Politics State & National News

Rep. Frank White on 2017 Legislative Session

May 12, 2017

State Rep. Frank White discussed his accomplishments during the past session on “Pensacola Speaks” on Wednesday. He credited the entire Northwest Florida delegation for delivering the Triumph Gulf Coast funds.

“Every legislator, in the House and Senate, worked together as a team to make that happen,” he sad. “That was the number one accomplishment I think for all of us.”

The freshman legislator said that he fought for policies that promoted growth.

“I know there are so many families in our community that either through generational poverty or through decline in manufacturing, kind of erosion of the middle class in our area,” said White. “People are hurting, and the kitchen table economics today are very different than they were so I wanted to support policies that provide a good economic growth, better jobs, more jobs for the area.”

White had eight bills this session that ended on Monday.

“Of those I had all eight, well seven passed the House,” he said. “One I ended up amending onto another bill that was a bigger priority bill and had better chance of making it the whole way.”

He continued, “I got all eight of those across the House. Four of them made it to the Senate. …The governor’s already signed one of them and he’s got I think a stack of others that I suspect he will like and will be hopefully signing soon.”

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  • CJ Lewis May 12, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    A transformative bill that White could propose next session would be to make the election of all constitutional officers non-partisan. [Better yet, take it a step further and make the election of all local government officials non-partisan. As example, it makes no sense to elect the Sheriff who exercises countywide jurisdiction along partisan political lines. When you call 911 to request help, no one asks you how you are registered to vote and the Sheriff’s Office dispatcher does not have separate lines for Republicans, Democrats and all others. Unless the Florida Constitution requires that constitutional offices be elected in partisan elections, and I don’t believe it does, such a bill would likely enjoy strong public support. As a related idea, and one that already applies to some constitutional officers, each of Florida’s Sheriffs should be required to submit their annual budget to the Director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for approval. That seems the best way to ensure that politics is minimized in the process of funding law enforcement. Also, because the people in FDLE are career professionals, their review would likely be far more objective than the whims of county commissioners eager to avoid angering rich property owners who may not even live in the county and have little concern for public safety. During numerous Escambia County Commission budget reviews of the Sheriff’s budget, and also the Escambia County Fire-Rescue Department budget, I have heard one or more commissioners make shocking comments – not reported in the news – about how they would like to do the right thing but it’s an election year, again. I think that seems the best explanation why Escambia County has too few Deputies on road patrol and they are underpaid and also why Escambia County Fire-Rescue Department has too few full-time Professional Firefighters also underpaid. At least with respect to the Sheriff’s Office, taking the county commission out of the budget approval process would likely result in a better funded Sheriff’s Office.