Last week the Orange County School Board voted unanimously to join numerous other Florida school districts in petitioning the courts to declare recently enacted House Bill 7069 unconstitutional. The decision to join the litigation was not made lightly, and was made only after concluding that constitutional principles of a uniform, high-quality education and local control of our neighborhood schools were worth fighting for.
I teach the citizenship merit badge to Boy Scouts. As part of that merit badge lesson, Scouts learn about different forms of government. They learn that, in the United States, we live in a constitutional democracy. They learn that this means that while we are a democracy in which we elect those who govern us, we are a constitutional democracy, meaning that our government is guided by a written constitution limiting the powers of government, protecting our civil rights and freedoms, and setting forth the principles by which we have chosen to govern ourselves.
Just as our national government must abide by the federal Constitution, so, too, must Florida’s government abide by the state constitution. We believe that HB 7069 — passed on the final day of the legislative session without the benefit of committee hearings or any semblance of an open, deliberative legislative process — clearly violates the Florida Constitution.