Saturday, March 29, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST March 29, 2008

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Anthony Niedwiecki Campaign for
Oakland Park City Commission

The first fundraising quarter of the year ends on Monday March 31, and ourcampaign is very close to breaking the $10,000 mark in total donations. Weneed your help to reach this milestone by Monday! Please donate any amountyou can and send a signal that we are set to move the city forward! Clickhere to contribute today!

From Mark LaFontaine
Running for Florida Legislature from House District 92

Just a quick note to let you know that I am appearing on "4 Sunday Morningwith Eliott Rodriguez" this Sunday at 11am to discuss the amendment to theFlorida Constitution that the Taxation and Reform Commission just placed onthe November ballot. This dangerous amendment will gut the section ofFlorida's Constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state.
I oppose this drastic step that would remove the prohibition on using taxdollars to fund religious activities and allow the government to earmarkyour tax dollars to sponsor government-funded religion. I think you'llagree with me in saying this is not the right direction for Florida.
Please take a few minutes to watch my interview. When I'm in theLegislature in Tallahassee I'll speak out to put an end to these right-wingattacks on our Constitution.
PS: I can't get to Tallahassee without your help. You've come through inthe past but I'd appreciate if you could contribute again before the quarterends on March 31. Click HERE to contribute to check out my website andlearn more.

From Transgender Equality

Making it clear that anti-gay bullying is destructive does not promotehomosexuality
People on the right have a troubling tendency to cherry-pick the typesof bigotry they choose to denounce. We saw this recently when Sen.John McCain issued a carefully worded, "categorical" repudiation ofRev. John Hagee's anti-Catholic remarks. McCain, who had earlierembraced Hagee's endorsement of his candidacy and publicly praised theright-wing preacher, was careful not to mention anything about Hagee'santi-gay statements or his anti-Muslim statements in his belatedrepudiation.
Unfortunately, a similar thing is happening with the Safe Schools Billthat is currently being considered in the Florida Legislature. Thebill seeks to address the problem of bullying in the public schools,which as we have seen recently can have deadly consequences. StateRep. Nick Thompson, who introduced the bill in the Florida House, hasinsisted that it is intended to protect all students from bullying. Infact, the text of the bill says it would "prohibit bullying andharassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educationalinstitution."
But in the section of the bill that defines bullying, the bill onlyspecifies "sexual, religious or racial harassment" as categories ofbullying based on a person's inherent characteristics or ethnicbackground.

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-School vouchers shouldn't be part of Florida's needed tax and budget reform
ISSUE: Since when do school vouchers qualify as a tax and budget reform?
Floridians are closer than they think to a vote on whether to spend taxdollars on religious institutions, including private schools. It's not likethe public's clamoring for it, as they are for property tax and insurancereform, but that hasn't deterred the Florida Taxation and Budget ReformCommission.,0,2486333.story?track=rss

-5 Myths About No Child Left Behind
It's the 800-pound gorilla of U.S. education. The No Child Left Behind Act(NCLB), the sweeping legislation enacted six years ago to improve publicschools, seems to make a lot of people unhappy. But President Bush,undaunted by the barrage of criticism aimed at this beleaguered measure bystates, teachers' unions and politicians on both sides of the aisle, ispushing Congress to reauthorize it this year . Many Capitol Hill observersbelieve that it won't survive without the political clout a new presidentand Congress would bring -- but after a starring role in five straightpresidential elections, education is a bit player at best in the 2008 race.
Could these widespread myths about No Child Left Behind have poisoned thewell?

-Funding may dry up for Glades restoration
Budget plans could slash health care
TALLAHASSEE - Restoration of the Everglades could come to a grinding haltunder a House plan to slash $200 million from the project because of thestate's dropping revenues.,0,1334057.story

-Florida unemployment rate holds steady
Unemployment in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties rose in Februarycompared with the same month a year ago, according to state agency figures.
Palm Beach County had the biggest jump in jobless at 4.7 percent, comparedwith 3.6 percent a year ago.,0,1263606.story

-More Broward County families becoming homeless
Linda Smith has five kids, two jobs and no home.
Her husband walked out a few months ago, she says, not telling her theirmortgage hadn't been paid and their house would soon be foreclosed. Sheworks nights at an upscale department store, substitute teaches in BrowardCounty and has no idea where she'll wind up.,0,3071327.story

-Florida's unemployment rate up sharply from a year ago
State posts 4.5% jobless rate
Construction workers bore the brunt of job losses in February, more evidenceof an unrelenting housing crisis statewide.,0,62497.story

-Increase in Florida's cigarette tax makes sense
ISSUE: Cigarette tax touted as revenue source.
Hard economic times call for drastic measures, and Florida's budget crisisqualifies as such an occasion. The current financial crunch has requiredcutting, but lawmakers also have to find new revenue options.,0,3399208.story

Steve Rothaus
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-FAU gay student group, Equality Florida hold town hall meeting on marriagevote
I moderated a town hall meeting Thursday night to discuss Florida'sconstitutional marriage amendment, which will be on the ballot in November.

Fort Report
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-Undaunted Nelson Urges Major Political Reforms
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says he fully intended to equate thetaking away of Florida's Democratic presidential delegates to historicalwrongs such as slavery or denying women and minorities the right to vote.

Miami Herald
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-Stay tough on crime -- by preventing it
In a year of the steepest budget cuts in Florida history, some state-fundedoperations will actually get more tax dollars. These would be private-prisonoperators and prison-construction companies. The Legislature is poised tospend millions of dollars to build two prisons a year for the next fiveyears. The state prison system is near capacity with nearly 100,000 inmates.

Gun lobby has property rights in its sights
In Tallahassee, you sometimes hear outlandish statements, and we all haveour favorite examples. This, year I haven't yet heard of anything as odd asthe retail industry's gun sellers being labeled ''anti-gun.'' The paradoxmight be amusing if it weren't so troubling. The U.S. Supreme Court'sdeliberation on Washington D.C.'s gun ban now promises to add another layerof irony for our consideration.

Florida's population slowing to 30-year low, study shows
A University of Florida economics professor finds Florida's population's isdipping to 30-year low.
A new study has reaffirmed a growing demographic trend in Florida: The stateis seeing its population growth slow to its lowest level in three decades.


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