Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Nancy Pelosi bets on Florida redistricting to win Congress: According to the Democratic leader in the U.S. House, the road to her party winning back control of the chamber winds through the Sunshine State. In an interview published on Wednesday, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered her take on Democratic chances to flip the U.S. House in November — and said it comes down to Florida. Speaking to the Washington Post, Pelosi said on Wednesday that she sees a way for Democrats to pick up 25 seats from Republicans and flip the chamber. Currently, Democrats need to win 17 seats to wrest control away from the GOP. Most pundits give the Democrats almost no chance of winning the House. Read more
State teachers union challenges voucher expansion bill: The state teachers union filed a legal challenge to a controversial education bill Wednesday, saying it violates the constitutional requirement that legislative proposals be limited to a single subject. The bill, SB 850, was signed into law last month. Among other things, it expands the state school voucher program and creates new scholarships for children with special needs. The scholarships can be used for private tutoring, educational materials and various types of therapies. The so-called “personal learning scholarship accounts” are being rolled out this week. The lawsuit from the Florida Education Association raises concerns about the way SB 850 became law. Read more
Opponents continue to slam Amendment 2, allowing medical pot: The “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” coalition issued dire warnings in a news conference Wednesday, including a prediction that out-of-state pot users will create their own version of the “Oxycodone Express.” The coalition opposes a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this November allowing medical marijuana in Florida. They say the wording is too broad and will lead to widespread recreational use. “Oxycodone Express” refers to the habit of users of that widely-abused drug driving frm other states to certain pain management clinics in Florida to get their fix. The state has since cracked down on “pill mills.” Read more
Scott says he’ll meet scientists on climate change: Gov. Rick Scott said today his administration would be “happy to meet” with 10 scientists from Florida universities who want to talk about climate change, a subject he has been reluctant to address. A letter from the scientists was delivered to Scott’s office Tuesday. Scott and other Republicans have been skeptical of global warming and the governor has worked with the GOP-controlled Legislature to dismantle climate change initiatives. When a federal report earlier this year highlighted Florida – and Miami in particular – among the parts of the country most vulnerable to global warming and rising sea levels, Scott said: “I’m not a scientist” when asked about it. Read more
Schools propose retired police officers to protect students, save millions; unions balk: Hiring retired police officers to keep the peace at schools seems like a no brainer, but one police union is pushing back. Since the Dec. 14, 2010, school shooting in Newtown, Conn., lawmakers and school authorities across the country have been desperate to find ways to protect children from school violence. But with school budgets already stretched thin, employing full-time police officers isn’t an option for many districts. So last April, Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado proposed hiring retired police officers to protect area schools. Read more
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