Friday, May 25, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Florida's trouble-plagued jobless website

Does this sound familiar? A government agency rolls out a highly touted website designed to help more than a million people, only to be overwhelmed by problems that make gaining access to the promised benefits a Sisyphean task. But this isn't about shopping for health insurance on the federal government's balky website. It's about the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's $63 million CONNECT system for the unemployed to apply for benefits. Just as President Barack Obama should be held accountable for issues with the health insurance website, Gov. Rick Scott should be open about the problems with the state's system and how his administration is working to fix them.

Scott sowed the seeds of the problem when the state required jobless Floridians to apply for unemployment benefits online. That would require a state computer system that works efficiently. CONNECT doesn't. And it might even be illegal, as the U.S. Labor Department investigates whether an Internet-only claims process violates federal law. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is urging the Labor Department to also investigate the sputtering CONNECT website. Developed by New York-based Deloitte, CONNECT debuted Oct. 13, 10 months behind schedule. After initially touting the system's success, state officials now acknowledge thousands of claims were delayed or deleted because of technical errors, while other unemployed residents were blocked from entering the website to apply for benefits. The agency's help line became so clogged that only one of every 25 callers was able to speak to someone.

Scott should provide a thorough, candid explanation for why a $63 million website fails to work properly. Until it does, he should open up the unemployment benefits process by allowing residents to apply for benefits in person.

Floridians who are unemployed should not face further hardship and delays in receiving financial help they are entitled to receive just because a state computer system doesn't work.

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Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyang’s nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Korea’s Kim Jong ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18