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Scientology loves to gladhand Florida politicians, even though it usually has little effect

Rod Keller continues to keep an eye on Scientology’s sneaky front groups. He has another dispatch for us on how the church is trying to influence Florida legislation…

This week Florida Scientologists were flooded with requests from two front groups to contact their senators and representatives regarding a number of bills being considered to modify the Baker Act. The act allows qualified doctors, nurses and police to bring a person they believe is a danger to themselves or others for involuntary psychiatric evaluation.

As we reported in February, Scientology is lobbying the legislature against allowing advanced registered nurse practitioners to initiate a Baker Act examination. Now they have found a proposal they support – requiring examination of children to be done faster, and establishing a panel to study why so many people are given a Baker Act examination in Florida. Scientology supports any action to curtail psychiatry, and opposes any expansion.

 

 
Scientologists Diane Stein of the Citizens Commision on Human Rights (CCHR) and Gracia Bennish of Youth for Human Rights visited dozens of Florida legislators earlier this month to lobby for restricting the Baker Act and against its expansion.

 

 
Senator Victor M. Torres represents the area around Kissimmee, Florida and is Vice Chair of the Children, Families and Elder Affairs committee, which voted on the Scientology-favored SB 1580. He stands between Stein (left) and Bennish (right) in this photo.

 

 
Senator Keith Perry represents a district around Gainesville, and sits on no committees related to the legislation.

 

Representative Evan Jenne represents Hollywood, Florida and also sits on no committees related to the bills.

 

 
Representative Chris Latvala represents Clearwater, and his district includes the Flag Land Base. He is not a member of the committees considering the bills.

 

 
Representative Barbara Watson’s district is in North Miami, and she is also not on the relevant committees.

The fate for all of the alternate and opposing bills related to the Baker Act is that they will probably all fail, despite several receiving unanimous votes of support in committee. The Florida constitution limits the length of the legislative session, and this year it ends on May 5. In an April 9 article Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida describes the large issues remaining for the session, and sources in the legislature agree that the budget will take up enough time that few other issues will receive attention before the session expires.

Scientology is opposed to HB 645, to allow advanced registered nurse practitioners to execute Baker Act certificates. The bill passed unanimously in committee. HB 7011 is a very similar alternative, and passed committee by a 10 to 8 vote. The senate version, SB 1756 also passed a subcommittee vote unanimously.

HB 1183 would require children to be examined within 12 hours and would establish a panel to review the Baker Act. It passed a committee vote unanimously. A similar bill in the senate, SB 1580 also passed in committee unanimously. The Scientology-supported SB 1580 in particular has a rough road to passage as it must be approved by both the Judiciary and Appropriations committees before reaching the Senate floor, and the latter committee’s time will be consumed by budget negotiations.

 

 
Scientology isn’t letting on that it knows these bills are probably doomed to die in committee. The point for Scientology is not whether or not these small adjustments are made to the Baker Act. Instead, they can present their lobbying efforts to public Scientologists to show they are leading the fight against the “psychs” and to assure them that their contributions to the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) are being well spent. A three-day trip to the capital city of Tallahassee by two Scientologists is an inexpensive way to justify millions of dollars in donations sent to the IAS. This is why only one of the PR photos shows a legislator responsible for the Baker Act legislation. It’s not relevant to their effort whether they lobby the proper legislators; the photos alone serve their purpose.

 
— Rod Keller

 
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Sneaky, sneaky Scientology

We received this from one of our readers….

My husband and I were sitting to eat snacks at the LA Festival of Books when a man with a clipboard approached us. He asked us if we would be willing to fill out a survey for a publishing company. My husband said yes, so the man gave us both surveys and pens. As I started to fill it out my husband asked him, “Is this in reference to fictional characters?” to which the man replied, “Yes, I believe so. I’m just helping them get these surveys out.”

As you can see in the picture, I was moving right along until I hit…”High confront.” Hmmmm. I asked the man, “Is this publishing company related to Scientology?” He replied, “It’s a local publisher.” Double hmmmmmm. I again asked, “Related to L. Ron Hubbard, right?” He sighed a little and said, “Yes, Galaxy Press.” I stopped, folded the survey up, and politely said, “I’m not going to be finishing that, sorry.”

My husband was wrapped up in his survey, and I didn’t want to make this man go “High confront” on me so I just sat there. Then the man said, “What gave it away?” I pointed to the item and said, “High confront…the rest of the world doesn’t talk like that.” I was expecting him to do anything, from giving me the silent treatment to demanding to know what my crimes are, but surprisingly he started to make small talk with me that was completely unrelated to anything Scientology-related. This reaction made me think that perhaps he wasn’t a Scientologist, and really was just helping a Scientologist friend out with this task. It was pleasant and went on until my husband finished his survey, and gave it to the man who then walked away. I explained what happened to my husband who said, “Shit, did I put my contact information on that thing?” Luckily, he didn’t.

And as far as this survey being about a fictional character? I don’t think so. All items sound like ways Scientologists would describe old Elron.

 

 
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Countdown to Denver!

 

 
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,729 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,832 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,326 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,366 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,078 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 604 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,693 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,833 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,153 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,128 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 484 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,786 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 893 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,295 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,168 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 749 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,254 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,498 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,607 days.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 23, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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