Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

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William Patrick

William Patrick has 11 articles published.

Private nonprofit, for-profit universities could soon get regulatory relief

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Bad press, combined with federal rules and regulations disproportionately targeting the higher education alternatives, have taken their toll on nonprofit and for-profit universities in recent years — but that could soon change. For-profit and private nonprofit colleges and universities offer career-building options separate from traditional public universities. Small class sizes, hands-on training and flexible schedules are common features designed to help students obtain degrees, practical jobs skills and employment-related certifications. Student bodies also are diverse, and not just demographically. Active…

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House speaker’s ‘corporate welfare’ crackdown runs into Senate roadblock

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Enterprise Florida Inc. could survive 2017 after all. Established in 1996, the taxpayer-funded organization has awarded nearly $2 billion in economic incentives to private businesses to create jobs and boost the state economy. Its record is mixed, and its reputation has been scarred by exorbitant executive pay, high-profile taxpayer losses and a failure to match private funding with public appropriations — a statutory requirement. As a result, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, is spearheading an effort to put the…

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Will Florida pre-empt local governments to complete next-gen wireless connectivity?

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From smartphones to smart cities. The next generation of wireless connectivity will require enough signal coverage to support the exploding demand for consumer data use, and innovative new technologies such as driverless cars. But it will take a massive influx of wireless communications infrastructure to achieve, according to Beth Cooley, state legislative affairs director for CTIA, a nonprofit membership association of wireless communications companies. “Look at your iPhone or cellphone,” Cooley told a Florida House legislative panel in February. “In the…

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‘Safety valve’ wanted for mandatory-minimum drug law

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In 2008, an Orange County, Florida, judge sentenced William Forrester to 15 years in prison for 15.6 grams of oxycodone, or about 30 pills. Forrester was on disability insurance and had a lung surgically removed due to cancer not long before his arrest, according to court documents. But possession of the oxycodone, combined with a forged prescription to obtain it, turned him into a narcotics trafficker under Florida’s mandatory minimum drug law. “If was an option, then certainly we would…

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Lawmakers aim to create jobs by cutting occupational licensing red-tape

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Braiding hair without a license could get you in trouble in Florida. So could cutting and wrapping hair, manicuring fingernails, auctioneering property, landscaping, interior design and timekeeping at a boxing match. If you want to earn money or start a business in dozens of job categories, Florida requires a state-approved license – and they don’t come cheaply. Barbers are required to complete 1,200 hours of training – equivalent to 25 hours a week for one year – to be eligible…

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Sunshine Week: First Amendment Foundation goes to bat for Florida’s right to know

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It’s Sunshine Week in the Sunshine State, and not just because it’s Spring Break. Since 2005, open government and freedom of information advocates have designated March 13-19 as a time to celebrate public transparency and raise awareness about the critical importance of access to government records. Sunshine Week is timed to coincide with the birthday of James Madison, author of the First Amendment. True to form, the First Amendment Foundation has been busy at the Florida Capitol battling to ensure…

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Does splitting bill in two edge Enterprise Florida closer to chopping block?

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Democratic lawmaker David Richardson appears to be getting his Enterprise Florida wish from his conservative House colleagues. The Miami Beach state rep won’t be getting a grant from the taxpayer-supported economic incentive organization; rather he’ll soon have a chance to help abolish it. House leadership, headed by Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, will be splitting a bill aimed at eliminating Enterprise Florida and reducing Visit Florida’s taxpayer-funded tourism marketing budget by 67 percent into two bills, according to the Orlando…

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