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A round-up of Sunday editorials from Florida’s leading newspapers

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

A round-up of Sunday editorials from Florida’s leading newspapers:

Tampa Bay Times — Real protection for water up to Florida Senate

The water bill that the Florida House rammed through as its first order of business last week was lauded by supporters as a forward-looking, measured approach to managing the state’s natural resources. It is no such thing. The legislation (HB 7003) is a relief act for farmers and developers masquerading as water policy that doesn’t address the past or position Florida to plan for the future. That leaves the Senate with the responsibility of drafting a smarter, comprehensive water policy.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli has only himself to blame. The House killed a Senate plan last year to restore Florida’s polluted springs, insisting that the Merritt Island Republican wanted to wait for his speakership to craft a bigger, bolder plan for water policy. The bill the House fast-tracked under his watch is a shell of what was promised. The measure includes weak protections for springs before veering off into special-interest territory. It weakens the cleanup regimen for Lake Okeechobee, a gateway for pollutants into the Everglades, and would put into state law a plan for Central Florida that virtually ignores conservation in this fast-growing region.

A comprehensive water bill would have addressed saltwater intrusion from overpumping in South Florida and the scarcity of freshwater in North Florida that is wreaking havoc on the state’s fabled oyster industry. It would have taken serious, immediate steps to crack down on leaking septic tanks that are polluting the state’s drinking water supply. It would have given conservation a robust role in meeting future water needs. It would include a plan for buying more farmland in South Florida to further curb nutrient pollution choking the Everglades. The House bill does none of this, and it is no secret that it tilts too far toward pleasing agricultural interests as Crisafulli eyes running for agriculture commissioner in 2018.

The Senate bill isn’t as far-reaching as it should be, but it is more focused on water quality. The plan imposes a range of new protections and tight deadlines for restoring Florida’s springs. It recognizes the negative impact of millions of septic tanks in Florida, brings local governments into the cleanup effort and sets the stage for Florida to make smarter decisions over how to develop and pay for new water sources. The bill also looks at water as a vital resource, underscoring that science and the public interest come first. For added measure, it expands access to the state’s trails and greenways.

The Senate bill is not better by accident. The House made the deliberate decision not to send a major overhaul of agricultural and environmental policy to the very two House committees that oversee it. The Department of Environmental Protection, which this governor has leashed, has had virtually no public input on the measure and refuses to say whether it supports or opposes a bill that has already passed the House. The Senate, by contrast, has solicited wide input on its plan (SB 918) for several years. And senators have insisted that any legislation must contain deadlines to act, specific funding and the transparency to ensure that these cleanup plans are actually making a difference.

The Senate, which will take up its water bill this week, is on the right course. It recognizes that preserving the environment is not in conflict but essential to meeting the state’s future water needs. That concept was lost in the bipartisan rush by the House to please the speaker, developers and agribusiness. The Legislature has plenty of time to take a smarter approach on water than this initial power play.

The Bradenton Herald — Manatee County school district wisely avoids snafu on state’s computerized exams

Manatee County school district administrators must have been prescient or cautious over the launch this week of the state’s new standardized tests. Monday’s debut of the new computerized testing system proved disastrous — just as superintendents, educators and others warned months and months ago regarding the Florida Department of Education’s rushed implementation.

The state’s “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” approach bombed. In the very first hours of computer testing Monday, more than half of Florida’s districts encountered difficulties accessing the online exams. A flood of eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders tried to log in together to take the writing test, overwhelming the system and causing slow responses. Some students got booted off while taking the test, losing answers. Error messages appeared.

Manatee County saw only minimal problems on Tuesday. The state allows some leeway in scheduling, giving school systems a block of days to complete the tests, and Manatee opted to begin Tuesday. Only minor glitches occurred. The likely reason is that a host of superintendents suspended testing for the second day Tuesday, thus easing the online load.

On Wednesday, a Braden River High School student was unable to finish the test, the only problem the district encountered.

The new tests are based on the new Florida State Standards, a version of Common Core, and even the new exams are under a cloud because they are more difficult than the defunct FCAT. Words like “robust” and “rigorous” have been used to describe the tests, just to sound positive instead of scary. Plus, they were developed in Utah, where the demographics are quite different from Florida’s.

Monday’s debacle immediately caught the eye of lawmakers on the eve of the opening of the 2015 Legislature.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal — Securing SunRail funds requires political will

SunRail service to DeLand has hit a detour — before it has even left the station.

It’s going to take a concerted effort by area elected officials and community leaders to get the project back on track.

The commuter rail system began operations in May, linking Orlando with a station in DeBary. Phase 2, which included extending the line 12 miles north to the outskirts of DeLand, was originally scheduled to be completed in 2016 at a cost of $69 million, half of which would be paid by the federal government.

However, that date has been pushed back indefinitely because federal funding is in jeopardy, and state and local governments can’t afford to make up the difference. Uncle Sam’s share wasn’t included in President Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal, and officials with the Federal Transit Administration in Washington, D.C., have told Central Florida congressional representatives that funding for Phase 2 south, a $185 million line into Osceola County, has a better chance of being funded first.

What has changed since Phase 2 was first proposed years ago? Apparently, only the political winds.

The major concerns expressed about the DeLand spur have remained the same: Its projected ridership (about 200 daily passengers) falls well short of the southern extension (2,000 new trips a day), and the proposed rail station in DeLand is 2 1/2 miles from the city’s vibrant downtown and Stetson University.

The Florida Times-Union — Cheers: St. Johns Riverkeeper celebrates 15 years of making a difference

Jacksonville is a better and more beautiful place because of the St. Johns Riverkeeper’s work as an advocate for the St. Johns River.

So cheers to the Riverkeeper for celebrating its 15-year anniversary as a nonprofit organization working to protect the St. Johns River, our community’s most precious natural resource. Since 2000, just some of the Riverkeeper’s accomplishments include:

  • Representing, in a constructive and responsible manner, the interests of the local environmental community on issues such as the proposed dredging of the St. Johns River.
  • Taking the lead in responding to hundreds of pollution-related incidents.
  • Organizing hundreds of area cleanup events.
  • Racking up more than 19,000 hours of volunteer service and conducting nearly 850 boat patrols of the St. Johns River (all done by volunteers).

Each year, the United Way of Northeast Florida’s RealSense Initiative provides expert tax-preparation services, all of it free, to hundreds of people across our community.

During a recent Saturday, more than 250 local families completed their returns at RealSense tax-preparation sites.

All of the volunteer tax preparers in the RealSense program are highly trained and certified by the Internal Reveune Service. Cheers to the local United Way and its numerous corporate and nonprofit partners for helping so many families.

Florida Today – Thumbs up, thumbs down

Congratulations, Dr. Binggeli, and thanks

Thumbs up: To outgoing Brevard Schools Superintendent Brian Binggeli, who was announced Thursday as the next chief of the suburban Plano, Texas, school district. Binggeli and FLORIDA TODAY weren’t always each other’s biggest fans, but we respect his stewardship of our high-performing schools through the worst economic collapse in generations. Hired in 2009 as a leader in measuring and growing student achievement, Binggeli spent most of his tenure in Brevard coping with budget crises, school closures, a political campaign for a sales tax increase, and an unpopular new state testing regimen tied to teacher pay. We salute Binggeli and wish his family happiness in Texas.

Wrong to black-out Satellite meeting

Thumbs down: To Brevard Public Schools’ leadership for banning the news media from a community hearing Wednesday on drug-related violence in Satellite Beach. The event was publicly announced and parents received robo-calls urging them to attend at the public Satellite High School auditorium. Last month, a lockdown of three schools due to an alleged drug hit near campus terrified parents and residents who sought answers about their families’ safety. But without news coverage, those who couldn’t attend Wednesday’s meeting couldn’t get them. Police and school leaders have bemoaned the “speculation” that they have sat on a known, dangerous drug epidemic. Next time, they should share the facts and context with journalists who can publicize them.

Commissioner gives big to ailing first responders

Thumbs up: To Brevard County Commissioner Jim Barfield, for donating all of his take-home pay from the job to a charity that helps police, firefighters and their families through medical emergencies. That comes to about $40,000 a year after taxes and other deductions. Barfield is cofounder and CEO of Luke & Associates, a federal contractor that staffs health care facilities. He wanted to keep the gift low-key, but Sheriff Wayne Ivey let everyone know by thanking him on Facebook. Barfield said he is blessed to be in a position where he doesn’t need the county money.

Forget the phone and just drive

Thumbs down: To drivers who continue to text while driving. It takes barely a glance to see drivers sitting at stop lights, or even as they’re cruising down the highway, smartphone in hand and thumbs tapping away. Trisha Viccaro’s son Garrett and a friend, Justin Mitchell, were hit and killed in April 2013 by a text-reading driver at an Eau Gallie Causeway relief bridge. A bill introduced by State Sen. Thad Altman, R-Cape Canaveral, would make texting a primary — rather than a secondary — offense that drives could be pulled over for committing. This Saturday, Viccaro will lead a memorial walk for her son and his friend. If adopted into law, Altman’s bill would take effect Oct. 1. “We should have changed these laws years ago, and we would not be in the position that we are now,” Viccaro said.

The Gainesville Sun – Cheers and Jeers

State officials who demand accountability of schools often show little accountability for their own mistakes, but usually it’s not as blatant as what happened this week.

Jeer: State education officials and the American Institutes for Research, the contractor hired to administer the new Florida Standards Assessments, for technological problems with the computer-based test. Schools in Alachua County and across Florida this week experienced problems such as log-in issues, slowdowns, blank screens and lost answers.

Despite those issues, state lawmakers seem determined to move ahead with punishing students and educators for poor performance on the test.

Cheer: The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, for backing a bill that would allow online voter registration in Florida

An online system would reduce the chance of voter fraud and save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Jeer: State lawmakers who voted in favor H.B. 583, a bill criminalizing the use of restrooms and locker rooms by transgender individuals.

The measure, passed Wednesday by a House subcommittee, would discriminate against transgender individuals by making them use public facilities different from their gender identities.

Cheer: State Senate President Andy Gardiner, for his call for lawmakers to begin a discussion about expanding health coverage for the 800,000 Floridians who lack insurance.

Gardiner said the Senate had an “obligation” to look at the issue, considering that Florida hospitals risk losing $1.3 billion in federal funding due to the state’s failure to expand Medicaid. Now House conservatives must not block efforts to pass legislation.

The Lakeland Ledger — Ammo For AR-15: ATF Bullet Regulation Defies Logic

Years ago, the comedian Chris Rock offered his novel approach to gun control.

“You don’t need no gun control. We need some bullet control,” Rock quipped. “I think all bullets should cost $5,000. If a bullet costs $5,000, there’d be no more innocent bystanders. … People would think before they kill somebody if a bullet cost $5,000.”

Rock was joking, of course, but officials within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have apparently caught his routine. The ATF recently announced that it was overturning an exemption to a 29-year-old gun-control law that allowed sales of certain military-style ammunition.

Conservative lawmakers are working to block the ban, among them U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, an Okeechobee Republican who represents southern Polk County.

The ATF recently announced that it would prohibit retail sales of 5.56mm (also .223-caliber) M855 “green tip” bullets. The ammo is made for the AR-15 rifle, the civilian version of the military’s M-16.

The ATF’s proposed rule notes that the 1986 Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act outlawed sales of armor-piercing bullets, an attempt to keep crooks from getting their hands on munitions that could penetrate a police officer’s bullet-proof vest.

The law defined armor-piercing rounds as those made entirely of certain non-lead metals, including steel. Aside from its composition, the ammo was exempted because it was made for rifles and considered for hunting or other sport-shooting pursuits. Under the law, it could be banned if it “may” be fired from pistols.

The Miami Herald — Here’s why drivers are fuming

There are 2,857 traffic signals across Miami-Dade County. Some days it feels like you’ve hit them all. Last month, the Miami Herald Editorial Board launched its traffic initiative — H*ll on Wheels — asking readers to share their gridlock grind. We promised to get answers to the problems they identified.

Up first is the most common complaint we heard: scores of traffic signals that drivers think are out of sync, making their already-difficult daily commute harder.

The massive job of keeping all those traffic lights working falls on Frank Aira, chief of the Public Works and Waste Management Traffic Signals and Signs Division. In short, he’s the county’s traffic-light guru. Mr. Aira feels your pain. He told the Board that his wish for a liveable traffic flow is this:

“It would be that every day, Miami-Dade traffic would be like that first day after the last school lets out for summer vacation, when everyone marvels at how great the traffic flow was that day,” he said. A lovely thought, but . . .

In a nutshell, the county’s automated traffic-light history is short. It began in the 1970s with the use of the Urban Traffic Control System, which was replaced in 2012 with the current system known as the Advanced Traffic Management System, or ATMS. The next phase of the ATMS will include video surveillance, traffic-volume data and real-time travel time reporting.

We’ve asked Mr. Aira to examine readers’ complaints about three specific intersections that kept coming up in the conversation: U.S. 1 and Southwest 27th Avenue; Southwest 127th Avenue and Kendall Drive; and Southwest 82nd Avenue, from 168 Street to 120 Street, where it meets U.S. 1. He’s analyzing the data and will let us — and you — know.

The Orlando Sentinel — Weekly champ: Phil Rawlins; Chump: Richard Corcoran

Champ

Phil Rawlins: The president of the Orlando City Lions, he’s led his soccer club on its improbable journey from the minor to the major leagues with a fan’s enthusiasm and brilliant marketing. Along the way, he’s won over skeptics with a patient, polite and positive approach. He belies the old saying about nice guys finishing last. Sunday’s opening day for the Lions as Orlando’s second big league team, and the more than 60,000 fans who will fill the Florida Citrus Bowl for the occasion, are already big wins for Rawlins and the franchise — no matter what the final score turns out to be.

Chump

Richard Corcoran: A three-term state representative and Florida House speaker in waiting, this Land O’ Lakes Republican has declared his opposition to another round of state tax rebates for which four sports facilities, including Orlando’s downtown soccer stadium, have applied. As House budget chief, he’s a formidable opponent. Corcoran claims the rebates will be given to “rich people,” but Orlando’s stadium will be owned by the city. And the bill authorizing the rebates passed last year by 62 votes in the House and 32 votes in the Senate. So who gave Corcoran delayed veto power?

The Ocala StarBanner — Repeal ban on liquor in retail

The government’s desire to protect us, either from others or from ourselves, has often produced laws that at the time must have made sense, but when studied from a contemporary vantage point can often look goofy.

For example, in 2012 Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that repealed a 19th-century provision requiring bicyclists in Florida to keep both hands on the handlebars while riding.

Two lawmakers — state Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, and Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring — aim to undo another one of these legal legacies from long ago. They have filed bills that would repeal the state’s ban of the sale of liquor in retail outlets, such as grocery or drug stores that now sell beer and wine. Those stores have been forbidden from doing that by the 1935 Beverage Law. To do so, major retailers like Wal-Mart and Publix must open up separate liquor stores that, at best, are adjacent to their existing stores. Wood and Grimsley believe their bill does away with an outdated regulation that stifles competition and frustrates consumers.

“For retail stores,” Grimsley told the news website Saintpetersblog.com, “there is a clear concern that archaic regulations are a barrier to their consumers’ shopping choices. … In this case, Florida shoppers and shopkeepers should be able to decide what’s on the grocery shelf, not government.”

The Pensacola News-Journal — Our flyin’ and flippin’ flags don’t matter

Here’s a sincere question — as sincere as you’re gonna get from an irreverent cartoonist. Regarding our much-debated flag-flying policy: Who cares?

Be honest — and I mean truly honest: Do you reallycare?

In other words, when you’re reading Dr. Seuss and tucking tykes into bed at night, does the philosophical propriety of our “five flags” occupy some portion of your brain?

Or how about when you’re communing with the sublime, staring off into one of our technicolor sunsets over Santa Rosa Sound? At that moment, are you really worried about the flags in front of the Bay Center?

Or when you bowed your head in Sunday School this morning to contemplate love, grace, mercy and to thank the Big Fella for this wild, weird and wonderful world that he gave us — did five flapping flags factor into that appreciation?

I hope not. Because of all the things Soul Brother No. 1 talked about in the Sermon on the Mount, flag-policy wasn’t one of them. Know why? Because he knew that life is short — and that there are way more important things to worry about.

Yet here we are — God-fearing people in God-blessed Pensacola — still fighting about flags that nobody really cares about. Alas, small minds think alike. And sadly, that’s the common ground of folks on both sides of this pointless pursuit.

Agreed, the Confederate battle flag is wrong. Thanks to the bedsheet-draped-K-K-Klansmen’s assault on our collective visual consciousness, that flag is a banner stained by blood, treason and cowardice. As cool as Bo and Luke Duke’s “General Lee” was, that flag ain’t nothing to be proud of.

Plus, it never even flew over Pensacola soil. The Confederate “Stars and Bars,” however, did. Which is why Mr. J. Earle Bowden, our patron saint of truth, justice and historic preservation, argued it’s the proper flag to fly. For him, it was about accuracy, not loyalty; historic correctness, not political correctness. And notably, it was never the flag put forth in the name of the racism, hatred and terrorism of the KKK.

Heck, most people don’t even know what that particular flag is.

The Palm Beach Post — Local races to decide direction of municipalities

There are plenty of good races to motivate residents in Palm Beach County’s municipalities to vote on Tuesday.

A high-profile, and increasingly nasty race in West Palm Beach pits an incumbent riding an overall positive trend for the central city against a longtime commissioner who believes she can do a better job of carrying that momentum forward. In Lake Worth, things have gotten just as testy as issues of transparency have arisen. And residents of tiny Loxahatchee Groves are being bombarded with mailings and phone calls as two challengers look to shake up a perceived entrenched town council.

That’s just a few of nearly two dozen races from Boca Raton to Pahokee to Juno Beach in which voters, many of whom watched their cities and towns struggle through the Great Recession, are deciding who will lead them during the recovery.

They will sort through the din of debates, speeches and political ads and decide their leaders for the next two to three years. The choices could, in some cases, have ramifications for far longer. But it will be the voters’ choice. As it should be.

The Panama City News-Herald — Testing trouble continues

The testing storm Florida’s superintendents and principals warned about happened Monday, but we won’t know the extent of the damage for some time.

It could be the computer issues that plagued students as they tried to take the tests were a single-day occurrence that now has been mostly overcome. Many schools across the state and most of the schools in Bay County canceled the testing Monday because of technical difficulties, but testing resumed Tuesday.

Once testing resumed, most students were able to take their tests even if some of them already had taken most of or the entire test once. This is a far cry from what most Florida parents will remember of testing days that included No. 2 pencils, Scantron bubbles and heavily enforced rules that prevented any student from having to take the test again or having an unfair advantage over their peers.

However — as one education leader put it to The News Herald’s Editorial Board on Thursday — this is just tropical storm compared to the hurricane we could see in April. March testing is light compared to how many tests must be administered in April, and if the technological deficiencies in the system continue through next month, it will be hard for anyone to defend this year’s results.

To his credit, Gov. Rick Scott took a step in the right direction last month by issuing an executive order that suspends a new language arts test for high school juniors. The test was unnecessary because students meet the graduation requirement for language arts as sophomores. However, he still needs Florida’s lawmakers to act to eliminate the test forever.

There are, we’re certain, other tests that could be permanently eliminated. As we have said since these issues began last year, we are not opposed to testing or to holding students and teachers to high standards based on those tests. What we are opposed to is the haphazard and political manner in which testing has been administered over the past few years and the size and scope of the current testing system.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel – Problems remain as we remember Selma march

The timing of the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march couldn’t be better. As the nation continues to grapple with problems associated with race, excessive force by police and the vote, there may be no better time to pause for a national commemoration.

“Bloody Sunday” is the name many remember as the 1965 protest that called attention to laws that barred blacks from voting. It ended prematurely at the Edmund Pettis Bridge, where police on horseback blocked the marchers and then brutally attacked them with clubs and tear gas.

The marchers, a mixed group of men and women of all colors who believed that a nation as great in America had no room for a society that discriminated against its black citizens, made history. Their televised images and photographs brought the inhumanity of southern Jim Crow laws onto the world stage and spurred passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Fast-forward 50 years, and while much has changed, the nation still faces major challenges to ensure the dreams and aspirations of those protesters who dared march for equality.

Stripped of its key enforcement tool by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a shell of its former self. The right to vote, an American ideal, has been marred by overzealous voter ID requirements and bans on ex-felons who have paid their debts to society.

Today, many Floridians are simply barred from voting, thanks to a decision in 2011 by a new Gov. Rick Scott and three other Republicans who make up the Florida Cabinet.

The Cabinet, which consists of Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, added a 5-to-7-year waiting period after ex-felons serve time and paid restitution before they can apply to have their rights restored.

In that same year, Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature did away with early voting on the Sunday before the election, a time known for a huge black turnout because churches in the African-American community push their voters to the polls that day — “Souls to the Polls.”

The Tallahassee Democrat – DVR bill will hurt Floridians with disabilities

Well, here we go again. It seems that our state lawmakers don’t learn from their past mistakes.

The Florida Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) is the designated agency that helps individuals with disabilities prepare for and obtain employment. Senator Gaetz (R, Destin) recently sponsored a bill (SB802) that aims to repeal DVR as a state agency.

There was a similar bill in 1999 that was passed without opposition. By the time disability advocates knew what was going on, it was too late.

The 1999 law caused Florida to be designated a “high risk grantee” by the Rehabilitation Services Administration that gives our state over $100 million in a four-to-one matching grant. Florida was the first state in RSA’s history to have that horrible designation and it forced RSA to initiate additional on-site compliance monitoring. The only reason that Florida did not lose $100 million is because Florida’s Education Commissioner helped reverse the law.

I don’t know why DVR gets such a bad rap. Their return on taxpayer investment is consistently high. Years ago, our state legislature forced them to outsource most of their services, such as job placement and supported employment. Now these private, nonprofit providers are not performing well and Sen. Gaetz and Senate President Gardiner are pointing their fingers at DVR.

If they really want to improve VR services, they should increase client choice by allowing for-profit employment agencies to assist DVR and the individuals that they serve. All that would take is striking a couple of words out of our state procurement law.

In their defense, maybe Gaetz and Gardiner don’t remember the 1999 legal nightmare that jeopardized over 100 million federal dollars. Maybe they don’t fully understand how DVR is funded and the federal regulations that are tied to that money. But they are smart men and they should be able to comprehend that DVR is privatized to the max – and this state agency cannot be blamed for low employment outcomes caused by private vendors. “Dear Sen. Gaetz: You are hereby on notice that you will be fired if Georgia does not balance its state budget.” Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

The Tampa Tribune — Hillary’s email practice raises larger questions

The excuses coming from the Hillary Clinton camp about her private email account are hard to swallow.

Claims that she lived up to the “letter and spirit of the rules” governing email accounts while serving as secretary of state border on insulting. And the fact she released 55,000 pages of emails when asked for them is hardly evidence that she embraces transparency.

Far from it. The email episode reveals a deliberate flouting of the rules, and it could limit our understanding of key events that occurred during her tenure at the State Department. Her use of an email server traced to her New York home raises security questions.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee should move forward with plans to investigate whether Clinton violated a federal requirement that written communications by government officials be preserved.

Her judgment on this matter, and on others — her family’s foundation accepting donations from foreign governments while she was the nation’s top diplomat; and claims of poverty while giving high-priced speeches — should give pause to Democrats lining up to make her their party’s presidential nominee.

Clinton had to have known that federal employees are supposed to use their government email accounts when conducting official business. A White House spokesman says agency employees are advised on the directive.

Throughout her tenure at the State Department, though, Clinton used her personal account. Revelations in a recent New York Times article raise questions about whether she broke federal laws on retaining official correspondence. The emails are meant to be preserved as an official record. As secretary of state, her thoughts and directives having to do with world leaders and events makes her correspondence particularly meaningful. And the appearance of secrecy fuels speculation that undisclosed revelations about the 2012 embassy attack in Benghazi are being withheld. In fact, the special committee investigating the attack has subpoenaed her emails.

Clinton’s defenders say she knew her correspondence related to official business would be archived because it was being sent to other government officials who would preserve it through their email accounts. They say a majority of the correspondence was archived in that manner. They point to the 55,000 pages of emails she provided when asked by the State Department, along with other former secretaries of state, for records that should be preserved.

But those emails represent only those that Clinton and her staff released, leaving questions about what else might be out there. A government email account would have left a repository for someone other than Clinton or her staff to review when deciding which emails to provide for the historical record.

Her handling of the matter was not nearly as conscientious as that of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose use of a public email account was known and who has made his official correspondence available online and to the press.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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