Politics

Political news

Kevin Meerschaert

After repeated disruptions at Tuesday nights city council meeting by supporters of concerts at Metropolitan Park, Council President Bill Bishop cleared the room.

During public comment, "public displays" like signs, boos, shouting and applause are prohibited under council rules.

The public was sent out of council chambers into the Lynwood Roberts and Donald Davis rooms and brought in to speak three at a time.

After about 90 minutes, Bishop let everybody back in, but reminded them to abide by  the rules.

Just as it did last year, the Florida House has passed the parent trigger bill following much debate.

The bill’s official title is Parent Empowerment in Education.

It gives parents a say in what changes should be made to a chronically failing school.

Jennifer Carroll Speaks About Resigning As Lt. Governor

Apr 5, 2013
Rick Wilson / AP Photo

JACKSONVILLE - (AP) - Former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll said Thursday she had no idea law enforcement was investigating a veterans charity accused of running illegal slot machine-style casinos until two agents walked into her office last month.

She was taking photos with people in her office on March 12 when she was told the agents wanted to speak to her. When the agents walked out about 20 minutes later, Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff was waiting outside her office. He told her Scott wanted her to resign. She immediately said yes and called her husband to let him know.

A week after saying that marriage should be between a man and a woman, Senator Bill Nelson has changed his position on gay marriage. "The civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all," says Nelson. "Thus, to discriminate against one class and not another is wrong for me."

Florida’s Water and Land Legacy campaign is one step closer to getting a constitutional amendment to fund the Florida Forever land preservation program.

On Thursday, the group announced that it had collected enough signatures to qualify the measure for review by the Florida Supreme Court. A proposed amendment is eligible for state Supreme Court review when its backers collect 10 percent of the total 683,149 signatures required—or 68,314 John Hancocks.

Kevin Meerschaert

The Jacksonville City Council is expected to vote on emergency legislation Tuesday night to grant the noise waiver while also monitoring of decibel levels from the concert at Metropolitan Park and nearby neighborhoods.

The next concert scheduled to take place at Met Park is the Welcome to Rockville event.

Some neighbors across the St. Johns River have complained about concerts  at Metropolitan Park being too loud.

What kind of health coverage can you buy for $20 to $30 a month?

"You can't," says John Sinibaldi, an independent broker in Seminole.  

That may sum up the real-world prospects for Florida Health Choices Plus, the plan for extremely low-income uninsured Florida adults that State Sen. Aaron Bean's Health Policy Committee approved Tuesday along party lines.

Bean said he offered it in the knowledge that it wasn't much, but was at least something that the Florida House leadership might accept. 

The daughter of Florida political legend Bob Graham has announced she will run for Congress next year, taking on incumbent Republican Steve Southerland.

Gwen Graham, a lawyer and administrator in the Leon County school district, made the announcement Tuesday morning. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Congress is a dysfunctional mess," Graham wrote on her campaign website.

Kevin Meerschaert

The bill uses $1.5 Billion in unspent funds from the previous fiscal year to increase the frequency of maintaining  city right-of-ways.

Another $300,000 in savings from a JEA customer fuel credit will be used to reactive streetlights that were shut off in industrial areas.

Businesses were concerned that shutting the lights off created a hazard for their employees. The city had also heard many complaints from residents about the condition of the right of ways.

Mayor Brown said "The legislation will have an immediate impact on the community"

Sen. Aaron Bean Releases Alternative To Medicaid Expansion

Apr 1, 2013
Aaron Bean

In a possible alternative to expanding Medicaid, a Senate committee Tuesday is expected to take up a proposal aimed at helping low-income Floridians get health services --- while turning down billions of dollars in federal money.

The proposal, which Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean has helped draw up, would create the "Health Choice Plus Program" and would target adults whose incomes are below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

Alimony-Overhaul Sponsor Proposes To Girlfriend At State Capitol

Apr 1, 2013
Florida House of Representatives

 Originally published Friday, March 29th, by WFSU.

Proposals before the Florida House Finance and Tax Subcommittee usually deal with property or retirement. But on Thursday the committee’s chairman, Rep. Ritch Workman, made a different kind of proposal, the kind that involves a diamond ring.

Kevin Meerschaert

Jacksonville City Council Vice-President Bill Gulliford says the city should dip into into the city’s banking fund to buy the Haverty-Godbold Building.

The building at the corner of Laura Street and Duval Street is owned by the Police and Fire Pension Board. The city rents the building to house the Public Defenders office.

The city can buy the property for $14 million in May - but if it doesn’t, it doesn't have another chance to purchase until 2017, and the cost would increase by about $1.5 million.

Beth Meckley

The Jacksonville City Council has approved legislation to restore some city services that were eliminated during last year’s budget process.

The frequency of city right-of-way maintenance will increase and streetlights in industrial areas will be reactivated.

The $1.45 million for the right of ways comes from discovered unspent funds from the previous fiscal year. The $300,000 to turn back on the streetlights comes from a JEA customer fuel credit.

Council members say the services are essential for the city to provide.

National Humane Society

  Animal rights groups like the Humane Society say dogs left chained alone often become aggressive and dangerous.

In March of 2011, 17-month old Dylan Andres was mauled to death by a neighbor’s dog in Jacksonville when the toddler wandered into their yard.

He had walked away from his mother as she was unloading groceries from the car. The neighbor’s rottweiler had been chained to a pole while owner was away.

Animal rights group have been pushing for legislation to ban unattended dog tethering.

State lawmakers in Tallahassee are fast-tracking through the Legislature a proposal that would essentially eliminate permanent alimony in Florida, and also, presume most child custody arrangements begin with a 50-50 timesharing arrangement.

Senate Bill 718 does set guidelines for alimony based on the length of marriages. But permanent alimony would be virtually done away with, and instead would only last for a certain period of time, which would vary based on the circumstances of the divorce.

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