Timing has not been on Gov. Rick Scott’s side lately.
Earlier this week, I pointed out that the governor eliminated $1.5 million in state funds for 30 rape crisis centers across the state during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. A day after that news began to spread, Scott attended an awards ceremony at the Capitol for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Among those who received an award that day: Nicole Bishop, the director of Palm Beach County Victim Services, which was one of the rape crisis centers that lost funding due to Scott’s veto.
“I thought it was unfortunate,” Bishop says. “Those funds were definitely needed.”
The governor’s office has said that the money allotted to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence was “duplicative” and that “nobody was able to make it clear to [the governor] why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.”
Advocates and legislators have countered by arguing that the funds he was talking about were for prevention, not for taking care of those who have already become victims.
In Tampa, an advocate has even invited Scott to a rape crisis center to educate him about the need for the money.
Bishop says she is grateful she was recognized this week for her work with victims, but wishes the funding was not eliminated.
“I do thank the governor and the attorney general for recognizing us and the important work we do,” Bishop says. “I just hope that they keep that in mind when they make funding decisions.”