire)||County Manager||$123,000.00|
|ABBATE||FRANK||Human Resources Office Director||Personnel Technical Services||$117,278.46|
|DENNINGHOFF||JOHN||Public Works Department Director||Roadway and Bridge||$114,810.80|
|VARLEY||ROBERT||Tourism Development Office Director||Tourism Development||$109,875.22|
|BROWN||ERNEST||Natural Resources Management Office Dir||Environmental Review||$104,444.08|
|COLLINS||LARRY||Fire Rescue Department Director||Fire Operations||$102,499.80|
|SELLERS||JON||Information Technology Dept. Director||Information Systems||$102,480.04|
|RICHARDSON||CECIL||Attorney III||County Attorney||$101,374.78|
|LEPORE||CHRISTINE||Attorney III||County Attorney||$101,374.78|
|LIESENFELT||JAMES||Transit Services Director||Bus Operations||$101,316.28|
|POST||TROY||Economic Development Director (New Position)||$100,00.00|
|KAMM||ROBERT||Transportation Planning Office Director||Transportation Planning||$99,987.16|
|RODRIGUEZ||EURIPIDES||Solid Waste Management Dept Director||Disposal||$98,891.78|
|SOBRINO||ROBIN||Planning & Development Dept Director||Planning & Zoning||$95,467.32|
|MASSON||JACK||Parks & Recreation Department Director||North Area Parks Operations||$93,112.24|
|ROSENBERG||THOMAS||Budget Director||Budget Office||$90,000.04|
Edward J. Erler
California State University,
The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles
EDWARD J. ERLER is professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.
The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on February 13, 2013, at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.
We are currently mired in a frantic debate about the rights of gun owners. One example should suffice to prove that the debate has become hysterical: Second Amendment supporters, one prominent but less than articulate member of Congress alleges, have become “enablers of mass murder.”
Special animus has been directed against so-called assault rifles. These are semi-automatic, not automatic weapons—the latter have been illegal under federal law since the 1930s—because they require a trigger pull for every round fired. Some semi-automatic firearms, to be sure, can be fitted with large-capacity magazines. But what inspires the ire of gun control advocates seems to be their menacing look—somehow they don’t appear fit for polite society. No law-abiding citizen could possibly need such a weapon, we are told—after all, how many rounds from a high-powered rifle are needed to kill a deer? And we are assured that these weapons are not well-adapted for self-defense—that only the military and the police need to have them. Continue reading
Re: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and that agencies preparation for war against citizens of the United States of America
Please use the contents of this letter for your distribution list. Peter
Dear friends, the following is a copy of my correspondence with Senator Cornyn concerning the arming of the DHS for war against the citizens of our nation. You are each encouraged to copy and properly amend this letter to send to your own senators and members of the U.S. House. Further, I am somewhat overwhelmed at the response to my posts leading up to this letter on this issue. At this point almost 3,000 of you have shared my original post, I have 994 new friends requests, 61 messages, and 70 new comments to process. Please be patient with me and pray that this window of communication remains open to all of us as we respond to this threat against our Constitution and our people. I am awed by you, by your positive response, and your wonderful support. We each have a role to play in standing against this present tyranny. Continue reading
COMMON CORE TALKING POINTS
By Chrissy Blevio
Bradenton Florida Tea Party
Major Problems with Common Core in Florida
The Common Core Standards and related assessments being implemented in Florida have many problems including lack of rigor and transparency; loss of state, local, family, and teacher autonomy, as well as loss of data privacy; and high costs that will be borne by the state and counties analogously to the proposed Medicaid expansion. The citizens of Florida and their elected representatives on county school boards and in the legislature should consider carefully before spending hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars more and irreversibly changing the state’s education system with enormous impact on our children’s future, freedom, the economic health of the state, parental and teacher autonomy and data privacy. (Footnotes and more extensive quotations are available on request).
Matt Reed in Florida Today asks, “So, how did the company (Waste Management) manage to so easily drop its proposal of $14.5 million a year to $11.9 million — matching Waste Pro’s lower price?”
The easy answer is that Waste Management did not match Waste Pro’s (WP) lower price. In fact they were $43.7 million higher than Waste Pro, the low bidder.
Matt Reed’s numbers, I surmise, rely on the County’s fiscal representations. Unfortunately, the County did not provide a detailed fiscal impact statement over the life of the contract, OR a cost comparison between the original bidders, or a cost comparison over the life of the contract between the original bid by Waste Pro, and the renegotiated bid by Waste Management.
The $14.5 and $11.9 million was only the first year cost on a multi-year contract. The original bids were based on an 11% overall cap on the first 7 years and a 4.5% cap on the last three years.. The renegotiated contract with Waste Management eliminated this 11% cap but replaced it with 3% annual increase or CPI whichever is lower. With 3% compounded annually with no cap on increases, the renegotiated bid is still $23 million higher than the low bidder. And that is not all. In addition, WM’s commercial rates are higher than Waste Pro’s adding an extra burden on small businesses and taxpayers.
As pointed out by Commissioner Trudie Infantini, Waste Pro’s sharing of recycling revenue is $2,000,000 higher than Waste Waste Management’s offer. Waste Pro promised a 50% kickback of the recycling revenue vs.Waste Management’s 40%. In addition, some people estimate the added 30-35 jobs created by the new recycling plant will be offset by the reduction in labor due to automated pickup of the trash. The recycling facility is wholley owned by Waste Management. Brevard County pays for the hauling of the recyclicals to Waste Management’s facility. This is the major cost component in the recycling business. Without it the facility will be very profitable to Waste Management.
It should be pointed out that as a practical matter the trash contract is a 10 year contract with a three (3) year renewal after 7 years by the County Manager. The three year extension after 7 years is based on the quality of service, and guess who keeps score of the quality of service? Why Waste Management does. Isn’t’ that interesting?
Early in 2012 former Clerk of the Courts Mitch Needelman made a decision to digitize ten’s of millions of old clerk of the courts documents that are in storage. What still cannot be determined is why he decided to take such actions since these documents are very rarely accessed. At the same time, scanning of much more needed current documents were backing up.
The BlueWare deal may turn out to be nothing more than a multimillion dollar waste of money that has been perpetrated on the people of Brevard. The Florida Today has refused to do any kind of investigative reporting on this issue. The only news organization that has been following this story is Brevard Times @ www.brevardtimes.com. and I applaud their excellent journalism on this story.
As the BlueWare deal continues, it stinks like ten day old fish. Because this story has been going on for almost a year, with little or no publicity, I thought it would be a good idea to give readers a summary of what has been happening. It’s a confusing story because of the many corporate names associated with BlueWare, cast of characters and the various conflicting amounts of money. As soon as I receive updated information, I will post it on this website. I have also referenced back to Brevard Times articles and others wherever applicable to validate the information and to enable you to obtain even more information.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AWARD $120 MILLION CONTRACT TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER! Once again the actions proposed by the County Commissioners will cost you money. Circumventing the results of the Selection Committee, Commissioners voted for YOU to pay more to switch to large garbage carts and automated collection. This was attempted in 2007, and residents were outraged.
Although the citizens would have seen lower rates than we currently have for two-day per week waste collection by switching companies, the majority of the County Commissioners voted to remain with Waste Management (WM). This, in spite of their original bid coming in at $43,000,000 MORE than competition’s bid. And, after re-negotiation their bid is still $23,000,000 more than the competition! Couldn’t we have found a better use for your money? One asks, “Why did you bother asking for bids and then change the decision-making criteria after the bids were received AND voted on?”
I have strongly objected to this decision for a few reasons:
- - Who has garage space to store (up to 64 gallon) garbage carts? And will your HOA permit you to store the carts outside?
- -The re-negotiation also removed the 7-year 11% cap on rate increases and replaced it with 3% per year, which equals up to 21% rate increase after 7 years!
- -WM bid had higher rates for commercial service than their competition!
- -No rebates for customers that recycle–imagine getting paid to recycle. The competitor offered this, plus they offered to return 25% more of the profit, back to the County. That would provide $7 million to the County! And finally:
- - The Selection Committee followed the required bid criteria, and based on the highest points received, awarded the contract to the low bidder. NEVERTHELESS, contained in the bid proposal by the high bidder, Waste Management, were itemized donations to several high profile charities, one of which a Commissioner sits on the Board of Directors. The Brevard Co. Citizen’s Coalition voiced objections to these criteria as it appeared to be a “Pay to Play” decision. These donations have since been removed from the final contract, but not before the Commissioner publically stated that was one of the criteria he used to select the high bidder. This effectively amounted to $2,050,000 in donations in return for $23,000,000 of added taxpayers’ fees for hauling trash. In their opinion this cast a shadow over the contract procedures of Brevard County.
Commissioner Andy Anderson has the final say on the contract. So, you will need to write or call Commissioner Andy Anderson. Ask him to look out for the taxpayers of Brevard County. His email address is Andy.Anderson@Brevardcounty.us. I don’t personally care who wins the contract, but LET THE WINNING BIDDER WIN!
On a positive note, a large local corporation is just about to have an even bigger presence here. Northrup Grumman has chose Brevard County for their “Center of Excellence” which hopefully translates to an additional 1,000 jobs. Job-seekers get your resume ready.
You can call us at (321) 952-6300 or please email: D3.Commissioner@BrevardCounty.US
We will add you to our email list to keep abreast of important County business.
Trudie Infantini, District 3
By Bill Mick, WMMB 1240 AM Radio
Bill can be heard Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Brevard County’s recent contract with Waste Management has been in question for a couple of weeks now. And while County Commission Chair Andy Anderson has declared the topic off limits and not to be discussed by Anderson and his staff, I’m afraid it’s just not that simple.
While the contract may be a done deal, the issues surrounding it and how the county does business are in play every day. The credibility of the county is in question with every act. Simply declaring the matter over and not to be discussed only serves to fuel the skepticism.
To continue reading: http://www.wmmbam.com/cc-common/mainheadlines2.html?feed=280421