Your Weekly Update of Florida’s Legislative Session: Week 4

Dear Friend,

Welcome to your Weekly Legislative Session Update! First off, thank you to everyone who attended our two very special events last week. Not only did we host the first ever Persian New Year Party in the Florida Capitol, but we also hosted an Office Opening in House District 47!

Both events were wildly successful, with more than 150 people attending our New Year celebration and over 135 people attending our office opening. You can click below for more details and photos too. Special thanks to our incredible staff, interns, and volunteers who made it all possible — and to Emily Wray for some of these amazing photos!

HOUSE DISTRICT 47 OFFICE OPENING IN ORLANDO

Click here for more photos & click here for press release

FIRST EVER PERSIAN NEW YEAR PARTY IN FLORIDA CAPITOL

Click here for more photos & here for an article in the Tallahassee Democrat

Now, onto your Weekly Legislative Update→

Knocking On Doors in HD47

There is no better way to talk to our constituents than knocking on doors! Last week we knocked on doors around our new district office to invite neighbors to our office opening. We’ll be knocking on more doors in the coming weeks too — no matter who you are or where you live in HD47, we want to make sure you know that we are fighting for you!

Standing Up Against Senate Bill 168

Senate Bill 168/House Bill 527 is an offensive piece of legislation designed to separate immigrant families, escalate deportations (including that of Venezuelans), and force police to honor unreliable and even unconstitutional ICE detainer requests. I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Dreamers and undocumented families as we pushed back against this bill and elevated the voices of our directly impacted communities.

I also want to make sure you saw this article from the Miami Herald that shined a light on the backroom deals and political motivations behind this terrible policy idea.

Cecile Richards Shout Out!

Many of you know that before I was elected to serve in the Florida House I was the Senior DIrector of Public Affairs and Communications at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. I continue to be an unapologetic voice when it comes to all issues that impact women and girls, and appreciate this shoutout from former Planned Parenthood national president, Cecile Richards.

Met with Students from Blankner K-8 School

Our schedule in Tallahassee is always packed with meetings, and one of my favorite meetings was with students and faculty from Blankner K-8 school! I am inspired each day by the young people of HD47.

Interns Winning College Elections

Speaking of young people, I could not be MORE PROUD of our interns, two who were just elected into their school’s student government associations! Good leaders create new leaders, and we are thrilled to be supporting our state’s next generation of community advocates.

Interfaith Coalition For Reproductive Freedom & Justice

I believe firmly that when it comes to decisions around a woman’s pregnancy, that decision must always remain between a woman, her chosen family, her doctor, and her faith — not politicians. That’s why I was proud to share space with the Florida Interfaith Coalition for Reproductive Freedom and Justice, as this organization provides a faith perspective on issues impacting women’s reproductive health and self-autonomy.

Florida’s Budget Negotiations

This last week both the Florida House and Senate released their competing budgets. There are major funding differences in several areas, including on education and the environment. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund is at risk with the Senate not raiding funds, but the House taking nearly 63 percent of the affordable housing funds for other state priorities. As the Florida Phoenix reports, whatever funding is left in the Florida House proposed budget would go to Florida Panhandle counties most heavily impacted by Hurricane Michael last year, meaning other areas of Florida would see zero state support for affordable housing.

Though we have seen a small increase in the current proposal for arts and culture funding, we are working with budget leaders to allocate more, and the same can be said for mental health funding too. Unfortunately debates around arming teachers and increasing the voucher education system continue — and we’ll be fighting both issues on the House floor this week.

Texting While Driving Ban

As reported in the Sun Sentinel: “The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee unanimously backed a proposal (HB 107), sponsored by Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, and Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, that would shift texting while driving from a “secondary” offense to a “primary” offense.” By making it a primary offense, police could pull over motorists for texting behind the wheel. I look forward to supporting this bill when it comes to the House Floor.

Protecting Home Rule and Our Workers

Last week I was proud to vote no on House Bill 847 in committee. Current law already preempts issues of wages and benefits in the private sector to the State Legislature, taking away local control on such issues. HB 847 radically increases the scope of these current exemptions by adding an intentionally broad and all-inclusive new definition of “conditions of employment.” The proponents of this bill have not shown any compelling evidence as to why such a dramatic change is needed — but it is almost certain that this broad language will lead to unintended (or intended) consequences, negatively affecting local government’s ability to create ordinances that best fit their needs.

Spoke at FSU College Democrats Meeting

Before leaving Tallahassee I was honored to serve on a women in politics panel hosted by the College Democrats at Florida State University. Thank you for the invitation!

Attended Cattlemen’s Breakfast

Back in Orlando, we spent Saturday morning with the Orange County Farm Bureau at the annual Cattlemen’s Breakfast in east Orlando! Though agriculture is not a large part of HD47’s economy, it’s important for us to meet our local farmers, and better understand the challenges they face.

Served Over 200 Constituents in HD47

People are our passion, and I could not be more proud to announce that our legislative office has served more than 200 constituents and counting! If you need anything at all, never hesitate to contact our District Secretary and Constituent Liaison Lauren Cooper at lauren.cooper@myfloridahouse.gov.

Looking Towards The Final Month of Legislative Session

We are now approaching the final half of Florida’s 2019 legislative session. I find this work to be as exhausting as it is exhilarating, and am honored to be your happy warrior in the Florida House.

Onward,

Representative Anna V. Eskamani

PS, in case you missed it, we were featured in USA Today this past week too.

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Anna V. Eskamani

Orlandoan, daughter of working class immigrants and UCF grad elected to serve FL HD47. Working for you, fighting for us. #OnwardWithAnna