LISTEN: State Rep. Berman on Florida's Budget & Recent Acts of HateVandalism

Florida State Rep. Lori Berman

In the wake of recent acts of hate vandalism in Palm Beach County, a town hall was held earlier this week in Delray Beach.  

State Representative Lori Berman says officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Sheriff's Office were on hand to talk about ways to protect the Jewish community.  

She tells us that one of the takeaways was that residents need to report things like swastikas painted on cars, which happened in February, as hate crimes.  

The other takeaway is an open line of communication.

"We need to talk about this more.  We need to make it known that hate against any group based on their race, religion, gender is not acceptable.  And the more we have these kind of forums and talk about it, hopefully the more it becomes acceptable in society to fight these types of crimes."

Democtat Berman says the Anti-Defamation League has noted an uptick in these types of crimes during late 2016 and early 2017.

"Society has become more contentious unfortunately and there's been some growth in what they call the 'alt-right', unfortunately.  We don't know if that's the main contributing factor, but we need people to know that it's not okay."


Rep. Berman is also talking about the state budget and the battle between Gov. Scott and the Republicans leading the state Legislature.  They haven't sent the budget to the governor yet.  

Berman is the Democratic leader of the House Rules & Policy Committee.

"There is no requirement for the Speaker and the Senate President to give the budget to the governor.  There's no July 1 time frame to say 'it has to go to him by July 1', but obviously I would think that the leaders of the House and the Senate will make sure that he gets the budget."

She says there would be an uproar if the budget didn't get to the governor by the July 1st start of the state's fiscal year.

Rick Scott has threatened to use his veto power, after funding was cut to Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida, with the governor claiming he needs more money for those agencies to keep growing jobs. Berman agrees with him on that, and she's also unhappy with the budget over school spending.

"I voted against the budget for the fact that the education funding was almost flat."

The increase is one-third of 1 percent and the governor also wanted a bigger increase in per-student funding than what legislators approved, but until he has the budget, he can't do anything with it.

Photo: Florida House of Representatives

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