By Andrew Nappi, State Coordinator, Florida TAC
Once upon at time, the following declaration came out of our state capitol.
Ordinance of Secession.
We, the People of the State of Florida in Convention assembled, do solemnly ordain, publish and declare: That the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself from the Confederacy of States existing under the name of the United States of America, and from the existing Government of said States; and that all political connection between her and the Government of said States ought to be and the same is hereby totally annulled, and said union of States dissolved; and the State of Florida is hereby declared a Sovereign and Independent Nation; and that all ordinances heretofore adopted in so far as they create or recognize said Union are rescinded; and all laws or parts of laws in force in this State, in so far as they recognize or assent to said Union be and they are hereby repealed.
Done in open Convention, January 10th, A.D. 1861
“….In early January 1861, a special convention of delegates from around the state met in Tallahassee to consider whether Florida should leave the Union. Governor Madison Starke Perry and Governor-elect John Milton were both strong supporters of secession. For days, the issues were debated inside and outside the convention. In a minority opinion, former territorial governor Richard Keith Call, acting as a private citizen, argued that secession would bring only ruin to the state.
On January 10, 1861, the delegates voted sixty-two to seven to withdraw Florida from the Union. The next day, in a public ceremony on the east steps of the capitol, they signed a formal Ordinance of Secession. News of the event generally led to local celebrations. Later, the delegates adopted a new state constitution. Florida was the third state to leave the Union, and within a month it joined with other southern states to form the Confederate States of America.
News of the war’s end reached Florida in rumors and fragments later in April and in early May. Several months before, Florida’s Governor Milton had proclaimed that death would be preferable to reunion, and on April 1, he ended his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound…” Florida Department of State Website Historical Page
I am not suggesting Florida leave the union. I am not suggesting our legislature have the same courage of conviction exemplified by Governor Milton. There must be some middle ground though between these two positions where legislators can offer some conviction and core beliefs. (And by the way, can you name any town or county named after Richard Keith Call? There is however a Madison County, towns named Starke and Perry and a Milton, Florida.)
The legislature currently has three once highly touted “sovereignty” bills on the table for the upcoming session. These are “The Florida Tenth Amendment Resolution,” “The Fire Arms Freedom Act” and the “Health Care Freedom Act.” These bills, their authors and cosponsors can be found at http://flfreedom.org/
The Health Care Freedom Act is currently awaiting hearing in committee as HJR37. If added to our state constitution as an amendment, it provides the citizens of Florida with protection from the penalties proposed by nationalized health care. The text is simple:
“Health Care Services: Proposes creation of s. 28, Art. X of State Constitution to prohibit laws or rules from compelling any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system; permit person or employer to purchase lawful health care services directly from health care provider; permit health care provider to accept direct payment from person or employer for lawful health care services; exempt persons, employers, & health care providers from penalties & fines for paying or accepting direct payment for lawful health care services; permit purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems; & specifies what amendment does not affect or prohibit.”
Despite seven House co-sponsors of HJR37 sitting on the House Health Care Policy Committee (http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?SessionId=64&CommitteeId=2467), chairman Nick Thompson (R) Fort Myers, does not even have the bill on his schedule to be heard. In the Senate, a hearing of its version, SJR72, scheduled to be heard on February 10 of this year was postponed by committee chairman Dan Gaetz. Senator Gaetz is also a co-sponsor of SJR72.
If this one sovereignty act cannot be heard in committee and move on, it is dead at this time. It will never see the ballot in November as an amendment initiative. The citizens will be denied their right to protection from central government over reach by the very people who are sworn to protect them.
Should we be alarmed and angry? Yes. Should we be surprised? Maybe not.
This legislature is something of a split personality when it comes to state sovereignty. Our state legislature warmly received REAL ID and received approximately seven million dollars in “federal funds” to assist in its implementation.
Governor Crist and Senator John Thrasher, the new RPOF chairman have both eagerly embraced President Obama’s “Race to the Top” stimulus funding for education. Any voice of dissention from either the House or Senate has yet to be heard. Indeed, Florida has accepted 2.4 million from the central government for something called “educational data warehousing.” You can read more about this monstrosity at http://www.fldoe.org/arm/pdf/ARMSnapshot1.pdf ; this is just one of multiple dozens of pages hidden away on the Florida Department of Education’s website. The Ed Department also subscribes and links to the less than liberty inspiring theory of “Smart Human Capital Management” which can be found at: http://www.smhc-cpre.org/ Race to the Top funds will give the central government more control over local curriculums. This in no way enhances state sovereignty but quite the opposite; it nationalizes matters rightfully left to the state and its citizens.
Then of course there is High Speed Rail. An article at http://www.publicpurpose.com/pp-flhsr.htm begins as follows:
“High speed rail has operated for some years in both Japan and Europe. But Florida resembles neither. Population density is small compared to Japan and Europe, and there is no highly utilized city transit or intercity rail services to feed the line. Moreover, even in Japan and Europe part of high speed rail’s success is artificial. It has been protected from deregulated air competition and the cost of driving is similar to rail fares. France has even banned competing bus service.
Precisely the opposite is true in Florida. The cost of driving is only a fraction of the rail fare. Air fares have dropped to 33 percent below the projected rail fare — 60 percent below the level assumed by the FOX planners. Yet promoters claim that high speed rail will attract 65 percent of the air market between the Florida cities. In contrast, between Washington and New York, where rail fares are 40 percent lower than air fares, Amtrak attracts only 40 percent of the point-to-point air and rail market.
Projections indicate that nearly 30 percent of the ridership would be carried in the 90 mile Tampa- Lakeland-Orlando corridor. Yet it seems unlikely that people would pay six times as much to take the train as to drive their cars, and get there more slowly as a result. A 500 mile per hour passenger jet cannot compete with the convenience and speed of the automobile on a 90 mile trip and neither can a 200 mile per hour train. “
Profitability and future tax burdens be damned! – The legislature wants their 90 miles of ‘show” rail and that 1.25 billion in “stimulus money.” Putting the sovereignty limiting strings that always accompany “federal dollars” aside, is it responsible for this legislature to accept money that is part of a printed and borrowed multi trillion dollar central government debt to fund a three billion dollar plus project for which it has no other funding? Not to mention the absence of any type of feeder line from densely populated Pinellas County and its beaches to the Tampa station or a way to get foreign tourists from Orlando to those same beaches.
These decisions and positions do not describe the actions of a legislature interested in reclaiming the federalist system originally intended by our Founders. They do not inspire confidence among a citizenry thirsting for leaders who will help put the federal monster back in its lawful place. What it does illustrate is a group of politicians who, it can be argued, sensed they could rise a bit higher if they caught the updraft of the populist grassroots liberty movement and a group who will do what it takes to get the estimated five billion plus dollars that will be part of the state budget.
In Federalist 46, Madison, writing from a position taking state sovereignty as a given, said concern from the states about an oppressive central government was to be dismissed:
“On summing up the considerations stated in this and the last paper, they seem to amount to the most convincing evidence, that the powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and consequential annihilation of the State governments, must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them.”
Today we know the central government behemoth cares nothing for any of Madison’s writings and indeed is setting about its best effort to undo them. Florida’s legislature needs to get serious about our state sovereignty. Without the meddling of unlawful federal alphabet agencies and the mafia like conditions that accompany our confiscated income called “federal funds,” the answers to the rest of Florida’s problems will become much clearer.
Our road back to state sovereignty must be powered by the voters,the Tenth Amendment and where necessary,nullification, to go boldly and fearlessly forward.
It cannot afford detours through the classroom and doctor’s office, nor can it sit idling at a rail road crossing boondoggle. More importantly, it must not be memorialized by a “Road Ends” sign in the House, Senate or Governor’s mansion. If it does, may the ghost of Governor John Milton haunt them all.
Andrew Nappi is the State Coordinator for the Florida Tenth Amendment Center. He lives in the Tampa Bay Area with wife Tammy and dogs Emma and Bud Lite.
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