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Bush Backs Bills

April 19th, 2010 by flanews

A controversial bill paving the way for state dollars to be spent on religious organization is drawing strong opposition. The bill would allow state funding for religious schools, a proposal that, as Whitney Ray tells us, has been a long time goal of former Governor Jeb Bush.

Legislation that could open up a pipeline to funnel state dollars to religious schools is being dubbed the Religious Freedom Act. The Florida Education Association, the ACLU, and a slew of Democrats are fighting the plan.

“This bill will do nothing more than further religious discrimination in this state,” said State Representative Adam Fetterman.

Supporters say the plan would protect businesses and charities with a religious affiliation from being discriminated against in the dash for state cash.

“This amendment simply says that if the government is spending money and there are religious organizations that apply for that money, they can’t be discriminated against,” said State Senator Joe Negron.

A similar plan was pushed through the legislative process by Former Governor Jeb Bush, but in 2006 the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.

Bush reemerged shortly before the start of this year’s legislative session pushing drastic education reform. More tax dollars for private schools is still on the agenda. State Senator Dave Aronberg says Bush is having his best session to date.

“He may not be here, but his presence is being felt here. A lot of legislation that is being pushed has his name all over it,” said State Senator Dave Aronberg.

The Florida Education Association, who successfully defeated Bush’s merit pay plan, says it’s not fair for the former governor to be pulling the strings.

“Yes he is but he doesn’t have to face the voters anymore and he doesn’t have to face you guys,” said Pudlow.

If the Religious Freedom Act passes both chambers, voters would get a change to weigh in on the issue in November. The last legislative hurdle is the state House. The Religious Freedom Act is soaring through the Senate… but with just two weeks left in this year’s legislative session the House may run out of time to hold a hearing on the issue.

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