"House Speaker Ray Sansom has been under intense criticism for weeks, after revelations that he got an unadvertised $110,000 job at a local college and that he secured millions more than expected for the school. But the criticism hasn't come from his colleagues in the Florida House."
Sansom's fellow Republicans have said nothing. ..."House members stay quiet as public blasts speaker ".
This prolonged silence by Sansom's colleagues can be viewed in one of two ways.
As speaker, Sansom holds life-or-death power over members' lives, from parking spaces to committee assignments, so they fear retribution if they criticize him.
By staying silent, however, Republicans in closely contested districts run the risk of handing a juicy political issue to Democrats in 2010.
On the other hand, the legislative silence is troubling for Sansom, too, since nobody will publicly defend him in a time of crisis.
Either way, the silence over Sansom says a lot.
"State Rep. Alan Hays wants Florida to end the practice of giving public money to statewide candidates to help finance their campaigns." "Lawmaker: End tax money for candidates".
"Ranking at the bottom"
Roy Miller: "After receiving a high-quality education from a public school and public university in this state, I spent the next 35 years in service and advocacy to Florida's children. There has never been a time when I was more afraid for the children in Florida than I am now."
These days, our state is found increasingly on the watch list of respected national watchdog groups that rank children's well-being. The reason is that Florida is falling behind in providing educational, preventive, intervention and public safety programs and services. ..."Invest in success or pay for failure".
About 800,000 Florida children are without health insurance, the product of not providing state funds to draw down available federal dollars and creating artificial barriers to participation. ...
Ranking at the bottom in child health but near the top in school dropouts and the number of youth in adult prisons is shameful.
"Save Our Homes"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board writes today that "Save Our Homes isn't a flawed tax amendment looking for a fix. It's a fundamentally inequitable amendment that should be repealed. It guarantees that assessments on homesteaded properties won't increase by more than 3 percent a year. Property taxes on commercial, industrial and nonhomesteaded properties aren't capped, so they carry a disproportionate burden of overall taxes." "Portability's pitfall".
Join the club
"Mack gives Congress a failing grade in 2008".
Howdy Doody in action
"Republican Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow was quick to defend his resolution, passed in April, 'expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that there should be established a National Watermelon Month.'" "Lawmaker's Special Measures Range From The Humorous To The Odd".
"Draining trust funds"
"Florida legislative leaders and Gov. Charlie Crist have agreed on a basic road map for closing a $2.3 billion budget hole next month by draining trust funds, delaying construction projects and going deeper into debt." "More budget cuts near as Florida battles debt".
"Researchers leaving state"
"The 11 Florida universities are expecting a $97 million cut to their budgets for the current year. But in addition to the surface-level slashing, university leaders fear the residual effect of pushing out top school researchers who will take their federal grants with them. More than $1.4 billion in grant money was brought into the state by public university researchers last year. About 84 percent of it was federal or private money that likely follows the researcher if he or she leaves the state. That's money that also pumps up local economies by helping to hire graduate students and staff - people who pay taxes, eat at restaurants and otherwise fuel local businesses." "Researchers leaving state and taking their grants".
Florida for sale
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Last week the state delayed until May 8 the deadline for bids on leasing Alligator Alley, which runs between Fort Lauderdale and Naples. State officials aren't having second thoughts about the policy - though they should. Rather, the four-month delay is at the request of five remaining bidders - all of them foreign companies - who are unsure they can get financing for a private takeover." "Stop sign on Alligator Alley".
"The nominating commission did his bidding"
The Zell Corporation springs to Charlie's defense - The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Crist is taking a well-deserved pummeling, but he doesn't bear the sole blame for the current fiasco over selecting Florida's next Supreme Court justice."
But that's what the governor did, arousing suspicions that while his public motives were noble [sic], what he really wanted was for the nominating commission to add a politically connected lawyer who used to work for former Gov. Jeb Bush and now is the U.S. Navy's general counsel."The Supreme Court justice nomination mess isn't the governor's alone".
The nominating commission did his bidding, waiving its own rules and adding Frank Jimenez to the list. That prompted a letter of protest from a group of lawyers and former judges, and threats of a lawsuit.
That notwithstanding, Mr. Crist shouldn't shoulder the burden for this mess alone.
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Life is good if you're a criminal in Florida. The state coddles them like parents who are constantly threatening to punish their kids -- and then don't follow through." "As murders rise, Florida needs to stop bluffing and come down hard on criminals".
Taxing online purchases
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Strictly speaking, outdated interstate commerce laws prohibit states from enforcing their sales tax across state lines. Sales tax is collected on goods purchased in Florida from bricks-and-mortar retailers or their online counterparts. But the tax is not automatically collected on goods purchased from online retailers with no physical presence. How much states are losing in sales tax due to Internet sales isn't known, but economists believe it's growing along with Internet sales. A 2004 University of Tennessee study estimated that uncollected sales taxes from online retail would cost Florida between $824.2-million and $1.2-billion annually by 2008." "For a fairer state sales tax".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "A sobering report released earlier this month by a blue-ribbon panel of emergency physicians concludes the country's emergency care system is in serious condition and under more stress than ever before."
That won't come as a surprise to patients in Florida, who inevitably face hours-long waits to see an ER doctor or to the physicians, nurses and medical technicians who work tirelessly treating what seems a never-ending stream of sick people. ..."Emergency Room Crisis Demands Quick Treatment".
Of particular concern is the poor national score for access to emergency care, a D-minus overall and for Florida, an F. ...
The state also has a significant number of uninsured and underinsured residents who have come to look at emergency departments as though the ER is a typical office setting instead of an emergency facility.
"Is that so complicated?"
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "The residency laws for elected officials are a little fuzzy, but the concept should be crystal clear. If you are elected to represent the people of a certain district, you live in that district. Is that so complicated?" "Officials really exploiting vague residency rules".
"The state recently told Florida cities they would get $1.4 billion less in revenue-sharing and sales-tax money, or 6 percent below the August forecast." "State: Less money for cities".
"Beginning Jan. 9, visitors to Everglades National Park and most other U.S. wildlife refuges will be permitted to pack a concealed weapon along with their mosquito repellent and sunscreen as they head into the great outdoors." "Relaxed gun rules alarm wildlife officials".
"State proposes tough new rules for mortgage brokers".
Wingnuts on fire
"Obama, Clinton top nation's most-admired lists".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The state folks promised to return after next month's legislative special session to work out a plan. The state's newfound willingness to put up some money to keep a rural bus line rolling is an indicator, however slight, that the promise might come true." "Fare deal for the Glades".
"Florida seeks to cut ESOL teachers' training requirement".
More cuts ...
"State budget cuts are forcing some of the nation's youngest criminals out of counseling programs and group homes and into juvenile prisons in what critics contend is a shortsighted move that will eventually lead to more crime and higher costs." "Cash-strapped states cut juvenile justice programs".