Guns on Campus Appears to be Dead for 2017 Legislative Session

Powerful GOP lawmaker opposes Steube’s gun bills

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Sen. Greg Steube came fully loaded this legislative session with nearly a dozen gun bills. He got one through a Senate committee Tuesday, but it may be the last to advance.

In a stunning setback for gun rights supporters, Sen. Anitere Flores, one of the most powerful lawmakers in Tallahassee, declared on the very first day of Florida’s two-month legislative session that she likely would not support any of Steube’s 10 other gun bills, leaving them with little chance of moving forward.

“He and I do not see eye-to-eye on probably any of the other gun bills,” said Flores, a Miami Republican. “I do not support having guns on campus, I do not support having guns in airports, I do not support having guns in school zones. I don’t support those things and Sen. Steube feels differently and that’s fine but this is where we are this year.”

Flores is the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate and a close ally of President Joe Negron. Just as importantly, she is the decisive vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee is the first stop for all of Steube’s gun bills. It has five Republicans and four Democrats, meaning if every Democrat opposes a gun bill it takes just one Republican to kill the legislation.

“Gun issues will continue perhaps to be debated,” Flores said. “I don’t know that they’ll continue to be debated in this committee because these would be bills that I wouldn’t be in support of.”

Flores represents a Democratic-leaning South Florida district. She comfortably won reelection, but Hillary Clinton beat President Donald Trump in the district by 10 percentage points, according to an analysis by Democratic data expert Matthew Isbell.

“We respect each other in this process and we respect the fact that we come from different backgrounds,” Flores said.

That Flores came out so strongly against his gun bills is a blow for Steube, a freshman senator with a reputation as one of Florida’s most ardent gun rights advocates. Steube campaigned on a staunchly conservative platform. He often complained on the campaign trail that his gun bills would pass the House, where he served for six years, and die in the Senate. He vowed to change that if elected, but that now seems unlikely this year.

The Judiciary Committee has been the main roadblock for gun legislation in the Senate. The former chairman, a South Florida Republican who lost his reelection bid to a Democrat, refused to hear a number of gun bills last year. Steube’s appointment to chair the committee seemed to increase the likelihood of gun measures advancing.

Steube noted that two gun bills have cleared the committee this year, the legislation approved Tuesday dealing with carrying concealed weapons at courthouses and a change to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. That’s two more gun bills than last year.

“I certainly think we’re moving in the right direction,” he said.

That the rest of his gun bills seem dead for now is “disappointing,” Steube added.

“But we’re going to take what wins we can and move forward,” he said.

Among the bills that Flores directly criticized: A proposal to allow concealed weapons on college campuses that has proven highly controversial in recent years and another to allow concealed weapons in airport public areas. The airport carry bill has attracted attention because of a shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport earlier this year. Steube also has a bill allowing open carry of hand guns.

Steube pulled another open carry bill that he views as a compromise on the issue from consideration by the committee after Flores’ comments. It would decrease the penalties for concealed carry permit holders who accidentally flash their weapons in public.

The one gun bill Flores did support Tuesday was a proposal that would allow concealed permit holders to carry weapons in courthouses until they reach security officers, who then would have to store the weapon. But before supporting that bill Flores made Steube promise he would not amend it to touch on any issues beyond concealed carry in courthouses.

“If this bill expands… it’s something I will not vote for,” Flores said.

About two dozen gun control supporters with the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America packed into the committee hearing to oppose Steube’s gun bills. Gun rights advocates, including representatives from the group Florida Carry, were there to support the bills.

Flores wasn’t the only GOP lawmaker on the Judiciary Committee who raised questions about Steube’s gun legislation.

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, said he shared his colleague’s concerns.

“I want to echo the sentiments Sen. Flores stated,” Garcia said, adding that there needs to be more focus on mental health issues and gun crimes.

Many mass shootings are committed by mentally ill people, Garcia said.

“We still are missing that conversation when it comes to this issue of the gun debate,” he said.

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Union Dues may be Tax Deductible

As an UFF-UNF member, your dues are typically deducted from your paycheck and are considered after-tax deductions, meaning tax is withheld from your paycheck before your dues are paid.

Please consult with the IRS and your tax specialist to find out about the union dues tax deduction.

Note: Union dues may only be deductible if you itemize on Schedule A, but not if you take the standard deduction. To find out if you qualify for a deduction, you need to calculate your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income), as well as all unreimbursed employee expenses (see link). Your union dues may be considered part of these “unreimbursed employee expenses.”

Refer to this link for more information on unreimbursed employee expenses:

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Faculty Association Questions

Faculty Association Questions

Below are some answers and/or additional information relating to questions asked of or to the UNF Faculty Association.

Administrative Raises & Promotions
Could the Faculty Association request the salaries of every administrator as well as the history of raises for all of these individuals during the time in which John Delaney has been president? Could the Faculty Association then report on the trends and especially the comparison with faculty raises over this same period?

UNF-UFF has collected such data (administrative salaries and changes to those salaries since 2008) and has comparisons to faculty raises over that period. We would be happy to share this information with the Faculty Association and faculty at large.

Paying Outside Counsel

The administration claims there are no resources for faculty raises. Yet salaries and raises for current and former administrators, as well as ongoing payments to Leonard Carson, suggest that there are resources available for salaries. How can these resources be shared with faculty, who are teaching students on the front lines and are justifiably surprised by these raises, when their own cost-of-living raises with no increase in pay?

Why does the administration employ an expensive outside attorney to negotiate with the union, when the union/faculty do not similarly employ an attorney to represent us and negotiate on their own? We have many in-house lawyers, including John Delaney, and all of our in-house lawyers recently received very large raises because they threatened to walk out en masse, in a state where faculty do not have the right to strike. Couldn’t the fees that Leonard Carson charges each year be put instead toward a faculty/staff raise?

Our chapter has repeatedly complained to university administration about the costs of maintaining outside counsel for negotiations as well as the often patronizing and dismissive approach that this attorney brings to contact negotiations. The costs for paying outside counsel are substantial and, just as importantly, the administration’s insistence on paying him to lead negotiations seems to represent the former’s desire to win in negotiations rather than to have an equal and balanced exchange of ideas and to find mutually beneficial possible solutions. The UFF side, conversely, comes to the bargaining table absent an attorney and it consults attorneys very rarely (and when it does, it does so through the Florida Education Association rather than directly). For more information, see our last letter to President Delaney regarding this matter.
Gender and Racial Equity

Has there been any study done at the university to support what is being discussed among some faculty members about male patriarchy and faculty salaries? I would like to know if there is any truth to the rumor that female faculty members make less than their male counterparts?

Our chapter of UFF has proposed the idea of such a study (and we would be willing to help fund such a study). Our idea was to examine such issues as starting pay and time in rank disaggregated for gender and race/ethnicity.  We encourage faculty or graduate students who have an interest in the area, the statistical expertise and data analysis skills to collect and analyze archival and current salary data, and who are willing to take on the challenge. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity has welcomed such a study and has agreed to supply any data that is not confidential per state law.

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AA Policy: Former Administrators Keep Their Salary When They Go Back to Faculty Roles

Former administrators retain the rate of pay they received as administrators even after they have returned to their non-administrator faculty roles. Typically, former administrators keep all or a portion of the stipend they received for their administrator role (depending on length of service) and the only adjustment to their former administrative salaries is that they are adjusted to 9 months rather than 12. This results in former administrators being paid significantly more than their departmental same-rank peers. In addition, former administrators are usually awarded a one-semester sabbatical at full administrator pay before returning to their faculty roles. According to the Provost, this practice is official Academic Affairs policy (the actual AA policy, while used universally for administrators, refers only to associate deans and chairs returning to faculty roles rather than to deans, vice presidents, former provosts, etc.).


There are a number of concerns regarding this practice. First, it is costly to maintain. UNF spends over $440,000 annually to provide higher pay for former administrators with no resultant benefits to the university community. Second, UNF remains at the bottom of the SUS in terms of faculty pay. Faculty are repeatedly told that there is no money for even modest faculty raises because of the reduction in base E & G funding from the state related to the performance metrics. Third, the legality of the practice is questionable. State law (Florida Statutes, Title 14, Chapter 215.425) prohibits additional compensation past the expiration of one’s contracted duties, it requires that additional compensation schemes must be open to all employees, and it requires regular assessment to evaluate the work of those receiving additional pay. Because this practice appears to be in violation of state statute, we have filed an inquiry with Florida’s Chief Inspector General.

Note: Though public record (and available upon request), we have removed individual faculty names from the data above. Again, our goal is not to single out specific former administrators but rather to highlight the ramifications of the practice itself.

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Florida Lawmakers Attack Public Employee Unions – Again

ALEC-Modeled Anti-Union Bill Introduced in Florida House

State House Representative Scott Plakon (R-Seminole) just filed House Bill 11, an anti-public employee union bill that was originally created and promulgated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and that was introduced in other states. Were the bill to become law, it would effectively decertify public employee unions with membership below 50% of all eligible employees. The bill would also require yearly registration of bargaining units that would include financial information about its individual members. The legislation specifically but inexplicably exempts law enforcement and firefighter unions.  

The UNF-UFF current membership is 38%. Thus, were the legislation to pass, all UNF faculty would lose the ability to engage in collective bargaining, to enforce a standard contract, to protect individual faculty members’ academic freedom, and to ensure equity in terms of course load.  Correspondingly, university administration could hire, fire, alter work assignments, and pay different faculty per its whims rather than via specific and negotiated standards.We need you now more than ever!

It is time to fight back against yet more attacks on public servants. Join us now!

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