by Jeff Gore
‘Tis the season for protest, as the Florida legislature is pumping out more controversial bills this year than you can shake a stick at. Today, teachers and other members of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (OrangeCTA) will be staging a demonstration at 5:30pm outside the Orlando office of State Sen. Andy Gardiner.
According to OrangeCTA spokeswoman Marion Cannon, the demonstrators take umbrage with three things:
1. Senate Bill 830, which, among other things, aims to prohibit “labor organizations from collecting dues, assessments, fines, or penalties for the purposes of political activity without written authorization” of a union member.
3. The general cuts to education funding proposed by both the House and the Senate.
Gardiner is the Republican Majority Leader in the State Senate, and Cannon says he has taken the wrong position on all three of the aforementioned issues.
“He doesn’t support maintaining class sizes, he’s in favor of cutting the budget, and he’s very much in support of SB 830,” Cannon says. “So we thought we’d go down there and let him know how we feel.”
Cannon regards SB 830 as both the “union dagger” and the “union gag bill” because, she argues, “it would take away our ability to engage in politics.”
Sen. Gardiner could not be reached for comment.