"Knowing is not enough! You must take action." Tony Robbins
They're Ba-a-a-a-ck: Legislature Returns for Special Session on Property Insurance
Faced with the dramatic exit of property insurance companies, and eye-popping rate increases by those that remain in the state, legislators return to Tallahassee this week to try to solve a problem they failed to address in the regular 60-day session.
Based on pre-filed bills, lawmakers will attempt to stabilize the insurance marketplace by dealing with roof-damage claims, litigation, and reinsurance, aka "insurance for insurance companies". There may also be an attempt to strengthen oversight of companies that have been plagued by accusations of fraud and financial mismanagement. Whatever lawmakers come up with will provide little more than a short-term fix for what most agree is the "new normal" in Florida and a direct result of climate change. High property insurance rates disproportionately impact low-income homeowners, making the state increasingly unaffordable and contributing to the housing crisis.
Gun violence watchdogs are also closely monitoring the session in case Gov. Ron Desantis tries to slip-in consideration of a permitless carry bill - one of his yet-to-be-accomplished priorities. This legislation would eliminate the criminal background check and training requirements to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
The extra session comes on the heels of another special session to deal with redistricting - another issue lawmakers couldn't get done. The price tag for that session was $153,000 and the maps ended up in court. Worth remembering what legislators chose to spend their time on during the regular session - don't say gay, don't be woke, dismantle reproductive and voting rights - certainly not the major problems facing Floridians.
Petition & Rally to Reopen College Early Voting Sites
Students and faculty, joined by the ACLU and members of the Let Duval Vote coalition, are leading a movement to reopen early voting sites at Edward Waters University and the University of North Florida - a move supported by both university presidents. The groups are planning to deliver 500+ petitions to Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan on Thursday, May 26 at 5:30 p.m. Add your name to a petition here. Rally with them as they attempt to meet with Hogan and advocate for restoring early voting sites so critical to enfranchising young voters who could sway the midterms!
Work of ICARE, Win Elections Network Highlighted at
Joint BAM-IM Meeting
Efforts by the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation & Empowerment (ICARE) to promote criminal justice reforms, including adult civil citations and diversion programs, were highlighted by organizer Amanda Nelson at the May BAM - Indivisible Mandarin joint meeting. Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams has rebuffed the group's recommendations,
despite earlier promises to consider the reforms, according to Nelson. She noted the current system of criminalizing misdemeanors, which disproportionately impacts Blacks in Jacksonville, generates significant revenue for the sheriff's office, attorneys, and bail bond businesses - creating a formidable force against change. She encouraged participants to engage with their faith communities and become involved with ICARE.
The virtual meeting also featured an overview of GOTV plans from the newly organized Duval Win Elections Network (WEN). The coalition, comprising a diverse membership of more than 20 activist organizations and community groups, is working to coordinate and amplify efforts around voter registration, voter engagement, messaging, and candidate support with the goal of keeping Duval blue in 2022! If you missed the informative and action-packed meeting, check out the video here. Find a list of opportunities to get involved below - we can win the midterms if we start now!
Time for Action! Keep Duval Blue in 2022
Whether you have an hour or a day - there are plenty of ways to get energized and involved in the groundwork needed to win the 2022 midterms!
Happy Hour Canvassing at the Beach. Join the Beaches Democratic Club on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4:45 - 6 p.m. to knock on doors encouraging GOTV and support for School Board candidate Elizabeth Andersen. Ten houses, one hour & a happy hour celebration! Starts this week. Text Hanna Moore @ 904-999-8515 for details!
Voter Registration Training. Join the Democratic Women's Information Network
(DWIN) on Saturday, June 4 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. at the IBEW, 966 N. Liberty Street, to learn about the process for registering voters and signing them up for Vote by Mail. Register here.
Community Canvass for Elizabeth Andersen: Duval DEMS will be canvassing for School Board candidate Elizabeth Andersen - who faces opposition from a Moms for Liberty member - on Sunday, May 29 from 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Sign up here.
Text-out for the Mid-Terms. The Duval DEMS are building a texting team for 2022! Join them on Thursday, June 2 from 6-7 p.m. from the comfort of your own home. Text fellow DEMS and remind them that Health, Housing & Justice are at stake in the upcoming elections! Sign up here.
Poll Watcher Briefing. With all of the GOP's efforts to suppress the vote, poll watchers will play a critical role in 2022. Join volunteers from across Duval for an in-depth briefing on how to be a poll watcher. Register here.
Help BEAM Raise Needed Match $$$
The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) needs help raising $20,000 for a challenge grant to support the group in addressing homelessness and hunger at the beach. Please consider donating to this worthy cause!
Sign Petition to Get Clean & Healthy Water Amendment on Ballot
Florida Right to Clean Water has rolled out an initiative to collect the 900,000+ signatures from registered voters statewide needed to place Constitutional Amendment 22-02 on the November 2024 Florida General Election Ballot. According to the group, over half of
Florida's waters are polluted and threaten the health, economy, wildlife, and quality of life of the state. The proposed amendment creates a fundamental right to clean and healthy water. The amendment may be used to sue State executive agencies for harm or threatened harm to Florida’s waters. The group is seeking volunteers and help in gathering signatures to enable voters to weigh in on this amendment in November. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Redistricting: Bad News, A Bit of Good News
Thanks to the ruling of a state appellate court, the congressional district map drawn by Governor Desantis is back in effect. The map eliminates two minority districts in the state - including one in Duval County, and cements GOP control of Florida's congressional districts. The ruling is the latest in a series of back-and-forth court actions on the proposed plan. Qualifying for 2022 elections ends June 17, and supervisors of elections in affected counties are scrambling to inform voters about changes in their districts. Confused? You are not alone.
Meanwhile, a host of local and state groups joined forces to challenge the new City Council-School Board district map. Local groups involved in the lawsuit include the Jacksonville NAACP Branch, the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, the Northeast Chapter of the ACLU of Florida, and Florida Rising. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court earlier this month, alleges the new district maps unconstitutionally pack four City Council districts and two School Board districts with Black voters, diminishing their influence in adjacent districts.
Upcoming Events! Mark Your Calendar
Proud to Say Gay Rally. Say no to hate by joining LGBTQ+ activists on Saturday, May 28 at 3 p.m. in front of the Duval County Courthouse.
Canine Carnivale Rescheduled. Visit the BAM table at the inaugural Atlantic Beach Canine Carnivale Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Beaches Veterans Memorial Park, 1 W. 1st Street. The event was rescheduled due to bad weather. We'll be registering voters, signing folks up for Vote-by-Mail, and gathering signatures for candidates and issue petitions. Come by and test your knowledge of Presidential Pets!
Melanin Market Juneteenth Celebration. Join JAX NOW and other partners in engaging and registering voters at the much-anticipated Melanin Market event which returns after a pandemic hiatus. The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. along A. Philip Randolph Blvd. on June 18th!