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Public split on whether felons should pay fines in order to vote, new poll...

Floridians are divided almost evenly when it comes to the issue of whether felons need to pay  fines, fees or restitution before getting the right to vote.That’s according to a new Quinnipiac poll of 1,279 Florida voters conducted between June 12-17.Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to soon sign the bill that implements Amendment 4, the 2018 constitutional amendment voters approved to restore voting rights to felons in Florida.The bill is controversial because GOP lawmakers passed legislation requiring felons to pay any fines, fees or restitution owed before getting back the right to vote. Supporters of the amendment said that...

Progress Florida grades Florida lawmakers’ 2019 votes

Thirteen Florida legislators won a progressive organization’s title of “People’s Champions” for their votes on key legislation during the 2019 legislative session. That’s up from three legislators the year before on Progress Florida’s “People’s First” report card.Republicans scored much lower on the progressive nonprofit’s key priorities, including a new law making it more difficult to promote citizens’ initiatives to amend the Florida Constitution; the “billionaire boondoggle” plan to push toll roads through undeveloped Florida; and the plan to arm classroom teachers.“Florida politicians like to talk a good game when it comes to supporting Florida families, but this scorecard shows...

Trump nominee confirmed to lifetime position as U.S. District Judge in North Florida

Allen Winsor, an appellate judge in Florida whose nomination to U.S. District Court was fiercely opposed by a coalition of progressive groups, was confirmed on Wednesday to serve as a district judge in the Northern District of Florida.It’s a lifetime appointment for the 43-year-old Winsor, a Tallahassee resident, who was nominated by President Trump in April of 2018 for the judgeship. The position is a key one, because the North Florida courtroom is where cases against state government get heard.Winsor has been serving on the 1st District Court of Appeal since 2016. Prior to that he served nearly three...
A Ga. coal plant which serves Jacksonville. (JEA Photo)

Kathy Castor says Trump power plant rule is a new form of climate denial

The Trump administration finalized its rollback of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan on Wednesday, and a Florida Congresswoman called it “a new form of climate denial.”The historic Clean Power Plan would have ushered in a shift for power companies to switch from coal-fired plants to clean, renewable energy sources  like solar and wind.The Trump administration intends to replace the Clean Power Plan with its own Affordable Clean Energy rule, or ACE, which requires businesses to cut  their  2030 carbon emissions 35 percent over 2005 levels. However, some of the country’s biggest power companies, including Duke Energy, have vowed...

Getting that FL Bright Futures scholarship just got a little harder

The future may be a little less bright for minority students seeking to qualify for Bright Futures merit scholarships to pay for their tuition and fees at state colleges and universities.Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill (SB 190) into law that will raise qualifying test scores for high school students graduating in the spring of 2021 and beyond.Students seeking the highest Bright Futures awards, which pay full tuition and fees at state universities and colleges, would have to score a 1330 on the SAT administered by the College Board, up from the current 1290. Bright Futures scholarships...

Pinellas county town of Safety Harbor becomes the latest Florida community to pledge to...

The City Commission of Safety Harbor voted unanimously this week to be the ninth Florida city pledging a goal of  100 percent clean, renewable energy. The Commission approved a resolution to eliminate fossil fuels for town operations by 2035, and for everyone in the community by 2050.The campaign to get local governments to commit to a clean energy portfolio that eschews the use of fossil fuels is led by the Sierra Club, and now includes over 120 cities in the U.S. Six of those cities, including Burlington, Vermont and Boulder, Colorado, now generate 100 percent of the energy used...
University of Florida

Virtual Alexa is moving into the college admissions world

For kids navigating the college admissions process, don’t worry about parents, test prep coordinators and guidance counselors: a robot has your back.The virtual computerized personal assistant with a female voice used by Amazon devices – the Alexa you hear on TV commercials – is moving into the college admissions world, courtesy of testing giant ACT.Do you want to know when to register for the ACT college entrance exam and how much it will cost? What about what the ACT test measures and how students can get test-prep coaching for the test that can make or break a kid’s chances...
Joe Biden

New poll shows 6 Democrats either leading or in statistical tie with Donald Trump...

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump, 50 percent to 41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday.The poll shows that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also lead Trump in Florida, albeit by smaller margins. Among those polled, Sanders leads Trump 48 percent to 42 percent, while Warren leads the president, 47 percent to 43 percent.The Quinnipiac survey of 1,279 Florida voters was conducted between June 12-17, and has a margin of error of 3.3 percent.Three other Democrats running for president are shown to be in a statistical tie with the president if...
Debris World Trade Center

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott joins 31 D’s, 9 R’s, and 2 indies cosponsoring aid...

Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott announced on Tuesday that he is backing legislation funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which supports 9/11 survivors and first responders who have experienced health issues following the terrorist attacks.Thirty-three Democratic U.S. senators are cosponsoring the legislation being sponsored by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. According to Congress.gov, Scott now becomes the tenth Republican to sign on as a co-sponsor.“I was in New York City on September 11, 2001, and saw the terror and devastation inflicted on our nation,” Scott said in a written statement. “Americans around the world felt this attack....
Florida Phoenix

Florida Democrats say they’re prepared for Donald Trump’s “distractions”

Hours before Donald Trump was scheduled to appear before a large crowd in Orlando to officially kick off his 2020 reelection campaign, Florida Democrats held a media briefing where they mostly discussed health care, the key issue that the national party believes helped them win 40 seats in the House of Representatives in the 2018 election midterm.Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says the party intends to run a positive agenda that won’t be dominated by criticizing what Trump has done as president.But a year ago, the state’s Democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Gillum, was put on defense early...

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