March 2021 Updates
You’d think passing a bill would be common sense!
The majority of Americans want to move to a National Popular Vote for President. Here’s a recent survey.
Common sense would dictate that concepts popular with the American people would motivate our legislators to focus on such things during their 2-month annual legislative session in Tallahassee.
Prior to my involvement with trying to pass a law with popular support, I didn’t understand the importance of who controls the legislative process. I often wondered why issues that pollsters told us are popular with voters don’t see the light of day.
Here’s what actually happens:
Every other year there is an election.
The winners are assigned committees based on which party is in power. The majority party controls all committee chairs and the majority of members on each committee will be from that party, effectively blocking any action by the minority party to advance their agenda.
Each Florida Representative can file a maximum of 7 bills. Senators can file an unlimited number. Newly elected members are usually told by leadership which bills they can sponsor. This still results in 3500+ bills each session. Most bills are written by special interests groups. Legislators rarely understand the implications of these bills in their early stages. About 250 bills are actually passed each session.
Bills are assigned to committees.
Any bill must go through each committee in a specific order to get to the next one. Our National Popular Vote HB#39 is assigned to Public Integrity and Elections. It must make it through that committee before it will move to Judiciary. This means the representatives on the Judiciary Committee aren’t paying the least attention to HB#39 until they are required to by passage in the previous committee.
If it passes these two committees, it goes to the House floor for a full vote. Because HB#39 is an interstate compact, there can be no amendments along the way. Most bills will have lots of proposed amendments and will have to go through reconciliation with a companion bill passed by the Senate.
The Senate Committees assigned to SB#1092 (our companion bill) are Ethics and Elections, Judiciary, and Rules. These various committees can wait for the House to act, go through the process concurrently or table it.
As the bill passes one committee it becomes possible to be taken up by the next one. If it passes all three, the full Senate votes.
If it passes the Senate, the Governor has three choices: sign the bill into law, not sign it allowing it to become law without his signature after 7 days during session or 15 days after session ends or veto it.
Here is where common sense does not make come into play:
The majority party has control of the process.
What the people want has nothing to do with what bills are heard in committee or debated in either chamber.
The bills that are passed are pre-determined by Leadership of the majority party.
All is not lost!
Grassroots efforts bring popular concepts to legislators’ attention. Last month you learned about 6 actions you can take to make your voices heard on NPV. Let your representatives know how important this bill is to you and to America. Keep up the good work on behalf of National Popular Vote.
And it’s extremely important to understand the positions of those we elect.
Co-founder & Strategist
National Popular Vote Bills Filed in Florida
Both Bills are identical to the compact passed in 16 jurisdictions across the US accounting for 196 electoral votes. When the bill has 270 electors committed to voting for the candidate who has received the most votes in all 50 states, the bill goes into effect.
Florida’s 29 electors amount to 1/3 of the 74 needed!
Call, write and advocate your legislators to support these bills.