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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Sen. Charlie Justice: School board group misses point on electioneering law




Florida Sen. Charlie Justice, the St. Petersburg Democrat who spearheaded Senate Bill 216  in the spring, tells the Gradebook that he's amazed by the Florida School Board Association's opposition to his effort to stop government agencies from spending taxpayer money to advocate on election issues.

School officials have expressed concern that they would not be able to run campaigns for a sales tax to support construction, or a property tax increase to pay for needed operations. 

Nonsense, Justice exclaims.

"The bill is very straightforward," he says. "There is nothing that stops school boards from doing resolutions. They can even pay for information. They simply cannot advocate for the passage or defeat of a tax."

The problem has been a lack of controls that led to things such as two government entities running competing advertising campaigns over a ballot initiative, and a Pinellas town that had campaign slogan magnets on police cars, he said. Governments providing straightforward information about what a new tax might provide is not the issue, he added.

"I hope they don't go to far with this," Justice said, referring to threatened lawsuits to kill the new law.


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:36am]


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