Legislative Update: August 2nd, 2013
Here’s a report of the Aug. 2, 2013 Boca House of Representatives meeting. This update is brought to you by UP reporter Christopher Jorge Massana.
Today marks the last time the Boca House will convene this summer. The house will reconvene in fall, on Sept. 6.
But at the very end of the Boca House’s summer session, with 16 members present, the Boca House discussed two new bills. The second bill on the agenda, BRHB-13-13: “Tent for the Get Wow’d Event” – a bill that would move $2,500 from the House’s budget to the COSO, or the Council of Student Organizations, which funds clubs that are too small to be funded by the University Budget and Appropriations Committee, for the purpose of renting a tent for a freshman introductory event – moved through the house with little trouble; the bill was passed unanimously.
The first bill on the agenda, BRHR-13-10: “Support for Dialogue and Understanding”, however, proved more contentious. The “Support for Dialogue and Understanding” Resolution was authored and sponsored by Representative Didier Ortiz, who introduced the bill.
“The resolution supports the group called the Dream Defenders..I had asked them to come and speak to you about this resolution” Rep. Ortiz said, “…unfortunately, today they leave back to Tallahassee…back up to protest, back up to advocate for dialogue.”
The FAU Dream Defenders, a group formerly known as the Stop Owlcatraz Coalition –– famous for opposing the sale of FAU Stadium’s naming rights to a private prison corporation –– is at the state capitol protesting the “Stand Your Ground” law, the protests brought on by the verdict in the recent Trayvon Martin court case (for clarification, Dream Defenders itself is a national organization, the FAU chapter is the group descended from the Stop Owlcatraz Coalition). Ortiz’ support of the group through the resolution was challenged vocally by Rep. Elana Kashti and Parliamentarian Ian Dunne.
“Are you aware of the events that occurred in D.C. and Oakland, CA?” Dunne said. “Are you aware that in D.C. there was a robbery, and they said ‘this is for Trayvon Martin,’ and that in Oakland, they vandalized a Men’s Warehouse store?”
The “they” that Dunne refers to is not the Dream Defenders group. “First, we have to define who is “they”, and after we define who is “they”, do they have the right to speak for the rest of the country?” Ortiz said, in response to Dunne.
“Are you aware that this House already passed a resolution in regards to this issue?” Kashti said. She repeated the question three times before Ortiz acknowledged that he was aware, but made the point of differentiating his resolution from the previous one.
“This resolution is not about Stand Your Ground, it’s about dialogue.” Ortiz said.
Before the time to vote on BRHR-13-10 came, House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy urged caution. “There seems to be a lot of discussion on this, my recommendation would be to table it, so that all of you can have a further look into it,” Broudy said.
House Resolution BRHB-13-10 did not proceed to vote at the Aug. 2 meeting, and was instead tabled until the Boca House reconvenes in the fall, on Sept. 6.