Florida Legislature
Featured image for “Opinion: August is the cruelest month”
July 31, 2022

Opinion: August is the cruelest month

T.S. Eliot famously posited that “April is the cruelest month.” This tells us that he didn’t follow primary politics in Florida, because if he did, he would know the real brutality comes in August. Local general elections often aren’t in doubt, as was underscored recently when election expert Larry Sabato went ahead and declared the 4th Congressional District “safe Republican”

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Featured image for “Opinion: ‘Fair Districts’ vote wasn’t the last word”
July 6, 2022

Opinion: ‘Fair Districts’ vote wasn’t the last word

After losing the governor’s mansion in 1998 and losing both chambers of the state Legislature a few years prior, Florida Democrats were frustrated. They saw 2012 as an opportunity to reset the playing field. That was the year the state Senate and House would participate in the once-in-a-decade process of redrawing the congressional and legislative maps. The Democrats, understandably, didn’t

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Featured image for “Opinion: To stabilize property insurance, focus on resilience”
May 25, 2022

Opinion: To stabilize property insurance, focus on resilience

There is a reason why very few people lived in Florida until the middle of the 20th Century. It’s often intolerably hot, thunderstorms come out of nowhere and cause flooding, and periodically a hurricane will wipe out large swaths of whatever is in the mighty storm’s path. It’s risky to live in Florida. Therefore, it is no surprise that insurance

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Featured image for “What Duval Schools is cutting from its LGBTQ+ Support Guide”
May 17, 2022

What Duval Schools is cutting from its LGBTQ+ Support Guide

In response to Florida’s new, critic-dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” law, Duval County Public Schools plans to slash the district’s decade-old 37-page LGBTQ+ Support Guide down to an 8-page section of a larger student support manual and strip out almost all sentences that explicitly protect transgender students’ rights. Under the proposal, the district would also adopt a new parental notification policy

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Featured image for “‘It all boils down to one paragraph.’ Duval Schools could change its LGBTQ support guide Tuesday”
May 16, 2022

‘It all boils down to one paragraph.’ Duval Schools could change its LGBTQ support guide Tuesday

The Duval County School Board is set to meet Tuesday morning to discuss an update to its LGBTQ support guide, which district attorneys have been revising to comply with Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which critics call “Don’t Say Gay.” Support guides like Duval’s, which are in effect in districts across the state, were a large part of what spawned House

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Featured image for “Opinion: Byrd’s the word”
May 15, 2022

Opinion: Byrd’s the word

The great unanswered question of the 2022 election cycle for Northeast Florida Republicans was what Cord Byrd would end up doing. Would he run for state Senate, opposing Clay Yarborough? Would he run for Congress, joining a field that includes political outsider Erick Aguilar and veteran politician Jason Fischer in the Congressional District 4 race (assuming the governor’s map ultimately

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Featured image for “Opinion: Say goodbye, or stay put?”
April 25, 2022

Opinion: Say goodbye, or stay put?

There is a big difference between perception and reality. For example, the perception the United States has of itself and that it projects to the world is one of a strong, united democracy that protects freedoms, preserves the rights of the “least of us,” defends the humanity of the “worst of us,” and is a fair government run by the

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Featured image for “Opinion: Can DeSantis overplay his hand?”
April 24, 2022

Opinion: Can DeSantis overplay his hand?

In the week since my column last ran in Jacksonville Today, Gov. Ron DeSantis got everything he wanted from the Florida Legislature. The Republican-leaning congressional map? Delivered without amendment from the Republican-dominated Legislature, then signed quietly Friday in Tallahassee before the governor left for a much less quiet bill-signing ceremony in Hialeah. The Disney smackdown? The Mouse smelled what DeSantis

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Featured image for “Opinion: Will Ron DeSantis pick a Jacksonville senator?”
March 27, 2022

Opinion: Will Ron DeSantis pick a Jacksonville senator?

Imagine you’re Clay Yarborough, a current state representative who thought the next campaign was all set. A few months back, you basically were a shoo-in for state Senate. Your two opponents got out of the race to replace termed-out Aaron Bean after Senate leadership endorsed you.  One of those opponents, state Rep. Jason Fischer, had about a million bucks raised

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Featured image for “Opinion: 6 takeaways from the 2022 legislative session”
March 23, 2022

Opinion: 6 takeaways from the 2022 legislative session

The 2022 Florida regular legislative session is in the books. The Legislature had four constitutionally mandated duties this year: pass a budget and pass new state House, state Senate and U.S. congressional maps after the recently completed Census. Three of the four jobs were completed, but the Congressional maps remain in limbo.  DeSantis has promised to veto the legislatively approved

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