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City Commission votes unanimously to move forward on development of City policy to pay travel and medical expenses for employees to get abortions

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos reads from the proposed resolution

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gainesville City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos added an agenda item at the last minute to the commission’s July 21 meeting, during the adoption of the agenda; the new agenda item included a recommendation that the commission adopt a resolution similar to one that is being considered by the City of Austin, Texas, to “protect reproductive rights” in Gainesville and “direct staff to create a policy to allow City employees to have travel and medical expenses covered for abortions that are [not] allowed locally.”

Austin’s resolution prohibits City from spending money to report or track abortions, instructs police to make enforcement of the state law their lowest priority

The model resolution from Austin notably uses the term “pregnant people” and cites “bodily autonomy” as a “right.” Hayes-Santos was less concerned about bodily autonomy when he made the motion to adopt the City of Gainesville’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all City employees, which was later extended and then repealed on September 23 after a judge granted employees a temporary injunction. On August 19, 2021, Hayes-Santos told employees who were asking the City to repeal their mandate, “I hear your concerns, but I have a duty… to create a safe workplace.”

Austin’s resolution refers to Roe v. Wade in several places but does not reference Dobbs v. Jackson except to say that it overturned Roe v. Wade. The resolution in Austin was prompted by a Texas law that “criminalizes abortion at the felony level.” In Florida, however, the law passed this year permits abortions up to 15 weeks into a pregnancy, a change from the previous 24-week limit; Hayes-Santos seemed to be concerned that Florida will adopt a law in the future that restricts all abortions.

Austin’s resolution prohibits use of City funds for any reporting of an abortion, miscarriage, or “other reproductive healthcare act,” providing information to any other governmental agency about those things, or collecting information about whether an abortion has occurred. It also directs law enforcement agencies to make enforcement of the state law their lowest priority.

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City Attorney expresses concerns about the proposed policy

Hayes-Santos said he believes the City needs to “take proactive action,” including considering Austin’s resolution, “and we would ask staff to come back with… a policy… for the City to cover travel and medical expenses for employees who may have been able to have an abortion, previously, before the laws were changed, but are not able to now.” He made a motion to ask staff to bring back a resolution similar to Austin’s and also bring back a policy, for the commission to review, to allow City employees to have travel and medical expenses covered for abortions “that are not allowed locally.”

Interim City Attorney Daniel Nee said his concern was that “your budget process generally isn’t so granular, as you’re going to be dictating spending within a department, as this would imply. The direction might undermine the charter authority of your City Manager, and the Police Chief under her, if you’re dictating priorities in law enforcement, in terms of enforcing state laws that don’t exist yet… And finally, I don’t know that you could have a resolution that’s going to be binding upon the budgetary decisions of future commissions. That all sounds like an advocacy type resolution [as opposed to a binding resolution], which I think is appropriate. And the last matter: the employee benefit for child-related expenses would certainly need to be negotiated, at the very least.” He also pointed out that the proposal had not gone through the City Commission’s policy process but was “off the hip.”

Hayes-Santos said he believed it should be a binding resolution and that future City Commissions could change it: “I think an advocacy resolution would mean nothing, and I think we should take real action for the City employees.” He said he wanted staff to come back with “what that would look like as a policy” and start negotiations with the unions.

Mayor Lauren Poe reiterated that Nee should investigate the questions about where the line is between the charter officers’ responsibilities and the City Commission’s responsibilities: “I think that’s important to answer, especially when this gets challenged, because it will.”

Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut asked staff to look at other cities for additional policies or legislation that Gainesville could use as models.

Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker asked why Hayes-Santos hadn’t brought the idea to General Policy Committee (GPC) first. Hayes-Santos responded that there was a need to move quickly: “I thought there was a more immediate need for employees and for kind of what’s happening in the state, and GPC can take months and months and months for something to happen.”

Desmon-Walker said Nee had brought up “valid points that I had not considered clearly,” including the distinction between binding and non-binding resolutions and the impacts on future budgets. She wanted to give the City Manager the “opportunity to work through this very important matter that we want to codify and make policy.” She added that she was “grateful to have this put forward.”

No members of the public spoke on the issue.

Poe moved ahead to a vote, saying to the charter officers, “As soon as you feel like it’s ready for a discussion by the Commission, we’ll get it back on an agenda, whether that be GPC or a regular City Commission meeting.”

The motion passed unanimously, with Commissioner Reina Saco absent.

  • I assuming that they are not using their own money so they will be using tax payers money to do this how about the tax payers who don’t believe in abortion I don’t see how this can be legal

    • I am certain this won’t be “cheap”, and there are so many things we would like tax payer funds to go toward. We are all suffering under GRU & food banks are closing all over the USA. Gainesville has so many problems that need funding & it is so expensive to live here.

    • Yes! There will be many VACATIONS on our dime from either fake documented pregnancy or those who don’t want one and “change their mind” at last minute in California. Out of control idiots! Need to file a taxpayer lawsuit against this ASAP! Using tax money to pay for something not legal? (When and UF law changes.) WTF!!! The last stinking hurrah from lame ducks Po Boy, Maternity Ward, and sicko minority imposter “where’s your momma” Lying Hyphen-Hayes. When someone suddenly claims to be a minority because of a temporary stepdad named Santos, you know they are a corrupt liar! Throw l the whole bunch out ASAP and March on the courthouse with sign with these idiots names on them.

  • Wow and just wow! Spending more of taxpayer’s money they don’t have enough of. How about fixing the roads and working on lowering GRU rates for so many that can’t afford it anymore – ugh!

  • We all know that Poe, Ward and a couple others are likely to file for expenses, (fraudulently), since they aren’t capable of identifying what gender they are.

  • The GNV city commission are accessories to murder. The State needs to step in and stop them.

  • I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. But I just looked at my insurance and it doesn’t pay to have one unless it’s medically necessary. It’s out of pocket. So I don’t understand why the city wants to fund procedures that are out of pocket. If you want to give the City employees a perk – the Mayor and the commission can pay it out of their own pockets.

    • Saying Harvey Ward is Biden is a compliment. Harvey Ward’s head is a bag full of cats, he’s beyond all kinds of crazy.
      He should have been neutered a long time ago to prevent the spread of the disease he’s carrying.

        • statescoop.com (2020): Researchers say OmniBallot online voting platform is vulnerable to manipulation. An online voting platform that a handful of states are using in limited capacities this year has been found to be vulnerable to hacking that could expose or manipulate how a person’s ballot was cast without being detected either by voters or officials tallying results, according to a paper published Sunday by a pair of influential election-security experts.

          (Don’t worry, Kim Barton loves Department of Homeland Security)

          • can’t give you money anymore, Alachua Chronicle. Thanks for the censoring!

          • statescoop.com (2020): According to the paper, by J. Alex Halderman, a computer scientist at the University of Michigan, and Michael Specter, a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, OmniBallot “is vulnerable to vote manipulation by malware on the voter’s device and by insiders or other attackers” who can compromise systems made by Amazon, Google, Cloudflare or OmniBallot’s publisher, Democracy Live

        • Gainesville Sun (7/21/22): Nearly 900 Gainesville voters got incorrect ballots. It’s the second time in as many weeks. Jay Maggio, chair of the local Democratic Party, blames local Republicans for the issue, saying that some party members have “flooded” the election supervisor’s office with public record requests, making it difficult for staff members to carry out some basic tasks.

          (In what way does Jay Maggio have access to public record requests and the party affiiliation of people making public record requests to the Supervisor of Elections Office? Why is Jay Maggio making excuses for the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office? Is anyone still pretending Kim Barton is non-partisan?)

  • So if you are not Pro Life, does that make you Pro Death?Another Agenda driven Lets be like Austin Texas floating in the What Ifs Mindless, Bankrupt, Gaineville City Commissioner and Lawless Mayor. Speaking of Austin have you heard they closed thier bondoggle Biomess King Poe Plant?

      • Enough is enough. Tax payer funded abortions for city employees in a town where homelessness and crime are rampant and Development has run amuck? For the love of God, please please vote these insane people out of office. We need level heads. Not progressive zealots.

    • Captainshad: you are correct…to be pro abortion is
      To be for the death penalty. “ in another time and
      Forgotten place, your eyes looked from your mothers’
      Face”….my body, my choice? It didn’t apply to face
      Masks & the clot shot…what we got is a bunch of
      Commie hypocrites.

  • This makes me sick! They want to pass this at lightning speed to be “proactive,” but there are no other more pressing issues that affect more people in the community than using our money to pay for travel and medical expenses for birthing women to go and kill their babies. I agree that the state needs to step in.

  • No further proof of how evil these people are is needed. This is what happens with low turnout elections. They are not good stewards of the people’s money. Wake up and vote them out.

  • LOL there’s not ONE trendy national or global fad they won’t get distracted by. Plus, like a good college town they want young women in debt, unmarried and childless immediately after turning 18. Going from parental control to Fed and DC control, competing for jobs instead of husbands. Then later it’s too late, nobody wants them later. Easily replaceable by more cheap labor.

  • I just drove over a pot hole the size of New Jersey. So glad we’ve fixed all the basic needs of the citizens and can move on to more pressing matters like the killing of the unborn.

  • What does it cost to take a bus to Valdosta and back? Probably not very much. Hopefully city employees make enough to pay for such a minor expense themselves.

    • Here is something simple. If you dont want to have a Baby don’t get pregnant. That’s what birth control is for. Birth control items can be obtained for free, or next to nothing in cost. The other life saving measure for the unborn that people may want to consider is don’t have sex unless you and only you can afford to bring another human being into this world. That saves city tax payers money and shows the city they dont have dumbass employees working for them who cant make a simple choice on getting pregnant. Why is everyone else in the world responsibility to pay your way for your mistake. People get your heads out of your asses and start a ring like responsible human beings.

      • If they were raised in the Alachua Poe Dunk County Democrat ,No Discipline , Eduacational System , God help them even if they have been taught to Hate God, the POOlice and any authority whatsoever.

  • Highest utility bills in Florida, understaffed police department, crumbling infrastructure and the members of the commission want to use tax payers money to pay for all the details to cover employee abortions.
    The voters of Gainesville have what they deserve, lunatics for leaders.

  • i am sorry but nothing is going to change in P’yŏngyang sorry i mean Gainesville. 20% voter turnout on average. biggest employer UF is 98% anti American Marxist. Vote with your feet GET THE F*** OUT NOW!

  • GNV City Commission and Mayor are simply doing everything they can to illegally spend tax payers money as fast as possible before the 23 August elections! Nothing new for this crew! Crosswalks painted with the logo of interest groups, interpretation hot lines for anyone who doesn’t want to learn English as millions of other immigrants have done since forever (age is not an excuse, my great, great grands were in their 60s/70s when they immigrated LEGALLY), NO road repairs (putting in new drainage doesn’t count), no increased vehicle capacity in GNV or Alachua County to ease the congestion resulting from rapid growth in the (not affordable to the average person) hundreds of single family homes, quads, apartment complexes, etc., not to mention at least adding access roads to these new developments! Gainesville has to be moving up to number one in violent crime but you don’t hear these “leaders” planning to attack it! They DO want to take some extra cash with them out the door (sell out single family zoning to their developer and real estate comrades) as their reign of stupidity is continued by others when good people do nothing!!!! The “youngest commissioner in Gainesville history” even wants you to think he is going to tackle GRU high (and rising) costs when he is your next mayor! Sorry, he forgot to mention he fully supported the practice of siphoning $20Million per year from GRU to cover him and his cronies spending sprees! Oh, and the commissioners are not at all concerned with the state of the recent State of FL audit which they failed miserably! Where is the money??? What a bunch of buffoons! If taxpayers don’t get out and vote for honest people (anyone is better than ANYONE currently on the GNV Council) you will get exactly what you have earned! Sickening is not the word I’d like to use but I will keep it as clean as possible! TAXPAYERS, it is up to YOU to clean the toilet that is now the GNV Mayor and City Council and flush them all away!

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