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15 posts from March 20, 2013

March 20, 2013

Movers and Shakers

Three inducted into Florida Women's Hall of Fame

A nurse who committed her life to providing medical care to Tampa’s black citizens, a Florida pioneer, and a women’s rights leader will be inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame by Attorney General Pam Bondi at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Capital Courtyard. 

Nurse  Clara C. Frye, who died in 1936, transformed her Tampa home into a temporary hospital in1908 and then established the Clara Frye Negro Hospital there in 1923. A pavilion at Tampa General Hospital is named after her. Aleene Pridgen Kidd MacKenzie, a 92-year-old Ocala resident, established the FSU Foundation and in 1964, Gov. Farris Bryant  appointed her to chair the first Commission on the Status of Women; she was also the first president of a national women’s safety group. Pioneer Lillie Pierce Voss, the first non-Native American child born between Jupiter and Miami, grew up with the Seminole Indians in the wilds of what would become Palm Beach County. She and a brother later wrote a manuscript called "Pioneer Life in Southeast Florida."


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Senate's proposed education budget includes $480M for teacher pay raises

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, gave the Senate Education Appropriations Committee its first peek at his proposed education budget Wednesday, and it includes $480 million for teacher raises.

Galvano's working plan increases K-12 funding by $1.1 million -- not quite as much as Gov. Rick Scott has suggested in his own proposed budget.

But the Senate seems to be following Scott's lead on salary increases for teachers.

There is one notable difference: Scott wants all teachers to receive a $2,500 across-the-board salary increase. The Senate Education Appropriations Committee is recommending a merit-based distribution.

"We are giving discretion to the districts to award these funds," Galvano said. "We are having the districts base the award on student achievement."

Additionally, the Senate's proposed budget gives teachers $14 million to purchase classroom supplies, and beefs up school-security spending by more than $12 million.

On the higher-education front, Galvano's proposal restores the $300 million funding cut universities took last year. It also includes $58 million in new performance-based funding.

Galvano stressed that this was not the final version of the Senate's proposed education budget. He intends to make a final recommendation to Senate Budget Chairman Joe Negron by March 27, he said.

"It's good to have significant increases in our education budget and be able to restore funds where in the past, we've had to take funds," he said.

Sen. Maria Lorts Sachs, a Delray Beach Democrat, called the pitch "a good starting point."

"I've always been a great believer in home rule for our school districts," Sachs said. "I think we're beginning to get back to a common-sense approach to education."

City manager of Miramar leaves with $2.4m payout, plus $110k annual pension & insurance

@MarcACaputo via Camila Alfonso and Daniel Chang:

Robert Payton, 54, has worked for only one employer his adult life: the city of Miramar, where Payton began as a garbage collector in 1977 and rose through the ranks to become city manager, a job he held since 2001 but resigned suddenly on Monday night.

In return for his years of service, Payton will collect $2.4 million, mostly in deferred pension and retirement benefits, and a small amount of accrued sick and vacation time. He also gets 21 years of dental and health insurance, which will cost Miramar about $25,800 annually. On top of that, he will receive an annual pension of $110,593.

Explaining his resignation on Tuesday, Payton said, “The decision wasn’t rational. It was emotional.’’

Payton said he had been considering retirement for several years now, but he couldn’t settle on the right time to leave because of pressing city issues, such as the economic downturn or a municipal project.

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/19/3295465_long-time-miramar-city-manager.html#storylink=addthis#storylink=cpy

Crist would crush Scott in 2014 race, Quinnipiac poll finds

Gov. Rick Scott would lose handily to former Gov. Charlie Crist in a matchup for governor in 2014, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Crist, a Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat, would beat Scott, a Republican, by a margin of 50 percent to 34 percent, the poll found.

Scott's woeful poll numbers persist, as only 32 percent of voters say he deserves a second term in office, including 28 percent of independent voters who often are decisive in close statewide races in Florida. And by a margin of 49 percent to 36 percent (including a quarter of Republicans), Florida voters disapprove of Scott's job performance.

The lone piece of good news for Scott in the poll is that in a hypothetical Republican primary, he would crush Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam by a 2-to-1 margin (47 percent to 24 percent). Such numbers suggest that today, at least, Scott need not be concerned about a challenge from the right in 2014.

Click here for Quinnipiac press release of poll results.

-- Steve Bousquet

Five things to look for in Wednesday's legislative session

Poll numbers on Gov. Scott should make a provocative start to a day filled with several compelling legislative issues.

The House Appropriation Committee addresses for the first time how to spend about $200 million that Florida received last year in a national mortgage settlement. House leaders are looking to use the money for housing assistance for veterans, teachers and others.

The results of the latest poll on Gov. Rick Scott and his possible challengers in the 2014 election will be released by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Wednesday morning. A key question is whether the improving economy is having any impact on Scott’s dismal numbers.

Sports and arts fans will want to pay attention to House Bill 1353, which relates to the sale and resale of admission tickets, and comes up today in the House Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee. The Florida Consumer Action Network and Fan Freedom, a national fan advocate organization funded and supported by StubHub, are among the groups expected to speak against the bill, which they say would create monopolies in the event ticket industry.


In honor of Women’s History Month, three women will be inducted into the the 2012-2013 Women's Hall of Fame at 5 p.m. in the Capitol courtyard. The honorees selected by Gov. Rick Scott are Clara C. Frye, who committed her life to providing medical care to Tampa’s black citizens; 91-year-old Aleene Pridgen Kidd MacKenzie, of Miami, who established the Florida State University Foundation and has been a leader in highway safety issues; and Florida pioneer  Lillie Pierce Voss, formerly of Delray Beach.   

The Senate Health Policy Committee takes up a controversial bill (SB 876) known as the “Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, which would punish anyone who commits a crime that harms a fetus. It’s one of Planned Parenthood’s “bills to watch” this session.