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Senate votes to protect gun trust fund; Ds cry foul

Senate Democrats, fresh off a health care committee meeting this morning in which they were reminded of the state's health care funding shortfalls and patient waiting lists, tried but failed to defeat their chamber's passage of a bill that puts Florida's gun permit trust fund off limits for budget balancing.

The Senate voted 31-9 to pass SB 1158 by Sen. Charles Dean, R-Inverness, which would prohibit the state from raiding the gun trust fund to help balance the budget.

"This is a bill that is about public safety," Dean said. "This is to protect the trust fund for background checks for the people who want to carry guns in Florida."

Opponents said it's not fair or practical, given the state's projected budget deficit, to protect one trust fund while the state continues to raid funds like the Lawton Chiles Trust Fund (meant for health care) to cover budget needs in schools.

"This sends the wrong message," said Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston.

"It is just not right to put a lock box on the gun trust fund at this time," echoed Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood.

Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, is sponsoring a bill to protect all trust funds from being raided. St. Petersburg Democrat Sen. Charlie Justice urged senators to vote for that bill instead.

In some respects, the "protection" isn't much protection at all. Senate budget chief JD Alexander noted that the state's transportation fund is already held off limits in statute, yet legislators raided it anyway.

"It's about intent," Alexander said of the legislation. "It's not fully a prohibition."

Comments

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iris

I am apalled to read about the state tapping into a department trust fund, Those trust funds are set up for that department to run better. It would have been unconstitutional if they took those funds.

By doing so, would cause all trust funds to be unsecured.

Didn't they tap into our Social Secuity funds which are meant for SS and not for other priorities?

Didn't Obama promise not to take away doctors and benefits for the seniors. Yet he is trying to do that. More and more doctors are leaving the profession or are working shorter hours. This topic will soon be addressed on my blog www.pushthewheel.com


iris

This tapping into trust funds by our state is causing me great concern. Where on the web can I research the public and state companies as to where money is going and who is getting it? Some times business and public departments take too much money out of the department funds to pay for their elaborate salaries, benefits, and perks. That needs to be addressed.

Didn't I hear Obama say during his campaign that he will have all expenses posted on the internet. Has anyone seen that yet? Please let me know the link if you know. Thanks

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