Round-up of Sunday editorials from Florida’s leading newspapers

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Tampa Bay Times – Feds step in to protect Florida voters

It takes the federal courts and the U.S. Justice Department to defend democracy and protect Floridians from their governor and Legislature who are determined to suppress the vote.

Tampa Bay Times – Failure at the top in protecting Florida’s wetlands

The Scott administration, with its zeal to give businesses carte blanche in dealing with our natural resources, seems to hold the anachronistic view of wetlands as being peat bogs that breed mosquitoes and other vermin, dirty and dangerous places that should be drained and backfilled for development and agriculture.

Tampa Bay Times – Mitt Romney’s entitlement: Winning for losing

Romney desperately wants to convince the public that Bain operated in the best interests of Main Street and that he didn’t get fabulously rich under government-rigged rules. But the man exemplifies the special tax breaks and legal shields from creditors that the wealthy see as their right. That’s Romney’s “entitlement society.”

Bradenton Herald – FCAT fails to allow dyslexics, disabled to use technology

As a person with the gift of dyslexia, today I am thriving with text-to-speech technology that enables me to read at 340 to 510 words per minute. Not all the population has the ability to access such “free” tools. Did you know a child with the gift of dyslexia is not permitted to have assistive technology to help them in the reading portion of the FCAT?

The Daytona Beach News-Journal – Food nanny Bloomberg goes after sugary drinks

The Republican-turned-independent mayor has a bizarre fascination with regulating the personal choices of those in the Big Apple. And now he has targeted sugar, soda and even cup size. […] Imagine begging a cashier at a theater or a baseball game for the larger diet cups. Maybe the cashier won’t oblige unless you slip him a bribe. It could happen — but only in the Big Apple. Bloomberg is thus inadvertently creating a black market — a new kind of Coke dealer.

The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville.com – A plus, a minus, for legislative session

Every session of the Florida Legislature ends with a few actions that leave people scratching their heads. Sometimes, the failure to act is just as perplexing. […] The legislation simply would have allowed tracks not to conduct greyhound racing in favor of other more profitable forms of gambling.

The Lakeland Ledger – Government Ethics in Florida: Clouds Obscure Sunshine

Florida has had a reputation for some 40 years as a leader in open government. The state’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law requires meetings of governmental bodies to be public. Its Public Records Law requires governmental records to be available to the public for inspection and copying. […] One of Florida’s most powerful and most important public-private entities is Enterprise Florida. The operation is also one of the state’s quietest.

The Lakeland Ledger – Water Pumping in Drought: Cattle Vs. Silver Springs

In Marion County, the second county north of Polk, Frank Stronach is asking for a state permit to pump some 13 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer. It is for use with his massive Adena Springs Ranch cattle operation. The problem is, the state is in the midst of a historic drought, even with rain from Tropical Storm Beryl. Based on the public response, this permit request has all the ingredients of being Florida’s next water war. But while past water wars have been largely parochial encounters, this has the potential to be a statewide affair. […] this month, there was a gathering of the state’s most powerful environmental groups in Tallahassee, specifically to discuss the Adena Springs project and the strategy they should employ in addressing it. In attendance were Audubon Florida, the Sierra Club, the Florida Wildlife Federation, St. Johns Riverkeeper and the new-but-ever-more-influential Florida Conservation Coalition, founded by former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham. It was the first time the groups had come together to discuss a single issue.

The Miami Herald – Purge the purge list

OUR OPINION: Scott administration should focus on access to voters, not impose obstacles. The Scott administration’s attempt to purge the voting rolls of suspected noncitizens violates federal civil rights laws, the Justice Department warns, and the GOP-led Legislature’s law imposing a 48-hour deadline on the League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote and other third-party groups that hold voter registration drives is a bust, a federal judge rules. Democrats cry voter suppression. Republicans insist they’re simply trying to prevent voter fraud. Who’s right? The problem is the way state GOP leaders in Florida (and various other GOP-led states) are going about it. They want to “prevent” a problem that there’s no evidence even exists.

Orlando Sentinel –Florida’s jobless crackdown shows skewed priorities

If there were any questions about where loyalties lie among Florida lawmakers, consider what they’ve done to the state’s unemployment compensation system: made it harder for the jobless to collect benefits and eased the burden on businesses of paying for them.[…] We appreciate the arguments from business leaders and their allies in the Legislature that a sharp spike in unemployment compensation taxes would be bad for hiring and Florida’s economy. But we wonder how much thought lawmakers gave to the consequences of leaving more jobless Floridians without a safety net. Advocates say that every $1 in jobless benefits generates $1.65 in economic activity. […] Florida’s unemployment rate has been stuck above the national average for XX months. Get tough on the unemployed, and go easy on employers.

Tampa Tribune – Cyclone of uncertainty threatens entire state

Another hurricane season begins today with the general public still very deeply on the hook to help cover insured losses if a major storm hits Florida. The state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has $6 billion in the bank but might have to pay $20 billion or more in claims in the wake of one big hurricane. The agency could probably stretch that far with money from the state’s catastrophe fund and market-rate loans, but then what? How could it afford to continue covering 1.5 million customers? […] The choice is clear. Either begin to depopulate Citizens or risk triggering significant assessments on every policyholder, which could begin to depopulate the state.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.