Thursday, December 14, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: A fair way to right immigration wrong

In voting to allow Jose Godinez-Samperio to qualify as a lawyer, the Florida Senate has taken a stand against the nation's irrational and shortsighted immigration policies. Now the House needs to agree this week, and Gov. Rick Scott needs to sign this fix into law. The Senate should also find a way to be as farsighted and let Florida high school graduates brought here illegally by their parents years ago to qualify for in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

Godinez-Samperio, 27, is a prime example of how immigration policies can ultimately undermine the country's own interests. Floridians already have invested heavily in Godinez-Samperio, who arrived here at age 9 when his parents illegally immigrated from Mexico. The Eagle Scout and high school valedictorian attended public schools and universities, received a law degree from Florida State University and passed the Florida Bar exam. He is here legally, obtained a federal tax ID and has a Social Security card. He falls under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, which enables younger undocumented immigrants to remain here legally for a two-year period that can be renewed. But as a paralegal in Clearwater, he contributes far less to the tax base and the legal profession than he could as an attorney.

A sympathetic Florida Supreme Court concluded it could not help, citing federal law that bars undocumented immigrants from obtaining such "public benefits" as a professional license unless the state carves out an exemption. That's what California did earlier this year and what Florida would do under an amendment to HB 755, which the Senate passed Friday and sent to the House.

The House, under Speaker Will Weatherford, has already shown leadership by voting to let children who are raised in Florida but were brought here illegally by their parents years ago to qualify for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. The Senate, which has so far refused to hear that proposal, should reconsider for the same reasons the chamber embraced the fix for Godinez-Samperio. It makes no sense to thwart the talent of Florida's ambitious young immigrants who, against all odds, have managed to excel and contribute to our communities.

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Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesdayís special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17