"Florida's public-university system is working on a proposal to cap spending on the popular but increasingly expensive Bright Futures scholarship program, a move that could lead to higher costs for some students and their families."
Key provisions of the proposal include redistributing money to help students from poor families -- which could help schools with large minority populations -- and those pursuing math and science degrees."Florida's University System may cap Bright Futures".
University officials hope that by capping the annual cost of Bright Futures, legislators will be more willing to raise tuition in a state that has the lowest rate in the nation: about $3,400 compared with the national average of $6,200.
Those librul judges
"An influential state senator says the state's economic woes are bad enough that lawmakers may ignore the Supreme Court's request for new judgeships and might even cut back on judges in the state. 'If we do have to make the tough decisions, we are prepared to do what is necessary to balance this budget, even if it means decertifying judicial positions,' Senate Criminal Justice Appropriations Chairman Victor Crist said this week." "Judgeships may fall to budget problems, key senator warns".
"In a special election Tuesday, voters in North Miami-Dade will choose between two local politicos, elevating the winner to the state House for the District 103 seat." "Two vie Tuesday to fill North Dade state House seat".
Pumping up private colleges
The Palm Beach Post editors: "That second round of cuts from Florida's public universities, for a total of $157 million this academic year? It only hints at the slashing looming next year. So, why is the Legislature still diverting $102.6 million in public money to students at Florida's private colleges?" "Cut off private colleges".
Surely he's joking
Steve Bousquet bemoans "the steady depletion of a capital press corps that has long been regarded as one of the strongest in the country." "We're losing a leash on legislators". Surely he's joking? By whose measure is the press corps that for the most part patted Jebbie on the back for eight years "one of the strongest in the country"?
Another fine Bushco Jebacy
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Last year, South Florida finally got some hope that after nearly a decade Washington would begin paying the federal government's share of Everglades restoration. Put that hope on hold for another year. President Bush, who when his brother was running for reelection as governor pledged to preserve the Everglades, has been breaking that promise ever since Jeb Bush began his second term in Tallahassee. So it was disappointing but hardly surprising to hear that the president's 2009 budget includes far less than what is needed for the first key project in Everglades restoration." "Slap at South Florida".
Florida's booming economy
"Housing downturn may spill over to Orlando area's service sector".".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "You know the economic outlook is scary when members of Congress are spooked enough to put aside their partisan ways and quickly pass a stimulus package. But steps on the federal level shouldn't preclude action on the state level -- especially here." "Our position: Legislators should zero in on ways to stimulate state economy".
"Health care facilities mess up, Florida covers up"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Unjustified secrecy".
"Guns were on the table but the mood was thoughtful at the Bullseye Gun Shop a block off the town square here Friday. This genteel Hernando County seat of 8,500 residents has been abuzz in recent days over comments made by hometown U.S. Rep.Ginny Brown-Waite. The Republican set off a brouhaha Jan. 29 when she inaccurately called residents of Puerto Rico and Guam "foreign citizens" in a news release." "Brown-Waite's comment doesn't bother some in Brooksville".
Pay up or get the hell out
"State regulations allow assisted living facilities — whose residents may be very sick or frail, or have no family to look after them — to discharge their residents with a simple 45-day notice, without giving a reason. Residents have no right to appeal." "Assisted living facilities evict easily; legislator seeks reasons".
"Three associates of anti-Castro Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles were each sentenced to less than a year in prison Friday for refusing to testify against Posada."
Santiago Alvarez, Osvaldo Mitat, and Ernesto Abreu pleaded guilty last year to obstruction of justice for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating allegations that Posada lied to federal investigators in a bid to become a U.S. citizen."Three Posada associates sent to prison for refusing to testify".
Posada's case was thrown out last year by a U.S. district judge, but the government is appealing.
What about the "Republican Party Reptiles"?
"Central Florida counties seek stricter snake ownership laws".
A new approach
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "A state juvenile-justice strategy that for years has viewed young offenders as just not old enough to be placed in adult prisons was a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Label and treat them as criminals and thugs, and that's likely what they'll be. ..."Hope vs. fear".
But the strategy of the past — a product of high-profile juvenile crimes of the early 1990s — was a statement of defeat: Young offenders can't be rehabilitated, so why make a serious effort at trying? Lock 'em up and at least keep citizens safe.
It was a strategy born of fear that predictably spawned a mentality of failure.
With the release this week of a "Blueprint Commission" report on the state's juvenile-justice system, Florida is finally positioned to steer a new course, one based on hope.
It's not the product of starry-eyed idealism, but pragmatism that accepts the fundamental need to preserve and enhance public safety while also giving kids who've taken the wrong path a decent chance to redeem themselves and become productive citizens.
"Gov. Charlie Crist again looked outside his own party Friday, selecting a Democratic state lawmaker to lead the state's Department of Juvenile Justice." "For third time, Crist chooses a Democrat for key appointment". See also "Democrat Peterman tapped to lead DJJ".
"Democrat Christine Jennings' contest of the 2006 13th Congressional District election should be dismissed, a congressional task force recommended Friday after congressional investigators reported that Sarasota County's touch-screen voting machines did not cause 18,000 undervotes in the election." "Panel affirms District 13 election results".