Archive for March, 2011

Senate Preparing Immigration Bill

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The Senate is trying to appease Governor Scott and the Tea Party without alienating Hispanic voters.

The Florida Senate has revised an immigration bill to among other things make it easier for employers to qualify people for work. The proposal relaxes E-Verify requirements. It allows employers to accept a valid Florida drivers ‘ license instead of federal government’s E-Verify system which is plagued with errors. 

The proposal was released in the morning and drew numerous speakers during an afternoon hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee.   Click immigration to hear the radio report.

Senate Ends Teacher Tenure

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Measure is similiar to one vetoed last year by then Governor Charlie Crist.

The Republican controlled Florida Senate Thursday approved a teacher merit pay bill.  It eliminates tenure and puts public school teachers on one-year contracts.

The bill passed the Senate mostly along party lines with one Democrat voting in support and two Republicans voting no.  Cllick tenure to hear the radio report.

Session 2011 Begins

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Haridopolos' opening day remarks included Biblical allusions and quotes from Burke and Churchill.

Florida lawmakers assembled in Tallahassee Tuesday for this year’s spring Legislative Session. In a welcoming address, the Senate President told lawmakers to expect a difficult time trying to close a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.  Senator Mike Haridopolos’ 15 minute speech included few applause lines. To hear the radio report click on speech.

Session 2011: Tax Cuts Unlikely

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Senator Haridopolos said balancing the budget is priority 1.

 The Florida Legislature’s 2011 Spring Session began Tuesday.  Lawmakers face another year of budget cuts. And,  the Senate President has all but removed tax cuts from the agenda.

 Later this month state economists will deliver a revenue estimate to lawmakers. That report will tell them how much money the state will have to spend next year. It is expected to be about 4 billion dollars short of maintaining current spending levels. Governor Rick Scott proposed about 2 billion dollars in tax cuts but in his opening day speech, Senate President Mike Haridopolos indicated that cutting taxes is not his focus.

And taxes have no more of a ruthless enemy than I. and whether we can actually reduce taxes at the present time in a responsible way remains to be seen. If anyone can show me how realistically we can feed the increasing multitude with even fewer fish and less bread than I will gladly follow him.

Haridopolos listed his priorities for the session as producing a balanced budget and implementing reforms of the state Medicaid program and government employees’ pension system.

A Conservative Agenda

Friday, March 4th, 2011

The Speaker of the Florida House and the Senate President are seeing their time in office defined by a budget crisis. When the Florida Legislature begins its 2011 session Tuesday, Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos will have super majorities to enact their agenda, but little money to spend. And  that seems to fit their political philosophy just fine. To hear the report click on James Call.

A Constitutional Showdown: Senators Sue Governor

Friday, March 4th, 2011
Senators say Gov violated the law when he rejected federal money.

Court will decide whether Legislature can order Gov to spend money.

Florida Supreme Court Justices are considering a case that is a showdown over the separation of powers. Thursday justices heard oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to accept 2 point 4 billion dollars in federal money. It would be used to establish a high speed rail line connecting Tampa and Orlando.  Two state senators went to court to protest what they call Scott’s unilaterally changing state policy. To hear the report click on James Call