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OPINION: Reps. Brown, Morales Top Orange County Democratic House Lawmakers in Passing State Laws

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State Representative Kamia Brown (left) and State Representative Daisy Morales (right). Photos by the Florida House of Representatives.
State Representative Kamia Brown (left) and State Representative Daisy Morales (right). Photos by the Florida House of Representatives.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – As the 2022 November midterm election draws closer, political ads have gotten increasingly nastier–especially in the state house elections in Orange County–from Republican candidates claiming their Democrat opponents got no bills passed or signed into law (namely Senator Jason Brodeur in his attack on State Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil in the Senate District 10 race). As such, we’re looking at the Democratic state lawmakers who represent Orange County and how many bills they sponsored (in their own name) out of the 14 bills issued to them that were signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis during the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions.

 

Orange County’s Top Two Democratic State Lawmakers

Reps. Kamia Brown and Daisy Morales introduced the most bills (which include companion and appropriations bills) that got signed into law out of the seven Democratic state lawmakers representing Orange County.

Florida State Representative Kamia Brown: 7 Bills
Democratic Minority Leader pro tempore (2020-2022)

State Rep. Kamia Brown speaks on the Florida House floor. Photo: Florida House of Representatives.

State Rep. Kamia Brown speaks on the Florida House floor. Photo: Florida House of Representatives.

 

Florida State Representative Daisy Morales: 5 Bills
Democratic Freshman Lawmaker (2020-2022)

 

State Rep. Daisy Morales holds up the signed House Resolution 8069, recognizing April 2, 2022 as Puerto Rican Heritage Day across the state of Florida, on the Florida House floor. Photo: State Rep. Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

State Rep. Daisy Morales holds up the signed House Resolution 8069, recognizing April 2, 2022 as Puerto Rican Heritage Day across the state of Florida, on the Florida House floor. Photo: State Rep. Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

A Lawmaker’s Job

For anyone who may not know, in addition to balancing the state budget, getting bills signed into law is the literal job of a state representative and state senator, which is why they’re typically called “lawmakers.” The same is true at the federal level–U.S. representatives (or Congressmen and Congresswomen) and U.S. senators are responsible for balancing the federal budget and getting bills signed into law.

That said, it’s a pretty tough sell to ask voters to re-elect you if you’re an incumbent representative or senator with no bills sponsored in your name getting signed into law.

The Legislative Process in a Nutshell

Granted, the process is long, difficult and a bill is at the mercy of many people. It has to pass subcommittees, committees, then make it to the House or Senate floor for a vote and must pass there before having its companion bill approved in the other chamber (House or Senate, depending on which chamber passes the bill first).

While passing both chambers is exciting because it means the bill is headed to the governor’s or president’s desk for signature, it’s not a law until it gets signed. And there are plenty of bills that never make it that far.

This is why not having any bills signed into law for a particular legislative session (or worse, for an incumbent candidate’s entire legislative career) proves detrimental. It means the candidate only accomplished half of the job.

 

The Orange County Democratic State Reps’ Record

Here’s how the state representatives in the Orange County Democratic State Legislative Delegation measure up.


Chair – Representative Joy Goff-Marcil (District 30)

Total number of bills signed into law in her name during the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions: 1

 

2022 Bills:

 

2021 Bills:


Vice Chair – Representative Travaris L. McCurdy (District 46)

Total number of bills signed into law in his name during the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions: 4

2022 Bills:

 

2021 Bills:

 

Secretary – Representative Anna V. Eskamani (District 47)

Total number of bills signed into law in her name during the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions: 2

2022 Bills:

 

2021 Bills:

 

Representative Geraldine F. Thompson (District 44)

Total number of bills signed into law in her name during the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions: 2

2022 Bills:

 

2021 Bills:

 

Representative Kamia L. Brown (District 45)

Total number of bills signed into law in her name during the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions: 7

2022 Bills:

 

2021 Bills:

 

Representative Daisy Morales (District 48)

Total number of bills signed into law in her name during the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions: 5

2022 Bills:

2021 Bills:

 

Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith (District 49)

Total number of bills signed into law in her name during the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions: 2

2022 Bills:

 

2021 Bills:

 

As for Senator Jason Brodeur’s recent attack ad claiming that State Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil didn’t pass any laws, that’s not entirely true. For the 2022 Legislative Session, yes, she didn’t get any bills passed, but she did get one passed in 2021, which is part of her term. One is still more than zero.

 

All in all, Democrats have an uphill climb to pass bills and get them signed into law, as they have over the last two decades as the minority party in the state legislature. It takes far more effort for them to persuade their Republican colleagues to pass bills out of committee to even make it to a floor vote. Most bills are dead on arrival and never get heard in any committee. Even for the bills that pass the legislature, it takes a miracle for Governor DeSantis, who naturally prioritizes his own party’s legislation, to sign a Democrat lawmaker’s bill into law. That’s why Reps. Brown’s and Morales’ numbers above are so significant. It’s a tough feat to pass laws as a Democrat state representative, and especially as a freshman. Results like those are a testament to a lawmaker’s grit, resilience, and adaptability.

After this year’s midterm election, the Democrats will have an even tougher fight, given the GOP’s aggressive push to gain more seats after this year’s redistricting, and with the Democrats prioritizing abortion rights as their primary campaign message compared to the GOP’s focus on the economy–which is what most voters are concerned with right now–the Dems will have to claw their way through over the next two to four years to get anything done.

Watch this space.

__________________________________________________

Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

Politics

Governor DeSantis vetoed Housing for Legally Verified Agricultural Workers

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Today, Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed CS/SB 1082 Housing for Legally Verified Agricultural Workers.

Florida’s agriculture industry was hoping a newly passed bill that would limit local regulations on farmworker housing will bolster efforts to bring in more non-immigrant foreign workers.

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State Attorney Andrew Warren Announces New Wave of Endorsements from Esteemed Legislators and Elected Leaders

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Tampa, FL – State Attorney Andrew Warren’s re-election campaign is proud to announce another significant round of endorsements from distinguished current and former legislators and elected leaders. This new wave of support highlights the broad and diverse coalition rallying behind Andrew Warren’s leadership and vision to make Hillsborough County safer, fight for victims, and improve the criminal justice system.

Among those endorsing State Attorney Warren are:

  • Hon. Betty Castor, Former Florida Commissioner of Education and State Senator

  • Hon. Pat Frank, Former State Senator and Hillsborough Clerk of Courts

  • Hon. Les Miller, Former State Senator and Hillsborough County Commissioner

  • Hon. E.J. Salcines, Former State Attorney and Judge of the Second District Court of Appeal

  • Hon. Rod Smith, Former State Attorney and State Senator

  • Rep. Dianne Hart, Florida House of Representatives

  • Rep. Susan Valdes, Florida House of Representatives

  • Hon. Ben Diamond, Former State Representative

  • Hon. Adam Hattersley, Former State Representative

  • Hon. Ed Narain, Former State Representative

  • Hon. Sean Shaw, Former State Representative and Insurance Consumer Advocate

Reflecting on his achievements and the collaborative efforts that have driven his office’s success, Warren stated, “I’m incredibly honored to have the support of so many distinguished public servants. They know I’ll reverse the alarming increase in crime over the past two years and make Hillsborough safer—just as I did before.”

During Warren’s time in office, crime dropped 32%, making Hillsborough the safest large county in Florida. Under Warren’s leadership, the State Attorney’s Office launched several groundbreaking initiatives that made our neighborhoods safer and protected victims, including:

  • Disarming Domestic Abusers, in which the State Attorney’s Office aggressively prosecuted domestic abusers to take guns from them and protect survivors of domestic violence.

  • The Victims’ Rights Amendment, a constitutional amendment that Warren championed and ultimately was passed by voters across Florida to protect the rights of crime victims.

  • The Conviction Review Unit, which exonerated an innocent man wrongfully incarcerated for 37 years and charged the actual perpetrators who had committed a spree of murders in the 1980s.

This announcement follows a haul of more than $210,000 raised during his first 45 days on the campaign trail and the endorsements received from Tampa Bay regional political leaders.

First elected in 2016 by defeating a 16-year incumbent, State Attorney Warren is seeking re-election to a third term as State Attorney for Hillsborough County, Florida. Warren, a Democrat, points to his proven record of reduced crime, increased public safety, and improvements to the justice system. Warren is a former federal prosecutor and a champion of effective criminal justice policy, focused on balancing punishment, accountability, prevention, and rehabilitation to maximize public safety.

For more information about the campaign, please visit AndrewWarrenFL.com

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Endorses Gayle Harrell for Senate District 31

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STUART – Governor Ron DeSantis today endorsed Gayle Harrell for Senate District 31. Harrell currently represents the Treasure Coast district, which includes Martin County and parts of Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties.
“Governor Ron DeSantis has admirably led our great state through a global pandemic, devastating storms and Joe Biden’s disastrous economy. I am proud of the work we have done together to keep Florida free, and honored to have our great Governor’s endorsement,” said Harrell.”

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