A Legislative Delegation is a nonpartisan group from the Florida Senate and House of Representatives who represent a specific area in Tallahassee. Each Florida Senator and Representative of the Florida House are assigned to at least one Delegation. Usually, their first meeting is a Planning meeting for organizing, scheduling and coordinating all delegation meetings, and developing the delegation’s legislative program for the year. the public can attend, but cannot comment at the planning meeting.
At least one of the Delegation meetings is a public hearing prior to the start of the new session. It affords local officials, members of the public, and other interested parties, the opportunity to present legislative proposals, make funding requests, or express opinions on state issues. If a representative’s district crosses into other counties, they are likely to be present at more than one public Legislative Delegation meeting.
If you are not prepared to speak at the public hearing, at least attend it and observe. Get to know who the representatives in your district. Bring your family and sit up front; let your faces be familiar to them as one day you may want to request a meeting with them and they may remember “the family sitting together in the front row.” If you have missed your county meeting, attend another county meeting to observe.
If you are PREPARED to speak, you will need to complete an attendance request form prior to the meeting. Sometimes they will let you complete a speakers card at the start of the meeting, depending on the agenda. There will be other scheduled speakers on the agenda. You may hear from the Sheriff, the Mayor, the School Board, and agencies that work with the local government. When it is time for public comments, citizens are usually given only three minutes to express their concerns. You will hear complaints about traffic, environment, water issues, maybe crimes and suggestions on funding more school programs….but I doubt you will hear about what impacts our families….the Registry and mounting restrictions. If we stay silent, nothing will change. If we “Show Up, Stand Up and Speak Up” (as Janice Bellucci says), our voices will be heard. Here’s is a chance to raise awareness and change public perception to a wide, local audience.
You may be the only one to raise the issue …make it a good ‘first impression’ of the issue. Another technique is to build a local team of speakers, each with a 3-minute stand-alone presentation, that together would enable a subject to be more thoroughly presented. This takes preparation, and the Legislative Delegation meetings have already started this year. Here are a few sites that place the meetings on their calendars, or you can call your County Office to ask about the next Legislative Delegation meeting in your area.
Before you speak at any public meeting, take time to prepare:
- The media, public, state and municipal lawmakers will all be present to hear your message.
- These meetings are video recorded and archived. You can view videos of past delegation meetings.
- Consider your appearance and dress professionally if you want to be taken seriously.
- You are there as an individual, Florida citizen and tax payer – YOU DO NOT REPRESENT FAC
- NOTE: FAC appointed speakers will receive written approval and a written statement from FAC that can be read it public record
- In preparing your presentation, stay with one point
- state the issue
- state why it is important to the citizens of Florida
- tell them what you want to see done
In preparing your presentation, it helps to create ‘scenes’ rather than to memorize words on a page. For example:
- state the issue – Residency Restrictions are forcing people into homelessness (scene-Picture homeless registrants)
- state why it is important to the citizens of Florida– not only is this a burden on taxpayers and Law Enforcement, it denies a human being their constitutional right to live where they choose and WITH THEIR FAMILY (scene-picture bill of rights held up by a family)
- tell them what you want to see done -Reform the registry and remove residency restrictions (scene: picture a fallen wall residency restrictions)
For assistance in preparing your 3-minute statements, contact [email protected] A volunteer will be happy to assist you.
With Unity Comes Change