Before we get to Day 1 of Day 1 – 10, it is important to lay the foundation. Where do our laws come from?
Well, for one, that is not a stupid question. There are a lot of rules to follow as an American, a Floridian, and Sarasotan. And they all come from somewhere. But not always the same place.
Some rules come from our US Senate, House and President. We will probably never talk about them…starting right now.
Some of these rules come from state legislators. We won’t usually talk about them, but today and until the election, we must.
Some of them come from county commissioners. And some of them come from the people! They all come together as laws that we follow (should we choose to) and form our US Constitution, Florida Constitution, and County Charter.
Before we get into the laws we will be voting on (and how they got there and what we should do about them), I just want to take a second to break things down:
- Bills are introduced by legislators TO legislators, and they get voted on by legislators to become an Act. Constituents participate by swaying their legislators, not by voting.
- Amendments are (for the purpose of this convo) changes to a legal or statutory document, like the Florida Constitution or County Charter. They are placed on ballots through citizen petition or our governing body of influence (legislators or commissioners). And every 20 years in Florida, they are placed on the ballot by a group of people called the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). More to come on this later.
- In sum: Bills are voted on by legislators and become Acts (that states can usually implement) while Amendments are voted on by us, the people, and then make up our Constitutions and Charters.
Shout out: Like I said before, I am never the smartest person in any room and I think everything I do is a collaborative effort. The vast majority (aka all of it) of this specific blog post is a result from the Junior League of Sarasota’s recent event on the ballot issues. They thought it was important to “set the stage,” and I do too. Thank you to the State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC)**, and more specifically, SPAC’s Chair, Britt Riner, for lending her wisdom, passion, and ideas to inform and excite voters. SPAC’s mission is to I am so honored to serve as the Vice-Chair of SPAC under her leadership.
**Shameless plug: SPAC members collectively identify the issues that resonate with their members and that are relevant to The Junior League Mission, and develop strategies for tackling them. This advocacy takes many forms—it can be as straightforward as building awareness and educating the public about a pressing problem, or as ambitious as sponsoring and writing a bill that ultimately becomes a law. If this committee is interesting to you- or if serving and leading alongside other women speaks to you- check out the Junior League of Sarasota to learn more!