August 17, 2001
Source: Representative Tom Feeney, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
Today, House Speaker Tom Feeney asserted that Education Commissioner Charlie Crist was in complete compliance with Florida Law and Legislative proviso language in the 2001-2002 Florida Budget when he notified the Florida school district superintendents and school board attorneys of their responsibility to comply with Section 106.15(4), of the Florida Statutes.
The law, as it passed in 1997, states, “No person shall make and no person shall solicit or knowingly accept any political contribution in a building owned by a governmental entity.”
The proviso language in the 2001-2002 Florida Budget sets up a penalty for noncompliance with this long-standing state law by saying “The Commissioner of Education shall withhold the distribution of discretionary lottery funds from any school district which fails to comply with the provisions of s.106.15, F.S.”
“What Commissioner Crist did was to remind the School district superintendents and school board attorneys of the existing law, how to comply, and what the consequences would be should they choose to disregard that law. Commissioner Crist provided technical support to districts while implementing the law as his responsibilities require him to do,” stated House Speaker Tom Feeney.
The proviso language was enacted by the Legislature when it learned that an estimated 17 School Districts were in compliance with this law, but the other 50 School Districts were not in compliance.
House Speaker Tom Feeney further stated that, “Everyone, including School Boards should follow the law. The Legislature has clearly established that government school property and facilities shouldn’t be used for political fundraising purposes.”