Wednesday, February 06, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST February 6, 2008

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Not allowing gay marriage violates constitutional rights

February 6, 2008

The entire idea of banning gay marriage is nothing short of discrimination.Why don't homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals? Republicanpresidential candidate Mike Huckabee quoted the Declaration of Independenceat the New Hampshire debate saying, "All men are created equal."

However, it is solely due to his religious beliefs that taxpaying gays andlesbians in America are not allowed to wed. In other words, homosexuals maynot get married because it goes against a dominant American religion. Thatdoesn't say much about all men being created equal; especially when onetakes into account the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I brought this up in an e-mail with Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and was luckyenough to get an automated response on the issue. He or his secretary toldme that he doesn't agree with me, and "Rep. Daniel Lungren, R-Calif.,proposed a constitutional amendment (HJ Resolution 22) that declaresmarriage in the United States shall consist of the union of a man and awoman."

Here's one more unconstitutional and dictatorial piece of legislationrestricting American civil rights. I wrote back and disputed his arguments.Again, I received an automated response. I suppose the senator opposes thehomosexual right to wed because of ignorance, the root of all intolerance.

Justin Torner



Insurance companies in Florida used loophole in law to bypass required ratesavings

Companies used loophole in law to justify increases

By Julie Patel
February 6, 2008


It appears some of the state's biggest insurers tried to use loopholes in alaw to skirt a requirement that they pass savings from a state-backedfinancial safety net to homeowners.

That's one of the conclusions drawn Tuesday after two days of Senatehearings on compliance with a law passed last year to quell Florida'sproperty insurance crisis.

Executives from insurance companies testified under oath about why theydidn't reduce prices for consumers, as the Legislature demanded last year inexchange for offering insurers cheaper backup storm coverage.

With the annual legislative session starting in March, lawmakers said theycould consider fixing loopholes in last year's law.

In one such gap, the law didn't explicitly indicate methods insurers can'tuse to predict risk and ultimately set insurance policy prices, said Sen.Steve Geller, D-Hallandale Beach.

more . . . . .


Confused Florida voters wanted to vote on Super Tuesday

By Robert Perez
The Orlando Sentinel
February 6, 2008


Millions of Americans in 24 states turned out to vote in Super Tuesdaypresidential primaries from Georgia to Alaska. Some dedicated if confusedFlorida voters tried to as well.

Elections offices across the state reported hundreds of calls from voterswanting to know where they could vote Tuesday. The answer was that Floridaalready had its presidential primary - last week.

"We've had over 100 calls, at least, over the last two days," said KathyAdams, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Supervisor of ElectionsOffice.

"Florida already voted, so don't go to your polls today," was the advicefrom Mary Cooney, director of public service at the Broward Supervisor ofElections Office.

In Orange County, officials had to deal with a combination of confusedvoters from Florida and California.

more . . . . .


Supporters of African-American Research Library protest budget cuts

By Scott Wyman
February 6, 2008

Supporters of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Centerrallied Tuesday to protect it from cuts expected from county government inlight of voter approval of a property tax relief plan.

The county has retreated partly on one of the issues that prompted thesupporters to launch their campaign. The center's former executive director,Alicia Antone, was reinstated to management in the library system, but in alower-level job at a different location.

Antone is now the assistant regional manager of the South Regional Libraryfollowing negotiations with county officials over her dismissal last month.The library supporters raised concerns over her dismissal.

Led by Gwen Hankerson, a retired teacher and chairwoman of theAfrican-American library's Elder's Council, a group of more than two dozenlibrary supporters asked the County Commission to address staffing levels atthe library. They also said the county must protect the library's status asone of only three public libraries in the nation focused on black historyand culture.

The county must cut at least $94 million from its $1.3 billion budget forgeneral operations next year. The library system comprises 7 percent of thatspending.

Five of the center's 49 positions need to be filled. Robert Cannon, directorof the county's library system, said the vacancies are in line with those atother libraries.

The entire library system has about 900 employees, he said.

Antone was fired as the African-American library's director less than a yearafter she was hired. A letter of termination signed by Cannon asked Antoneto return her office keys and employee ID, but gave no reason for thedismissal.

Cannon said Tuesday that Antone will receive the same pay at South Regional.


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