Good Journalism Illuminates Florida's Legislative, Political Process


Good Journalism Illuminates Florida's Legislative, Political Process

In this last week of Florida’s 2018 legislative session, people in every part of the process are exhausted – elected officials, their staff, lobbyists and the clients whose issues they are working.

The fortunes or misfortunes of most issues and their respective warring sides are at the point of either winning – rarely – or more likely losing. That’s the reality in a ‘normal’ political/legislative year.

All of that gets more complicated and clouded in a major election year such as 2018. But this year, the real-life political drama is made even more important by the fallout and push-for-change triggered by the Parkland/Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy just over three weeks ago in Broward County.

The budget – the one thing lawmakers are legally obligated to pass – and a crackdown on sexual harassment (which until Feb. 14th seemed to be THE ‘issue of the year’, sure to see some action in new laws governing behavior among the powerful and their staff) have both been back-seated by three letters: MSD.

Perhaps most exhausted in this less-than-pretty process of lawmaking, this year more than most, are members of Florida’s dedicated Capitol Press Corps. Some of the real, best, annually unsung heroes of the vote-getting and issue-trading actions at the Capitol are these ‘scribes’ whose reporting and writing help us understand what is happening, and why.

In our silent prayers, at least, God Bless the hard-working journalists whose truth-telling helps illuminate the process and provide insights best typified by a major journalistic lift by the wonderful veteran Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald.

This read is the best story of the week – and one of the very best of this tough, sad, tiring session:

‘Toxic’ gun fight opens emotional and political wounds in Legislature

‘Toxic’ gun fight opens emotional and political wounds in Legislature | Tampa Bay Times Bills died. Budget projects got killed. Republicans risked attracting primary opponents and Democrats opened an emotional divide as the Florida Legislature advanced a moderate proposal to limit guns and address school safety.