Here’s the last weekly review for 2016. It’s been a helluva year. In the next week or so I’ll go through the Florida bills and give some analysis as well as the 115th congress agenda.
Week in review (12/31/16):
The Status of Women in Florida study just came out and it’s depressing. (link) Some highlights:
- 26.5% of women in Alachua County, my home, are in poverty.
- 15.4% of women in Florida are below the poverty line. This is up 2% points from 2004 and 0.8% higher than nationwide. 25.2% of black, 21.4% of Native American, 21.2% f Hispanic and 11.9% of white women are living in poverty.
- If women were paid the same as men then the working women’s poverty rate would drop over 57% in Florida.
- 78.3% of women in Florida had healthcare in 2014. This is up from 73.4% in 2013 but well below the national average of 85.4%. The main reason is Florida’s refusal to expand Medicaid coverage to those between 100 and 125% the poverty level. Latinas are insured at 63% and white women at 81.7%.
- Men are still more educated than women in Florida with 28.1% of men 25 and older having a bachelors degree vs 26.7% of women. Nationally women have more bachelors degrees. Only 19% of black women in Florida 25 or older have bachelors degrees.
Minimum wage in Florida is going to be $8.10 an hour starting January 1st. This is because our constitution was amended in 2004 to peg the minimum wage with inflation each year. (link)
In March The Florida Supreme Court will check the language of a constitutional amendment that would restore voting rights to some 1.7 million felons. If approved it would still need 600,000 signatures to be on the ballot in 2018 where it’d need to receive 60% of the vote. (link)
The Constitution Revision Commission is going to put a lot of backwards and conservative measures on the ballot in 2018. (link)
Florida gas tax is also going to jump to 36.7 cents a gallon to keep up with inflation. (link)
The Stars Plus plan from Florida Healthy Kids is being fazed out. The nearly 10,000 kids on the plan are often special needs that fall into the Medicaid gap. The Medicaid gap is is between Medicaid eligibility (100% the poverty level) and the Affordable Care Act subsidies (125% the poverty level). The gap exists because Florida refused to take federal dollars to expand Medicaid. The plan is being nixed because it’s too expensive. Meanwhile Medicaid would be cheaper and provide a better quality. (link)
Former Senator Dwight Bullard is still in the running for chair of the Florida Democratic Party. After losing his election for committeeman in Miami-Dade County he’s moving to (or at least renting) a place in Gadsden County to become that’s counties Democratic Committeeman. The election on Jan 14th is going to be a close one with much of the progressive wing, or at least the new Sanders-nistas of the party backing Bullard. (link)
The Florida House and Senate have much of the same priorities but different approaches. The House wants to raise Secondary Teacher pay but only if it’s performance based. The EEOC is currently looking into the last performance based pay scheme the state passed and the Governor is looking to change it this year. The Senate wants to increase funding by $1 billion to law, medical, business etc. colleges at universities over the next two years but the House might not be interested. The House also is taking a strong stance on increasing taxes but the Senate is being more reasonable. (link)
In Northern Marion County the Sleepy Creek (aka Adena Springs Ranch) somehow muscled the St. Johns River Water Management District into agreeing to pump massive amounts of water out of the aquifer for a cattle ranch. Sleepy Creek is actually getting more water than they asked for two years ago, a request that was denied for being too harmful to the surrounding springs. (link)
A politic that I really like a lot is the universal basic income. Essentially every person is given enough money to live on, no strings attached. It’s the only way to deal with automation, artificial inelegance, and the general progress of science. It’s Star Trek vs Mad Max. Finland is doing a major experiment on this and a lot of people are looking for the results. (link)
Robert Leo Hulseman, the inventor of the solo cup, died this week. I live in a college town. This is a big deal. (link)
South Florida will see 5 tidal floods by 2030 and 10 by 2040. Right now there’s only one or so tidal floods a year. (link)