Week in review 1/14/17

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Week in review (1/14/17):

  • SB120 – The anti-immigrant bill  is on the move in the Senate. The bill would  1 up any offense an undocumented persons. Would make 1st degree misdemeanors a 3rd degree felony, 3rd felony a 2nd felony, etc. It was just agendaed on the Judiciary committee for 1/24 at 2:00 PM. Senator Greg Steube chairs the committee and is the co sponsor of this bill. If you could make one phone call through call Senator Anitere Flores at (850) 487-5039 and tell her to vote no. If the 4 dems and Sen. Flores vote no the bill dies in committee.
  • Florida Kid Count released it’s study on child poverty in Florida. (link) Some interesting bits about my Alachua County:
    -28% of households have high housing cost burden.
    -48% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
    -Black students account for 71% of all disciplinary actions.
  • Trump going to try to build a 700 mile fence on the US-Mexico boarder. Mexico isn’t paying for it. (link)
  • There’s a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand the lobbying ban for legislators from 2 years to 6 years. If passed it would still need to go to the voters in 2018. (link)
  • Obama just ended the wet foot, dry foot policy that allowed Cubans to stay in the USA without a visa and gave them an easy path towards citizenship. It also encouraged risky behavior that resulted in thousands of deaths. (link)
  • The accreditation process for for-profit schools is changing. This will likely result in lose of accreditation for many scam schools who take advantage of veterans, foreigners, and poor people. (link)
  • Governor Scott outlined his higher education plan for the 2017 legislative session. Among other things he’ll be looking to cap student fees, eliminate sales taxes on textbook purchases, and extend Bright Futures scholarships to summer classes. (link) The Senate released their plan too. While it echos the Governors it does differ in a few places. It would give more to Bright Futures, expand a scholarship program to first generation students, and push block tuition. Block tuition is charging students for 15 credit hours a semester no matter how many classes they take. It was tried at the University of Florida years ago but was abandoned due to the student outcry. (link) 
  • The Florida legislator might nix five 9th grade state mandated exams. (link)
  • Sleepy Creek, the massive cattle operation in Northern Marion County  (aka Adena Springs Ranch) was set to have a massive water request approved on Tuesday but environmentalist have sued to slow it down. (link)
  • The race for the chair of the Florida Democratic Party will be decided Saturday. Recently 4 of 5 candidates united against the front-runner Bittle. In a strange show of solidarity they took turns berating Bittle but to what end? Does the FDP use ranked voting or something? (link)
  • Because there was a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport two lawmakers want guns allowed in terminals. (link)
  • Children of same sex couples will have both their parents listed on the birth certificate now thanks to a lawsuit brought on by Equality Florida Institute. (link)
  • Florida Department of Corrections overpaid CoreCivic (formally Corrections Corporations of America) over $16 million over the past 7 years for it’s youth prison in Lake City. This is just one contact of many and it wasn’t a mistake. Florida tax payers were overcharged and billed for ghost services in an act of deliberate fraud. While poor and working peoples needed services are being cut large corporations are making off like bandits. Literally. (link)
  • Trump has tapped Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head up a commission on vaccines and autism. This is bad. Thousands of people have died because of the anti-vaccine movement and it’s only going to get worse. If you don’t know, then read up on herd immunity to understand why this is so dangerous. (link)
  • Pew has a very illuminating survey out on policing and race. Of the finding: 92% of white officers think the country has done enough for blacks compared to 57% of all white people. It’s 29% for black offices and 12% for all black people. Also, 69% of black officers view the protest movements as a desire to hold the police accountable vs 27% of white officers.  (link)
  • The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) is growing fast. In 2016 it picked up 3 new chapters and now represents faculty at all 12 state universities, 11 of 28 state colleges, graduate workers at 4 state universities, and faculty at the private St. Leo University. This is happening in part because of the backwards policies being pursued by the state government but also because of the leadership of UFF president Jennifer Proffit. (link)
  • The Florida Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding a 2011 law that prohibits local governments from enacting gun control ordinances. This is a classic home rule vs state law case that has pretty broad consequences. (link)
  • The US Supreme Court is hearing Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman over corporations freedom of speech. The case seems pretty simple; should businesses be allowed to add surcharges to credit card transactions. But if the Supreme court rules in favor of corporations it could open up the flood gates against things like warning labels, nutrient facts, etc.  (link)
  • Choice is under attack again in Florida. This time the bill would lower the amount of time a woman has to seek an abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. The bill HB 203 doesn’t have a companion in the Senate yet. (link)
  • An ROTC instructor in East Lee County High School is likely not be fired over anti-Trans comments made to a student. The reason the administrative law judge gave is pretty ludicrous. The judge believes his anti-Trans comments came from a place of compassion not hate. Oy vey. (link)

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