10/6/17: Influx Of Puerto Ricans, Resegregation And Medical Marijuana

Oct 6, 2017

From the influx of Puerto Ricans to Florida, to school choice and medical marijuana, here's a roundup and examination of this week's news in Florida.

The continuing devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is accelerating an existing diaspora from the U.S. commonwealth to the Sunshine State. Florida has already seen an influx of Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, as a result of the island’s ongoing debt crisis.

Now, Gov. Rick Scott is offering these refugees Florida schooling and residency. But some analysts say, eventually, that could radically reshape the state’s political landscape.

Two studies into Florida’s education system are throwing school choice advocates, traditional public school supporters and the state’s lawmakers into a renewed debate over education policy.

One study concludes children in private schools do better in college and another finds traditional public schools are on the path to resegregation.

The state is blaming Hurricane Irma and a new legal challenge to its rulemaking process for missing a deadline for adding to medical marijuana licenses.

The health department’s Office of Medical Marijuana was supposed to award an additional five growers medical marijuana licenses by Tuesday, Oct. 3, but sent a letter to lawmakers late last week saying they’d be late.

The reason? The office blames diverting resources for Hurricane Irma preparation and recovery and a legal challenge by a black farmer who argues the new medical marijuana rules put most potential black growers at a disadvantage.