Scott: Ax drug data bank | Feb. 9
Scott should work to address drug problem
Gov. Rick Scott wants to repeal legislation to provide Florida with a prescription drug database, which would be a respectable step forward in thwarting this epidemic.
I understand that there are loopholes to the legislation; I understand that funding is needed. What I don't understand is why we can't put our big-boy pants on, scoot over a little bit in the sandbox to make room for others, and help each other with this problem.
I'm assuming it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Scott has never had, or experienced somebody else who has, an addiction to prescription pills. Maybe the most intimate contact he has had with this harrowing epidemic has been headlines in the newspaper.
I just wish he would concentrate on how to help the citizens of the state he governs.
Todd Cianci, Clearwater
To the voters of who thought that bringing someone in as governor whose only record was making millions in corporate America, please don't act shocked that he is looking to get rid of the drug data bank before it's implemented. Scott is not interested in hurting drug company profits.
He is looking to cut middle-class jobs, close parks, cut retirement benefits and cut Medicaid, but he will give corporations tax breaks.
So next election, please look beyond the veiled promises and think: Does someone who has made a fortune in corporate America really have the middle class in mind?
Diane Pearson, Dunedin
Twenty-five years ago, Michigan dealt with this problem. I was director of our health care regulatory agency at the time and coordinated the campaign. The system had widespread support from the health community, including pharmacists. It continues unchallenged today.
The only losers if this change is implemented will be those who market these controlled substance on the streets, and their victims.
Elizabeth Howe, St. Petersburg
Scott: Ax drug data bank | Feb. 9
Gaming the system
Gov. Rick Scott has been caught being extra nice to his pen pals in the pharmaceutical and medical industries through his attempt to ax the drug data bank. There can be no other explanation to his plan to remove funding from one of the best tools for protecting citizens that our dysfunctional Legislature has proposed. If instituted, it can protect unwary doctors from pill shoppers, help identify addicts for treatment and aid law enforcement in slowing the illicit distribution of fraudulently obtained prescription drugs.
It simply proves that gaming the system does not require you to be one of the hated "old-line politicians."
Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa
Database would save lives
I have seen firsthand what prescription pain medication addiction can do. I assume Gov. Rick Scott has not. I was saddened and disappointed to learn he is trying to repeal the state prescription drug monitoring program.
These substances are extremely addicting and difficult to stay off due to the intense cravings of withdrawal. But we are still making it too easy for people to feed their addiction. Rather than having to obtain these drugs on the street, addicts doctor- shop and fill many prescriptions at different pharmacies legally. It is also absurd the way Florida makes it easy for people from out of state to take advantage of our lack of monitoring.
Although addicts will always find a way to get drugs, this database would curtail the amount getting into an addict's hands and thus save lives.
Christine Fazio, Trinity
Obama as Reagan? Hope not | Feb. 9, commentary
I can assure Michael Kinsley that Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan. There are many defining differences, but the main one would be Reagan's regard for this country. "When the Lord calls me home, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future."
In one of his apologies for America, Obama said: "In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."
Nope, no Ronald Reagan there.
Lynn O'Keefe, Largo
Against the Constitution
I can't understand why we are still having a conversation about school vouchers. The Supreme Court of Florida has found school vouchers to be unconstitutional, period.
Florida's Constitution states "adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high-quality system of free public schools." The Supreme Court found the term "uniform" to be the key as to why school vouchers cannot be funded with tax monies. The court also found this to be the sole means set out in the Constitution for the state to provide for the education of Florida's children. Public schools have to take every pupil who applies, while private schools can pick and choose. Private schools do not have to hire credentialed teachers, do not face the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, and do not have to teach a standardized curriculum. What about children who are homeschooled? Do we just hand these people $5,500?
I believe there are two main reasons why Gov. Rick Scott wants to implement school vouchers: first and foremost to gut the public school system, and second to place more public tax money into religion.
Michael Younglove, Brandon
Pension overhaul urged | Feb. 2
Dedicated public servants
I am a 50-year resident of Florida and a 24-year state employee. As the Legislature meets, I ask officials to consider the plight of state workers.
We at the Public Health Department have fought long and hard to serve and protect the health of the residents of our state. We have always faced budget cuts involving the elimination of vital programs, staffing positions and even shortages of supplies as the fiscal year ends. Many of us have found it necessary over the years to supplement our state income by working a second job. We have not received a pay increase since 2006, and this is not the first financial drought that we have experienced.
The people who work in the public health field are truly public servants, as we have to be dedicated to the cause to enter the field. The only financial reward for this commitment has been the Florida Retirement System pension fund. As employees who have not made a lot of money, it has been difficult for many to save toward contributing to our future retirement fund. We were promised and looked forward to this reward at the end of our career. We are now hearing that FRS will be changed, that we will be required to contribute from our already overburdened personal budgets and that the Deferred Retirement Option Program will be discontinued.
Despite our lack of pay increases, gas, groceries and almost every commodity to survive in life have had dramatic price increases. It has been said that the taxpayers should not have to bear the responsibility of our FRS. However, we are taxpayers as well. I sincerely hope that all these important factors are taken into consideration when an overhaul of the Florida Retirement System is addressed.
Rita L. Judge, Zephyrhills
Scott's proposal delivers on cuts | Feb. 8
Was it just me or was it bitterly ironic to have Gov. Rick Scott unveil his budget at a Baptist church?
How can any Christian organization give such official comfort to a budget that makes crippling cuts in services for the poor, young, students and disabled? Talk about money changers in the temple!
Damon Rona, Tampa
Legislators rip Scott's proposals for budget Feb. 9
Lawmakers complained that the governor wasn't forthcoming with details on his budget. Careful, folks. If you get too bothersome with the details, he might plead the Fifth.
Doug Bauer, Clearwater