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Category archives for: Florida & Beyond, and All Opinions

In Fear of ATS: The Palm Coast City
Council’s Red-Light Camera Delusions

| March 1, 2015

After coming close to suspending its red-light camera [program, the Palm Coast City Council has retreated, again exposing a willingness to do its camera vendor’s bidding before looking after its residents’ interests.

Shackling Juveniles: Despite 2009 Court Decision, Practice Continues Away From Courtroom

| March 1, 2015

Florida’s Supreme Court found shackling juveniles “repugnant, degrading, humiliating, and contrary to the stated primary purposes of the juvenile justice system” in a 2009 decision barring the practice in courtrooms, but shackling carries on elsewhere.

The State of the State Floridians Should Hear

| March 1, 2015

With 3.2 million Florida households struggling every month to stretch paychecks to cover basic necessities, former Florida Sen. Dan Gelber outlines a State of the State Floridians swill not hear when the governor opens the Legislative session this week.

Why Almost 1 in 4 Floridian Driver Has No Car Insurance: Poverty

| February 28, 2015

Florida’s poverty rate is 17 percent and 23.8 of its motorists are uninsured. Uninsured drivers face stiff fines in many states, but some that have such penalties on the books often fail to enforce them.

Bi-Partisan Lawmakers Looking to Expunge Criminal Records of Non-Violent Juveniles

| February 27, 2015

An Orlando Senator is sponsoring a bill that would allow the expunging of records for minors who commit nonviolent misdemeanors and go on to complete diversion programs.

Emergency Grants of Up to $600 Available to Flagler Seniors For Home Energy Assistance

| February 27, 2015

Eligibility is determined by income (gross household income must be below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines), and at least one member of the household must be at least 60 years old.

Net Neutrality: If History Is Any Guide, The Battle Is Far From Over

| February 27, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to approve new rules that effectively barred Internet companies from prioritizing some Internet traffic over others.

Pot. Beer Wars. Gambling. Even Pension Reform. Sen. Rob Bradley Says Bring ‘Em On

| February 26, 2015

Many of this Florida legislative session’s thorniest issues — and more — rest in the hands of Sen. Rob Bradley, a laid-back junior legislator and chairman of a committee dubbed by Senate President Andy Gardiner as the “Thunderdome.”

1.6 Million Floridians, 6,000 in Flagler, May Lose Health Subsidies: Supreme Court Decides

| February 26, 2015

Subsidies may be lost for 90 percent of ACA participants if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that residents of states like Florida, which have no health marketplace of their own, may not qualify for federal subsidies. The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case next week.

Gov. Rick Scott Heading Back to Paris Air Show in Hopes of Attracting Aerospace Jobs

| February 25, 2015

In 2013, the every-other-year air show drew more than 315,000 visitors, 2,215 international exhibitors and delegations from 102 different countries. The effectiveness of Scott’s trips, however, remains suspect to some.

Rudy Giuliani Loses It

| February 25, 2015

Donald Kaul has been trying to make up his mind about Rudy Giuliani: “I can’t decide whether he’s a nutball or a sleazeball,” he writes. “For now I’m going with a sleazy nutball, but I’m open to suggestions.”

Days Before 11th Grade Language Test, Gov. Scott Issues Executive Order Suspending It

| February 24, 2015

Union officials had pushed for suspending the entire school-accountability testing system for a year. The education commissioner wants a few more tests curtailed, but the bulk of the system would remain in place.

City Hall Rising: Walls Go Up at Palm Coast’s Future Home

| February 24, 2015

Walls built in place went up Tuesday morning on the site of the future Palm Coast City Hall in Town Center, marking a significant visual advance in the nearly $10 million project as it moves toward completion by fall.

Obamacare Enrollment Will Re-Open From March 15 to April 30 For Penalized Tax Filers

| February 23, 2015

The Obama administration will allow a special health law enrollment period from March 15 to April 30 for consumers who realize while filling out their taxes that they owe a fee for not signing up for coverage last year.

2015 Legislative Session: 10 Issues To Watch

| February 23, 2015

Starting March 3, and for 60 days, the House and Senate will grapple with hot-button issues ranging from standardized testing in public schools to reforming the troubled prison system, plus the one must-pass bill of the session: a roughly $77 billion state budget.

When Your Armed Neighbor Comes
Knocking: Guns and Muslims in Chapel Hill

| February 22, 2015

What kind of country do we live in, where it’s legal for a man to bring a weapon to a noise complaint? Or a parking dispute? Mitchell Zimmerman confronts the Chapel Hill killings of three Muslims.

Cyclist Susan Lantz, 62, of St. Augustine, Is Killed on A1A in Collision With a Car

| February 22, 2015

Susan Lantz, a 62-year-old resident of St. Augustine, was killed Sunday morning (Feb. 22) as she rode her bicycle on State Road A1A just north of Crescent Beach, the Florida Highway Patrol reports.

Florida Ports Want Government Help Luring Shipping From New York, Georgia and Texas

| February 21, 2015

The Florida Ports Council calls for lawmakers to create an advertising effort to attract shipping, import-distribution centers as well as export-oriented manufacturing companies to Florida.

Lawmakers Punt to Full Legislature on Millions in Tax Subsidies for Speedway and Jaguars

| February 20, 2015

A process intended to reducing lobbying may do the opposite now that the Joint Legislative Budget Commission moved any funding decisions regarding the stadiums to the full Legislature.

Education Commissioner Stewart Joins Calls For Eliminating Some High-Stakes Testing

| February 19, 2015

Stewart recommended that the state get rid of a language-arts test students take in 11th grade, eliminating some final exams and making optional a college readiness test.

FHP Launches “Operation Race to Safety” on I-95, Targeting Aggressive Drivers

| February 19, 2015

Coinciding with races and the traffic they bring at the International Speedway, FHP will be conducting Operation Race to Safety between Thursday, February 19 and Sunday February 22, 2015.

Why Journalism Should Be Addicted to David Carr

| February 18, 2015

Unlike many aging baby boomers, the New York Times’s David Carr, who died last week, had no fear of new technology and no contempt for young people who did not equate the survival of newspapers with the survival of journalism.

Publix Doesn’t Want You To Buy Liquor In Grocery Stores. Wal-Mart and Target Do.

| February 18, 2015

A proposed law to end Florida’s 80-year-old prohibition on liquor in any but stand-alone stores cleared a House committee over the objections of Publix, some sheriffs and liquor store owners.

Appeal Court Upholds Florida’s Ban on Open-Carry, But Case Appears Headed For Supremes

| February 18, 2015

Dale Norman, a resident of St. Lucie County, was arrested at gunpoint for carrying an openly visible handgun in a holster, on his hip. Florida Carry Inc. took his case and has been fighting his conviction since.

Florida Justices Halt Execution Until U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Lethal Injection

| February 17, 2015

Saying it must “err on the side of extreme caution” or risk threatening the “viability of Florida’s entire death penalty scheme,” the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday halted the Feb. 26 execution of a convicted killer until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a lethal injection drug.

Freeze Watch Issued for Flagler-Palm Coast From Wednesday Night to Thursday Morning

| February 17, 2015

The cold front will remain in place until Friday, bringing overnight lows below freezing and daytime highs of only 50 Thursday and Friday. Warmer weather will return Thursday.

Senate Panel Easily Clears Bill Granting Secrecy to Top College and University Job Applicants

| February 17, 2015

The Senate Higher Education Committee voted 7-2 to approve the measure (SB 182), which would exempt information about applicants for the jobs of president, provost or dean from the state’s open-records laws.

Flagler Does Its Growing Part as Florida Attracts Record 97 Million Visitors in 2014

| February 16, 2015

Monthly tax collections from Flagler’s 4 percent surtax (or bed tax) on fees at hotels, motels and other short-term rentals were up 13 percent by the end of the 2014 fiscal year (it ended in September), after increasing 5 percent the previous year.

Guns on Florida Campuses: University System Says No, Citing Values and Protection

| February 14, 2015

Florida’s university system wants state lawmakers to holster the idea of allowing guns on campus, saying it would jeopardize providing a safe and secure learning environment.

Gov. Scott Is Balancing State’s Budget With Money That May Not Exist

| February 13, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget for the new fiscal year includes $1.3 billion for Florida hospitals providing care to uninsured people. However, that pool of money might stop existing this summer.

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