Sunday, November 19, 2017
Editorials

Bad bills still lurking at Capitol

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Doctors take an oath to do no harm. The same should be required of Florida legislators. With two weeks left in the legislative session, some of the best decisions so far have been to stop bad ideas. But there are plenty of others that lawmakers should kill before they adjourn March 9.

Thankfully dead

Casinos Ambitious plans to add a pair of Vegas-style casinos were rife with bad consequences, including the biggest expansion of gambling in the state's history. That's economic development Florida doesn't need. (HB 487/SB 710)

Private prisons When the Legislature looks to exempt itself from the requirements it puts on everyone else, watch out. Senate leaders never made a good case (as required under law) for this rush to privatize so many prisons across 18 South Florida counties. (SB 2038)

Bad faith A surprising defeat in a House committee early this session killed insurance companies' perennial effort to make it harder to sue them on allegations that they acted in "bad faith" in refusing to settle a claim. (HB 427/SB 1224)

Legislative immunity A last-ditch House effort to shield lawmakers from producing documents or giving testimony in civil actions, including on redistricting, died quickly once its hubris was exposed. (HB 7123)

Should be dead

citizens property insurance takeouts This bad idea would allow unregulated companies to take over policies written by the state's insurer of last resort, leaving homeowners without vital consumer protections. (HB 245/SB 578)

Politicizing selection of judges A plan to give the governor power to remove his members of judicial nominating commissions would just further politicize judge selection, undermining courts' independence as a third branch of government. (HB 971/SB 1570)

More politics on water management Last year the governor and Legislature undercut decades of science-based policy by slashing tax revenues for Florida's five water management districts. Now Senate leaders want to restore some of that funding but still maintain authority over districts' budgets, ensuring special interest politics, not science, dominate decisionmaking. (SB 1986)

Abortion Nearly four decades after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled women have a right to make their own reproductive decisions, bills would make access to an abortion even harder for women by mandating new training requirements for doctors, requiring a 24-hour waiting period and insisting any new abortion clinic be owned by a doctor. (HB 277/SB 290)

Minimum wage This half-cooked idea would allow restaurants to cut the state's minimum wage in half, from $4.65 an hour to $2.13, as it applies to restaurant servers, so-called "tipped employees." (SB 2106)

Comments

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17