FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 14, 2018
Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

MIAMI – With more than a half million votes cast for Florida Libertarians this week, state Chairman Marcos Miralles said the election was a success.

Miralles

“The contributions from our volunteers and our donors have created an environment for the Libertarian Party of Florida to provide great results!” Miralles said today. “This year, Florida became the state with the most elected Libertarians in the United States and added to that number on election day to continue to not only be an example for other Libertarian state parties to learn from but also in giving our communities a voice for those who feel unheard.”

Unofficial results from Tuesday showed 557,142 votes were cast for Libertarian candidates, providing us with the following victories:

  • Michael Cassidy – Clay Soil and Water Conservation District Board.

Chipman (and family)

  • James Chipman – Bartram Springs Community Development District in Duval County.
  • Shawn Elliott – Indian River County Soil and Water Conservation District Board.
  • Larry Allen Schneck – Osceola County Soil and Water Conservation District Seat 3

 

These Libertarians were elected without opposition:

  • Wayne Barricklow – Martin County Soil & Water Conservation District 5
  • Martha Bueno – West Kendall Community Council
  • Samantha Bruntjen – Collier County Soil & Water Conservation District Group 3
  • David DeForest – Charlotte County Soil & Water Conservation District 2
  • Rob Tolp – Collier County Soil & Water Conservation District Group 5
  • Jose Vigoreaux Jr. – South Dade Soil & Water Conservation District, Seat 5
  • Thomas Warfel – Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District, Seat 1
  • Jeremy Weinstock – South Dade Soil & Water Conservation District, Seat 3

 

Elliott attributed his success to community activism. “Why did I win? My activism and involvement in my community,” he said. “It’s crucial.”

Elliott

Cassidy admitted his win caught him by surprise. “I was definitely not expecting a win,” said Cassidy. “My opponent Richard Russell had great success at the position, so he had the edge in experience and knowledge.”

“I wasn’t able to advertise, based on the way that I filed,” said Cassidy. “I’m learning to run before I can walk when it comes to politics. I relied on personal contacts, word of mouth and networking with people in my immediate area.”

Elliott and Cassidy said they plan to make the Libertarian voice heard.

“My plans are to make sure we are operating efficiently with as little drain on the taxpayer as possible,” Elliott said.

Cassidy

“I aim to push the Clay Soil and Water Board into the tech age while maintaining the integrity of the seat,” said Cassidy.

Miralles said the Libertarian voice is growing. “Libertarians are now in positions to lead our communities, while also managing millions of dollars in municipal budgets. You wanted a viable third Party? Now you’ve got one.”

Miralles said recruiting for 2020 is underway. This past weekend, Councilwoman Courtney Omega of the Coconut Grove Village Council, announced her bid for U.S. House District 24.

Counties have until Nov. 18 to submit their final results to the Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Several counties are performing recounts, including hand counts.

– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— xxx —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 28, 2018
Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

MIAMI – The Florida Lobbying Restrictions Amendment would significantly restrict former officials’ ability to lobby current government lawmakers. Let’s take a look at it.

Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers (Proposal 39) – Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.

THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF FLORIDA PLATFORM

PREAMBLE
Libertarians seek a society based on personal liberty and responsibility—a society in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives. This most desirable method of organizing society is the natural order that arises when the unalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty and property ownership are respected and protected.

People have the right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and pursue happiness in whatever manner they choose so long as they do not forcibly or fraudulently interfere with the equal rights of others. Libertarians welcome the peace, prosperity, and diversity that freedom brings

I. STATE GOVERNMENT
4. We support Equality under the Law, and condemn any law that either rewards or punishes any individual based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation3, or any other group identification. Each person has the same inalienable rights. It is the State’s duty to protect those rights for each individual equally.
6. We advocate a sunset law requiring an automatic end to most government offices, agencies, departments, laws, regulations, taxes, and expenditures within ten years if not reauthorized.
7. We oppose immunities for any public officials or employees for illegal acts or omissions.
8. We support complete transparency and believe it should apply to all public employees. Sunshine laws should apply to all public employees working in any public place. With modern technology virtually every person has the ability to record and report on the actions of our public officials and workers. There should be no laws prohibiting or limiting the electronic recording and reporting using any means of any public official, including law enforcement officers, while performing their duties.

DISCUSSION

Currently, former Legislators and other state officials are prevented from lobbying their colleagues for at least two years after they leave office. This Amendment would expand that term to six years. It would also expand lobbying restrictions to include many other elected city, county, and school members, along with many unelected senior officials.
We recommend NO because this would dramatically decrease private individuals’ rights to promote causes. We would like to see much greater transparency in lobbying so we all know who and what influences participation in the state’s lawmaking process. This is not the correct way to accomplish this.
> By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 27, 2018

Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

 

MIAMI – This Amendment would require a statewide vote on each and every new casino in Florida, regardless of the community they are proposed. Let’s take a look at it a bit closer.

Voter Control of Gambling in Florida – This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.

LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF FLORIDA PLATFORM

PREAMBLE

Libertarians seek a society based on personal liberty and responsibility—a society in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives. This most desirable method of organizing society is the natural order that arises when the unalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty and property ownership are respected and protected.

People have the right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and pursue happiness in whatever manner they choose so long as they do not forcibly or fraudulently interfere with the equal rights of others. Libertarians welcome the peace, prosperity, and diversity that freedom brings.

 

V. VICE LAWS

  1. Government should confine itself to protecting individuals from aggression, coercion and deceit. We oppose all laws and regulations that attempt to protect individuals from the consequences of their own behavior. While not necessarily condoning such activities, we advocate the repeal of all laws criminalizing gambling, possession and sale of drugs, and sexual relations between consenting adults. All those presently incarcerated or ever convicted solely for the commission of these victimless crimes should be pardoned and their records expunged.

 

DISCUSSION

On the surface of it, Amendment 3 looks great. Shouldn’t we, the citizens, make personal choices about how we choose to live our lives; how we choose to spend our money? Whether we choose to gamble, go to a movie or rent a canoe, we own our money and we own the choice how to spend it. That’s what this amendment should be saying. It doesn’t.

If approved by the voters this November, Amendment 3 allows voters across the state to remove the choice from local citizens seeking a new casino in their community. This Amendment requires a statewide vote, a process that often takes years and may cost millions of dollars. Such a process drives up the costs to establish a casino in a community, driving down the incentive to even pursue them. Even if a local community seeks the construction jobs, operations jobs and service jobs produced by a casino, voters from throughout the state can stop them.

Amendment 3 protects gambling on Seminole tribal lands. Not surprisingly, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is one of the top financiers for this Amendment. This suggests they want to preserve their near-exclusive rights to offer casinos to the public while making it very hard for any other community to have that choice.

The Libertarian Party of Florida believes gambling is a personal choice which should be freely available in communities that desire it and where business-people choose to provide that opportunity. In and of itself, gambling is not harmful to others. There are some folks who have addiction issues or some with criminal intent, but providing and participating in gambling is a free-will choice of responsible adults. This Amendment serves to establish major pitfalls in the roadway to accessible and commercially-viable gambling in the state of Florida. In effect, it serves to constrain gambling, not allow citizens to choose to have it. Therefore, we recommend a NO vote on Amendment 3.

– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— xxx —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 20, 2018
Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

 

MIAMI – If approved, the “State and Local Government Structure Amendment” would make four separate unrelated changes to the Florida Constitution “bundled” together into a single vote. We oppose all four so recommend a NO vote for this Amendment.

Let’s take a brief look at each one:

 

Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Proposal 9) – Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

VIII. WELFARE and CHARITY

    Providing for the needy by forcibly taxing others is contrary to the legitimate function of government, which is to protect the rights of everyone. Disbursing charity from a welfare system costs society more than it gains. It is inefficient, open to fraud and abuse, and creates resentment. Traditional, voluntary sources of emergency support from families, churches, and private charities have always been more humane, more effective, and willingly borne by the givers. Therefore, until the income tax is repealed, we advocate dollar-for-dollar tax credits for all charitable contributions to encourage a transition from public welfare to private support.

DISCUSSION

If approved, this proposal would make the Florida Department of Veteran’s Affairs permanent, removing the Legislature’s and your choices. Other options may come available or finances become strained, but this would require you to pay for it. It would also place the Governor and Cabinet at the head of the Department, further distancing voters. We agree our veterans deserve our compassion and support, but we disagree making any bureaucracy permanent. We oppose this proposal.

 

Counties; Schedule to Article VIII (Proposal 13) – Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

PREAMBLE

    Libertarians seek a society based on personal liberty and responsibility—a society in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives. This most desirable method of organizing society is the natural order that arises when the unalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty and property ownership are respected and protected.
    People have the right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and pursue happiness in whatever manner they choose so long as they do not forcibly or fraudulently interfere with the equal rights of others. Libertarians welcome the peace, prosperity, and diversity that freedom brings.

DISCUSSION

This obscurely-named proposal might be the most dangerous of the four. If this Amendment is approved, residents who choose to govern themselves would lose much of that choice. It would remove their ability to create alternatives to the offices of the Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections and Clerk of Circuit Court. Voters in some Charter counties chose to make those positions part of their county government rather than separate offices. This amendment would force voters in those counties to shift control to autonomous officers. While the need for those responsibilities are debatable, we believe choice should always remain in the control of the local voter, not state government. We would vote NO for this proposal if we could.

 

Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism (Proposal 26) – Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

I. STATE GOVERNMENT

  1. We advocate a sunset law requiring an automatic end to most government offices, agencies, departments, laws, regulations, taxes, and expenditures within ten years if not reauthorized. We oppose the participation by the state of Florida in the Real ID Act or similar federal identification database mandates.
  1. Privacy – Just as it is true that the only economic situation consistent with individual rights is the free market, so is it also true that life, liberty and happiness cannot prosper under continuous state surveillance. The LPF opposes the use by the state of people or technology to monitor, account for, and keep Floridians under surveillance, especially where there is no evidence of criminal behavior, and thereby restrict the normal interaction of peoples. The LPF opposes passive, yet compulsory, surveillance legislation, such as laws that require individuals and businesses to report legal activities without evidence of criminal acts. The first, second, fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution are all threatened by unfettered state surveillance. The LPF supports an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to protect the right of privacy of all citizens, a right that is implied throughout that document, so as to8 defend individuals from state intrusion, to limit state intervention in private lives, and allow the free exercise of liberty away from the overbearing power of government.
  2. We oppose compulsory surveillance without evidence of criminal acts. We support the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Art. I, Sect. 23 of the Florida Constitution, which protects the rights of privacy of all people.

 

DISCUSSION

This proposal creates a state Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The Office must provide support for prosecutors and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies investigating or analyzing attempted acts of terrorism or terrorism. This will require paying for staff, vehicles, equipment and operational expenses at regional offices.

Acts of terrorism are extreme acts of violence against a society and should be prosecuted to the fullest. However, we are against this proposal because we oppose growth of government bureaucracy and growth of government intrusion.

 

Sessions of the legislature (Proposal 103) – The Florida Legislature would convene for regular session on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each even-numbered year.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

    N / A

DISCUSSION

This proposal would require the legislature to convene the regular legislative session on the second Tuesday of January of even-numbered years. Currently, there is no law fixing the date for the Regular Session to convene in even numbered years. We would vote NO for this proposal as it forces state lawmakers to politic and meet in Tallahassee during the holiday season rather than spend the time with their families.

 

CONCLUSION

The Libertarian Party of Florida applauds citizens who come forward to recommend changes to their Constitution, but Amendment 10 and others show how horribly broken this system has become. There’s got to be a better way.

The LPF urges voters to reform the FCRC to assure citizens, not politicians, elect the “super-majority” of its members. The LPF urges “bundling” of proposals be discontinued. All unique proposals should be presented separately so voters can make decisions they desire, not those that are steered by political appointees.

– J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— XXX —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 12, 2018

Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

 

ORLANDO – Noted Libertarian author Tom Woods and Libertarian Party National Vice Chair Alex Merced will be featured speakers at a fundraiser for the Libertarian Party of Florida in October.

The fundraiser will be held Saturday, Oct. 13 2018 in Orlando. Tickets are $55 until Sept. 28, when they will be $60.

Woods hosts the popular The Tom Woods Show podcast and author of a dozen books on the economy and conservative philosophy. Among them are bestsellers Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.

A frequent guest on national television, Woods also appears regularly on radio programs, including National Public Radio, the Dennis Miller Show, the Michael Reagan Show, the Dennis Prager Show, and the Michael Medved Show.

Woods holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Columbia University. He is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama and a member of the editorial board for the Institute’s Libertarian Papers. Woods moved to Central Florida from Kansas in 2016.

Merced is an author, blogger, marketing consultant and financial industry corporate trainer. In 2008, Merced started his YouTube channel to introduce Libertarian ideas such as individual liberty and free markets. Merced also curated many of his videos at Libertarian101.com, LearnEconomicsNow.com and IntrotoLiberty.com. In 2016, Merced started Merliva LLC, a consulting company for social media marketing. Merced is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where he got his bachelor’s in Popular Culture studies.

Merced was elected as Vice Chair at the 2018 New Orleans National Convention. His past service includes Media Chair of the Manhattan Libertarian Party in 2018 and bids for state office. Merced is senior policy advisor to the Larry Sharpe gubernatorial campaign and currently lives in New York.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 13 at Cuba Libre Restaurant, Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr, Orlando. Tickets are here: http://events.eventzilla.net/e/libertarian-party-of-florida-ft-tom-woods–alex-merced-2138717556.

– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 18, 2018
Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

MIAMI – The Libertarian Party of Florida recommends a NO vote for the following Amendment:

Amendment 6 – Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

III. COURTS

  1. The common law authority of a trial by jury preceded our constitution and is the foundation of our legal system. If a jury of peers deems a law unjust, oppressive or inappropriately applied, it has the right and duty to acquit the defendant. We support the right of defendants to a fully informed jury, which would require judges to instruct jurors of their authority to judge not only the facts, but also the justice of the law according to their own good consciences.
  2. We support restitution for victims of crimes or civil infractions at the expense of the perpetrator. The victim should have the right to pardon the perpetrator, provided the victim is not threatened or coerced.
  3. Private adjudication of disputes by mutually acceptable judges or mediators should be encouraged.
  4. No-fault laws should be repealed because they deprive the victim of the right to recover damages from those responsible for causing harm.
  5. The right of trial by jury should be allowed in all civil or criminal cases where the value exceeds one oz of gold.
  6. The use of civil asset forfeiture to enforce laws circumvents constitutional protections and should be ended.
  7. Random police roadblocks and other searches without probable cause bypass constitutional protections and should be prohibited.
  8. We support equal treatment and oppose sexual discrimination in any judicial proceeding adjudicating a parental right, privilege or obligation concerning his or her child.

Because Amendment 6 has three unique proposals, we looked at each one individually, starting with the one that’s probably best known, “Marsy’s Law.”

Discussion

Marsy’s Law (Proposal 96:) This component of Amendment 6 has a lot to like about it. It substantially expands the rights of victims, assures they’re involved in the prosecution process and increases protection from harassment from the defendant. We agree these are important and needed but there are also some troubling components of this proposal that may take away the rights of the accused so we oppose it. Two of these were noted by Florida Constitutional Revision Commission reviewers:

• “The right to privacy, which includes the right to refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request by the defense or anyone acting on the defendant’s behalf, and to set reasonable conditions on the conduct of any such interaction to which the victim consents.” This suggests the victim may refuse providing important testimony to the defendant and the defendant’s counsel. We believe this is a violation of due process and might lead to wrongful convictions if some important bit of the victim’s testimony is not presented.

• “The right to full and timely restitution in every case and from each convicted offender for all losses suffered, both directly and indirectly, by the victim as a result of the criminal conduct.” We agree victims should receive restitution from those convicted of crimes against them. Convictions can be overturned. This proposal does not address the rights of the wrongfully-convicted should their sentences be overturned. Will the victim have to pay the wrongly-convicted person back, with interest? Prop. 96 is silent to this.

Next, we look at the second component of Amendment 6 which would raise the retirement age of judges.

Judicial Retirement Age (Proposal 41:) This would raise the age of required judicial retirement from 70 to 75. It would also prevent judges from serving out their terms beyond the retirement age. We don’t agree the retirement age should be increased as it would allow these public employees to accumulate more retirement benefits at a cost to taxpayers. Judges should not be allowed to complete their terms well beyond their retirement for the same reason.
Finally, we look at the third element of Amendment 6, which would require judges to interpret laws regardless of public reviews.

Judicial Interpretation (Proposal 6:) This proposal would require judges to interpret state laws and regulations, regardless of the state’s own interpretations of them. Judges are now required to give preference to the state’s interpretations of laws. State rules and regulations go through a comprehensive state agency and public “rulemaking” review process before they are put into practice. Judges are beholden to that rulemaking. While the existing process is far from perfect, it does allow for the public’s review and input. This proposal would strip away the public’s concerns in favor of any single judge’s interpretation. We believe this opens the door to too many problems, from poor differing judgements to costly legal expenses. We oppose this proposal.

 

Conclusions

The Libertarian Party of Florida applauds citizens who come forward to recommend changes to their Constitution. Amendment 6 illustrates the state’s FCRC ballot initiative system is horribly broken. If we could, we would approve Proposal 41, and oppose Proposals 96 and 6. We can’t. There’s got to be a better way.

The LPF wants to see citizens, not politicians, elect the “super-majority” of FCRC members. The LPF urges all proposals are presented separately so voters can make decisions they desire, not those that are steered by political appointees.

By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— 30 —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2018
Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

MIAMI – The Libertarian Party of Florida recommends YES of the following Amendment:

Amendment 5 – Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

I. STATE GOVERNMENT

  1. We advocate a sunset law requiring an automatic end to most government offices, agencies, departments, laws, regulations, taxes, and expenditures within ten years if not reauthorized.

VI. TAXES

  1. The legislature should find more voluntary means of supporting state services, such as lotteries and user fees.
  2. Taxation of privately owned real property should be eliminated. In effect, it makes the state the owner of all lands by forcing individuals to pay rent to the state or forfeit their title.
  3. The personal property tax on Florida businesses should be repealed.
  4. Tax favoritism should be illegal. Abatements, subsidies, credits, or other incentives to businesses based on geographical area, job creation, or any other criteria deny equal protection under the law.
  5. Sales tax on used merchandise that is resold results in double taxation and should be eliminated.
  6. Adding sales tax to products already subject to specific state taxes, such as gasoline and cigarettes, should be ended. This practice results in double taxation, as consumers are paying a tax on a tax.
  7. We oppose any sales or use tax on the Internet.

VIII. WELFARE and CHARITY

    Providing for the needy by forcibly taxing others is contrary to the legitimate function of government, which is to protect the rights of everyone. Disbursing charity from a welfare system costs society more than it gains. It is inefficient, open to fraud and abuse, and creates resentment. Traditional, voluntary sources of emergency support from families, churches, and private charities have always been more humane, more effective, and willingly borne by the givers. Therefore, until the income tax is repealed, we advocate dollar-for-dollar tax credits for all charitable contributions to encourage a transition from public welfare to private support.

Discussion

This Amendment represents the greatest leap forward in decades to constrain state government spending, often described as “out of control.” By imposing a two-thirds “supermajority” vote requirement on taxes and fee increases, voters send the message to the Florida Legislature they do not want any taxation and levies unless it truly important. We’d like to see it harder for lawmakers to raise taxes and fees, a 75 percent approval even, but this is a start.

What this proposal doesn’t do is block new taxes or fees. Nor does it require taxes and fees to be reduced. As long as we have a two-party system lock on the Legislature and a voting public that doesn’t feel they have options, we will still get “government business as usual” with this Amendment. A majority of one party may simply coalesce into a consensus to pass their pork-filled packages. While a supermajority requirement will indeed force negotiations between the two parties, they still will produce pork, just in slightly different barrels.

Many cities and counties already have two-thirds restrictions on new taxes and fees. We want to move in the direction of no new taxes for all levels of government without voter approval. For now, this is a healthy start in what hopefully will become a journey back to our origins of free-will governance.

By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer
— 30 —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 23, 2018

Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

 

MIAMI – The Libertarian Party of Florida recommends YES of the following Amendment:

Amendment 4 – This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.

 

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

PREAMBLE

Libertarians seek a society based on personal liberty and responsibility—a society in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives. This most desirable method of organizing society is the natural order that arises when the unalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty and property ownership are respected and protected.

 

People have the right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and pursue happiness in whatever manner they choose so long as they do not forcibly or fraudulently interfere with the equal rights of others. Libertarians welcome the peace, prosperity, and diversity that freedom brings.

 

IV. PUBLIC SAFETY

  1. State prison facilities should be used only for the incarceration of individuals who have proven themselves a threat to others.

 

V. VICE LAWS

  1. Government should confine itself to protecting individuals from aggression, coercion and deceit. We oppose all laws and regulations that attempt to protect individuals from the consequences of their own behavior. While not necessarily condoning such activities, we advocate the repeal of all laws criminalizing gambling, possession and sale of drugs, and sexual relations between consenting adults. All those presently incarcerated or ever convicted solely for the commission of these victimless crimes should be pardoned and their records expunged.

Discussion

The LPF Executive Committee strongly believes we are individuals, sovereign over our own lives and not subjects of the state. This endorsement of Amendment 4 fully embraces those who “paid their debt to society” by successfully completing any criminal adjudication made against them. In short, once someone completes their sentence, including any parole and restitution, they must be allowed to resume participation as fully free citizens: free of any legal restraint, social bias or systemic strings.

Most Floridians agree with our recommendation. Recent polls suggest nearly three quarters of potential voters will support Amendment 4. This is an increase from May, when just over 60 percent of Florida voters supported the proposal. A minimum of 60 percent approval is required for Amendment 4 to pass.

We don’t believe many felons, current and former, should have been convicted at all. The LPF opposes a system that incriminates non-violent actions involving one or more individuals. We do believe if someone feels wronged, either personally or financially, they have every right to pursue civil redress. These are decisions to be made among responsible individuals, not the state.

Restoring voting rights is really just one step to grant former felons the opportunity to return as fully active members in their community. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live and work anywhere without bias and discrimination. We must assure there are no obstacles to former felons becoming law-abiding citizens. This includes abolishing any laws requiring ex-convicts to declare their conviction history on job applications, residency, etc.

Amendment 4 would grant former felons the opportunity to serve as advocates of their own interests. They can expose areas needing reform in our criminal justice system and with their vote, join us all in correcting them.

We look forward to the day when all individuals are free to pursue their own self-interest without violating the freedom of one another. Amendment 4 is but one step in that direction.

 

  • Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— XXX —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 10, 2018

Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

Courtney Omega,
Councilwoman, Coconut Grove Village Council
cgvcomega@gmail.com

 

MIAMI – A legacy of social activism and community involvement led Coconut Grove Village Councilwoman Courtney Omega to join the growing ranks of Florida’s elected Libertarian Party officials this week.

Omega says she changed her party from Republican because she found a community of support and inclusion, rather than being taken for granted.

“When I ran for this position that I serve in now I met a few of the Libertarian Party members,” says Omega. “It was just a breath of fresh air. It didn’t seem like they did politics the same way I was used to doing politics. I appreciated how I was encouraged but I wasn’t beaten down. I appreciated how I was part of the conversation not just an expectation.”

Omega was elected to the Coconut Grove Village Council last November. She is founder and executive director of Golden and Golden Gates Foundation which conducts youth programs and professional seminars. Omega, 40 works as an insurance agent and journalist. She also prepares faith-based cultural arts curriculum for local youth. Omega has two children, Neyanni Turner, 11 and Keonne Turner, 9.

 

A POLITICAL LEGACY
Omega knows political activism: it’s in the family blood. Omega’s grandmother was the esteemed Yvonne Scarlett-Golden, Daytona Beach’s first African American mayor. Scarlett-Golden, a Bethune-Cookman honors graduate, was a four-term city commissioner and two-term mayor before her death in 2005 at age 80.

Omega says her parents and many of her aunts and uncles were all active in private and public social services, so civic and social involvement was both the family’s vocation and avocation.

“So, we were not the typical family at that time, and surely not now. Our conversations at dinnertime were not ‘What did you do at school today?’ they were ‘What type of protest did you take part?’,” she says with an easy laugh.

 

After graduating from Mainland High School (two years behind NBA star Vince Carter she proudly notes,) Omega attended Florida A&M and Florida State Universities before leaving the state to pursue a career in community organizations, including the National School and Community Corps in Philadelphia where she was an English tutor and dance choreographer. She returned to Florida in 2012.

A POLITICAL JOURNEY
It is perhaps not a surprise that she spent most of her political life as a registered Democrat. Yet Omega says she changed to Republican about two years ago while she focused on her growing business. But when she decided to run for Coconut Grove Village Council, she found her adopted party’s political support was not there.

“During the campaign process I just got no support from the GOP, and I thought that was very weird because here I was, a young African American, a woman, so I thought hey, there should be some more interest or buy in there,” she says.

Omega adds she also felt no encouragement when she was a Democrat. “During the time I was a Democrat, I did nothing but vote. I was never approached to run. It was just ‘Hey, your vote is appreciated but not necessarily your inclusion; but your vote is definitely important! ‘ “

Omega discovered Libertarians were different. While campaigning, Omega says she met Libertarian Party Chairman Marcos Miralles and other local members and immediately found them welcoming.

“They would absolutely reach across those lines and say ‘Hey, Courtney has some good ideas and we plan on sharing them once she is on the Board.’ I came to understand this would be more ‘So, like I am included in the conversation and not necessarily just being propped up and being told what to say.’ I always appreciated the confidence they extended towards me throughout the campaigning process. It really made, because this was my first political run, it really made that run a whole lot more affable.’ “

A PATH TO THE FUTURE
Omega says the Libertarian Party has much to offer to the growing number in the African American community who feel disenfranchised from their historic Democratic affiliation.

“For so long, we’ve been told to kind of be a part,” Omega says. “The key word is being told. But to actually have the confidence and have the influence and have the encouragement to actually be a part of that, to actually become an elected official, is very rare particularly in the Democratic Party. You’re good enough to be a prop at holding up a sign, but as far as being part of it, it’s different.”

“You know, there’s an African proverb: ‘They have no word for try. You either do or you don’t. That’s where the encouragement comes from; that’s where the confidence is built. When you can say to someone ‘You know what? I think you can do this, you deserve a seat at this table. How many African Americans, 20, 30 years old, would say ‘Wow, do you really think so?’ It creates a totally different conversation as opposed to ‘Hey are you registered to vote?’ ”

By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

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