Friday, February 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Repeal biased county policy on gay events

Hillsborough County has a chance Wednesday to join the growing national march to give gays the dignity and decency all humans deserve. Commissioner Kevin Beckner will propose that Hillsborough repeal a ban the commission adopted in 2005 that bars county government from recognizing gay events. The entire board should welcome the chance to end a wholesale form of discrimination that has served only to embarrass constituents, scare away business and create an image of the county as a bigoted backwater.

The ban is a legacy left by then-Commissioner Ronda Storms, who moved at a board meeting in June 2005 that the county not acknowledge or participate in gay pride events. Her colleagues spent all of two minutes on the matter before adopting a ban that said gays were not worth recognizing in the county's eyes. The board followed up that act of prejudice by approving a second Storms' proposal that requires a super-majority vote to overturn the policy. Kathy Castor, the only commissioner to vote against both measures, is now Tampa's U.S. House representative.

This galling display of bigotry was years behind the times for the fourth-largest county in the fourth-largest state. Beckner's proposal is narrowly tailored to undo the damage. It would not have the county recognize gay-sponsored events — that decision would be separate and left to this and future boards. His proposal would merely remove the barrier and allow commissioners to look at gay-sponsored events as they do any other civic activity.

The states, national leaders from both parties and even the Boy Scouts have begun to see gay rights issues for what they are — fundamental questions about equal treatment. Commissioners should also recognize that their deplorable history on this issue ignores what their constituents in the city of Tampa, which has broad equal-rights protections, support. Commissioners should join the evolution that is taking place and begin to refashion the county as a welcoming environment for all.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18