Working to overturn the travesty that is Florida Amendment 13
First off, the Constitution Revision Committee (The CRC) is supposed to be a citizens input to our Florida Constitution. The CRC meets once every 20 years to tweak and add Amendments to the Florida Constitution as necessary. The 2018 CRC was a biased political commission as evidenced by Commissioner Hank Coxe's comments HERE, far from the "Citizens Input" that the CRC was supposed to be. In the case of Amendment 13, Political Lobby groups The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Grey2kUSA Worldwide put their money in the pockets of politicians like Tom Lee to get 13 on the ballot. Again, far from the intended purpose of the CRC. Mr. Coxe said 13 got to the ballot because the Commissioners wanted "an emotional issue" on the ballot. This is one of many reasons that 13 is unconstitutional and why we are filing suit in Federal Court to overturn this unconstitutional Amendment.
HSUS and Grey2k went to great lengths to get 13 passed by getting legislators, especially Senator Tom Lee and Attorney General Pam Bondi to outright LIE before the CRC so that the other Commissioners would buy into their "emotional issue" to vote to put 13 on the ballot. We will address some of the lies of Lee and Bondi below, not all can be told here as space is limited, but you will see the lies which can not be disputed as the information and lies are taken right from the CRC transcript of March 20, 2018.
One of the concerns of the other Commissioners was that a ban on Greyhound racing would lead to expansion of gambling at the tracks that currently have card rooms or slots. During this exchange, Senator Lee lies by stating "There are no casinos in Florida". We would beg to differ as we are pretty sure that the Hard Rocks and Magic City Casino in Miami are in fact, casinos.
COMMISSIONER SMITH: Another point that was made. You talked about reducing gambling and I am trying to follow that. So if a track now is losing money as we are comparing on greyhound racing, and they're losing money and if you get rid of greyhound racing now the track has more money to invest back into the track which is now a casino, I don't understand the logic of how taking away money lost for them will reduce gambling. I would think that if I own a track and I am losing money on greyhound racing, but now you have taken that away and I can invest it back into my track which is now a casino, that I could get more people to come, thus increasing gambling. So it is hard for me to follow the logic of how this reduces gambling.
THE RESPONSE COMMISSIONER LEE: Well, I think the use of the term casino is misleading. There are no casinos in Florida. There are race tracks that have simulcast rights, they have some card rooms located in some of those parimutuel facilities. Down in southeast Florida where you are from, they --some of these facilities have been-- have authorized slots machines, I believe by ballot initiative, but there are no casinos in Florida. And these activities are being limited by the Legislature already, and I don't think the reinvestment of any money that they may generate. Some tracks want to continue to do dog racing, some don't. I don't think any of the money that they would generate, there is any evidence has been presented anywhere along the way that it would be reinvested for the purposes of expanding gaming or that that would be authorized by the Legislature.
COMMISSIONER SMITH: There are not casinos, like in my area they are called parimutuel facilities. Parimutuel meaning that they have some type of live racing. You get rid of that live racing, now what do we call them, places where you can play cards, gamble and play slots?
COMMISSIONER LEE: By definition the card rooms that are authorized there have to be parimutuel. They are not allowed to have bank card games. So the notion of parimutuel activity is gambling amongst people who also have skin in the game as opposed to playing against the house. So they would be still be parimutuel facilities
LOOKS LIKE CASINOS TO US
Moving on further with the March 20th transcript, we have another popular animal activist LIE that was spread to the public through politicians and misleading ads. "Greyhound Racing is Illegal in 40 States
Greyhound racing is illegal in ONE state, IDAHO, while betting on greyhounds is banned in many states, they still race in amateur races in these states. Senator Lee though, has no clue, as you will see he just spews the lies and misinformation of HSUS and Grey2k, after all they PAID him to do so. Read this exchange and you tell us if Mr. Lee even knows what he has said.
COMMISSIONER JORDAN: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just have a quick question. Commissioner Lee, you said 40 states have banned greyhound racing. Was this by legislative act or have some of the states put it into their State Constitution, and, if so, how many?
COMMISSIONER LEE: I do not know ' I do not know what each state has done or in the aggregate, how they have done it.
COMMISSIONER JORDAN: Thank you. So do we know of any other states that have put it into their Constitution as an outright ban? No, you don't know that? COMMISSIONER LEE: I don't know that any of it happened.
So here Senator Lee had told the other CRC commissioners that Greyhound Racing was banned in 40 other states, but he says he has no clue which states did and how they did it...…...This is real people, this is public record and not made up.
In this piece we have one commissioner questioning if all these anti racing people that were paraded in front of the CRC, some PAID to read a script, were telling the truth. If Commissioner Schifino had even remotely bothered to delve into the histories of Grey2k and HSUS, I believe he would have had his answer. Even with his lack of investigation, he was on the right track. The whole argument of the anti racing testimony at these hearings was the cruel treatment of the dogs that did not exist. It was proven many times but ignored by the Commissioners, remember they wanted an "emotional issue" on the ballot, and by God this was IT. Just read this exchange on cruelty where Schifino says he saw "NO DATA, NO STATISTICS" to back up the lies of cruelty. Even Commissioner Coxe questions why none of this was reported to the authorities. Senator Lee offers the same kind of response with no substance or no evidence to once again back up his LIES.
COMMISSIONER SCHIFINO: Thank you, Chair Beruff. Boy this was an issue and we all dealt with it and I happened to sit next to Commissioner Lee at the meeting in St. Pete and I think I slugged him about ten times at about 11:30 at night. You know, I remember we hear stories from very passionate people on both sides, right, and I imagine myself as a Judge or a juror listening to the argument, and it would go back and forth. And I leaned over to Commissioner Lee at some point and I said, you know, I really wish I could take this group, put them in a real Senate hearing, and like you see on TV and Congress and have subpoena power under oath, you are now under oath and I would tell them all, whoever perjures himself is going to jail and make sure that happens, because when you listen, how could you tell who was really telling you the truth? Either it is, either it works fine, you really, I had an incredibly difficult time. I hear you loud and clear, Commissioner Lee and your passion about it. I understand that, but I saw no, no data, no statistics. I would have loved to have heard from some law enforcement individuals that have actually gone in and investigated these facilities. Now, I understand and know a few people that have, they have done that, that are on staff with us. So I I am not telegraphing or maybe a little bit of where I am leaning on this one, but if you could is there any empirical data other than I understand the deaths, okay, we got the numbers in four or five years, they had those and explained them. But I think this is a tough call, very compassionate, very passionate issue. Certainly my heart went out to a lot of those young kids and but certainly a very tough call for me see where I come out on this one.
COMMISSIONER COXE: With respect to what you characterize as the inhumanity, would the 66 Sheriffs and the Department of Public Safety and 20 State Attorneys and crimes on our statutes that make it a felony to abuse animals, why is that not done with the horrors we have heard?
COMMISSIONER LEE: There is a lack of regulatory oversight in this industry. They are already losing several million dollars a year regulating as it is. We heard testimony in some of the public hearings about the fact that there is not a lot of visitation going on. I assume that a lot of this goes unreported because it is unknown to anyone. The only one privy to a lot of this is the owner or trainer and the dog. And in many cases the dog isnt there to tell a story anymore, if they ever could. So I dont know, the industry has fought tooth and nail every effort by the Legislature to create reporting requirements so that we could have the statistics and that is the reason they have, Commissioner, because they dont want me to be able to stand here on the floor and quote you a bunch of damming statistics that would result in a unanimous vote.
COMMISSIONER COXE: Mr. Chairman, may I ask just one more?
CHAIRMAN BERUFF: Commissioner Coxe.
COMMISSIONER COXE: Commissioner Lee, I attended most of the public hearings and Commissioner Schifino was discussing this, who do you believe and everything else. What I didn't hear from all the people, the hundreds of people who complained about the abuses to the animals, that any one of them had ever gone to law enforcement to complain about that abuse. Do you know why that would be?
COMMISSIONER LEE: I can't speak for for what they have done and what they haven't done. I wish I had an answer for you. I just know that antidotally the evidence is clear. We have had legislation every year about all of these cocaine positives, the doping that is going on in the industry, and I don't know why no one seems to be following up and taking an issue with this at the level that you and I might prefer.
Even though TWO court determinations proved there was NO DOPING going on in the positives he mentions, he beats that drum anyway. The evidence was clear, but once again, bought and paid for Senator Lee has no valid response or evidence to offer to support his stance before the CRC on Amendment 13. Mr. Lee talks about the Legislative failures, but read the passage below offered by Senator Kevin Rader in one of those sessions Mr. Lee talks about.
She was also lying about abuse in the greyhound industry to the other CRC Commissioners. It should be noted that Ms. Bondi, who sat on this "public input" Commission, did not attend one single public meeting, and there were several around the State. As you will see below in the testimony, she told the Commission she had prosecuted many Greyhound abuse cases. The author of this article made two public records requests. One went to her current office and she had NEVER prosecuted any greyhound abuse case there. The second request went to the State Attorneys offce (SA13) where she worked before she became Attorney General. They tried to cover for her by asking for specific case numbers. We of course would NOT have that info as we were simply trying to find out if she had prosecuted any greyhound abuse cases there. A simple search under Ms. Bondi's cases with the word "greyhound" would have given an answer, but the SA13 office refused. The author of this page also requested in public social media requests directed at Ms. Bondi for said case numbers, she chose not to answer, so we can assume there were none and she was lying in her testimony to the CRC below.
COMMISSIONER BONDI: Commissioner Lee, I just form this as a question. So I am sure that you are aware that I am a career prosecutor my entire adult life, and I am not sure if you are aware that I have prosecuted many, many cruelty to animals cases, even when I was a Felony Bureau Chief and not taking cases, I would take those. And I am not sure if you are aware that these are virtually impossible to investigate by law enforcement and prove in a court of law because they are well hidden and you basically have to get a search warrant, which is very difficult to obtain. And I am also not sure, I am trying to ask questions, if I may, Chair, that these dogs I have seen firsthand after the fact are scared to death of their own shadow. They are it is inhumane, in my opinion it is cruelty to animals. It is horrible. Are you aware that most of them are skin and bones when they are taken away from the dog tracks?
CHAIRMAN BERUFF: Commissioner Lee.
COMMISSIONER LEE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I did not realize that you had in your I know you have been a career prosecutor. I didn't realize you had done that many cases or I would have deferred to you. But I have seen some of these animals, and that have come out of these facilities. And one of the most telling features, Commissioners, about an animal that has been abused is, as Commissioner Bondi says, how it behaves. You can tell by its behavior that it has been mistreated horribly. And these instances have been reported time and time again by these adoption agencies that are taking these dogs after their racing days, after their racing eligibility has expired. So I appreciate the question. Thank you.
First off it is a LIE about the adoption agencies as 102 supported keeping racing and OPPOSED AMENDMENT 13 and only 16 supported 13 and the ban. We will agree body language and behavior of the dogs tells the tale, but Ms Bondi was the LIAR telling the tales here. She has NEVER visited a kennel to find out, and ALL Commissioners were invited into the kennels, only ONE did to find the truth and even though he personally does not like racing, he saw the dogs were NOT abused and voted NO. Well the author of this page DID visit a kennel to see for himself. The dogs in the video had never seen him before. Their body language and demeaner hardy tell a tale of abuse, ABUSED DOGS DO NOT ACT THIS WAY, see for yourself.
While this may be the smallest lie, it is very egregious and really illustrates what length Senator Lee went to LIE to get this on the ballot. Here he is LYING again telling the CRC members that it costs the State to Regulate Greyhound racing. He is called out by Chairman Beruff as Senator Lee was using an old outdated study which was based on assumptions of what it cost the State as the State does not break down the numbers publicly, or in their annual reports. All three of the pari mutual sports they regulate are grouped together. But a call to the DBPR Secretary gave a much different answer, but even when faced with the truth, Senator Lee would still double down on the lie, after all that what he was bought and paid for. Here is that exchange:
CHAIRMAN BERUFF: A follow up question. I did call the Secretary of DPBR, something like that, that one, to ask the question of the financial impacts on the State because I was I took, you know, I listened to the audience as they spoke and how it costs us more to regulate than what it generates and so forth. And I was his answer was, we take in more revenue than it costs to regulate that industry. So it is a little bit different than the what you have said. So I am and I had this discussion, what is today, today is Tuesday, I must have had it Thursday of last week or Friday, so it is very fresh in my mind. So there is a disconnect between what you say and what I saw, so what how, what do you attribute that to?
CHAIRMAN BERUFF: Commissioner Lee.
COMMISSIONER LEE: Well, I wouldn't know. I wasnt on the call, Commissioner, but I would love to debate the Secretary and I would love to see his books, because and I would love to ask him how is it that his statements to you are in conflict with a letter that was written by his predecessor to Senator Young when we were debating this issue in the Legislature, not this precise issue, but an issue relating to the decoupling issue in connection with the parimutuel.
AGAIN, ANOTHER LIE BY SENATOR LEE TO GET 13 ON THE BALLOT.
We feel he and Pam Bondi need to be deposed in a Federal Court of Law where he will have to tell the truth or face jail time, just as Commissioner Schifino mused. And this is just the CRC, what happened after it was placed on the ballot is just as egregious, the multi million dollar campaign that duped the Florida public with lies, misinformation, and defamation to wipe out generations of hard working people who have a right to make a living without this kind of interference.
Our Attorney General is a LIAR
The LIES told to the CRC to put Amendment 13 on the Ballot
We set forth just some of the main reasons Amendment 13 not only violates the 5th & 14th Amendments to the US Constitution, it also violates Section 9 of the Florida Constitution. These Amendments act as safeguards from denial of life, liberty, and property. The greyhound industry in Florida, a legal trade and industry, was arbitrarily eliminated in Florida without proper "due process". Some have said the Committee, the CRC, was the "due process" but as we claim and the evidence CLEARLY shows below, the outcome of Amendment 13 was predetermined by the illegal political process within the CRC. Lying to Constitutionally shut down a legitimate and legal trade is NOT "due process". Therefore we, under the organization Support Working Animals will be filing suit in Federal Court to have Amendment 13 legally and rightfully overturned, and those who were less than truthful, held accountable.