St. Petersburg Times – Passing the buck on higher education:
It’s reasonable to keep raising historically low tuition at Florida universities until it hits the national average. Yet it’s unfair to again embrace tuition increases of up to 15 percent while again cutting state funding for universities, which is also below average.
The politicians and business lobbies talk big about how Florida’s future is tied to creating a first-rate university system. Just don’t ask them to find the money to pay for one.
Bradenton Herald – A disappointing legislative session to date
Overall, the legislative trend has been disappointing. Much of the discussion has focused on social and political issues driven by a conservative ideology.
Daytona Beach News-Journal – A small step toward fiscal responsibility
The 11th hour deal President Barack Obama struck with House Speaker John Boehner will slightly reduce current federal spending levels. That’s a positive — and long overdue — step.
Florida Times-Union – Libraries: Keeping a popular service afloat:
Perhaps no city service impacts as many people, directly and positively, as the public library system.
Yet, despite its popularity, the library system was asked to lower its budget by almost $6 million.
Florida Today – Rejecting free markets
To heck with free markets. That? the message from Tallahassee, where lawmakers are siding with Florida Power & Light and other major public utilities, ensuring their monopoly in producing renewable energy and cutting out the small businesses that should be allowed into the field.
Fort Myers News-Press – Super challenges await selections to fill posts as school superintendents in Lee, Collier counties:
The biggest challenge public schools face in the next five years is offering innovative teaching and a great education for our children. The focus must be on learning and creating world-class school systems led by a visionary leader.
The Gainesville Sun – State legislators need to become more pragmatic about Bright Futures:
Currently, some 30 percent of Bright Futures recipients are from families with incomes of more than $100,000 a year.
The Lakeland Ledger – County Commission Term Limit: Honor Polk’s Voters:
The County Commission should seek a way to balance the unconstitutionality of a County Charter term limit on commissioners against the desire of nearly three-quarters of Polk voters 11 years ago that such a term limit be enacted.
Miami Herald – Anti-abortion legislation goes too far:
Pro-choice advocates are right to point out the irony of the ?terus rebellion,? the flippant name for the flap over the ban of the word uterus in the Florida House. With 18 anti-abortion bills introduced in the Legislature, it? offensive that lawmakers feel uncomfortable saying the word uterus but have no qualms about legislating it.
Naples Daily News – No excuse for delays, but no reason for city to split:
Reports of slow ambulance response times are bubbling up within the city of Naples. These reports come amid trial balloons publicly aired by at least one City Council member, Doug Finlay, for the city? own ambulance service, independent of the countywide emergency rescue agency.
NWF Daily News – Sansom’s advice:
We asked former legislator Ray Sansom what advice he might give an aspiring politician. After a two-year legal ordeal that culminated March 25 with the sudden end of his trial on corruption charges, we thought he might offer something with a touch of irony. Something like, ?hoose your friends carefully.?
But he surprised us. What he said was this: ?e prepared.?/blockquote>
Orlando Sentinel – Combine forces to save
Too few local leaders are willing to surrender any of the bureaucratic turf they control or take on the vested interests that balk at mergers, including unions. This past week Volusia County Council members unanimously agreed to advance a proposal combining five systems that the county and its cities use for dispatching firefighters, ambulances and police to emergencies into one.
Do you like knowing that in Florida a motor vehicle repair shop must give a written estimate for any job of more than $100? Do you like knowing that moving companies must register with the state? Do you like knowing that the state has rules to keep charities from misusing your donations? And do you like knowing that if you have a complaint against auto mechanics, movers, fund-raisers and other professionals that you can call a state hot line?
Those are easy questions, right? Yet all those protections could end soon. On Wednesday the Florida House approved legislation that would deregulate those professions and basically shut down the consumer hot line.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Reform criminal sentencing laws
Sentencing reform is gaining traction in the state Senate, a rare sign of progressive thinking in a legislative session awash in radical conservatism.
The sentencing reform, Senate Bill 1334, recently won unanimous approval from the Criminal Justice Committee. Similar legislation in the House has made it through two subcommittees there. The future of these reforms is uncertain, however, because Gov. Rick Scott reportedly is not sympathetic to the cause. We hope that’s not the case.