Bill supports early learning
Just a few days after the inauguration, the House of Representatives passed the READ Act (HR 601) — legislation that has the potential to improve the lives of children around the world who don't have access to a quality education. ("Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development" is the new name for the reintroduced "Education for All" Act, which passed in the House last year but was blocked in the Senate).
The READ bill will strengthen the accountability and transparency of U.S. global basic education programs to ensure our investments are working, and improve education services for girls and for children affected by conflict or emergencies.
We can still make good things happen, even in the current deeply divided political climate — but the Senate needs to hear from us. I'm hoping others will join me in calling or writing to Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and asking that they support the READ Act. Let's affirm that, as Americans, we still care deeply about improving the lives of children.
Beatrice Boles, Coral Springs
Anger isn't persuasive | Jan. 26, letter
Obviously, the letter writer was not at the Women's March in St. Petersburg. I was. I did not see anger or yelling, and everyone's opinion was welcomed. We even saw Trump supporters. I did see lots of singing, laughter and optimism. It was the most productive march I have attended.
We know democracy is messy and requires input from the people. Maybe, instead of judging, the writer should come out and see for herself.
Mary Sheppard, Riverview
Democracy in action
I am one of the 20,000-plus people who participated in the Women's March in St. Petersburg. Contrary to the letter writer, it was a joyous, empowering group whose most "militant scream" was "love trumps hate."
It was democracy in action.
Roberta Rhodes, St. Pete Beach
Rules on pot fall short | Jan. 27, editorial
Respect voters' wishes
Access to medical cannabis (marijuana) is very limited due to the number of certified physicians, cost, pharmacy access and the number of conditions treated. The Florida Board of Health and the Board of Medicine want to restrict access even further. The 71 percent of us who voted for Amendment 2 stated it very clearly: Physicians may recommend cannabis for conditions similar to the 10 diseases listed in the amendment if the benefits outweigh the risks.
The Department of Health's tentative rules say that only they determine similar conditions — not your treating physician. We must speak up and demand what our supermajority asked for.
Jim Funk, Gainesville
Build a reservoir
Florida is known for its natural beauty. Unfortunately, its waterways have recently been known for something else — toxic blue-green algae.
Luckily, there is a solution to this crisis by way of building a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers will have the chance to act on such an opportunity and help to stop Florida from becoming synonymous with closed beaches and water that is not safe for anyone to enter.
John Hand, Ruskin