Democrats reflect as Session closes: ‘I don’t think people realize how bad it would have been’
Documents waiting to be approved, placed at the office desk

Documents waiting to be approved, placed at the office desk
Democrats lament the 'culture war' priorities that passed and those that didn't get heard.

As the curtain closed Monday on the 2022 Legislative Session, Senate Democrats vowed to fight harder to win elections and lamented that not much was done to address kitchen-table issues that concern Floridians.

Instead of addressing the high cost of housing, gas and property insurance, the Legislature spent many hours consumed with so-called “culture war” issues, they argued. Democrats referenced bills that will limit abortion to 15 weeks into a pregnancy, set up reviews for school instructional materials, restrict the way teachers should talk about LGBTQ issues and limit discussions about racism.

“It’s a free state of Florida unless you’re a woman, unless you’re gay, … unless you are student in a classroom, unless you have a history that you don’t want to be erased,” said Democratic Leader Lauren Book, who represents Broward County.

But Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican, said the state is headed in the right direction in breaking generational poverty, combating sea level rise and historic education funding. And the results are showing up in the number of people moving here, he said Friday.

“Florida is miles ahead of our competition and it’s showing up in the national data,” Simpson said. “You know we’re a destination now for student education in the K-12 system. People are moving to Florida because of our laws that we have passed here.”

Book pushed back on the idea that Democrats were proven weak in opposing the Republican agenda. It could have been worse, she said. She highlighted legislation including Miya’s Law (SB 898) that mandates background checks for building workers, legislation (SB 562) that makes it easier for spouses of active-duty military personnel to get occupational licenses and a fund to help pay for the care of retired law enforcement dogs (SB 226)

“On the floor, Democrats fought extremely hard for the things that we know we believe in and what our constituents sent us up here to do,” said Sen. Shevrin Jones, who represents a district that straddles Broward and Miami-Dade counties. “The culture wars weren’t on us. The culture war was on the Republicans. … That’s what they believe is going to be their winning ticket.”

He said he has started to knock on doors to explain it to people.

Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo of Miami-Dade acknowledged Republicans’ unity.

“We’re pushing and fighting against a unilateral march toward a sort of an allegiance to a horrible pattern,” he said. “But … really proud of our caucus. I don’t think people realize how bad it would have been had we not sort of gotten together, coalesced and been engaged.”

Democratic Sen. Victor Torres of Osceola County said ultimately the only way Democrats can exercise more power in the proceedings lies in getting more Democrats in the Senate and the House.

“The reality is that the everyday citizen is suffering — the ones who get up every day to either drive the bus, or go to work in the school as a teacher, as a custodian, the firefighter, the police officer — they’re all suffering,” Torres said. “Don’t complain. Get out and vote. You have the power.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Rich Edge

    March 14, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    Lauren Book states, ““It’s a free state of Florida unless you’re a woman, unless you’re gay, … unless you are student in a classroom…”

    What does that even mean? Democrats just put this stuff out there, with pithy little slogans like “Can’t Say Gay.” and their Lemming supporters pick it up and run with it. “Hey Karen, did ya see that Lauren Book said Gays and women aren’t free in Florida? That Gov. DeSantis is a evil.”

    There is no restriction on gays from using the word gay. Indeed there is no ban of the word gay in schools. Nowhere does it prohibit the use of the word gay, or ban a teacher from answering a child’s query in a general way should the topic arise. What it prevents is a school district’s, or teacher’s use of the classroom as a place to instruct young children on these topics at a level which may contradict the beliefs and teachings of the parents.

    What Gov DeSantis and the Florida Legislature are in fact implementing in Florida’s schools is the basic concept Parental Rights. Rights recognized as long ago as John Locke 1632-1704 and as recently as the below Supreme Court decisions.
    One would think the Left could relate. In 1952 they used the Court to stop school prayer.

    Radical Progressives have hijacked the Democratic Party. It’s time reasonable Liberals take it back.

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      March 15, 2022 at 8:24 am

      Facts are irrelevant to the lunatic left Democrats They want kids in K-3 and up discussing sexual identity, transgenderism, etc. Period.

  • marcus

    March 14, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    There are plenty of clueless voters in Florida who have no idea how bad it would have been if that crack addict, alcoholic, sexually depraved dem had become governor.

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      March 15, 2022 at 8:22 am

      We dodged a howitzer!

    • Nick Ireland

      March 16, 2022 at 11:13 am

      And to think, Lauren Book was going to be that guy’s running mate

      • Verdine Burden

        March 16, 2022 at 11:16 am

        Thank you. We appreciate the critical thinking of a convicted sex offender.

  • Emperor Palpatine

    March 15, 2022 at 8:39 am

    “Ah – the hate flows from the right. Good. Good. The Dark Side is strong in Florida Legislature.”

  • Stop Being Dumb

    March 15, 2022 at 11:32 am

    There is no left.
    There is no right.
    There are slaves and the unelected representatives screwing them over.

  • Comments

    March 16, 2022 at 1:54 am

    You know what is really bad using your name and likenesses for advertising your other names and likenesses. Then saying it is a civil matter to extort attorney fees

  • Ni

    March 16, 2022 at 11:16 am

    Senate Democrats did not appoint a LEADER, they appointed a loser who won her Senate seat by default (no one ran against her), and was given the Senate Leadership role not because of her talents, but because of her lobbyist dad.

    Semate Democrats not only dug their own party’s grave, they are shoveling the dirt on it themselves.

Comments are closed.


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