Student Government voted unanimously to pass the All American Flag Act on Tuesday night, a resolution that started in an Eau Gallie High School classroom.
In 2013, students in high school teacher Matthew Susin’s American government class read that the United States spent an estimated $4 million on American flags made in China, and asked themselves “why”?
“It’s our flag,” Susin said. “We’re the only country that holds the virtues, that has the right to make our flag.”
A high school discussion turned into a resolution written by Susin and developed by different organizations in the community, and last night, unanimously passed by SG.
Currently, Department of Veterans Affairs and the American military are required by law to use only American-made flags. The All American Flag Act would require government entities in Florida to do the same thing.
The resolution was brought to Florida Gulf Coast University by Emily Catizone, SG’s director of government relations and a former student of Susin’s.
“My goal is to get FGCU more connected to what’s going on in the Florida Legislature,” Catizone said.
FGCU is the first university in the state to vote on this resolution. Catizone now plans to send it to the other universities in the state for support.
“With each resolution passed,” Catizone said. “it’s saying another 13,000 people support it.”
The resolution is similar to a petition. The resolution doesn’t mean that the act itself will pass into law. What it does mean is that FGCU supports the bill if it does pass into law.
The All American Flag Act has been passed by all 23 veterans organizations in Florida, as well as the American Federation of Labor, and will be heard next month by the state school boards.
According to Susin, “Between all the organizations that have passed the resolution, Florida has 1 million people that have pledged support to this.”
The act is being pushed in the state legislature by House Rep. Ritch Workman as House Bill 201, and state Sen. Rob Bradley as Senate Bill 1334.
If the bill passes the Legislature, it will “require that any United States or state flag that is purchased by the state of Florida, its counties or municipalities for public use must be made in the United States from articles, materials, or supplies, all of which are grown, produced, and manufactured in the United States.”
A similar bill was passed by the U.S. House and Senate in 2010 and 2011, but according to a 2013 article on thedailycaller.com, was not turned into law because the House failed to vote for a companion bill.
By earning support through individual organizations, school boards, universities and counties, Susin and his students hope that the bill will pass into law in Florida, and then be considered in other states.
According to Catizone, “If we can get states on board one at a time, it will have more support by the time it gets to the U.S. Senate.”
“If we all say something together,” Catizone said, “they have to listen.”