Governor Rick Scott Vetoes SB 668 – What Happens Now?

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someone

On April 15, 2016, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott Sided with the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar and vetoed SB 668.  So What happens now with our alimony reform movement? WE KEEP FIGHTING for alimony reform! This experience has made us stronger and more resilient to bring fairness and equality to the outdated alimony laws in Florida!

We knew it was a multi-year mission when we started. And when you consider the opposition we have had from the Family Law Section, we’ve had two alimony reform bills on the governors desk in the last 3 years. That in itself is absolutely remarkable.

What did we learn and where are we going from here?

First, THANK YOU to each and every one who has contributed to our organization in the hopes of getting meaningful alimony reform.  Our governor’s veto was just as big of a heartbreak to us as it is to you.

We began this battle in 2012, when our senate sponsor never even brought the bill to the floor for a vote. Then there was all the hard work of getting a bill to the governors desk in 2013 by a Super Majority only to have it vetoed because of the retroactivity.

In 2014 we were asked through legislative channels not to bring our bill to session during the election year because it was too controversial and would likely die in committee.

In 2015 our bill went all the way through the Senate, only to have the House go home three days early, unable to agree on a budget.  Many good bills died that year, including alimony reform.

Finally in 2016, we had everything in place. Alimony reform has been our primary objective from the beginning, and our plan was that once we had alimony reform, we would tackle the other Family Law issues, like child sharing, veterans divorce and other family law problems.

However, this year, Sen. Lee was very insistent on getting child sharing in our alimony reform bill. He knew the alimony bill would pass and wanted child sharing to be incorporated in that passage as well.  He approached the Governor’s staff early on in the session to see if their was any objection to child sharing, and wasn’t informed of any specific objection the Governor had.

Our President, Alan Frisher, had asked Senator Lee not to incorporate child sharing on our alimony reform bill because it could muddy the waters with controversy.  Senator Lee was told that we, as an organization, would support his time sharing bill in nextyears legislative session. Unfortunately, certain other alimony reformers who insulted Representative Ritch Workman, supported Senator Lee and pushed hard to get the child sharing portion included on the alimony reform bill this year.  That unprecedented, radical, and unprofessional behavior may have been a key turning point for our alimony reform initiative.

Everyone is in agreement that in fact it was the child sharing language that killed alimony reform for 2016.  This brings up a very important issue. If we are going to reform Florida’s Family Laws, we must work together to achieve our common goals.  There is a tremendous amount of complexity and relationship planning that must occur in Tallahassee to turn a bill into law. It’s other than very democratic.

The number of bills that die in committee each year is staggering.  Only about 10% make it through committees, then to be voted on by the House and the Senate,  And after all that, the governor can veto what the people have asked for if he wants.

What we have learned from this is how crucial it is to separate the issues into separate bills.  If we, as an organization, do this it will require more people getting involved in the executive committee from the child sharing community. We would like to have people who can contribute to our mission and stay on course.  When we see hot emotional issues, it’s easy to want to change all the laws at once.  Regrettably, that’s not the way it happens. It takes time. These family law reforms will cause a shift in our society, and that is a very good thing.  This is an opportunity to grow and combine energies.  The same legislators we once educated about alimony reform now need to be educated about child sharing issues.

For us to move forward as an organization, we need to know if you are on board.  Right now, at this moment, it’s very discouraging. Whether you like it or not, we had to negotiate in good faith with the Family Section of the Florida Bar in order to present an acceptable recommendation for alimony reform to Governor Scott.  That negotiation took many years of painstaking work in addition to some political savvy along the way.  What is it going to take to negotiate with them for the child sharing section?  Time will tell, but it is certainly important enough to keep on the pressure

Gov. Scott will be in office for another two years.  Does that mean we don’t work on family law issues for 2 years?  We hope not! Once again,  this is an opportunity to grow and combine energies. The same legislators we once educated about alimony reform now need to be educated about child sharing issues. Once these relationships are established and we maintain our credibility, it’s easier getting the issues to the right people.

The other option is to go away, let the chips fall where they may, leave it up the legislators and pray for the best.  Maybe move out of the country and start over..  None of those are good solutions.

Why should we leave our friends, families, businesses and history to avoid paying absolutely ridiculous alimony payments to healthy, able bodied, intelligent, college educated permanent alimony recipients?  We shouldn’t!

We must stay and fight, not just for us, but for our children and their children.  Family Law damage must be exposed. Will you join us in this next year and the years to follow as we expose the damage Florida’s family laws are doing to Florida’s families and to our society?

Send us an email to [email protected] showing your commitment. Put in the subject line:  “Count On Me”.Let’s see who is in the family law reform movement for the long haul!  It’s a marathon not a sprint.

How the Media Reported on the Veto of SB 668

Click on the following media articles and see how they have reported on Governor Scott’s veto:  Please leave your comments in the articles. Thanks.


Rick Scott Vetoes Alimony Reform   Sunshine State News

Bar’s Family Law Section Welcomes Alimony Bill Veto

Amid Emotional Outcry Gov. Scott Vetoes Alimony Bill   Tampa Tribune

 Gov. Rick Scott vetoes alimony bill, cites potential harm to children   Miami Herald

The following two tabs change content below.