As always: here’s a poorly written news roundup from the previous week.

Week in review (1/7/17):

  • Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana for certain conditions,  went into effect Tuesday (1/3). The Florida legislature and Department of Health have to pass some rules so there’s not a lot that you’ll see until after session most likely (May). In order to get a prescription you have to go to an approved doctor and to an approved dispensary. (link)
  • The House Republicans tried to handicap the the Office of Congressional Ethics but backed off due to a massive outcry. Even Trump was against this. Apparently he wants the swamp concentrated on the hill. (link)
  • The Bright Futures Scholarship program might get an revamp this year. Over past decade the requirements have gone up leaving more people out and funding levels have been cut. It’s also important to remember that this scholarship program is funded by the state lottery which tends to be played by poor people while the students receiving the scholarships tend to be upper and upper-middle class students. (link)
  • Fake news. It’s not about facts vs. fiction but a social phenomenon between how people view the world and it’s reality. This is why people read fake news but there’s a lot more behind the plethora of fake news and Five Thirty Eight has a pretty good read on it. (link)
  • The NAACP president along with others were arrested at the Mobile Alabama office of Senator Jeff Sessions. The sit in was in response to Trump naming Sessions to the cabinet position of Attorney General. Sessions has a long and checkered history of racism. So much so that a Republican US Senate rejected his federal judge appointment in 1986. This sit in is a taste of things to come during the Trump administration? (link)
  • Ford was to open a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico but will instead put some $700 million to expand a plant in Michigan. Trump is taking credit for this like he did about saving a plant that was never going to close in Kentucky. The company is expanding a plant in Michigan mostly due to the cheaper cost of automation and AI in the US with union labor as opposed to  cheap labor in Mexico. (link)
  • Republicans are going to try to repeal Obamacare. The NYT has a pretty good read on how they’re going to try to do it but the first stop gap happens in a budget resolution next week. They need to add a rule that will stop the 48 Democrats from filibustering. If that happens they have until Jan 27th to pass legislation that would gut Obamacare… in 2 to 4 years. This would give them time to pass a replacement. The worse part is that they’re likely going to stop payments to the states that expanded Medicare. (link)
  • The Florida public pension system projected return is subject to political manipulation. The short and long of it is that if the projected return is lowered then it needs to be funded more and the unfunded liability increases. The projected return is 7.6% right now but if it was lowered to 7% it would create a $38 billion unfunded liability and would by 79% funded. At the current projected rate of 7.9% it’ll be $90 million unfunded liability and 85.4% funded. Why is this important? Because lowering the return rate will increase the contributions to the over 630,000 people paying into it and gives ammo to the privatization crusaders (link)
  • Governor Scott want’s the Obamacare Medicaid reimbursement rate of $0.90/$1.00 (currently $0.61/$1.00) without expanding the coverage as the law requires. (link)
  • From the Verizon strike to the increases in minimum wage; 2016 wasn’t all terrible for working people. The AFL-CIO has a good list of major victories here. (link)
  • Five Thirty Eight has an interesting piece out on who didn’t vote in 2016. The exit polling they look at says that young people and people of color staying home cost Clinton the election. The article points out that young black voters stayed home at the highest rate but they turned out in the primary for Sanders. People that are trying to blame young people and people of color for Trump are missing the forest. I blame Clinton for not giving people something to turnout for. (link)
  • The Florida Swamp is being partially drained… into DC. Pam Bondi, the Florida Attorney General who dropped the Florida investigation into Trump university after he gave her $25,000, is getting an appointment in his administration. (link)

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