Week in review 2-25-17

Here’s a week in review of some of the more important things that happened in the last week.


  • Perez is the new chair of the Democratic Party. He was the Labor Secretary under Obama and is overall much, much more progressive than anyone who’s ever been in charge of the party. But he was the pick from the so called establishment. The Bernie supporters and people who were looking to reform the party from the ground up were backing Ellison. This is likely the closest vote in the history of the party. And both of the candidates have similar policies and ran on nearly the same platform. Nonetheless someone was going to rage quit the Democratic Party over this. Would it be the so called establishment or the new comers? Let’s now watch as the Bernie crowd takes their energy elsewhere. Fivethirtyeight has a decent read on this. (link)

Florida News:

  • MCI Maps has a great data heavy read on what the Florida Senate races were all about compared to Clinton. SD8 was lost because Rod Smith under preformed in Alachua County. A common strategy from the Democrats had been to appeal to moderates in Putnam County and win the progressives in Alachua by default. Didn’t work here or elsewhere. (link)
  • Sen Gainer out of the Pan Handle filed a bill that would make it a second degree misdemeanor to block traffic during a protest. The bill,  SB 1096 would also make drivers not liable for unintentionally killing these protesters. (link)
  • HJR 321 would up the threshold for getting a referendum passed from 60% to 66%. It was increased to 60% from 50% in 2006. (link)
  • Miami made marijuana possession a citation as opposed to a criminal offense due to the deportation threat faced by undocumented people under Trump (link)
  • Rick Scott is now the Vice Chair of the powerful Republican Governors Association. This is yet another important key to his 2018 US Senate run. (link)
  • Around 300 protesters packed a meeting to save Rainbow River. The dispute is over how much water should be allowed to be removed. (link)
  • Two protesters wedged themselves inside a 3 foot pipe in Marion County. The pipe is part of the controversial Sabal Pipeline. (link)
  • HB871 would create an animal abuse registry that would help block repeat abusers. There’s no companion in the Senate yet and I get the feeling this is going to be a multiyear effort.  (link)
  • There’s 11 so called pro-gun bills filed by Republicans and gun control bills filed by Democrats. Because Republicans have majorities in the House, Senate, and have the Governor it’s unlikely any of the gun control measures will pass. Instead the focus is on stopping the expansion of these pro-gun bills. (link)
  • UPS is testing Drone delivery in Florida. (link)
  • SB 90, which creates incentives for solar energy, is moving forward in the Senate. (link)
  • Good news. We counted more manatees this year than since we started doing our annual survey. (link) We also counted more Florida panthers than last year. (link)
  • Corcoran-care is the name of the sickness you’ll likely be facing in the next year. In anticipation of the federal government creating a block grant Medicaid scheme. This program would create private prepaid plans for Medicaid people. Can’t we have single payer already? (link)

Town Hall Madness!

  • Rubio refuses to have a town hall because he’s scared. It’s gotten to the point that people are printing missing Rubio stickers and putting them on milk cartons. They’re even dogging him nonstop every chance they get like on 2/23 at FIU.
  • Congressman Webster in Lake County left his town hall early and refused to take questions. (link)
  • Congressman Dunn ran a red light in Tallahassee to avoid talking to protesters. (link)
  • Rep Rooney from Collier County was a no show so about 200 protesters rallied outside his office instead. (link)
  • Rep Bilirakis from New Port Richey who had a town hall on 2/11 in which a supporter called Obamacare death panels said he’s still for a full repeal. He hasn’t and likely won’t have another town hall (link).

Trump Mess:

  • Trumps approval rating is at 38%. But 83% of Republicans still approve of him. (link)
  • Trump is likely going to start enforcing Federal marijuana laws. (link)
  • If you were curious why private prison companies stocks shot up after Trump was elected you know now. Trump cancels an Obama era order to phase out their use this week. (link)
  • Trump rolled back Obama era protections for trans youth. Apparently Attorney General Sessions pushed this and Secretary of Education DeVos said no. She said this would harm trans youth but she was given an ultimatum to either drop her opposition of resign. She folded. (link)
  • VP Mike Pence helped clean up a vandalized Jewish cemetery. What’s the over under on when he’s sworn in as president? (link)
  • Trump is set to roll back an Obama era landmark EPA ruling that expanded the number of streams and waterways protested. Being able to pollute these waterways is a major priority for manufacturing companies. (link)
  • The Winter White House is a mess. Over last the weekend 12 plans violated the restricted airspace with 5 of them being buzzed by military aircraft. He’s spent a full 25% of his presidency in Mar-a-Largo. His 3 trips have cost over $10 million for travel alone.
  • Trump has put the Obama deportation machine into overdrive. The overarching theme from Trump is that undocumented people are violent and should be treated inhumanly. The desired result isn’t a nation free of undocumented people. It’s a nation full of more fearful undocumented people. People less likely to complain about their mistreatment and more easily exploited by 1%ers like Trump.(link)

Week in Review 2/18/2017

Here’s a news round up of some of the things you might have missed this past week.

State News:

  • Teachers around the state are having problems passing their certification test. The test is terrible, not these teachers. (link)
  • Marion County retrains and secludes more mentally challenged students than the state average. By a lot. (link)
  • There’s a bunch of bills working their way through the Senate in support of guns. One of the worse is SB646 which would make it a non-criminal offense to briefly show off your gun. (link)
  • Good news for Governor Scott. His drug testing of welfare recipients, in which his company was set to profit on, is being allowed again under a GOP Trump administration. (link)
  • A good bill (SB544) would let people correct their signature mismatches for vote-by-mail ballots. (link)
  • The bill that banned doctors from talking about guns got overturned. (link)

State Budget:

  • Florida House Speaker Corcoran might sue Governor Scott over a lottery contract. On it’s own it looks silly but put into context over the massive disagreements on the budget and Visit Florida this is a big deal in an escalating battle that could very well lead to a government shutdown. (link)
  • The Republicans Governor Rick Scott’s fight over the budget is getting ridiculous. He sent out robo-calls in Republican lawmakers who oppose his jobs plan districts this week. A state government shutdown is getting more and more likely each week. (link)

Immigration:

  • Palm Beach County saw hundreds, maybe even thousands of students stay home in protest of Trumps migration laws as part of “a day without an immigrant”. Some school had as much as 35% of their student body stay home. (link)
  • An undocumented woman went to court to get a restraining order on her abusive boyfriend. She get’s arrested by ICE. The point of all of this isn’t to stop undocumented people from living in the USA. It’s to scare them. Undocumented people will be much less likely to seek redress for domestic abuse, or any crimes committed against them, because of actions like this. (link)
  • Daniel Ramirez Medina is a 23 year old DACA recipient who was detained by ICE. His lawyers are hoping it was a mistake and not part of a Trump policy of disregarding DACA. (link)
  • Changes to NAFTA could affect farms in Florida as the winter growing season coincides with Mexico’s and their cheap labor/lax labor laws make their imports cheaper. I don’t care so much about Florida farm owners but more so for Florida farm workers like those in the Fair Food Standards Council who are having their gains threatened by outsourcing to Mexico. (link)
  • Miami-Dade County voted 9-3 to affirm the Mayors move against being a sanctuary County. While most places in Florida and around the nation are standing strong or even reinforcing their commitment towards immigrants, Miami-Dade is in full Trump retreat. Shameful. (link)
  • A Florida House committee voted 9-5 along party lines to withdraw from the federal refugee program. This bill likely won’t go much farther, and it’s not very legal, but it shows that heartless Republican partisans aren’t just in DC. (link)
  • Trump was considering mobilizing 100,000 national guards to round up undocumented people. It looks like the leaked memo was considered but decided against. (link)

Random Trump mess:

  • Trump has nominated Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor. In 2008 he helped get pedophile and political ally Jeffery Epsetein a sweetheart plea deal (link)
    • Andrew Pizder withdrew his nomination to be Labor Secretary. Like rats leaving a sinking ship. (link)
  • The Republicans have half rolled out their ACA replacement. It’ll cut by about 50% the money paid to states who expanded medicaid, will let people buy crap insurance, convert medicaid to block grants for states, and is would most certainly kick millions of people off insurance while forcing millions more to buy crap plans. (link)
  • Dems are trying to use an obscure law to force Trump to release his tax returns. The Republicans are blocking the measure but they’ll keep trying. You can call the chair of the committee Rep. Brady at (202) 225-4901 to pressure him to release Trumps tax returns. (link)
  • Trump claimed there was a terrorist attack in Sweden at a campaign rally in Florida. Most media said there was no terrorist attack but there actually was one in January. A few neo-Nazis bombed a refugee center. (link)
    • Here’s a more full listing of the lies he said at the rally. (link)
  • Here’s a primer for a constitutional crisis free non-Trump presidency. (link)
  • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is upset people are being mean to her. Turns out she didn’t realize that she can’t purchase the support of people who use public education like she did to the GOP. (link)
  • Palm Beach County isn’t liking the Winter White House. (link, link2)
  • Michael Flynn famously said he’d be in jail if he did a 10th of what Clinton did. Will we hear chants of “lock him up” anytime soon? (link)
  • Trump is looking to send ground troops into Syria. (link)
  • Turns out Trump’s campaign team talked with Russia. A lot. (link)
  • Trump officially abandoned a two state solution with Israel and Palestine. Unofficially the US had abandoned it in all but words years ago. (link)
  • Trump repealed an Obama executive order limiting how much pollution coal companies can put into rivers and streams. Is American great again yet? (link)

Week in Review 2/11/2017

Here’s a weekly news roundup of some of the more interesting and/or under-reported things that happened this last week.

State News:

  • Florida might have a government shut down because the Republican House, Republican Senate, and Republican Governor can’t get along.(link)
  • “Alligator Ron” Bergeron might run for Florida Governor in 2018. This rich guy is really excentric saying that he’d have to put a hitching post to the governors Manson for his horse. Can you imagine him vs John Morgan? (link)
  • State Sen. Randolph Bracy might primary Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018. I’m not sure how to feel about this. (link)
  • SB 80, a Florida bill that would gut access to public records passed an important committee this week. (link)
  • Big sugar is trying to hold up a massive bill to clean up lake Okeechobee. It’s polluted discharges lead to massive die offs last year. (link)
  • Marco Rubio might have received hundreds  of thousands of calls urging him to oppose Devos for Education Secretary but that’s nothing compared to the 100,000 + she game him. (link)
  • HB19, the bill that would let people sue abortion doctors for emotional distress, passed a house panel last week. (link)
  • Turns out a bunch of State lawmakers are also employed by lobbyist. Naked corruption. (link)

Immigration:

  • University and college campuses are hesitating on becoming Sanctuary Campuses. (link)
  • Miami-Dade turned over 11 people to ICE in the week since Mayor Carlos Gimenez withdrew the county as a sanctuary city. (link)
  • The chair of the Miami-Dade’s Dem Party got thrown out of a commission meeting for asking about the move away from being a sanctuary city. This is just a taste of what’s to come. (link)
  • And so the raids start. Trump promised to deport undocumented immigrants who commit crimes and that includes Guadalupe García de Rayos. She was found using a fake Social Security number in 2008 and has met with ICE regularly to update her case. The Obama administration prioritized violent offenses for deportation which encouraged people like Guadalupe to cooperate with ICE. During a scheduled meeting she was arrested and deported. Actions like this will push the undocumented community further into the shadows. And just to be clear, that’s the point. Beyond the racism and xenophobia the 1% want a fearful class of non-citizens whose labor they can more easily exploit. And Trumps agenda feeds into this. (link)

Trump Mess:

  • Trumps approval rating in Florida is 34%. It’s a 73% approval rating among Florida Republicans  and an 8% among Florida Dems . The majority (52% ) also don’t want to cut off funding to Sanctuary cities and 56% oppose building a wall. (link)
  • Fivethirtyeight has a good read on the next steps on Trumps travel ban. They will likely make an emergency application with the Supreme Court with a decision as soon as next week. Alternatively, filing a petition for ceriorari would allow time for Trumps  nominee Neil Gorsuch to be appointed. They could also do nothing and wait for the lower courts to rule on the issue. What will Trump do? I’m not even sure if he knows. (link)
  • A bill in the Congress has been filed that will make salting illegal. Essentially this bill would allow a boss to not hire someone if they have a desire to organize the shop into a union. (link)
  • Trumps approval rating in Florida is 34%. It’s a 73% approval rating among Florida Republicans  and an 8% among Florida Dems . The majority (52% ) also don’t want to cut off funding to Sanctuary cities and 56% oppose building a wall. (link)
  • Trump is set to issue a directive shielding companies from disclosing if their products contain conflict minerals. (link)
  • Devos was confirmed as Education Secretary 51-50 (Pence casting tie breaker) and Sessions as Attorney General 47-52 (one democratic breaking ranks). This isn’t normal. These appointments are usually not this contentious. It’s not that the Dems are being whiny, it’s that these are some of the most divisive people to ever be nominated to a cabinet.
  • A bill in the Congress has been filed that will make salting illegal. Essentially this bill would allow a boss to not hire someone if they have a desire to organize the shop into a union. (link)
  • Attorney General Sessions has his priorities. One of the first things he’s doing is undoing the Obama era protections from transgender students. (link)

Hate Watch:

  • Remember that guy who set that mosque in Orlando? He’s going to jail for 30 years. (link). On a similar note, a Fort Myers man is facing 11 years in prison and a $350,000 fine after making threats to two Muslin grocers. (link)
  • Anderson Hall at UF was marked up with pro-Trump and racist messages this week. This follows an a noose being found on a teachers desk, Nazis protests on Holocost remembernce day, and white nationalist flyers being posted around campus. UF President Fuchs released a statement, like he has for the other events but doesn’t seem willing to do much action.
  • Brevard fired an assistant public defender for wearing a Black Lives Matter tie (among other things). (link)

Week in Review 2/4/2017

Here’s a quick week in review of some of the more interesting things that happened in the last week.


  • In 2018 John Morgan might run for Governor, sponsor a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage, or both. (link)
  • Florida joined the lawsuit against Miami-Beach Mayor Levine’s living wage ordinance which would set the cities minimum wage at $10.31. This is part of Levine’s campaign for Governor in 2018. (link)
  • SB610 would make businesses who ban guns liable to lawsuits from legal gun owners if a mass shooting happens. (link)
  • SB614 is a better marijuana bill. It’d open up more dispensaries and be less onerous than Sen. Bradley’s SB 406. (link)
  • Republican Sen. Jack Latvala is considering running for governor. I’m not sure how he’d beat Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putam in a primary though. Latvala is one of those mythical moderate Republicans who has worked with union, immigrants, and environmentalist to stop reactionary Republican bills in the last. (link)
  • The number of people leaving their ballots blank or putting invalid names such as Bernie Sanders and Mickie Mouse on their ballot for the 2016 presidential election in Florida was double that from 2008. At 1.7% the 161,000 votes could have made a difference considering Trump won Florida by 113,000 votes. (link)
  • A study titled “The Riches of the Melting Pot: How Diversity in Metropolitan Areas Helps Grow the Wages of Low and High-Wage Workers,” from New American Economy has some very interesting information about immigration in Gainesville, FL. In 1990 6.1% of the population was foreign born but in 2011 it was 11%. According to the study almost all of the economic gains from the bottom 25% of earners are due to this increase in diversity. Increased diversity accounts for only 1/4 of the income gains for the top 25% earners. (link)
  • HB 409 would require county Supervisor of Elections officers to text voters on the first day of early voting and also on election day. This bill would increase voter participation so it’s unlikely the Republican controlled House, Senate, and Governor will support it. (link)
  • Jacksonville is the last major city in Florida that doesn’t offer protections to LGBTQ people under their Office of Equal Opportunity. The commissioners are now debating if they should do a referendum or vote on the ordinance themselves. A referendum is being sought so that reactionary lawmakers can hide behind the veil of democracy while abdicating their responsibility to protecting their LGBTQ residents. (link)
  • Gov. Scott and Florida Legislators are going to have a big fight over the budget. Scott believes there will be a $2.8 Billion surplus while legislative economist project only $7.5 million. Whose right? Probably the legislators but that won’t stop Scott from pushing more tax cuts for the rich. Hopefully the conflict will keep them too busy to further cut services for working people, their attacks on women’s reproductive health, etc. (link)
  • Here’s a good breakdown of what Gov. Scott’s budget proposal looks like. A lot of it won’t make it through the Florida House/Senate though. (link)
  • You’ll be hearing a lot of self congratulatory back slapping over the record k-12 spending from Florida Republicans this year but it’s not true. While we’re spending more than a billion more than our 2007 high water mark our per student spending is still down. Also, inflation. (link)
  • State Sen Bean and Rep Metz are looking to file legislation to punish so called sanctuary cities. (link)
  • Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court. If appointed he’d be be to the right of recently departed Scalia and one of the most conservatives to ever serve on the Court. One of the biggest concerns with him his his opposition to assisted suicide due to life being inherently precious. This might be used as an opening to start rolling back women’s reproductive rights. (link)
  • Trump ordered a raid that killed around 30 civilians including an 8 year old American girl and an American service man in Yemen. The 8 year old American was was Nawar al-Awlaki was the daughter of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki who put out youtube videos for al-Qaida. Obama killed Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone strike in 2011. I’d like to remind you that Trump promised to kill the families of terrorist while on the campaign trail.  (link)
  • Trump’s Muslim ban canceled some 100,000 visas. His administration said it affected less than 200 people. What a bunch of… alternative facts. (link)
  • Some good news. Due to the large push back US Rep Chaffetz withdrew his bill to sell off over 3 mill acres of public land. (link) In a similar move the Uber CEO drops out of a Trump business advisory  council. (link)
  • Trump is seeking to “destroy” the law limiting political activity of Churches. (link) The House has already introduced a bill on it. (link)
  • Trump is seeking to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act. In a nut shell, Trump doesn’t want brokers to have to act in their client’s best interest. On the second week in office Trump is giving a massive boost to wall street crooks. (link)
  • The US Senate passed a rule making it easier to energy companies to pay off and be paid off by foreign counties. I’m sure former Exxon CEO and Secretary Tex Tillerson is salivating. (link)
  • Lifeline, a program that helps gives poor people access to the internet is under attack by the Trump administration. Nine companies were given the go-ahead to join the program but Trumps new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai put a stop to that. (link)

Week in review 1/28/17

Here’s a week in review for the week ending on 1/28. These snippets of news pieces are geared towards Florida politics and underreported stories. I’m purposefully not writing as much about what Trump is doing, not because it’s not important but because we’re being bombarded with news of his actions daily. If you’re interested in tracking him, Politico has a running list updated multiple times a day.


    • I have an ongoing list of bills of interest in the Florida Senate here. I’ll be updating it periodically as new bills are filed. A big one sticking out to me is SB534 which would preempt local hiring preferences and nullify sections Gainesville Living Wage and Alachua County Minimum Wage Ordinances. It’d also hamstring dozens of progressive ordinances throughout the state.
    • ACLU Florida is holding rallies in Miami, Orlando, and other airports on Sunday in protest of Trumps Muslim ban. (link)
    • Lots of people participated in Florida for the Million Woman’s march. Over 10,000 in Miami, 14,000 in Tallahassee, 20,000 in St. Pete. Gainesville had 1,500 and even smaller communities like Ocala, Paltaka, and Live Oak had actions. (link)
    • South Florida Counties that protected immigrants are folding to Trumps attacks on Sanctuary Cities. Miami-Dade is changing their policies while Broward and Palm Beech Countys are saying they never were and have no desire to become sanctuary cities.  (link)
    • Fivethirtyeight has an interesting article out on the reasons for increased hate crimes. They ran the numbers and say income inequality has a strong correlation. (link)
    • The University of Florida is under Title IX investigation for the mishandling of a sexual violence report. (link)
    • Florida Democrats walked out on Mark Krikorian,, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, which is a Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a hate group. He was there, of course, to spread lies about refugees and immigrants. (link)
    • SB120, the anti-immigrant bill that would 1 criminal charges against undocumented immigrants passed a major chock point on Tuesday. The bill passed 5-4 along party lines after the Judiciary committee amended the bill to only apply to charges violent offenses committed by undocumented people. The bill is much more likely to become law now.
    • Sen. Rubio won’t take the lead on a Dreamer bill. Trump has made it clear he’s going to let Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order expire. A bipartisan bill is being pushed by Sen Graham that would supersede anything Trump could do to the Dreamers but it’s a shame that Sen. Rubio isn’t making it a priority for him. (link)
    • Poor elderly people in Florida are in danger of having their services cut. The Florida Council on Aging is asking for $10 more remove 1,287 at risk elderly Floridians from waiting lists. The Government’s response was to ask them to trim close to $13 million from their budget. (link)
    • Relief might be on the way for poor people caught in the criminal justice system. Currently people who can’t afford the court fees get fined more and often have their licences revoked.  And without a licence many people can’t work and so fall further behind. SB302 would change that by limiting the conditions on which a license can be revoked and limited payment to 2% of net income per year. There’s issues with the bill but it’s a big step in the right direction. (link)
    • The Stand Your Ground on steroids bill (BS128) passed the Judiciary Committee. This was the major choke point for the bill so it’s likely to become law. The bill shifts the burden of from in stand your ground cases from defendant to prosecutors making it more difficult to even have a trial. (link)
    • The Florida Democratic Party seems to be changing gears under Bittel. In years past the strategy has been to turnout in SE Florida, the I-4 corridor, and ignore the rest of the start. Bittel’s FDP is offering $100,000 grants to small and medium counties to do voter registration and become better organized. (link)
    • Florida union membership dropped from 6.8% in 2015 to 5.6% in 2015. This 1.2% drop was a lot higher than the national 0.4% drop in membership. It still pays to be a in a union though as non union workers make on average 80% the wages of union workers. (link)

Week in review 1/21/17

Trump was sworn in yesterday. There’s a lot of news on that and the protests, but I’m not going to write about it. Below is some news from the past week that’s important but a lot less widely shared.

Week in review (1/21/17):

  • Bittel is the chair of the Florida Democratic Party. The so called establishment was supporting him due to his ability to raise lots of money. There’s a lot of nuance here but the short and long of it is that nothing much will change. The people who supported the current chair, Allison Tant, are the same people who supported Bittel. Hopefully he’s more responsive to the progressive voices in the FDP even though the didn’t support him. (link)
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is failing according to a report  released by the US government. DCF was privatized in 2005 and we were told it would save money and provide better service. Children are literally dying because of this this rabid privatization ideology. (link)
  • The Florida Supreme Court refused to take up the teachers unions lawsuit about the school voucher program. This program siphons off tax payer money (up to $560 million a year) and gives it to parents to send their kids to private, mostly religious schools. This isn’t a ruling and the constitutionality of the program is still not resolved. What the Supreme Court did was keep in place the lower court ruling that the union didn’t have standing. The NAACP, parents, teachers… a lot of people were co-plaintiffs on this lawsuit. If non of them have standing then who does? (link)
  • Turnout in Florida went up ~4% in November 2016. In 2012 turnout was 73.1% and in 2016 it was 77.1%. Hispanic turnout went from 63.1% in 2012 to 68.9% in 2016. Black turnout dropped from 72.3% in 2012 to 69% in 2016. The overall result was a less white electorate. In 2012 the vote share for whites was 68.4% in 2012 and 66.8% in 2016. (link)
  • Former President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning on Tuesday. (link)
  • Here’s two good reads on Betsy DeVos, Trumps pick for Secretary of Education. She’s on the board of Focus on the Family, pro private school voucher, pro guns on campus, pro-charter school, and she has a host of finical conflicts. People are also worried she’ll roll back protections to trans students. (link1) (link2)
  • The Sabal Trail pipeline is growing as a flash point in the environmental movement. The natural gas pipeline stretches over 500 miles through Alabama and down Florida and crosses the Suwannee River near Live Oak. Last Saturday a couple hundred protesters staged a massive protest and 8 people were arrested on Monday. Acts of civil disobedience are going to continue over the next few weeks. (link1) (link2)
  • Florida is a human trafficking hub. The state had 1,892 reported cases last year. (link)
  • 43% of the 165,000 out of school suspensions in ’14-’15 were black students even though they only make up 23% of enrolled students. A lot of people/organizations say they’re doing something to address this but it’s usually just hot air. (link)
  • Florida is the 12th worse state to establish a family, according to WalletHub. The reasons? We’re 45th in child care costs, 43rd in housing affordability, 40th in median family salary, and 34th in percent of families below the poverty level.  (link)
  • Florida is attempting to beef up it’s already problematic Stand Your Ground law. This controversial law was under fire during the shooting of unarmed teenage Trayvon Martin. The law kicks in under pretrial evidentiary hearings and shields the shooter from prosecution. Under the bill filed by Sen Bradley the burden of proof will shift from the defendant to the prosecutor making it all the harder to even have a trial. Here’s a comprehensive list of the gun related bills in the Florida House/Senate. (link)
  • Florida will likely be trying to repeal the “certificate of need” requirement for new hospitals. Essentially this regulation forces hospitals to show a need before being built. The repeal is part of a free market, supply side approach to heath care. Also being considered is direct primary care in which a person or employer contracts with a physician (or group of physicians) for healthcare. (link)
  • Florida Gov. Scott went all out for Trump’s inauguration by hosting a ball and attending events. He’s using his “Let’s Get to Work” political committee money to fund it all. This is all about his 2018 US senate bid. (link)
  • The repeal of the wet-foot dry-foot policy has Cubans feeling like immigrants. (link)
  • Republicans in DC are going to attempt to roll back, if not fully repeal, the endangered species act. (link)

Week in review 1/14/17

Week in review (1/14/17):

  • SB120 – The anti-immigrant bill  is on the move in the Senate. The bill would  1 up any offense an undocumented persons. Would make 1st degree misdemeanors a 3rd degree felony, 3rd felony a 2nd felony, etc. It was just agendaed on the Judiciary committee for 1/24 at 2:00 PM. Senator Greg Steube chairs the committee and is the co sponsor of this bill. If you could make one phone call through call Senator Anitere Flores at (850) 487-5039 and tell her to vote no. If the 4 dems and Sen. Flores vote no the bill dies in committee.
  • Florida Kid Count released it’s study on child poverty in Florida. (link) Some interesting bits about my Alachua County:
    -28% of households have high housing cost burden.
    -48% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
    -Black students account for 71% of all disciplinary actions.
  • Trump going to try to build a 700 mile fence on the US-Mexico boarder. Mexico isn’t paying for it. (link)
  • There’s a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand the lobbying ban for legislators from 2 years to 6 years. If passed it would still need to go to the voters in 2018. (link)
  • Obama just ended the wet foot, dry foot policy that allowed Cubans to stay in the USA without a visa and gave them an easy path towards citizenship. It also encouraged risky behavior that resulted in thousands of deaths. (link)
  • The accreditation process for for-profit schools is changing. This will likely result in lose of accreditation for many scam schools who take advantage of veterans, foreigners, and poor people. (link)
  • Governor Scott outlined his higher education plan for the 2017 legislative session. Among other things he’ll be looking to cap student fees, eliminate sales taxes on textbook purchases, and extend Bright Futures scholarships to summer classes. (link) The Senate released their plan too. While it echos the Governors it does differ in a few places. It would give more to Bright Futures, expand a scholarship program to first generation students, and push block tuition. Block tuition is charging students for 15 credit hours a semester no matter how many classes they take. It was tried at the University of Florida years ago but was abandoned due to the student outcry. (link) 
  • The Florida legislator might nix five 9th grade state mandated exams. (link)
  • Sleepy Creek, the massive cattle operation in Northern Marion County  (aka Adena Springs Ranch) was set to have a massive water request approved on Tuesday but environmentalist have sued to slow it down. (link)
  • The race for the chair of the Florida Democratic Party will be decided Saturday. Recently 4 of 5 candidates united against the front-runner Bittle. In a strange show of solidarity they took turns berating Bittle but to what end? Does the FDP use ranked voting or something? (link)
  • Because there was a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport two lawmakers want guns allowed in terminals. (link)
  • Children of same sex couples will have both their parents listed on the birth certificate now thanks to a lawsuit brought on by Equality Florida Institute. (link)
  • Florida Department of Corrections overpaid CoreCivic (formally Corrections Corporations of America) over $16 million over the past 7 years for it’s youth prison in Lake City. This is just one contact of many and it wasn’t a mistake. Florida tax payers were overcharged and billed for ghost services in an act of deliberate fraud. While poor and working peoples needed services are being cut large corporations are making off like bandits. Literally. (link)
  • Trump has tapped Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head up a commission on vaccines and autism. This is bad. Thousands of people have died because of the anti-vaccine movement and it’s only going to get worse. If you don’t know, then read up on herd immunity to understand why this is so dangerous. (link)
  • Pew has a very illuminating survey out on policing and race. Of the finding: 92% of white officers think the country has done enough for blacks compared to 57% of all white people. It’s 29% for black offices and 12% for all black people. Also, 69% of black officers view the protest movements as a desire to hold the police accountable vs 27% of white officers.  (link)
  • The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) is growing fast. In 2016 it picked up 3 new chapters and now represents faculty at all 12 state universities, 11 of 28 state colleges, graduate workers at 4 state universities, and faculty at the private St. Leo University. This is happening in part because of the backwards policies being pursued by the state government but also because of the leadership of UFF president Jennifer Proffit. (link)
  • The Florida Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding a 2011 law that prohibits local governments from enacting gun control ordinances. This is a classic home rule vs state law case that has pretty broad consequences. (link)
  • The US Supreme Court is hearing Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman over corporations freedom of speech. The case seems pretty simple; should businesses be allowed to add surcharges to credit card transactions. But if the Supreme court rules in favor of corporations it could open up the flood gates against things like warning labels, nutrient facts, etc.  (link)
  • Choice is under attack again in Florida. This time the bill would lower the amount of time a woman has to seek an abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. The bill HB 203 doesn’t have a companion in the Senate yet. (link)
  • An ROTC instructor in East Lee County High School is likely not be fired over anti-Trans comments made to a student. The reason the administrative law judge gave is pretty ludicrous. The judge believes his anti-Trans comments came from a place of compassion not hate. Oy vey. (link)