Three prominent Jacksonville attorneys shared their insights and experience working on the half cent sales tax for schools, the proposed sale of the JEA, and other hot issues at the virtual October BAM meeting Thursday.
Hank Coxe, Audrey Moran and Scott Cairns offered an insider perspective on the fight to get a referendum on the proposed school sales tax before the voters. The measure was initially blocked by the city council. The school board prevailed in court and the referendum is on the November ballot. It is widely supported by city residents as critical to addressing the infrastructure and facility needs of the state's oldest school system. City control over departments and authorities like the school board, maneuvering by charter school advocates, and a last minute bill passed by the state legislature were all at play according to the attorneys.
The group also discussed "shenanigans" involved in the proposed sale of the city's public utility, although they voiced different views on motivations behind the proposal. Two of the lawyers helped to organize a watchdog group pushing for transparency in the process.
Little hope was offered for efforts to restore voting rights to felons who have served their time given roadblocks and administrative hurdles created by the state, according to the speakers. Supporters were advised to pursue a new constitutional amendment prohibiting repayment of fees and other costs as a condition for restoring these rights.
If you missed it, you can find a video of the meeting here.