2020 Amendment 6

Homestead Property Tax Discount for Spouses of Deceased Veterans Amendment

Summary

Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.[3]

 

The measure would amend section 6 of Article VII and Article XII of the state constitution, as follows: 

Article VII, Section 6

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS
(2) If a veteran who receives the discount described in paragraph (1) predeceases his or her spouse, and if, upon the death of the veteran, the surviving spouse holds the legal or beneficial title to the homestead property and permanently resides thereon, the discount carries over to the surviving spouse until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the homestead property. If the surviving spouse sells or otherwise disposes of the property, a discount not to exceed the dollar amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be transferred to the surviving spouse’s new homestead property, if used as his or her permanent residence and he or she has not remarried. 

Article XII

Text of Section 36

Ad valorem tax discount for surviving spouses of certain permanently disabled veterans.—The amendment to Section 6 of Article VII, relating to the ad valorem tax discount for spouses of certain deceased veterans who had permanent, combat-related disabilities, and this section shall take effect January 1, 2021.[3]  


LPF Stance: No Position

Description

If approved, this would allow combat-injured veterans to transfer Save Our Homes homestead exemption benefits to their spouses after death.

 

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

I. State Government

  1. Private Property and Markets: 

Private property is all property owned by non-government entities. We recognize the rights to private property and self-ownership as a basic human rights. Therefore, one of the functions of government is to protect the private property rights of all persons under its jurisdiction. This includes private entities having the right to voluntarily transfer ownership of their private property, free of government price or quantity controls, intervention or taxation.

VI. Paying for Government

  1. Ending Tax Favoritism: 

As long as we have taxes, equal protection of the law requires that for each type of tax, the rates should be the same and the tax base should be calculated in the same way for every individual or business.

There should be no abatements, subsidies, credits, refunds or other preferential treatments as incentives to businesses to invest or create jobs, or as a privilege to individuals or classes of individuals, such as age, race or location. Such tax favoritism should be unconstitutional.

 

Discussion

The 1992 Save Our Homes Amendment places a cap on the increases of the assessed value of a homesteaded residence in Florida. The original intent was to decrease taxes on homesteaded properties in Florida by placing caps on the appraised value on homes and land. It didn’t do that.

While the Libertarian Party of Florida welcomes any chance to decrease taxes, SOH created several problems in it’s attempt to curtail increasing Florida property taxes. For example, while SOH places a cap on the assessed value of a residence, it fails to address the tax rates themselves. Those taxes can be incrementally increased each year regardless of a property’s value. Indeed, they often are increased to compensate for the SOH limits. Similarly, the legally arbitrary homestead exemption itself shifts the burden of these taxes from homesteaded property owners to non-homestead property owners, who receive no such exemption. They pay even higher taxes as a result.

Similar arguments were made in the past about SOH adjustments. In 2008, Florida TaxWatch argued against Amendment 1 on the basis that portability transfers—as we see in the current Amendment 5—represented a constitutional challenge. They also argued the burden was placed on non-homesteaded homeowners who have seen the largest tax increases in Florida, creating an obvious and unfair tax disadvantage. The Miami Herald also urged a “No” vote because adjustments to the homestead exemption only further complicated Florida’s now incomprehensible “archaic tax system.”

Likewise, the LPF welcomes any opportunity to cut taxes and honor our veterans, such programs should be universally applied for all spouses in Florida and indeed, all taxpayers. We believe we should focus our efforts on cutting government spending and taxation rather than playing games with property values. Only with responsible spending will that burden ease for all.  Nonetheless, the LPF takes No Position on Amendment 6.




2020 Amendment 5

Extend “Save Our Homes” Portability Period Amendment

Summary

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2021, to increase, from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued Save Our Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.

The measure would amend section 4 of Article VII and create a new section in Article XII of the state constitution, as follows:

 

Article VII

FINANCE AND TAXATION

(8)a. A person who establishes a new homestead as of January 1, 2009, or January 1 of any subsequent year and who has received a homestead exemption pursuant to Section 6 of this Article as of January 1 of any either of the three two years immediately preceding the establishment of the new homestead is entitled to have the new homestead assessed at less than just value. If this revision is approved in January of 2008, a person who establishes a new homestead as of January 1, 2008, is entitled to have the new homestead assessed at less than just value only if that person received a homestead exemption on January 1, 2007.

Article XII

SCHEDULE

Transfer of the accrued benefit from specified limitations on homestead property tax assessments; increased portability period.—This section and the amendment to Section 4 of Article VII, which extends to three years the time period during which the accrued benefit from specified limitations on homestead property tax assessments may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead, shall take effect January 1, 2021.[4]


LPF Stance: No

Description

If approved, this would increase the amount of time for which homeowners can apply for Save Our Homes transferred homestead tax exemptions from one homesteaded property to a new homestead from two years to three.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

I. State Government

  1. Private Property and Markets: 

Private property is all property owned by non-government entities. We recognize the rights to private property and self-ownership as a basic human rights. Therefore, one of the functions of government is to protect the private property rights of all persons under its jurisdiction. This includes private entities having the right to voluntarily transfer ownership of their private property, free of government price or quantity controls, intervention or taxation.

VI. Paying for Government

  1. Ending Tax Favoritism: 

As long as we have taxes, equal protection of the law requires that for each type of tax, the rates should be the same and the tax base should be calculated in the same way for every individual or business.

There should be no abatements, subsidies, credits, refunds or other preferential treatments as incentives to businesses to invest or create jobs, or as a privilege to individuals or classes of individuals, such as age, race or location.  Such tax favoritism should be unconstitutional.

 

Discussion

The 1992 Save Our Homes Amendment places a cap on the increases of the assessed value of a homesteaded residence in Florida. The original intent was to decrease taxes on homesteaded properties in Florida by placing caps on the appraised value on homes and land. It didn’t do that.

While the Libertarian Party of Florida welcomes any chance to decrease taxes, SOH created several problems in the attempt to curtail increasing Florida property taxes. For example, while SOH places a cap on the assessed value of a residence, it fails to address the tax rates themselves. Those taxes can be incrementally increased each year regardless of a property’s value. Indeed, they often are increased to compensate for the SOH limits. Similarly, the legally arbitrary homestead exemption itself shifts the burden of these taxes from homesteaded property owners to non-homestead property owners, who receive no such exemption. They pay even higher taxes as a result.

Similar arguments were made in the past about SOH adjustments. In 2008, Florida TaxWatch argued against Amendment 1 on the basis that portability transfers—as we see in the current Amendment 5—represented a constitutional challenge. They also argued the burden was placed on non-homesteaded homeowners who have seen the largest tax increases in Florida, creating an obvious and unfair tax disadvantage. The Miami Herald also urged a “No” vote because adjustments to the homestead exemption only further complicated Florida’s now incomprehensible “archaic tax system.”

It is the position of the Libertarian Party of Florida that we should focus our efforts on cutting government spending and taxation rather than playing games with property value. Only with responsible spending will that burden ease.

The LPF recommends No because the SOH program has only shifted tax burdens from homesteaded property owners to non-homestead property owners, creating an unequal tax system and further complicating Florida’s incomprehensible tax code.




2020 Amendment 4

Require Constitutional Amendments to be Passed Twice Initiative

Summary

“Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current thresholds for passage to each of the two elections.[5]

The measure would add amend Sections 5 and 7 of Article XI of the Florida Constitution, as follows:

SECTION 5. Amendment or revision election.—

(a) A proposed amendment to or revision of this constitution, or any part of it, shall be submitted to the electors at the next general election held more than ninety days after the joint resolution or report of revision commission, constitutional convention or taxation and budget reform commission proposing it is filed with the custodian of state records, unless, pursuant to law enacted by the affirmative vote of three-fourths of the membership of each house of the legislature and limited to a single amendment or revision, it is submitted at an earlier special election held more than ninety days after such filing. If the proposed amendment or revision is approved as provided in subsection (e), it shall be submitted to the electors a second time at the next general election occurring at least ten weeks after the election in which the proposed amendment or revision is initially approved.

(b) A proposed amendment or revision of this constitution, or any part of it, by initiative shall be submitted to the electors at the general election provided the initiative petition is filed with the custodian of state records no later than February 1 of the year in which the general election is held. If the proposed amendment or revision is approved as provided in subsection (e), it shall be submitted to the electors a second time at the next general election.

 

LPF Stance: No Position

Description

If approved, this amendment would require all Florida constitutional amendments to receive 60 percent approval in two subsequent Florida General Elections instead of the current requirement of 60 percent approval in a single Florida General Election. This amendment would not have an impact on the number of signatures required for an Initiated Constitutional Amendment (citizens initiative) to receive placement on a General Election ballot.

 

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

The Platform of the Libertarian Party of Florida does not currently speak to the process in which the Florida Constitution is amended.

 

Discussion

A Constitution’s purpose is to serve as a document outlining the basic principles of a nation, state, or social group. A Constitution does not encompass every law within a country. Nor does it encompass the Platform, Bylaws, or Standing Rules of an organization such as the Libertarian Party of Florida. A Constitution is the document which represents the supreme law of the land and the document on which all laws are based.

The intent of Amendment 4 is to make it harder to amend the Florida Constitution, the state’s most important governing document by requiring that ballot-led initiatives are passed twice in two subsequent general elections. The LPF is of the opinion that this amendment can be viewed as either beneficial or detrimental to Floridians:

To the benefit of Floridians, making ballot-led Constitutional amendments more difficult to pass streamlines the Florida Constitution. It ensures that difficult to repeal amendments, such as the $15 minimum wage amendment on the ballot this year, are not passed without extraordinary support. Another example of poor amendment choices was the Florida Monorail Amendment approved by a slim margin in 2000. It established a high-speed ground transportation system to connect the five most-populated regions of the state but the actual cost of the project wasn’t known. Once voters discovered the cost would be $20 billion to $25 billion, just four years later, Amendment 1 was repealed and the project was never built.

To the detriment of Floridians, Amendment 4 weakens the option of direct participation from voters in the state of Florida and is part of a trend following Amendment 3 in 2006 which changed the threshold for the number of votes required to approve a ballot amendment from a simple majority to 60 percent. While this amendment may streamline the Constitution, it places power almost entirely in the hands of the legislature and lobbyists in Tallahassee. It requires any group wishing to enact change through citizens’ initiatives spend twice as much to promote their cause for four years and two votes instead of the current two years with one vote. An example of a relatively expensive campaign that passed with a supermajority vote that would have gone to the legislature twice rather than once, is 2016’s Amendment 2 approving medical marijuana. This amendment passed with 71 percent approval in the state after a grand total of $9.5 million was spent both for and against the measure.

This Amendment does not prevent citizens from initiating constitutional amendments by gathering signatures, nor does it increase signature requirements for citizens’ initiatives. It does require a constitutional change to be so important to voters they consider it twice and spend twice to promote or oppose it. Amendment 4 increases the amount of time it would take for such initiatives and other proposed amendments to make their way into the state Constitution. It shifts initiatives away from citizens throughout the state and more to the Legislature and their lobbyist big-money influences..

The LPF takes No Position on Amendment 4.




2020 Amendment 3

Top-Two Open Primaries for State Offices Initiative

Summary

Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. 

 

The measure would add a section C to Section 5 of Article VI of the Florida Constitution, as appears below:

ARTICLE VI, SECTION 5. Primary, general, and special elections.—

(a) A general election shall be held in each county on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year to choose a successor to each elective state and county officer whose term will expire before the next general election and, except as provided herein, to fill each vacancy in elective office for the unexpired portion of the term. A general election may be suspended or delayed due to a state of emergency or impending emergency pursuant to general law. Special elections and referenda shall be held as provided by law.

(b) If all candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the general election, all qualified electors, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in the primary elections for that office.

(c) All elections for the Florida legislature, governor and cabinet shall be held as follows:

(1) A single primary election shall be held for each office. All electors registered to vote for the office being filled shall be allowed to vote in the primary election for said office regardless of the voter’s, or any candidate’s, political party affiliation or lack of same.

(2) All candidates qualifying for election to the office shall be placed on the same ballot for the primary election regardless of any candidate’s political party affiliation or lack of same.

 

LPF Stance: No

Description

If approved, this would eliminate closed-party nominations for state offices and replace them with the “top-two” system, allowing all voters to vote in primary elections, regardless of party affiliation. Candidates of each party are listed on the same ballot for all voters. Candidates obtaining the top two popular vote positions advance to general election regardless of their party affiliation. Thus two Republicans or two Democrats might face each other in the General Election, blocking third-party participation.

 

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

II. Elections

  1. Election Ballot Choices
    We support innovative voting methods that increase efficiency and voter turnout, and save taxpayer money, such as a “none of the above” choice (with a new election without the losing candidates if it wins) and rank choice voting; and we should consider proportional representation. We oppose “Top Two” primaries since these keep minority parties from being represented in the general election.

 

Discussion

Florida is a closed-primary state. This means voters of each party identify the candidate that best represents their party to support and advance that candidate to the General Election.

Currently, voters choose to affiliate with a party or may choose No Party Affiliation (NPA) on their voter registration form. The electorate may vote for only candidates registered in the voter’s same party during a Primary Election. All voters, regardless of affiliation, may vote on non-partisan candidates and issues during a Primary Election or in a universal primary contest.

In a top-two system, sometimes aptly known as a “jungle primary,” the two candidates with the most votes in the open primary advance to the General Election. During the General Election, only two candidates will be listed on the ballot.

According to Richard Winger, ballot-access expert, California, Louisiana, and Washington have top-two systems. As of August 3, 2015, Winger states there were 119 instances when a member of a third party ran for federal or state office in those states along with democrats and Republicans in the same race. In all 119 instances, the minor party candidate did not place first or second and thus, was eliminated from the general election.

Turnout in California declined more than any other state between 2010, when voters approved the top-two system, and 2014. In the 2010 California Primary, there were six parties represented on the ballot. In 2014, there was only one Democrat and one Republican on the General Election ballot for each statewide race. As a result, in these three states, voters who didn’t want to vote for a Republican or a Democrat often couldn’t vote at all.

The LPF recommends voting No. These primaries often lead to the exclusion of minority party candidates participating in the General Election, leading to single party rule.




2020 Amendment 2

$15 Minimum Wage Initiative

Summary

Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on Sept. 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting Sept. 30th, 2027.

 

This measure would amend Section 24 of Article X of the Florida Constitution.

(c)  MINIMUM WAGE. Employers shall pay Employees Wages no less than the Minimum Wage for all hours worked in Florida. Six months after enactment, the Minimum Wage shall be established at an hourly rate of $6.15. Effective September 30th, 2021, the existing state Minimum Wage shall increase to $10.00 per hour, and then increase each September 30th thereafter by $1.00 per hour, until the Minimum Wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. On September 30th of 2027 that year and on each following September 30th, the state Agency for Workforce Innovation shall calculate an adjusted Minimum Wage rate by increasing the current Minimum Wage rate by the rate of inflation during the twelve months prior to each September 1st using the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, CPI-W, or a successor index as calculated by the United States Department of Labor. Each adjusted Minimum Wage rate calculated shall be published and take effect on the following January 1st. For tipped Employees meeting eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA, Employers may credit towards satisfaction of the Minimum Wage tips up to the amount of the allowable FLSA tip credit in 2003”

 

LPF Stance: No

Description

This measure raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on Sept. 30, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting Sept. 30, 2027.

 

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

Section VII

  1. Terms of Employment All of the terms of employment contracts, such as wage rates, hours worked, benefits and work rules, should be decided only between or among the parties involved: the employers and employees. The state should not legislate the terms of employment contracts.

 

Discussion

The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.56 an hour, $1.31 above the federal minimum. This means that the current minimum wage would rise 75 percent if a $15 minimum wage were instated. While such a raise would hypothetically equate to an equal increase in earnings, experiments carried out in places where high minimum wage laws were instated show otherwise. 

In 2014, Seattle passed a minimum wage law raising its then $9.47 wage to exactly $15. Yet in the years following, economists found a number of adverse worker impacts. For example, while workers’ wages did indeed go up, employers in Seattle found a way to bypass the increased spending by cutting their hours. During the first three years of Seattle’s minimum wage increase, during which it increased wages to $13 per hour, employers cut workers’ hours 9 percent across the board, or 3.5 million hours per quarter: equating to a $125 average decline in employee’s earnings per month.

A Cato Institute analysis from 2012 argued that minimum wage laws actually have little effect on reducing poverty, and in some cases, adverse effects. As in Seattle, the continuous case nationwide is that each round of minimum wage increases accounts for up to 550,000 part-time job losses.The same analysis reported that both state and federal minimum wage increases between 2003 and 2007 had absolutely no effect on states’ overall poverty rates. Likewise, 72 percent of professional economists oppose a $15 minimum wage across the board, including those who generally advocate for minimum wage increases. They argued in this case, $15 is far too high.

As noted by Nobel Memorial Prize Winner Paul Krugman, “So what are the effects of increasing minimum wages? Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: The higher wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment.

Any such interference from the state on increasing the minimum wage will likely result in detrimental economic growth for small businesses, decrease the number of hours worked annually, and have unintended adverse effects on the poorest Floridians. The Libertarian Party of Florida recommends a No vote on Amendment 2.




2020 Amendment 1

Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections

Summary:

The measure would amend Section 2 of Article VI of the Florida Constitution to state: 

Every citizen Only a citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.

 

LPF Stance: No


Description:

If approved, this amendment would mandate United States citizenship along with the lengthy list of current requirements to vote in all Florida elections. While current law prevents non-citizens from voting, this change to the Florida Constitution prevents Florida cities from allowing non-citizens to vote, should the residents of that city vote to do so in the future. Some cities in the United States, such as San Francisco and College Park, MD, already allow non-citizens to vote in their local elections. The passage of Amendment 1 would remove the ability for Florida residents to choose to include the voices of non-citizens in their local elections.

 

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

XII. Secession

  1. Local Government and Secession

We support the right of all local jurisdictions (such as counties, cities, school districts and special districts) to determine their political geography and government structure, including representation systems, election dates, and elected and appointed officers.

 

VI. Paying for Government

  1. Localism

As a principle, we recognize Florida as a diverse and vast people. As such, we seek to support the most local forms of government, rather than further afield governments, such as State or Federal.

 

Discussion

As Libertarians, we recognize the rights of local citizens and respect their judgement regarding who they choose to participate in local elections. This amendment takes those rights away.

Federal law already prohibits non-citizens from voting, but some localities like San Francisco and College Park, MD have made the decision to give non-citizens voting rights in local elections. Regardless of their citizenship status, municipal residents should be able to vote in their communities if the majority of their local municipality grants them such rights.

This amendment to the Florida Constitution is an overreaching attempt to tie the hands of future elected officials within all of Florida’s local governments. For these reasons, the Libertarian Party of Florida recommends a vote of No on Amendment 1.




The Trump Bloat

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2020

Contact: Steven Nekhaila,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org
844-FLA-FREE (352-3733)

 

KEY WEST, Fla. – Far from reducing the federal Swamp as promised during his 2016 campaign, a new study finds Donald Trump actually expanded it by 25 percent.

The study[i], prepared by New York University professor Paul C. Light for the Brookings Institute, found President Trump increased the Federal workforce by 25 percent since he became president nearly four years ago. This was done largely by increasing the number of federal contract employees from postal workers and soldiers to bridge and road builders[ii].

Perhaps more alarming, Light also noted the Trump Administration expanded the layers and the numbers of higher-paid management positions, many without Congressional approval. The Administration did submit an extensive reorganization plan to cut staffing and overhead in 2018, but the Democratic-led House refused to take it up. It appears the Trump response was to increase federal “bloat” the report found.

That’s just federal employment. During his term in office, Trump increased the federal deficit–the difference between income and spending–by $8.3 trillion. Our national debt now stands at $27 trillion. That’s a debt of nearly $82,000 for every adult in the county, and about $217,000 per taxpayer[iii].

 

There Is A Better Way

The Libertarian Party of Florida abhors Big Government. We condemn the tax-and-spend society we find ourselves in. Our solution is simple. First, free our society to support itself and each other without a third-party Big Government weighing us down. Next, reduce government to the barest minimum needed to protect and maintain our society. The individual will be free to own their lives, free of Big Government shackles.

The Libertarian Presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen has a plan to do just that. Jorgensen’s first step would be to freeze federal spending and borrowing at current levels. Next, she would work to cut federal regulations that restrain free trade and limit job creation. That will bring on more government reduction and more freedom for all of us. Through a vibrant, self-sufficient economy, the demand for Big Government fades away to bare minimums.

There is an alternative to the Republican and Democratic solution of spend more, the Libertarian Party solution: spend less.

– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— xxx —

[i] Federal bloat is at a 60-year high

[ii] “The Marketplace,” Minnesota Public Radio, Oct. 7, 2020, “Trump administration increasing number of government workers, report finds”

[iii] US Debt Clock




Libertarians Qualify For Races Throughout the State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 12, 2020

Contact: Steven Nekhaila,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

KEY WEST, Fla. – The Libertarian Party of Florida extends congratulations to the candidates of state and local races who successfully qualified to be on election ballots this year.

“I am proud of all of our candidates for going through with the hard job of becoming qualified during times of Covid-19,” says LPF Chairman Steven Nekhaila. “It has not been easy, and even with the reduced signature gathering requirements, signature gathering remained a monumental task. There is no doubt that our candidates will out-hustle and out-smart our duopoly opponents. As the under dogs we are sure to shock!”

Qualifying by Friday’s noon deadline were:

  • Ken Willey – Florida House 18, facing Republican and Democrat opponents
  • Joseph “Joe” Hannoush – Florida House 25, facing Democrat and Republican opponents
  • Davie Parrish – Columbia County Tax Collector, facing a Republican opponent
  • Marcos Diego Marrero – Osceola County Commission District 3, facing a Democrat, a Republican and a Write-in
  • Andre Klass – Seminole County Commission, taking on a Republican and a Democrat.

 

In No-Party Races, Libertarians are:

  • Austin Lee Lanteigne – St Johns Airport Authority Group 4 faces five opponents.
  • Dennis Misigoy – Enclave at Black Point Marina Community Development District
  • Tony Busby – Osceola Soil and Water Conservation District Seat 2

The Primary Election is August 18 and the General Election is November 3.

 

– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

 

xxx




LPF Calls For End of West Palm Beach State of Emergency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 5, 2020
Contact: Steven Nekhaila,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

 

KEY WEST, Fla. – Today, Libertarian Party of Florida Chairman Steven Nekhaila calls for West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James to immediately return civil rights to citizens of that city.

By imposing a State of Emergency and nighttime curfew Sunday, James activated Florida Statute 870.044 which states the following:

the following acts shall be prohibited during the period of said emergency throughout the jurisdiction:
(1) The sale of, or offer to sell, with or without consideration, any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description.
(2) The intentional display, after the emergency is declared, by or in any store or shop of any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description.
(3) The intentional possession in a public place of a firearm by any person, except a duly authorized law enforcement official or person in military service acting in the official performance of her or his duty.

James’ Order also included the discretionary statutory mandate to prohibit night-time alcohol sales. The measures were extended yesterday and are still in effect.

“It is the mark of a free individual to have the option to defend themselves how they see fit,” Nekhaila said. “With the City of West Palm clearly violating the right of self-defense, it is up to the people to stand up against government overreach and have their voices be heard by supporting the only political party in Florida which supports gun rights without question.”

The Libertarian Party of Florida platform clearly states:
We support the unfettered ability to possess, carry, and modify firearms and accessories for purposes including, but not limited to, self-defense and to secure the rights of the free individual. We support open carry and constitutional carry initiatives in Florida. We oppose all restrictions on firearms, ammunition and accessories, unless mandated by private property owners on their premises.

The West Palm Beach municipal website seems to avoid James’ responsibility in issuing the Order.

“Online claims that the City of West Palm Beach is violating 2nd Amendment rights through the recent imposition of a nighttime curfew are false. When a State of Emergency is declared for the protection of the public from a clear and present danger of a riot or other general public disorder, widespread disobedience of the law, and substantial injury to persons or to property, the State of Florida preempts local government regulation of guns and mandates that the following acts are prohibited during the period of said emergency throughout the jurisdiction:” The post then lists the provisions in 870.044.

Nekhaila said the city’s post was a cop-out.

“The power grab by local governments in Florida due to COVID-19 and protests must be stopped,” Nekhaila said. “And voting Libertarians into local office, as well as creating a framework for political action through building and participating in your local Libertarian affiliate, volunteering and donating to the Libertarian Party of Florida, are all ways to fight back.”

The full Order can be read here: https://www.wpb.org/home/showdocument?id=1189

By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— xxx —




LPF Calls for An End To Violence and An End To Violent Government Response

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 3, 2020

Contact: Steven Nekhaila,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

KEY WEST, Fla. – Like most Americans, we watched in deep sadness as the sad events unfolded this weekend following George Floyd’s brutal death under the knee of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on May 25. What began as noisy, non-violent protests quickly devolved into violence, looting, and the all-to-familiar excessive law enforcement response. Now there are more deaths, both protesters and law enforcement.

We share the anger and outrage over this senseless death. No person should ever die while in the custody of law enforcement. While law enforcement officers certainly may defend themselves against injury, their job is not to protect themselves, it is to uphold the common law and to protect individuals from harm.

This past weekend, the son of Miami-Dade Libertarian Party Chair Marialexandra Garcia and his friend attended the protests in downtown Miami. As the gathering grew increasingly violent, Miami-Dade police started firing rubber pellets and tear-gas into the assembled.  During the confusion that followed, the friend was struck in the throat by a rubber pellet and may need surgery. Just for holding a sign.

Damage to private property is no way to vent anger in response to wrongful acts. Vandalism and Looting are crimes. Ace Hardware, Target and AT&T were among more than 300 businesses damaged or looted in Minneapolis last weekend. Not one of those businesses or their staff killed George Floyd. Not one.

We understand the anger in the face of overwhelming injustice. This pattern of systemic suppression of African Americans repeats itself from the horrors of slavery right through to recent deaths at the hands of law enforcement. There remain few hammers out of poverty for African Americans, and little recourse against excessive and even brutal policing. Even the person’s right to seek civil damages against unconstitutional police acts was stripped by the courts in the 1970s.

These protests are nothing new for many of us. We saw the same images on grainy televisions back in the late 1960s when African Americans tried to break through those poverty walls during the Civil Rights Era. Peaceful, non-violent protests often grew into looting and burning followed by militaristic police responses. Today, we may have better TV Screens, but they still show the same images.

 

Little Recourse

Victims of violent policing have little recourse. The Civil Rights Act of 1871 was supposed to provide the public civil recourse against the unconstitutional wrongdoings of public officials, including law enforcement.[i] However, the law had many loopholes and was often difficult to uphold.[ii] Even some court decisions in the 1960s reinforced citizen’s ability to sue law enforcement.[iii] Yet those legal protections were effectively gutted in the mid-1970s when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the concepts of “qualified” and “absolute” immunity from lawsuits.[iv]

In essence, the Supreme Court held that absolute immunity shields prosecutors and other officials from being sued while performing their duties, regardless of their honesty or the ramifications.[v] Qualified immunity protects police from brutality lawsuits as long as they were performing their duties in good faith. It required the plaintiff to prove systemic misconduct; an isolated act of misdeed was protected. This was a pretty large loophole that freed many police regardless of death and damage from their acts.

 

A Start

On Monday, Libertarian Congressman Justin Amash (MI-3rd) proposed the Ending Qualified Immunity Act which would end the Supreme Court’s decisions to allow police qualified immunity from civil recourse to their actions. This would require the courts to stick more closely to the intent of 1871 act and grant citizens greater opportunities for remedy.

“The brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is merely the latest in a long line of incidents of egregious police misconduct,” Amash wrote his colleagues this week. “This pattern continues because police are legally, politically, and culturally insulated from consequences for violating the rights of the people whom they have sworn to serve. That must change so that these incidents of brutality stop happening.”

The Libertarian Party of Florida endorses Amash’s proposal as a step to right decades of wrong. Since its creation in 1987, the LPF supports the civil rights of every man woman and child in the United States. The LPF supports the right of any person to peacefully speak out against what they believe is injustice and to seek relief when they believe they are wronged. We hope few will disagree.

– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

 

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References:

[i] https://definitions.uslegal.com/c/civil-rights-act-of-1871/

[ii] https://digitalcommons.law.uidaho.edu/idaho-law-review/vol54/iss3/1/,  p 6 -8

[iii] https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/365/167/

[iv] https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/416/232/

[v] https://digitalcommons.law.uidaho.edu/idaho-law-review/vol54/iss3/1/,  p 8