[Tallahassee, FL] When he signed the 2012-13 budget, Gov. Rick Scott used his veto power to nix four pages of expenditures from the bill.
Of course, not everyone is happy about what got cut. Topping the list: victims of rape.
That’s right, Gov. Scott vetoed the $1.5 million that was to go to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV) to support 30 rape crisis centers. And to make matters worse, Scott vetoed the council’s money halfway through “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”
Executive Director of the FCASV, Jennifer Dritt, was blindsided by Scott’s pen stroke.
“We are disappointed,” Dritt said, as reported by The Florida Independent. “We are really surprised and frankly stunned — [and] are trying to figure out what the heck happened.”
For his part, Scott stands by his vetoes, saying that if he vetoed them, it was because they “weren’t a good use of taxpayers’ money and did not serve a statewide need.”
True, the entire state will not be raped at the same time. But still, not a good moment for a bad publicity stunt like this with the whole Republican party smarting from weeks of policy decisions and controversial new state laws that have been characterized as being anti-women.
Cutting funding to help rape victims is about as anti-women as you can get.
The Governor’s spokesman Lane Wright told The Huffington Post that, “This new funding of $1.5 million would have been duplicative, since, as a state, we already fund sexual violence programs. There was no information suggesting any needs in this area weren’t already being met.”
Dritt isn’t buying it. In fact, she straight up disputes what Wright and the Governor are saying.
“We showed them that these rape crisis centers have waiting lists. Survivors are having to wait … sometimes six weeks … three months to be seen,” said Dritt, speaking to The Huffington Post.
“We included quotes from the programs about the waiting lists and what services they weren’t able to offer because of a lack of money. There is clearly an unmet need,” she says.
On Wed., April 25, Gov. Rick Scott will participate in Crime Victims’ Rights Week at the Florida State Capitol.
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate
Image: Lance Turner/latuphoto.com/Sunshine Slate Images