Today, the Orange County Legislative Delegation met in downtown Orlando to hear concerns from the public.
Mid afternoon. On a Monday. The week after school began.
This has been a problem for years. Not just in Orange County either. State lawmakers holding these meetings when the public generally can’t attend them in the middle of a workday. On top of that, these delegation meetings are held only once, occasionally twice, a year.
Engagement at the state level is already a problem. Most constituents in Orange County sadly don’t even know who represents them in the legislature.
Who does attend these meetings? Lobbyists. Special interests. Other politicians. The people that already have access to these lawmakers during the legislative session.
In fairness. Some of these elected officials will hold town halls after session is over, but chances for residents to voice concerns to all of their area’s lawmakers at once are limited.
Legislative delegation meetings should be held at 6pm, with no specialized window of time for other lawmakers and special interests. They should fill out a speaker request form like everyone else. Residents in the community should have the opportunity to hear what they’re asking lawmakers to do.
State lawmakers serve the people. They should be available to the people when they aren’t busy trying to pay for their rent in a county with an affordable housing crisis or trying pick up their kids from schools that don’t have enough teachers.
Issues that state lawmakers have some control over.
They need to do a better job scheduling these meetings.