In Florida there is an amendment in the state’s constitution that guarantees the public’s right to access legislative meetings. Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law has been on the books since 1909 and became an amendment in 1992; it’s a pretty big deal here. Lawmakers in the state, especially Republicans, pride themselves on this law. However, even with all of this pride and a constitutional amendment, the public was banned from a meeting about Medicaid expansion yesterday by House Republicans, forcing reporters to listen to the proceedings through a crack in the door.
The fight for Medicaid expansion in Florida has caused budget negotiations in the state to come to a grinding halt. Senate Republicans want to expand subsidized health coverage to more than 800,000 low-income families using a state-run marketplace. House Republicans claim that it is an offshoot of Obamacare and refuse to fund it. Governor Rick Scott has made it all exponentially worse by once supporting the expansion, but now opposing it. An obvious flip-flop from the naked mole rat.
This is when House Republicans decided to hold a super secret meeting. They claimed that the meeting wasn’t a violation of the Sunshine Law because they were not discussing strategy or action on future legislative action; but what an AP reporter heard blows that BS excuse out of the water.
Associated Press reporter Gary Fineout pressed his ear to a crack in the door and told his colleagues what was being said on the other side of the door. He heard House Speaker Steve Crisafulli telling his fellow Republicans that they were going to get “beat up by the press” and encouraging them to continue to oppose the Senate’s plan to expand health coverage to more poor people.
That certainly sounds like a strategy to me, doesn’t it?
By discussing their plans for Medicaid, House Republicans were in direct violation of the Sunshine Law. So much for transparent government.
So the question is: why did Republicans hold this meeting in secret? Well that’s easy, they obviously didn’t want the press to hear what heartless bastards they really are by denying poor kids healthcare. They’re pro-life, though. Honest.
Watch reporters try to listen in:
Featured image via Tallahassee.com