The 2011 Session revamped Medicaid, teacher pay and pill-mill regulations, cut the budget and brooked favors with insurers, but culminated in corrosive revolts among Republicans as anti-union and anti-immigration bills failed.
As the Legislature’s 2011 session veers uncertainly toward its final days, lawmakers struck deals Saturday on privatizing prisons and compromising over public employees’ pension contributions, but no deal yet on health care and education cuts.
At least one virtual class would be mandatory for graduation, kindergarten students could take online courses, and charter schools could offer full or part-time classes in what’s almost certain to become law.
One bill would penalize local governments with stricter gun restrictions than the state. Another would muzzle doctors’ abilities to ask their patients about gun ownership.
Allan Milledge, a former water management district chairman, asks: Do you want to jeopardize protection of our rivers, lakes, springs, and wetlands and the protection of our water supply to save an average less than $20 dollars per household per year?
The latest poll has Obama’s approval at just 44 percent, and Scott’s at 35 percent, with Scott’s disapproval rating doubling in two months, and 60 percent of Floridians saying Florida is on the wrong path. The poll reveals widespread dissatisfaction.
Several bills with enough support in the Florida Legislature would expand student eligibility for voucher programs, including making it easier for corporations to write off taxes in exchange for providing voucher money.
Flagler County School Board member Colleen Conklin says the state has abdicated its constitutional responsibility to properly fund education, and wants the board to sue the state. The board will discuss the matter on April 19.
SunRail would have connected DeBary and Tampa as a commuter rail line, which the Legislature approved in December 2009. Gov. Rick Scott is likely to kill the project by summer, ending Central Florida’s brief flirtation with alternative transportation.
Jo Ann C. Nahirny, a teacher at Matanzas High School, describes the gulf between merit pay assumptions about teachers and everyday classroom realities that are beyond teachers’ control. Lawmakers appear clueless.