Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Today on Context Florida: Florida abortions, death row inmates, welfare for the rich and National School Choice Week

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Today on Context Florida:

Diane Roberts warns that Legislature’s Banana Republicans will not rest until Florida starts to be like El Salvador — minus the delicious pupusas, that is. Abortion is illegal in El Salvador — no exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother. Anyone who has an abortion, anyone who performs an abortion, can be jailed for murder. Uber-Baptist Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Misogyny Heights, figures El Salvador’s got it about right, Roberts says. His HB 865 aims to re-criminalize a procedure that has helped millions of women. If Van Zant gets his way, performing an abortion would be a first-degree felony. Because a zygote is as much a citizen as some chick, she adds.

Bill Day’s latest:


In the last of three parts on Florida’s death penalty, Julie Delegal notes that when Jacksonville defense attorney Gray Thomas was asked which death row inmates could be affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s January 12 ruling, Hurst v. Florida, he said, theoretically, “all of them.” Whether Florida can put justice on hold until it changes its laws is another question, attorneys say. Some defense attorneys would rather they not.

Chris Timmons argues that Florida favors welfare for the rich, not the poor. Governor Rick Scott, he says, wants the Legislature to approve $250 million to be used by the state’s largest welfare dispensary, outside of the Florida Department of Children and Families, called Enterprise Florida. Notice the first part of that name: “Enterprise.”

America is busy celebrating National School Choice Week — with more than 16,000 events taking place all over the country. But here in Tallahassee, William Mattox says feels more like Florida School Choice Month, because two landmark January events are apt to have a profound influence on the educational options of Florida students for years to come. The first event took place during the initial week of the legislative session, when both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved, and Scott signed, a bill to permanently establish the Gardiner Scholarship program for special-needs students.

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 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.

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