The Florida Education Association endorsed Charlie Crist for Governor on Saturday. The recommendation was long expected. The state’s teachers’ union has been concerned about the continued assault on public schools under the Scott Administration and the current legislative leadership. However, many activists have questioned the FEA’s endorsement based on Crist’s previous record on issues related to public education and teacher tenure. The union endorsement is arguably the biggest catch yet for Crist though many viewed the announcement as a formality. – KK @kkfla737
Rep. Matt Gaetz recently gave away the game when it comes to Florida conservatives and medical marijuana. Last week, Gaetz the Younger intimated to the Northwest Florida Daily News that his “Charlotte’s Web” bill co-sponsored by Rep. Katie Edwards is exactly what many of us thought it was: a weak-tea gambit to undermine real medical marijuana reform. In a sophistic non sequitur, Gaetz told Tom McLaughlin:
I hope passage of the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act shows people we’ve done the responsible thing and that legalizing euphoric marijuana for functionally recreational purposes would be unnecessary and undesirable.
The 88 percent of Floridians in favor of medical marijuana support more than an extremely narrow program allowing children who suffer from repetitive seizures to take a non-euphoric pharmaceutical drug derived from marijuana, as provided for in the Gaetz-Edwards bill. Although it’s a mitzvah that these children will rightly get medicinal relief for what ails them, the Legislature will almost certain discover in November that Charlotte’s Web is indeed a Gaetzway drug to stronger stuff. -RR @ryanrayryanray
The Republican Party continues its attack on the civil liberties of Florida voters, claiming before an appellate court that reapportionment-related documents properly available to the public are proprietary trade secrets. Though The League of Women Voters of Florida, et al. v. The Florida House of Representatives, et al. and Rene Romo, et al. v. The Florida House of Representatives, et al., Florida Supreme Court cases we’ve written about before, establish a principle of legislative privilege seen in most other states, not even that could shield Florida Republicans’ sordid secrets from becoming public domain. So they’ve stooped to a new legal low: claiming that material related to perhaps their most important constitutional duty — drawing the polities in which we vote, essentially creating communities of interest with the borders they demarcate — is their own personal intellectual property.
The Legislature, overseen by the state Supreme Court, is accorded the right to draw districts — not Republican consulting firms. Florida voters reaffirmed this in 2010 by passing the Fair Districts amendment. To claim that documents germane to the process are private property is an insult to democracy. Here’s hoping the Terry Lewis’ Second Judicial Court teaches them that crucial civics lesson over the next two weeks. – RR @ryanrayryanray
The porous state of America’s infrastructure is hindering our recovery and if we are going to get serious about building an economy and infrastructure fit for 21st century, the conversation must start with an infrastructure bank, be it at the national level or the state however the latter seems the more probable as Congress seems distracted by Benghazi. There is hope however. Last year, the Us Senate brought up the The BRIDGE Act sponsored by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and cosponsored by a host of others that would create such an institution. I’ll be looking at this idea in depth in the coming weeks. – JS @JustinSnyderFL
Concerns are abound about the election of Narendra Modi as Indian Prime Minister. Modi previously been denied a Visa to the United States by the Bush Administration for his alleged role in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state of Gujarat where he was the Chief Minister. The United States has continued to keep Modi on a sort of “blacklist” since. This weekend, President Obama extended an olive branch stating as a head of state, Modi now could travel to the United States. Modi was elected largely by younger people (similar to Obama in the United States) who are tired of corruption and politics as usual. However, many of these voters seem to have ignored the Prime Minister designee’s alleged history of religious and ethnic bigotry. No question exists that Modi’s adherence to free market principles moved his state forward economically in a nation that was becoming largely stagnant economically due to corruption and bureaucratic control but his rise to power does have historically dubious parallels in twentieth century Europe. The hope is that Modi who claims he had no anti-Muslim bigotry is telling the truth even though the record and even some of his previous public statements tell otherwise. But this weekend younger Indian voters and many in the Indian press attacked the United States for its alleged bigotry for denying Modi a Visa. This to me is an ominous sign about India’s near future. As for us, the United States was fighting two wars in Muslim countries at the time when Modi’s Visa application was denied with troops on the ground in highly dangerous situations. The Bush Administration did the right and just thing but some in India seem to feel hate speech and hate crimes are less serious than we do here in the west. – KK @kkfla737
Imagine a bountiful forest. And then — no one can say quite why — a small handful of the trees suddenly grow tall. Much taller. They became so tall and strong and broad that they block the sunlight from all the other trees. The other trees begin to wilt, and wither, and disappear. Their roots crack, and split, and turn to dust. And one day, not long after, even the roots of the tallest trees can find no water, can grip no soil. They begin to fall. Soon the whole forest becomes a desert… When societies allow the rich to grow into the super-rich, they are limiting what those societies can achieve.” – @umairh
– –JS @JustinSnyderFL