Romano: Does anyone have the guts to say no to the state bully?

Published February 13 2018
Updated February 13 2018

You are not always going to agree with your state legislators.

That’s just a given. There are too many issues, too many viewpoints. It’s neither fair to them, nor realistic of you, to think your perspectives will always align.

So what should you expect of lawmakers?

Honesty. Transparency. Fairness.

Which, in the Florida House, means:

Strike one, strike two, strike three.

The education bill (HB 7055) passed by the House last week is a sham wrapped in a con and rationalized by liars. It takes political ideology and tries to dress it up in sympathetic terms.

EDITORIAL: Senate should reject House’s attack on public schools

There is no evidence backing up the sweeping changes in this bill. There is no hint of compromise in any of the outlandish and irresponsible proposals. There is no respect for the normal legislative process.

Instead it is the hubris of Speaker Richard Corcoran and his singing sycophants.

(That goes for you Larry Ahern, James Grant, Chris Latvala and Chris Sprowls.)

If he was truly being honest, Corcoran would acknowledge that his plan to create a path to private schools for students being bullied is just a back-door way to expand the state’s voucher program.

How do we know that?

Because the plan does not even address the bullies. Instead, it forces kids to flee. Which they could have already done because the state has choice programs allowing transfers to other public schools.

If the House was truly being transparent, it wouldn’t be cramming a dozen different ideas into a single bill. It would allow each idea to rise or fall on its own merit.

And if the House was being fair, it wouldn’t tie the $21.1 billion public school budget to the passage of HB 7055. That’s right, the House is not just going to walk away if it doesn’t get its way. Instead, House members are saying public schools will not be funded next year if the bill is not passed in the Senate.

Sort of sounds like bullying, doesn’t it? And your anti-bullying representatives just voted for it.

(That goes for you Shawn Harrison, Jake Raburn, Ross Spano and Jackie Toledo.)

As if that wasn’t enough, the House is doubling down on its crusade to crush teachers unions. Having been shamed by a public employee union-busting bill (HB 25) that conveniently protected cops and firefighters, the House has incorporated the teachers portion of that bill into HB 7055.

Once again, this is how they lie.

Instead of manning up and admitting that they are tired of fighting teachers unions, Corcoran and his meek minions are trying a back-door tactic to legislate the union out of existence.

(That goes for you Danny Burgess, Blaise Ingoglia, Amber Mariano and Lawrence McClure.)

We can disagree on policies and philosophies. We can debate the best ways to protect schoolchildren, and the best ways to spend tax dollars on education. We can — in fact we should — examine the results in private, charter and public schools and figure out what is working and what is not.

Except we don’t do any of that in Florida.

For several years, the governor and 159 legislators have listened to Corcoran tell everyone how they should follow his vision to privatize public schools, and they’ve nodded their little bobbleheads.

Now, Corcoran is upping the ante with the charade that is HB 7055. And it will be up to the Senate in the coming weeks to tell him no.

So what’s it going to be senators?

Are you going to be Corcoran’s flunkies, too?

Or, rather, again?