Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

Anti-voucher lawsuit tossed on a technicality

"A challenge to this year's expansion of the state's de facto school-voucher program was thrown out of court for a second time Tuesday, likely ending one of two legal threats to the system."

Leon County Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis dismissed the lawsuit "with prejudice," which essentially bars the suit from being filed again. The challenge, backed by the Florida Education Association, was seeking to reverse a 2014 law that packed together an expansion of eligibility for the voucher program with several other education measures.

"In order to sustain standing, the plaintiffs are required to allege sufficient facts to support a finding of special injury," Francis wrote. "As currently pled, the amendment [sic] complaint for declaratory judgment also fails to allege a legally sufficient basis to sustain a finding of special injury and the court is of the opinion that further amendments to the complaint will not result in a legally sufficient complaint."

Francis rebuffed claims by Faasse and two parents who joined the new lawsuit that the expansion of the Tax Credit Scholarship Program hurt them because it could lead to reduced funding for their schools.

"Lawsuit Against Voucher Expansion Thrown Out." See also "Judge dismisses voucher expansion suit."

"What's your problem? I have health insurance"

The crazies think "Medicaid expansion is bad policy for Florida."

"Cowgirl" rides into Congress

"Gwen Graham, the daughter of one of Florida's most famous families, remembers riding her horse near Miami Lakes across open cow pastures that today are jammed with condominiums, stores and restaurants."

Now the self-described cowgirl with South Florida roots is preparing to ride into Congress, bringing an "independent voice" and calling for new leadership. Graham — who will represent a sprawling district in the Panhandle that covers 14 counties and straddles two time zones — was one of very few bright spots for Democrats this election year.
"Gwen Graham rides into Congress with 'independent voice'."

"Cuba move is Florida’s top story"

"Obama’s Cuba move is Florida’s top story of 2014."

We doubt the "appreciation" is mutual

"Scott declares Florida First Responder Appreciation Week." This after state employees - including the states wildfire firefighters (i.e., first responders) - in the past six years have received only one wage increase, together with a cut to total compensation (to help fund an well-funded FRS pension).

A match made in hell: Walmart and guns

"Toddler accidentally shoots mom in Walmart."

Latest lawsuit to block gay marriages names Orlando's mayor as defendant

"A conservative group on Tuesday sued a county clerk of courts, Orlando’s mayor and a judge in an effort to stop them from helping same-sex couples get married in Florida next week. . . . The conservative group argued the lifting of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage applies to only Washington County in the Panhandle, where the legal challenge originated." "Florida group tries to stop gay marriages." Background: "Dyer agrees to big same-sex wedding at City Hall."

Privatization follies

"The VA recently learned of the breach at private contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions Inc., according to the memo, sent by VA Chief of Staff Jose D. Riojas." "Computer breach exposes data from 48,000 federal workers."