Ban on Texting While Driving Becomes Law, Will Be Tougher Next Year

 The bill to make texting while driving illegal in Florida was signed into law.  This legislation represents a significant step to further ensure that our loved ones are safe on our roads.
 

While I’m is happy with this crucial first step I believe more needs to be done. I’m intent upon expanding the law to include all handheld devices. Traffic accident statistics are alarming; Palm Beach County’s traffic deaths jumped by 21% from 2011 to 2012 with law enforcement citing cell phones as a key reason.


We take strict safety measures against drinking and driving – an offense that threatens lives on the road. Seatbelt laws, while they took many years to be enacted, are also safety measures we take very seriously. It is time we take life-threatening distractions seriously. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says drivers are 23 times more likely to crash their vehicle if texting while driving. Our law enforcement officials and first responders have seen it firsthand. I have received countless emails from constituents, including first responders, supporting strict action against texting while driving. The risks and the threats are real, and the time to act is now.

My bill, which I will introduce again in the next Legislative Session, will make texting while driving a primary offense, enabling law enforcement to make a lawful stop when someone is texting while driving. As your Senator, your continued support is critical as I continue to fight for your safety and the passage of stricter legislation on this issue.  

 

 

Sun Sentinel Article on Higher Education

Today’s Sun Sentinel features my article outlining my success in bringing more investment into Broward and Palm Beach higher education. As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, I made it a priority to fight to bring home dollars for our local colleges  and I’m pleased to report that we did!

Read More Here – http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/fl-readers-view-broward-college-20130523,0,4033380.story

Broward College, Florida Atlantic University and Palm Beach State College all saw significant increases in state appropriations. Broward College received a 15 percent increase over last year’s base funding. This moves the Broward College appropriations from $71.1 million last year to this year’s $81.5 million.

Broward College is excelling, growing a nationwide reputation. In addition to offering four-year degrees, the Aspen Institute named Broward College as one of the 2012 top 10 community colleges in the United States. A 15 percent increase in appropriations will enable the only public college in Broward County to continue to provide quality training and higher education to our community.

These appropriations for Broward College impact a total of 67,000 students’ educational experience. These students are family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. They are patrons of our local businesses and residents in our communities. Some of these students will progress in careers as nurses and doctors, researchers for medical advancement, entrepreneurs and public servants. The $71.1 million investment in our local colleges is a direct part of 67,000 students’ lives, and in turn each of our lives.

From the Senate Floor

This Week in Session

SB 52 (Use of Wireless Communications While Driving), co-sponsored by Senator Sachs, was passed by the Senate.

This bill will make it illegal to text while driving in the state of Florida.

Senator Sachs commented at the passing of the bill, “I support this bill, however I would really like to see texting while driving become a primary offense, rather than a secondary offense.  This bill is a positive first step towards the law we actually need to protect our state from the dangers of distracted driving.”

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An example below of the baby chicks dyed colors portrays what Senator Sachs’ bill seeks to ban because of animal cruelty issues

Colored Ch

SB 650 (Artificial Coloring of Animals) was read on the Senate Floor and any questions were asked and answered. The bill is now scheduled for a vote in the Senate during the session on Wednesday, April 24.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, & Economic Development

SB 884 (Veterans License Plate) – The bill increases the percent of revenue collected from the cost of Florida Salutes Veterans license plates given to Florida Veterans’ Foundation on behalf of Florida Veterans.  It also eliminates the expiration date of the provision contained in current law.  Florida Salutes Veterans

The bill was voted passed its third committee, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development. The bill will now head to its final committee, the Appropriations Committee.  Senator Sachs always sponsors legislation on behalf of the 1.5 million veterans living in Florida.

 Appropriations Committee

SB 370 (Body Parts) – This bill assures that unclaimed body parts are not sold without proper family […]

The Florida Home Builders Association

Florida Home Builders Association

Senator Sachs met with Jeff Spear and Truly Burton, representatives from the Florida Home Builders Association.

Senator Sachs met with representatives from the Florida Home Builders Association to discuss issues involving residential construction in the state.

One of the major issues discussed was the industry’s concern about the effect on new home sales due to the proposed legislation which will cause sky-rocketing premiums for new homeowner insurance policies from Citizens.

Florida Girl Scouts

Senator Sachs meets with Representative from the Girl Scouts

GirlsScouts

Senator Sachs met with Fatima Perez, a representative from the Girl Scouts to talk about funding issues related to the organization.

Senator Sachs supports the Girls Scouts’ Get REAL! program which provides individualized mentoring through combined large group and small group mentoring to girls at higher risk of making poor life choices. The program that focuses on literacy and life skills.  Past participants of the program have shown an increase in school attendance and a decrease in schools suspensions.

Education Appropriations Budget Issues

Senator Sachs met with the Palm Beach State College President Dennis Gallon and Board Member Wendy Link in order to discuss issues surrounding the funding for state colleges.

PB State College

Senator Sachs has always been a strong proponent of providing necessary funding for state colleges and any measures needed in order to prevent tuition costs from rising. Senator Sachs also favors sufficient funding for public school grades K-12 and advocates to raise teacher salaries.

Election Reform

PB County long waiting lines                          At a Palm Beach County precinct, a long line formed to vote during the November 2012 election.

Everyone realizes that Florida is in need of election reform. Floridians are tired of being the laughing stock of the country on election day.  Florida needs a bipartisan election reform bill that will actually address the issues that have troubled our state in past elections.  Everyone agrees, the election reform bill as drafted is incomplete.  The bills attempts to cover a giant bleeding wound with a small band-aid.  In a valiant effort to correct the problems many have witness in South Florida, Minority Leader Senator Chris Smith filed amendments to formulate a more complete bill.  Unfortunately for the voters, none of the amendments were accepted by the sponsor or adopted by the Senate.

We, as Americans, place a high value on the right to vote.  This value helps to make us the envy of the world.  Who can forget the image of Iraqis with painted fingers as they proudly voted in their countries first democratic election.  Session is not over yet.  Election reform needs to be a bipartisan effort, serving the needs of all citizens.  Lets hope we can reach an American solution.

Senator Sachs would like to hear your opinion on election reform.  Please email or call the office to express your opinion.

Brenda Snipes
Senator Sachs met with Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to discuss reform to Florida’s elections policies

Stay Strong Boston

We Are All From Boston

As Americans, we need to pause and take time to reflect on the recent events in Boston. We are all shocked and saddened by the atrocities that occurred at the Boston Marathon, an iconic American sporting event.  The events of the last week have affected all Americans in a profoundly deep manner. Just like our forefathers, Americans today choose to believe in the inherent goodness of all people and embrace the idea that anyone has the opportunity fulfill the American Dream.  As Americans, we cannot allow tragedies to alter those basic principles we all share.

Boston
To have such a joyous event turn into such a terrible tragedy for innocent people is incomprehensible. Let us come together as a people and remember those who were lost and pray for those who were hurt.  We as a nation, share their pain, shock, and disbelief. God bless our people and our great country.

Live with Lori TV Show

Though women make up more than half the state’s population, we are not well represented in the state legislature.

“Live with Lori” is a political news show that takes place in the kitchen- an innovative idea but one that reflects the reality- that many of our best ideas are born from our home and hearth.

The full show airs this Thursday – stay tuned for more details.

 

From the Senate Floor

Criminal Justice Committee

SB 650 (Artificial Coloring of Animals) – This bill reinstates the ban against artificially coloring certain animals due to the harm it causes to the animals.  The bill passed its second and final committee, the Committee on Criminal Justice, with a favorable vote of 6 to 0. The bill will now head to the Senate floor.

Rules Committee 

The bill increases the percent of revenue collected from the cost of Florida Salutes Veterans license plates given to Florida Veterans’ Foundation and eliminates the expiration date of the provision contained in current law.

Florida Salutes Veterans

The bill has was voted on by the Rules Committee last week and passed by a vote of 14 to 1.  It will next be heard in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.

Finance and Tax Committee

SB 1280 (Tax Dealer Collection Allowances) – This bill simplifies the process through which sales tax dealers forgo the sales tax collection allowance and direct the collection allowance amount to be transferred into the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.  This bill  passed in the Finance and Tax Committee last week by a vote of 10 to 0.  The bill will now head to its final committee, the Committee on Appropriations.