Friday, April 20, 2018
Editorials

Bad bills still lurking at Capitol

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)

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Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18
Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Any movement on modernizing local transportation is welcome, even small steps like the million dollars the state recently approved to design a Tampa Bay regional transit plan.But the region won’t make any progress on transportation, its single most p...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Editorial: Fight harder on citrus greening

A new report by scientists advising the federal government finds no breakthrough discovery for managing citrus greening, a chronic disease killing Florida’s citrus industry. This should be a wake-up call to bring greater resources to the fight.The re...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Editorial: Floridians should focus more on health

A new snapshot of the nation’s health shows a mixed picture for Florida and the challenges that residents and the health care community face in improving the quality of life.Americans are living longer, exercising more and doing better at managing th...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18