On Wednesday of last week, the allocation of funds for a permanent Pulse memorial had dropped to $0. But Florida lawmakers quickly reversed course, bumping that back up to $500,000 later in the week.
“Our budget chairs have listened to us in our sincere and authentic attempt to secure funding for the @pulseorlando Memorial and should be applauded,” tweeted Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando).
It’s been almost three years since the Pulse massacre took place in June 2016 in Orlando where 49 people were killed. Since then, a temporarymemorialhas been built at the former site of the gay nightclub.
After the shooting, Pulse owner Barbara Pomalaunched the non-profit, onePULSE Foundation, to build a permanent memorial.
But the Florida legislature has so far refused to fund it.
Last year though, the legislature allocated $1 million in funding for a memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland where a gunman killed 17 students and teachers in February 2018.
“There’s been a tremendous focus on Parkland, as there should be,” Rep. Holly Raschein(R-Monroe) told SFGN in March. “But we should memorialize and remember the lives lost at Pulse as well.”
The money would go to the onePULSE Foundation, who would oversee the project. In October, the foundation was awarded up to $10 million in hotel-tax revenues by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners to fund the memorial and museum.
On the Senate side, Sen. Linda Stewart(D-Orlando) has led the charge to fund the memorial.
Stewart also filed a bill to create a speciality license plate paying tribute to Pulse. The license plate would include the words “Orlando United.” The proceeds of the plate would go to the onePULSE Foundation, the Mental Health Association of Central Florida, and the Two Spirit Health Services.
Even though the money has been put back in the budget it’s still not a done deal. The money could still be stripped from the final budget. Gov. Ron DeSantis also has the power to veto the funds.