Former DCF chief gets job in Washington
George Sheldon, a Democrat who ran Florida's Department of Children and Families under Gov. Charlie Crist, is taking a job in the Obama administration. The Buzz is Sheldon will land in a ranking position at Department of Health and Human Services. Sheldon, 63, was highly regarded in his role at the DCF and asked to stay on during the transition of Gov. Rick Scott, who eventually brought in his own secretary, David Wilkins.
Summer courses could become rule
Universities can require all students — no matter how many college credits they earned in high school — to attend summer terms under a bill headed to the governor. The measure, which was a priority of the state Board of Governors, is part of an effort to better utilize facilities during the summer. Under current law, universities can't make students attend summer terms if they have earned nine or more credits through such programs as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate. Among other things, HB 7151 also lets universities keep abandoned property instead of being required to auction it. Universities say that lets them, for instance, use abandoned bicycles as part of an on-campus loan program. The legislation requires a study to determine what students would need to score on AP exams for college credits.
Reapportionment meetings planned
Meeting in the House chamber Friday morning, legislators announced the first round of statewide public meetings on reapportionment, the once-a-decade job of redrawing all legislative and congressional districts to conform to population changes. "This process will only be successful if we let the public start the conversation," House Speaker Dean Cannon told lawmakers. "Your task this summer will be much more about listening than talking." Here is the schedule for the first four public meetings: June 20, Tallahassee, Capitol, 412 Knott Building, 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; June 21: Milton, Milton Community Center, 10-1 p.m.; June 21: Fort Walton Beach, Fort Walton Beach High, 6-9 p.m.; June 22: Panama City, Gulf Coast Community Center, 10-1 p.m. The second round of public forums in July will be held in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, the Villages and Gainesville.
Petition for recalls getting signatures
Rep. Rick Kriseman couldn't get the Legislature interested in his measures to allow for recall of elected state officials. But the St. Petersburg Democrat says the public was interested. Kriseman fired off a letter to House Speaker Dean Cannon on Friday saying that an informal online petition in favor of his proposals (HJR 785 and HB 787) had garnered more than 25,000 signatures. "While it's disappointing to see these proposals ignored, the enthusiasm for them from people outside the Capitol has made their filing worthwhile. In fact, an informal online petition in support of these bills has garnered more than 25,000 signatures in just the past month. The conclusion of session may signal the end of this legislation and make support for it moot, but it should not and will not signal the end of Floridians demanding a better government." Kriseman sent along nearly 2,000 pages of online comments from the public.
Times staff writers Alex Leary, Jodie Tillman and Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.