The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 68/No. 41           November 9, 2004  
SWP campaign in Florida: ‘Vote No on parental
notification act, Yes to increase in minimum wage’
TAMPA, Florida—Socialist Workers candidates in Florida are calling for a “No” vote on an initiative that would require parental notification for teenagers to get an abortion. They are also calling for a “Yes” vote on a measure that would increase the minimum hourly wage in the state by $1. Both will appear as amendments to the state constitution on the November 2 ballot.

“We are taking a strong position against Amendment 1, which is a blatantly reactionary attack on a woman’s right to choose and on the privacy rights of young women in particular,” said Nicole Sarmiento, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate, in an interview.

Amendment 1, initiated by the state legislature, says, “the Legislature is authorized to require by general law for notification to a parent or guardian of a minor before the termination of the minor’s pregnancy.” This initiative follows another reactionary move by Gov. John Ellis Bush last spring who appointed a separate guardian over the five-month fetus of a severely retarded woman who was raped in a state-licensed group home. Bush did this challenging a 1989 Florida Supreme Court ruling that fetuses can’t have guardians because, it said, they aren’t legally people.

The Tampa Tribune favors Amendment 1. An October 18 editorial stated that the “obligation—if not the express right—of parents to protect and guide their children” supersedes the right to privacy, which is currently guaranteed in the state constitution.

Twice before, in 1989 and 2003, the state supreme court has ruled that parental notification laws violated the state constitution’s privacy provision. Therefore, lawmakers who want to pass such a law have to change the constitution first.

On August 2, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood went to court to block the amendment, arguing that the ballot summary leads voters to believe they are preserving rights, when in fact the measure takes them away. The first sentence of Amendment 1 reads: “The legislature shall not limit or deny the privacy right guaranteed to a minor under the United States Constitution as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court.”

The October 9 Tampa Tribune cited a survey saying that 57 percent of those polled favor the parental notification amendment.

Amendment 5 would set a state minimum wage at $6.15 an hour to begin six months after approval and to be indexed for inflation thereafter. The Floridians for All Political Action Committee sponsored this measure.

Rico De Shades, a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1625 in Plant City, told this reporter that he felt so strongly about raising the minimum wage that he would have signed the petition to put the amendment on the ballot four times if he could. Supporters of the measure collected over 500,000 signatures to put it on the ballot.

The same survey cited earlier showed that 59 percent of those polled favor the Florida Minimum Wage Amendment. Businessmen have been waging a demagogic campaign against it.

“We call for a minimum wage at union scale—around what unionized workers in the building trades make,” Karl Butts, SWP candidate for Congress in Florida’s 11th District, said October 23 during a public campaign meeting here. “At the same time, we urge everyone to vote for the $1 increase as an elementary affirmative action measure, which would ease a bit the squeeze on millions of working people and put us in a better position to fight for a living wage.” Wages, he said, are set from the bottom up. An increase by a buck is sorely needed by workers. “Vote Yes for Amendment 5!” he concluded.
Related articles:
SWP presidential candidate in L.A., on last stretch of U.S. campaign tour
SWP candidates: ‘Free locked-up Vieques protesters’
SWP candidates get good response at N.Y. college
Stumping for socialism from Reykjavík to Seattle
Calero meets farmers in Tchula, Mississippi
SWP candidates in New York campaign among meat packers at Hunts Point Meat Market in Bronx
SWP candidate speaks to striking Iceland teachers
Firebombed SWP campaign hall in Pennsylvania reopened
SWP candidate for Senate campaigns among cannery workers in Washington  
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