Every time I walk into my local Publix, CVS, and Walgreens I’m constantly reminded that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. As a South Floridian, however, I am also reminded that February 14th is the one year of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting where 17 lives were lost.
Schools throughout Broward County and Palm Beach County will be holding special events and activities to honor the lives of the victims… but my question is what will the Florida Legislature be doing to honor them? The 2019 Florida Legislative session starts on March 5th and should go until May 3rd unless a special session is called. This is the time when our state representatives and senators enact laws that will impact all Florida residents– for the better or worse.
The MSD shooting occurred during the 2018 Legislative Session and granted, the Legislature did pass the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act”, which appropriated $400 million to address school safety, firearm safety, and gun safety. While many Floridians and legislators celebrated this, many remained angry and calling for further, stronger change.
Currently, several bills related to gun safety and assault weapons have been filed in the Florida House and Senate and are going through various committees. Based on history and today’s political climate, it is highly unlikely that all will pass. Hopefully, our Florida Legislature will come together in a bipartisan effort to come up with a comprehensive bill that does pass with the amendments that represent the will of the people and that properly honor the 17 lost lives.
Putting politics aside, this February 14th let us pause and take a moment from the chocolates, roses, hugs, and kisses, to remember this tragic day that will forever remain in so many people’s minds.