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Today on Context Florida: Tally takeaway, budgets, children in crisis and Amendment 1

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Today on Context Florida: 

In his latest “Takeaway from Tallahassee,” Peter Schorsch notes that few would have guessed that the Florida Justice Association would look so formidable at halftime of this year’s Legislative Session. It has played successful defense so far when it comes to the all-important issue of Big Tobacco liability, as well as pro-insurance legislation that would restrict access to the courts for folks looking to claim damages from insurers.

The ideological fissure that cleaves the Republican Party nationwide will be on display in Tallahassee as the legislative leadership labors to bring the state budget in for a landing, says Jack Stevenson. The critical issue, which on its face is about as exciting as watching paint dry, is whether to accept federal money to indirectly expand Medicaid through subsidized private health insurance, an option offered to the states by Obamacare.

Melody Bowdon offers some practical ways everyone can advocate for children, including those encountering a child in crisis to allow them to feel and express their emotions. She also notes the importance of “learning the system and speaking up if something doesn’t look or feel right.”

Dan Peterson, director of the Orlando-based Center for Property Rights at the James Madison Institute, says that buying more land is not the first priority of Amendment 1. Ensuring sufficient water quantity and focusing on projects that will stabilize the quantity of water through retention and storage in the most efficient locations would make a huge difference for Florida’s future.

On the other hand, Karl Wickstrom believes the state should use Amendment 1 to buy land and take on Big Sugar. With the million-dollar sugar babies still running the show in the Legislature, he says it might seem impossible to stop the polluting discharges bombarding the coasts and sucking dry the Everglades. Yet there seems to be a sense of momentum for change in the air.

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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