We asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: What would you say to lawmakers about this legislative session? Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.
I would tell the members of the Florida House that they ought to be ashamed of themselves for leaving early without getting the job done. It is disgraceful that they didn’t work with the Florida Senate to expand Medicaid. Everyone who was against providing Medicaid expansion should lose his or her taxpayer-provided health insurance. They certainly do not deserve it.
Laurie Amber, Miami
You are elected to serve the public and to act in the public good. The citizens of Florida should not be held hostage to political grandstanding. The short legislative session barely serves the needs of modern Florida. Get back to work.
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Lorraine Dowdy, Miami
This is to the Republicans in the House who voted for Sine Die three days prematurely: Why did you run for the legislature, if you didn’t want to complete the work you are constitutionally forced to do? Where’s the budget? Please don’t do it again!
Sara Leviten, North Miami
I would call them irresponsible. They tabled many important bills that Floridians were relying on. Among them equal time-sharing with their kids for divorced parents. Who pays their salaries? Are they above the law and immune from their actions? We lose.
Henry Marquez, Miami
I would ask lawmakers to focus more on the facts of Floridians’ future and less on their feelings. Disagreement is no excuse for dismantling constitutional consensus.
Lionel Lightbourne, Liberty City
If anyone working outside the legislature does the same thing, i.e., absconding from work, they will be fired immediately. There should be something to make these freeloaders (elected and enjoying benefits from taxpayers’ money, but refused to work) accountable.
Satya Vedantam, Pembroke Pines
I would say that they need to get back to work, especially the House. I would also say too that they should put aside their intense dislike of Barack Obama and do what is right for the 800,000 Floridians who could benefit from Medicaid expansion. Furthermore, I would ask them to read the highlights from the excellent Herald series on for-profit colleges and make laws that benefit the citizens of our state, not the owners of these institutions.
Janet Nostro, Coral Gables
They are obviously out of touch with the population and have their own agenda. They do not represent us. They only represent their self interests. Furthermore, it is fiscally irresponsible for them to now have to call a special session because they did not do their job in the first place. We pay for their incompetence.
Stacy Casson, Hollywood
I am 86 years old. I have been a Republican since long before I was old enough to vote. At the moment I am embarrassed to admit that fact in public. I find it hard to imagine a more worthless legislative performance.
Arnold Slotkin, Hollywood
My first reaction was, ‘Shame on you!’ You were elected to do a job and just like a spoiled child, when things did not go your way, you took your ball and went home. We teachers, who you like to denigrate so eagerly, would lose our jobs if we said, ‘The children are out of sorts today, so I am going to go home until they see things my way.’ This dysfunctional legislature and our mostly absent governor (who waits to see which way the wind is blowing before acting) have done a huge disservice to the people of Florida.
Barbara Van Diepen, Hollywood
In any job I’ve had, if I just walked off three days before my scheduled stop time, without finishing my work, I’d be fired. The job of the lawmakers is to resolve issues, by doing whatever it takes to get it done. Stop thinking about ‘politics’ so much, and take a stance on the issues based on what ‘the people’ want. Let’s get back to the roots of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people...’
Greg Bito, South Miami
The behavior of the House members is shameful and disrespectful to us, the Floridians, their bosses. Why should Florida be any different than the United States Congress? The representatives there (a seeming majority) are even more shameful, or should I say shameless.
Michelle Moore, Davie
It is your duty as a representative to serve your constituents. Playing politics with important business to conduct is unprofessional, shows poor judgment and a lack of respect for the voters. Representatives have a job to do. By ending the session early the unintended consequences are laws that were not passed and other business that could have been conducted. I do not understand how these people get elected.
Steven Neifeld, Miami Beach
Regardless of anyone’s political philosophy — other than anarchy — this last action by the House was reprehensible and irresponsible. They should be ashamed, but, of course, they have none. But it is consistent with the prevailing mindset of people elected to run the government who hate government and think there is no reason for it to exist. The inmates have, indeed, taken over the asylum.
William Hirschman, Plantation
The same thing I would tell them every other session: Put your constituents and the federal and state constitutions ahead of your personal interests and your debts to special interests. Stop accepting legal bribes and present a higher standard of ethics than would have got you elected. Don’t worry about your next election. Do your job.
Prem Barbosa, Miami-Dade County
How can you all preach about fiscal responsibility in light of what you’ve done? The special session will cost us, Florida taxpayers, in excess of $500,000 ... and that’s a conservative estimate. If you choose to run for office, please conduct yourselves as adults. No one ever gets to get it all their way. Compromise is a fact of “grown-up” life. I’d like to see you enact legislation that restricts payment to legislators who fail to do their jobs. A budget ... that is it! That’s all that you have to do. All of the posturing, pronouncements and propaganda is so much theater. I am disappointed, disgusted and disillusioned.
Patti Lynn, Tamarac
When you come back from your self-imposed timeout, you need to start honoring the wishes of the voters. Florida voters asked for fair and equitable districts that were not drawn to favor one party over another. You disregarded our wishes along with our desire to preserve our wetlands and natural resources. Too many people are without healthcare. Take the federal money and call it Healthcare Relief. You take other federal money without any trouble. If you truly want to keep government out of the lives of Florida’s citizens, you would not try to deny women abortions or other legitimate medical procedures. We need more infrastructure repair, not more guns. If you were being graded on your efforts, you would get an F and be replaced like you want to do to hardworking teachers.
Theresa Lianzi, Hollywood
I would like to tell them that we elected them to do a job — not to quit when the going gets tough! I was furious to hear that they had ended their session because they couldn’t agree. Negotiation and working together for solutions is why we pay them our tax dollars. I think they should all be fired and we hold a special election to recruit new lawmakers who are not afraid to work for a living and for solutions!
Marilyn DeMartini, Fort Lauderdale
Rep. [Steve] Crisafulli has done a disservice to our state. We have a runaway government that is sponsoring their own agenda and not that of the citizens. The reality of global warming, healthcare and drinking water seems to elude our elected officials, let alone infrastructure and decent paying jobs. Instead they focus on self-made distractions such as Obamacare, which has helped untold numbers of Floridians. It’s time they wake up and move out of the 1950s to 2015. Drop their hatred of our black president and get over gay marriage.
Joseph Felt, Wilton Manors
We send our elected officials to Tallahassee to solve problems facing the state, not to create even more problems. We need statesmen and stateswomen in Tallahassee in the mold of Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles and Claude Pepper, who cared more about the State of Florida and its people than their own personal and political ambitions. We need leadership in Tallahassee, not followership. The elected officials in one party must stop seeing the elected officials of the other party as enemies, only to be ‘defeated.’ Governing requires talking and listening, not just talking. Collaboration and cooperation need to take precedence over narrow personal and political ambition.
Paul Hunt, South Miami
I think it is absolutely appalling that these legislators are so unwilling to compromise on anything. Everyone is clinging so strongly to their own ideology that nothing of value can be accomplished. They should all be fired or voted out! They are acting like schoolyard bullies.
Joan Toepfer, Boynton Beach
To Steve Crisafulli (and the House members who supported him ending the session prematurely): You should be ashamed of what you did. Not only did you fail to do the job for which you were elected, you also did damage to good bills like prison reform and dealing with the mentally ill by marking up the Senate’s version of the bills with harmful changes. The House’s (and Governor Scott’s) obstinacy about Medicaid expansion is hurtful to our state’s economy and people. I am proud of the Senate, on the other hand, for exhibiting reasonableness and maturity. Please go into special session soon and be reasonable instead of throwing up roadblocks.
Annette Evans, Boca Raton