Child-support activist ejected from Senate panel vows to return

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The woman who was thrown out of a Senate committee meeting Thursday was unapologetic about her outburst, saying lawmakers deserved it.

Cynthia Wheeler, a nurse and child-support activist from Palm Beach County, has come to Tallahassee before to speak on family-law related bills.

She was in the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday for a bill (SB 250), sponsored by Brandon Republican Tom Lee, that would change state law on child-sharing.

The panel ran late, though, and Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican, told people who wanted to speak on the bill they could have only 30 seconds each.

So Wheeler said she decided to get straight to her point, saying, “Senator Lee is a liar; no study has been done to say the demographics don’t exist …”

She told FloridaPolitics.com she was referring to Lee’s contention that there’s no evidence against his proposal to assume that equal time-sharing for both parents after a divorce is in the best interest of a child.

Wheeler tried to counter with Florida Department of Law Enforcement data showing more than 4,000 incidents of “parent-child violence” last year.

De la Portilla wouldn’t have it: “No no no no, we won’t … I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t do that.” A Senate sergeant-at-arms quickly came over to the lectern and turned off the microphone. After a few seconds, he tried to physically remove her but she stood her ground.

“You do not want us to speak because you do not want transparent government,” she can be heard saying through other microphones. “You’re a bunch of liars; you’re damaging families.” She finally walked away.

“Every issue had time but the one bill on women’s issues didn’t,” Wheeler told FloridaPolitics.com in a telephone interview. “They had no right to touch me and invade my space; I was not advancing toward anybody. Well, I guess it’s OK to gut women’s rights.”

When asked whether the incident had soured her on speaking before legislators, she said, “Oh no, I am definitely coming up here again.”

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]


27 comments

  • Charles L

    January 28, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    This loonie toon is a self promoter who speaks from both sides of her mouth. She is lucky she was not arrested for her behavior. Is she a mother? Are her children safe? She is a nurse. What about her patients? I watched the video and think she is unstable. Not her first interaction. Threats will get her thrown in jail eventually. Not the way to handle an issue in a public forum – especially the legislature. How does she dare call someone a liar – watch her self promoting videos if you want to see double standards. Totally a hired hand bully trying to intimidate and then running the ole’ poor me scenario. Jim – shame on you for giving her one ounce of press space.

    • Cynthia

      January 28, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Arrested for what? It is not a crime to speak. Your type flourish on fear. If women are afraid maybe the clock will run down and it will be too late for us to speak.

    • Karen Jones

      January 28, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Charles you need to remember that they work for her (us) not the other way around. She has every right to call him a liar if she thinks he is one. It’s her opinion. She did not use profanity or break any laws. That man had no right to put his hands on her and attempt to silence her. Its too bad if law boy felt disrespected. People affected by his laws feel disrespected too.

      • Cray Cray

        January 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm

        What do you think the sargeant of arms is there for…to look pretty. It is his or her job to ensure civility and safety. This lady by her actions seems to be unhinged and unpredictable. I am all for first admendment rights but whatever she tried to say – totally lost here.

      • HypocrisyWatcher

        January 30, 2016 at 10:21 am

        Thank you Karen. And if you have been following this bill, after this hearing it still had two more committees to go through before hitting Rules. Now it has “magically” bypassed those other two committees and is on its way to Rules then the full floor for a vote. I guarantee these lawmakers knew that before this hearing, and it was placed on this calendar because they knew that the LGBTQ bill would attract a lot of attention and would cut into the time for this bill and comments. So I think Ms. Wheeler was right on target when she said they were liars.

  • Disgusted with Florida

    January 28, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    It is beginning to look like this activist was correct in what she said. This bill has been removed from all committee meetings, is going straight to Rules and then on to the Floor for a full vote. So much for the assertion by the Chair that there will be more opportunity for those for and against to speak out about the ramifications of this bill.

    • Terry Power

      January 29, 2016 at 6:40 am

      She will likely be afforded as much time as she likes at the Rules Committee hearing to make a complete idiot of herself. Fire up the popcorn maker. It should be pretty entertaining.

    • Jan Killilea

      January 29, 2016 at 6:50 am

      Greased for passage!

  • Expose The Corruption

    January 29, 2016 at 8:03 am

    It’s such a shame that constitutes are finally getting a chance to speak without the fear of bully tactics used on social media such as harassment, threats and stalking. Now, the world can see the types these legislators have been keeping company with.

  • John savicasz

    January 29, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Well obviously those who side with this woman don’t see that she can’t control her anger and emotions and the question should be how does she act when cameras are not there with her children and ex husband? The court still has discretion to not do 50/50 sharing ,difference now being that the court has to give a written reason why equal time sharing will not be applied, what is wrong with that? Nothing at all. The news media would be better off focusing on truthful reporting instead of giving one sided stories, the media today is a disaster and it shows in everything they do, very biased on every subject just to get ratings.

  • larry

    January 29, 2016 at 8:57 am

    People get bent out of shape when the money tree is questioned… There really is no excuse for not sharing the responsibility.. You would think women would be eager for the help.. but when it cuts into their child support money, all of the sudden the father, who they chose to have children with, isnt capable… he is fit enough to pay,ask any single mother…. but not to share in raising them.

    • Cynthia Wheeler

      January 29, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      My child support records are,public records $70,000 owed. What gravy train? 3 son last payment received around 2010 or 2011 appx $11. Big Money

      • Leonardo vanistiki

        January 30, 2016 at 7:43 am

        Poorly written article with obvious facts removed, like foul language that Ms. Wheeler used after her microphone had been turned off for starting her “speech” with no respect. There are ways to go about speaking without looking like an unstable person. As posted she needs anger management and I fear for her children, she must hit them for nothing if she can’t control herself in a room with people and cameras. Please people watch the video, this woman has anger issues and can’t control them, you actually hear her scream bullsh*t, uncontrolled outbursts, reporter here is extremely biased.

        138.55 is where she starts yelling uncontrollably
        https://www.flsenate.gov/media/VideoPlayer?EventID=2443575804_2016011360

  • Nannette Cobb

    January 29, 2016 at 9:05 am

    I agree with 50-50! Praying this bill passes.

  • Kathleen M. Condon

    January 30, 2016 at 10:08 am

    She is standing up for her and your rights. She is being demeaned, and noted only as an individual not worthy of being heard in a public forum.

  • Expose The Corruption

    January 30, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Interesting that the commenters always up in arms about 50/50 parenting and always referring back to money are the same ones who are accusing this woman of being violent, should have her kids taken away and be arrested. That is the typical response from people who have nothing but judgment for others with zero factual information. Somehow, Florida legislators are listening to those with the money and zero facts.

    • Ronaldo L.

      January 30, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Oh excuse me, Iphone corrector enabled, but this is not a correction DCF

      Up in arms because she needs anger management. That is what people usually do when they have a weak case, they need to raise their tone and make a scene.

  • Meg S

    February 1, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    There are many great fathers who truly care about providing the best for their children – unfortunately that is the exception not the rule. Many fathers use 50/50 as a means to do away with child support and not exercise visitation. The burden lies 100% on the mother for the physical, financial & emotional needs of the children. This is just another ploy for wealthy men & their attorneys to control & financially destroy the children & their mother.

  • Meg Smith

    February 2, 2016 at 2:00 am

    There are many great fathers who truly care about seeing and providing the best for their children – unfortunately that is the exception not the rule. Many fathers use 50/50 as a means to do away with their child support obligation with every intention of not exercising their visitation. The burden lies 100% on the mother for the physical, financial & emotional needs of the children. This is just another ploy for wealthy men & their attorneys to control & financially destroy the children & their mother.

Comments are closed.


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