"[A] new report by a state office says that although all of the state's universities have formal procedures set up for grievances, students statewide filed just seven academic freedom complaints in the last three years." "Bills raise debate on academic freedom".
See also, Ray's FLA Politics diary on this: "Baxley Proven Wrong On Supposed Liberal Bias In Universities"; therein, there is a link to this piece in the Independent Florida Alligator: "Study addresses 'leftist totalitarianism' in schools".
McInvale Rewarded For Party Switch
"Dining alfresco with your dog came a step closer to becoming reality in Florida on Thursday after Rep. Sheri McInvale's bill cleared its final House committee with bipartisan support." "Dog dining bill clears House committee".
"Major triumph for Gov. Jeb Bush and the business lobby"
"In a major triumph for Gov. Jeb Bush and the business lobby, the Florida Legislature on Thursday repealed a 33-year-old law that allows a court to shift the damages in a liability lawsuit from a guilty party who can't pay to a deep-pocketed defendant who can." "Big business gets liability wish". See also "Repeal of lawsuit doctrine passes".
"What's it going to be, Florida? Big money for schools? Big tax cuts? Or both? Those are questions the state House and Senate are starting to fight over as the Legislature enters its final five weeks. The first salvo came Thursday, when House and Senate budget committees approved dueling spending plans." "Schools, taxes divide House, Senate budgets". See also "House, Senate panels approve state budget".
Earlier 2008 presidential primary?
"Holding the 2008 presidential primary earlier would give Florida clout now enjoyed by smaller and less diverse states, says a legislative leader." "Next speaker wants a primary role for state". See also "Earlier primary touted as aid to Florida" and "Earlier Primary Being Floated".
"Florida’s hot jobs market slowed in February, leaving 3.2 percent of the state’s work force hunting a paycheck." "Florida's unemployment rate rises to 3.2 percent in February".
"Growth junkies ruining state; voters should decide land use".
"Senate Democrats are threatening legal action against the Florida Department of Education if it does not release information about the temporary workers hired to grade the state's high stakes assessment test taken each year by public school students." "Senators seek details on FCAT graders". See also "Senate Dems want FCAT graders' identities".
"FDLE to be replaced in boot camp inquiry". See also "FDLE replaced in camp investigation" and "Camp faces independent review".
The fallout: "FDLE Commissioner Tunnell's Conduct Calls For His Resignation".
"Legislature 2006: Developments from day 24, March 30". See also "Tallahassee ticker".
"Poll: Bill Nelson Beats Anyone, But Jeb".
Public Money - Politician Speech
A recurring issue:
County officials can spend taxpayers' money and staff time campaigning for or against political causes such as creating a county mayor or allowing Ruskin to become a city, according to the county attorney."Memo Says Officials Can Be Advocates".
A four-page memo released Thursday by County Attorney Renee Lee says a 1991 Florida Supreme Court case has "clearly established" that counties can use public money and staff "to educate and advocate a position" on such issues.
What Did Pruitt Do For The Money?
"A Hutchinson Island real estate broker has asked the state Division of Real Estate to audit the firm that paid Sen. Ken Pruitt $56,966 in 2003. The firm, CarMac Realty, is based in the West Palm Beach suite of political consultant Randy Nielsen and is owned by Nielsen partner Richard Johnston. Neither Johnston nor Pruitt would disclose what Pruitt did to earn the money." "Audit of payment to Pruitt sought".
"A strategist's nightmare."
"If the goal is to convince voters this fall to give up on school class size limits they set in 2002, Florida lawmakers might want to begin thinking in terms they understand best. How would they conduct the political campaign? The offer on the table, to trade class size for a mandate that 65 cents of every education dollar be spent in the classroom, is more than a hard sell. It's a strategist's nightmare." "Class size considerations".
"Citizens seeks new rate hike".
"Two Colorado whistle-blowers filed a lawsuit against Convergys Inc. on Wednesday, claiming the company violated Florida's public records laws by refusing to hand over documents related to the outsourcing of state employee records." "Convergys sued by whistle-blowers".
Save Our Homes
"State lawmakers today are scheduled to consider an added break for homeowners: Let them carry the tax value of one home to another home, even if the new one is more expensive." "Tax Value Would Move With You".
"The Save Our Homes tax cap was a bad idea that resulted in gross inequities in Floridians' tax bills. But instead of fixing it, pandering lawmakers want to make it portable, bringing less tax revenue in to Tallahassee." "Save our state".
"Florida bill forbids marriage under age 16".
"For the first time in more than 10 years, Florida legislators are poised to increase travel-expense allowances for state employees." "State employees likely will have more travel expenses covered".
"Terri Schiavo's husband and parents disagree as much a year after her burial as they did while she lingered for years in a nursing home bed. New books out this week elaborate on their conflict." "Schiavo divide carries on in dueling books".
"A handful of legislators want to reverse a law passed three years ago that allows telephone companies to increase bills by up to 20 percent without a public review.""Florida legislators want repeal of 2003 phone rate hike law".
"Jeb!"'s FCAT Poison Pill
And speaking of FCAT formulas, state grades based on the FCAT also have had their share of arbitrary changes. For example, in calculating school grades for 2004, the state lowered the amount of progress the worst readers needed to make to get a good grade. As a result, 191 schools that would have received B's received A's instead."No Political Grade Left Behind".
Why would the state want more A schools in 2004? Election year. Governor's brother on the ticket. Enough said.
Those are just a few of the examples. Florida tweaks the FCAT grading system nearly every year. And this is the second time Florida has sought changes so that more schools can pass under No Child. ...
Won't it be bad for Gov. Bush if FCAT-based school grades suddenly fall? Oh, wait. The new, lower school grades won't be issued until the summer of 2007. By that time, Gov. Bush will have been out of office for about six months.
See, Gov. Bush leaves office and, suddenly, school grades go down. That won't look too good for the next governor, will it?