The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "It’s not Wisconsin or Indiana by any stretch, but Florida still has tensions running high between public employee unions and Republican state legislators. A controversial measure to eliminate requirements that public employers collect union dues only squeaked through the Senate Community Affairs Committee this week, a hopeful sign that the stampede to run over the very people who make government run may be losing steam." "Union battle is joined".
"Bad legislation and should not be passed"
"A bill allowing people with concealed weapons permits to openly carry guns concerns three local sheriffs. '... At the end of the day, this is bad legislation and should not be passed,' Polk Sheriff Grady Judd says." "Gun bill worries sheriffs".
"A House committee votes in favor of cutting oversight of more than two dozen professions, a move Gov. Rick Scott says will create jobs." "House committee votes to cut oversight of about 30 professions".
Decennial Census data
Update: "Florida gains clout, picks up 2 House seats on 17.6% growth in past decade". See also "Florida grows by 2.8 million people in past ten years, new census figures show", "2010 Census population change in Palm Beach County", "2010 Census population change in Broward County", "Guillermo I. Martinez: Census shows a rise in Hispanics, but not in Hispanic voters", "Florida's Changing Population: Census 2010" and "Census says: Orange grew faster than all major Florida counties".
"The release Thursday of the decennial Census will show how the state has grown in the past decade, as well as provide some insight as to where Florida's two new congressional seats likely will be drawn." "Census to release Florida data".
Six-figure state pensions
"In name of transparency, Gov. Rick Scott releases list of six-figure state pensions".
Pension dead enders
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Lawmakers need to take a long look in the mirror. There needs to be a level benefits playing field for lawmakers, judges and rank-and-file public workers. And right now, the benefits being paid to the highest earners, like judges and elected officials, are totally inappropriate." "Pension benefits need fairness".
"All indications are the Republican-led Legislature will turn over to HMO-style plans most of the 2.9 million people in Florida’s health program for the poor, disabled and elderly." "Two sides disagree if Medicaid ‘reform’ helps or hurts". See also "House committee advances Medicaid overhaul".
Merit pay, without the "pay"
Update: "The FEA is taking a careful look at the legislation, particularly the collective bargaining provisions, and is anticipating a lawsuit." "Teacher merit pay bill sent to Scott, but union likely to sue".
"At a news conference celebrating the bill’s passage, neither Scott nor Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, could answer the question of how much teachers should be paid." "Florida House approves teacher tenure law". See also "Gov. Scott praises teacher merit pay as House makes it first bill to hit his desk" and "Lawmakers change how teachers get paid, stay employed".
"How do you square those things?"
"On Wednesday and Thursday, education leaders, including U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the nation's largest teacher unions, and officials from the highest scoring countries, are meeting in New York to identify the best teaching practices."
The meeting comes after the recently released results of the Programme for International Student Assessment exam of 15-year-olds alarmed U.S. educators. Out of 34 countries, it ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math."Teaching seen as crucial in topping ed rankings".
"On the one hand, the United States has a very expensive education system in international standards," said Andreas Schleicher, who directs the exam. "On the other hand, it's one of the systems where teachers get the lowest salaries.
"Then you ask yourself, how do you square those things?"
"Mayor Carlos Alvarez named a long-time aide and confidante, Alina Tejada Hudak, to fill the county manager’s post as George Burgess steps down." "New manager takes reins at County Hall after recall".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board:
Voters have every right to expect a candidate they support at the ballot box to stick around and serve a full term. But Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats, in an apparent attempt to manipulate the electoral system, suggested that if he is re-elected in 2012 he might cut his term short to pave the way for his preferred successor. Coats has since backed off his plan, and rightly so. "Sheriff's unworthy political scheming".
Update: Embarrassing - "A judiciary subcommittee today approved House Speaker Dan Cannon's plan to split the Florida Supreme Court in half in an effort to speed up death penalty appeals." "House subcommittee approves Supreme Court reorganization".
"Cannon, a Winter Park lawyer, wants to split the seven-member Supreme Court into two courts of five members each — one to handle civil cases and the other to handle criminal cases." "Today in Tallahassee: Bid to revamp Supreme Court gets hearing".
RPOFers force "unfunded mandate to local governments"
"The Florida House has twice more passed an existing law loosening urban sprawl controls to thwart a court challenge."
The two roll calls were taken Wednesday on a bill (HB 7001) that would re-enact growth management provisions of the 2009 law. The bill now goes to the Senate."Fla. House passes growth management bill-again".
A judge ruled that the law was an unconstitutional unfunded mandate to local governments. The Legislature can bypass the constitutional provision with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.
This is the left wing media?
The Miami Herald editors - country clubbers that they are* - whine that the Mayor "gave away the store to unions".
- - - - - - - - - -
*See also "Why Newspapers Endorse Candidates". More here.
"Florida wants to be state No. 5 for presidential primary".
"Righteous anger ain’t cheap"
Fred Grimm: "Once the recall results are certified, a special election to replace the banished Carlos Alvarez and Natacha Seijas will cost yet another $5 million or so. Righteous anger, manifested as unbudgeted special elections, ain’t cheap." "At this cost, voters could have waited till next ...".
"Republican Party Vetting Scott Website".
The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy
In the wake of the Florida Senate’s approval of a state revenue limitation proposal, FCFEP Chair Nelson Easterling says the services the state needs should be the starting point in determining the adequacy of a tax system."Tax System Should Be Evaluated Based on Services the State Needs".
The real issue in tax adequacy is the role of government and what services the state needs to provide to meet its responsibilities, he says.
RPOFer leader corruption trial
"Jury selection to start in Sansom corruption trial".
Keepin' that FRS pension running
"State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, is interested in running for sheriff of Pasco County in 2012. The 52-year-old lawmaker will be termed out of the Legislature next year and the sheriff's post will be up for grabs because of Sheriff Bob White's resignation." "Sen. Mike Fasano would consider 2012 run for Pasco sheriff".
Nuke crisis here?
Mike Thomas: "Could a nuclear crisis happen here?".
Snake handlers nowhere to be seen
"Florida religious leaders are holding a prayer service to denounce bills recently introduced in the Legislature they fear will hurt immigrants, particularly those in the country illegally." "Florida religious leaders rally for immigrants".
Nice move, Ricky
"Florida's high-speed rail loss is Qatar's gain".
"High-speed rail was a no brainer"
"Proposed state cuts to education and transit spending — aimed at attracting industries by lowering taxes — will hurt Orlando job growth more than help it, panelists at an economic development event said Thursday."
The only applause during the two-hour event came when former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, who has been traveling the country with the Urban Land Institute, said it "made no sense" for Gov. Rick Scott to refuse $2.4 billion in federal funds for a high-speed connector from Orlando to Tampa."Developers: Scott cuts would hamper job growth".
"Your high-speed rail was a no brainer … it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Murphy, who helped engineer Pittsburgh's transformation from a rust-belt city to a biotech region. "It could have branded you as much as Disney has branded you. You could have said: 'Look at us — we're a 21st Century City'."
How many Republican Education Governors can Florida stand?
"Nationwide, 47 percent of black males graduated high school compared with 78 percent of white males. In Florida just 37 percent of black males graduated compared with 57 percent of white males." "Florida ranks at bottom for graduation rate of black men".
From the "values" crowd
"Lawmakers consider higher tuition rates".
More still from the "values" crowd
"A Senate draft spending plan for higher education would suspend new enrollment in the Florida Prepaid College program." "Senate plan would suspend Florida Prepaid College program". See also "Senate moves to suspend prepaid college-tuition plan".