Friday, September 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Don’t cut Healthy Start funding

Healthy Start is a proven program that supports thousands of at-risk pregnant women and their babies every year. But to lawmakers looking to find savings in the state budget, itís a target. Reducing funding for Healthy Start would do immeasurable harm to a population that needs maximum support. Lawmakers should look elsewhere to save money.

If anything, Healthy Start funding should increase. Last year, the program provided services such as home visits, childbirth education, parenting resources and substance abuse education for 80,000 pregnant women and 56,000 infants. One advocate called it "the glue" holding together the web of social services for expectant mothers. Since the program started in 1991, the state has seen a 35 percent decrease in infant mortality. But Senate negotiators appear determined to cut it, at one point calling for a $19 million cut, nearly a third of the programís budget. They claimed they wanted to eliminate "duplication" with other programs. But Healthy Start is of particular value to women in rural areas where community services are limited and there are unlikely to be redundancies. Cutting Healthy Start funding would be a heartless move that harms mothers, babies, and eventually, whole communities.

There is a connection between childhood poverty and juvenile crime. The Tampa Bay Timesí recent "Hot Wheels" series about the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County is a perfect, sobering example. Police were called to the home of one young car thief when he was less than 7 weeks old because his parents were fighting. His father went to prison for drugs when he was 4 months old. He was a toddler when child abuse investigators noticed scratches on his face and hemorrhaging in his eye. He was arrested for the first time at age 11 and caught crashing a stolen car at 14.

Florida cannot afford to abandon children who are born with so much going against them. Healthy Start is one proven way to improve their odds, by keeping their mothers healthy during pregnancy, teaching them how to become good parents and connecting them with critical services that give these families a fighting chance. Lawmakers should be increasing the investment in this program, not cutting it.

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Here are some selected readings from the left and from the right

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.FROM THE LEFTFrom “The Fate and Future of Chris...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

State and federal lending regulations exist to protect consumers from being surprised — and overwhelmed — by ballooning debt. Marlin Financial, a shadowy auto lender doing business around Florida, seems to be skirting those protections ...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Vote by mail has been a stunning success in Florida, increasing turnout and making it easy and convenient to cast a ballot with time to research and reflect. But a new study shows that mail ballots cast by African-American, Hispanic or younger voters...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

In addition to a lesson on political patronage, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam needs a refresher on the particulars of state public records law.In January 2017, Putnam hired the 27-year-old son of a former Publix executive to a high-pay...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

There should be a timely investigation of the allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh before senators hear from him and his accuser, let alone vote on whether they should confirm his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The proces...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18