Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Today on Context Florida: Death penalty, assaulting the environment, tattoos & Jimmy Buffett, and ugly incidents

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Today on Context Florida:

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Florida’s death penalty sentencing system last week, declaring that it violates defendants’ Sixth Amendment Rights to trial by jury. In response to the Hurst v. Florida decision, Julie Delegal shows us a Jacksonville coalition of civic and faith groups — Justice 4 Jacksonville — is calling on State Attorney Angela Corey to stop action in all capital murder cases until Florida’s sentencing statutes are repaired: “Today’s ruling proves what the Justice 4 Jacksonville Coalition has been saying since its creation – that the Fourth Judicial Circuit’s outrageously high use of the death penalty is sending people into a system that can’t be trusted. Four hundred people currently sit on Florida’s death row because of a death sentencing scheme that has now been declared unconstitutional, and an enormous share of those 400 come from the Fourth Judicial Circuit. All of their sentences should be reevaluated now that the system that sent them to death row has been found unconstitutional.”

The assault on Florida’s environment continues as Marc Yacht discusses how a Senate committee last week approved a bill that would make it easier for companies to use fracking technology to drill for oil and gas in the state. Lest we forget, Yacht says the administration of Gov. Rick Scott has ordered the words “climate change” scrubbed from official speeches and releases. The governor has politicized the Florida Department of Environment Protection (DEP) and weakened its authority to regulate polluters. Now Scott and his Republican legislators hope to allow drillers to use hydraulic fracturing — fracking. In a state so concerned about protecting its natural resources, Yacht asks does it make any sense?

Bill Day’s latest:

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Linda Cunningham believes most people ought not to be wearing tattoos. No one over 40 ought to sport one at all because, by 45, she says the eagle spreads to a vulture and the cute kitties to a saggy, baggy elephant. Cunningham may not be not one for piercings and tattoos as the preferred First Amendment expression, but if someone wants one or a dozen, she says help yourself. All that to say: Was Key West serious when it argued — very unsuccessfully — that the city didn’t need a third tattoo parlor in Old Town and that a Jimmy Buffett song proved its point?

Ever have a day where it seems it is almost impossible to get anything done, Tim Bryce asks. He has been experiencing a lot of them lately, as has his friends, although Bryce is not too sure why they occur. He gives three examples of minor incidents that blossomed into ugly ones.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

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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