Week in review (12/24/16)

I’ll be trying to take a break consuming news for the Christmas weekend so the week in review is coming a day early.

  • Florida disenfranchises 1.6 million people due to it’s ban on voting rights for felons. This includes 21% of Florida’s voting age African American population. Let that sink in.  (link)
  • 90% of Florida is in a drought with this last November being the driest in Florida in the last 121 years. (link)
  • Like 2016 this year’s state budget will be a major focus but with renewed frustration. The House’s new rule states that each budget item is a single bill. The Senate didn’t go along so there’s likely to be more conflict between the chambers. (link)
  • The state underpaid Medicaid by some $75 million last year. This will add to the hole in the state budget that will likely be made up in cutting services for working people. (link)
  • Criminal justice reform for juveniles is a priority for Senate President Joe Negron. This could be a bright spot for 2017. Negron appointed democratic senator Randolph Bracy to chair the Criminal Justice Committee which is pretty unprecedented. There will likely be bills focusing on citations vs arrests as well as the racial disparities in our juvenile justice system. (link)
  • Bittel won the Miami-Dade committeeman race against former state senator Bullard this week. The winner of this race is seen as the favorite for the chair of the Florida Democratic Party. The race was intense and involved Sanders, Palestine, and unions. Also running for state chair is Lisa King from Duval, Leah Carius from Osceola , and Alan Clendenin from Hillsborough… or Bradford. (link)
  • Stand Your Ground is continuing to cause disproportionate responses to violence ending in people dying. Four since September in Miami alone. (link)
  • Florida Senate President Joe Negron is being proactive in seeking state legislation to address Medicaid block-grants. This is a pretty strong single that Congress is going to pass a sweeping ACA changes. Block-grant program would allow states more control over how to spend medicaid dollars. (link) Welfare was turned into a block-grant program under Clinton in ’96 and has been disastrous. Turns out backwards state governments have used the money for such things as marriage comedy classes with less going to the poor. (link)
  • 100 death penalty cases in Florida are going to have to be re-sentenced. The innocence or guilt isn’t in question, just who get’s to decide if someone is sentenced to death. In  Florida a jury makes a recommendation to the judge for the death penalty but the ultimate decision is made by the judge. This is unconstitutional and leads to a lot of bias in which black men are sentenced to death by judges in much higher rates than white men. Pre-2002 death penalty sentences will remain in effect though; which is pretty arbitrary. There’s 384 people on death row with 159 of them possibly being affected by this ruling. I personally think the death penalty is abhorrent and belongs in the dustbin of history. (link 1) (link 2)
  • From it’s anti-LGBTQ practices, to it’s anti-farm-worker rights’ stances, to being anti-environmental, to it’s pro-war on drugs funding; Publix is a terrible company. They’re now leading the ant-living wage fight in Miami Beach. (link 1) (link 2)

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