Today on Context Florida: health care, special sessions, persuasion & turnout and sports subsidies

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Today on Context Florida:

On the health-care front, there has been some good news and bad news. The funny thing, says Martin Dyckman is that it is the same news — depending on your politics. The death rate in Massachusetts among people 20 to 64 dropped dramatically after it adopted the nation’s first universal health care law in 2006.

In the 14 sessions of former state Representative Jeff Kottkamp’s first three years in office, many were special sessions to work out significant differences between the House and Senate. In two out his three first years in the House, they did not pass a budget during the regular session. Often tempers flared and the tension between the House and Senate was palpable.

According to political strategist Steve Schale, Florida is a swing state because it has an amazing collection of subgroups that, when added together, add up to be a competitive electorate.  Florida is both a persuasion and a turnout state, and yes, the demographics matter.

Streamlining the process of allocating tax dollars to professional sports facilities was one of the highly watched issues facing the Legislature in 2014, writes Peter Schorsch. It is clear that conservatives/Republicans have an issue with subsidizing sports facilities, with only 38 percent of this demographic agreeing that government dollars should go to pro sports teams.

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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 His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, 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 and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.