Today's news -- February 10, 2017



House members talk education spending cuts

According to plan, Florida House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee members Thursday offered their ideas for cutting public education funding if revenue declines as projected. Some targets had broad bipartisan agreement, such as a $14 million incentive fund for school districts that adopt mandatory student uniforms. Other items on the table included district-level administrative funds, money for class size reduction and support for public broadcasting. The state's accountability model even got thrown into the conversation, with Mount Dora Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan casually stating, "If we do less testing, our testing budget will be less." When it came to the bottom line, though, the House Republican position on property taxes held firm sway. Democrats on the panel lamented that they did not want to cut any education spending, because money spent in schools helps children who might otherwise land on welfare or in jail. "These kids are trapped," said Rep. Wengay Newton, D-St. Petersburg. "If we don't step up for them, no one will." He and others suggested cutting from other parts of the state budget, if necessary, but to put more money into education -- much like Gov. Rick Scott proposed. "The governor's budget, it looks bright and it has a future," said Rep. Roy Hardemon, D-Miami. But GOP leaders made clear they do not back the governor's plan to leave the tax rate unchanged, because it would generate more tax revenue as property values rise. They pointed to state law that defines a tax increase as any revenue collected beyond the amount brought in the year before. "Why this year is it not an increase if the amount goes up?" said vice chairman Jake Raburn, R-Lithia. At the end of the discussion, chairman Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, agreed with the members who said the exercise was tough, and that no one wants to slash the budget. At the same time, he said, the committee might have to make a call. "If we are given an allocation and asked to make cuts, we can't just sit here and say we're not going to," Diaz said. He encouraged members to continue studying all line items in the budget. "The vetting project begins with you."


Quest for daily recess: Moms renew fight for more play in Legislature (Karla Hernandez-Mats quoted)


Broward school owner charged with stealing from voucher program


Religious rights bill is unneeded


DeVos is coming for your children


DeVos asked Twitter a question. It did not go well.


DeVos made her first visit to a school: Howard University


Rubio -- 15 years of selling out public education


Here comes another union-busting lawsuit


The dirty tricks of California’s charter industry


State colleges defend four-year degrees

The Florida College System chancellor on Thursday defended the ability of state colleges to offer four-year degree programs, saying the approval process for new baccalaureate degrees is "rigorous" and that students receiving the degrees remain a small part of overall enrollment. Chancellor Madeline Pumariega told the House Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee that the 28 colleges have had the ability to start baccalaureate programs since 2001, with the first four-year degrees being offered by St. Petersburg College. She said lawmakers approved the expansion of baccalaureate degrees, which traditionally have been awarded by state universities, to keep Florida economically competitive and to provide the flexibility of four-year college "workforce" degrees aimed at filling job-skills gaps in local communities. Currently, 27 of the 28 state colleges offer the degrees in 179 programs. The four-year degrees are the focus of Senate legislation (SB 374) that would overhaul the review and approval process for baccalaureate degrees and impose an enrollment cap on upper-division students at the schools, which in the past were known as community colleges. College advocates have raised objections to the Senate bill saying the new review process could limit the schools' ability to quickly respond to workforce needs, while maintaining baccalaureate degrees play a limited role at their campuses. In the 2014-15 academic year, only 4.5 percent of the more than 800,000 students enrolled in state colleges were in baccalaureate programs, with four-year graduates representing 6 percent of the 111,000 degrees and certificates awarded that year, according to the state Department of Education. Pumariega said the state college system remains focused on two-year associate degrees, which made up 56 percent of the enrollment and 64 percent of the degrees awarded in 2014-15. "You see by enrollment our colleges have stayed true to that (mission)," Pumariega told the House members. Critics of the four-year college degrees point to rapid growth in the system, with Senate analysts noting enrollment in four-year programs more than doubled in the last five years. The growth raises questions of "mission creep" by colleges on the universities' turf and the possibility of costly duplication of programs.


FAMU leadership is back on track


Florida lawmakers talk in secret about budget transparency


Angry Corcoran dares Senate to sue him; Negron says it's not happening


Senate pushes back against House plan to kill Visit Florida


Committee hears mixed review of Enterprise Florida’s success rate


Will Florida become the first state to impose term limits on justices?


Children hurt from system designed to help


Women could sue 10 years after abortions under new Florida House bill


Senate panel hears disparate testimony on Medicaid managed long-term care


Study shows free legal services for the poor are good for business


Court refuses to reinstate travel ban, dealing Trump another legal loss


Trump gets a powerful lesson in role of judiciary


Highlights from the ruling on Trump’s immigration order


Key Trump mistakes that led to the travel ban court defeat


Courts sending Trump a message: Your travel ban is half-baked


Standing up to Trump's attacks on the judiciary


Trump is in denial about his own Supreme Court nominee rebuking him


Gorsuch’s criticism wasn’t aimed at Trump, aides say in reversal


Gorsuch’s criticism of Trump may be winning him Democratic support


Rubio lauds Gorsuch; Nelson holds fire


Mother deported in Arizona immigration case that sparked protests


“Bad dude”? No, but deported anyway


I worked for the U.S. Army in Iraq. But when I landed in America, I was detained.


Immigration arrests in L.A. spark fear, outrage, but officials say they are routine


Doctor: Iranian father was deported from Orlando


Mayor voluntarily violated the rights of Miami-Dade residents -- he can fix it


Study: South Florida ranks No. 5 in undocumented immigrant population


Florida lawmakers unveil latest plan to outlaw sanctuary cities


Ohio Republican wants to lock up lawmakers who protect sanctuary cities


Utahns instigate while Chaffetz rebuffs their calls to investigate


Republican town halls are becoming the leading edge of the Democratic resistance


Trump vexed by challenges, scale of government


Treasury nominee vows no tax cut for rich. Math says the opposite.


Sessions is now the attorney general. Here are the four biggest things to fear.


Experts dispute Sessions claim that crime rise is “permanent trend”


The silencing of Coretta Scott King is an act of systemic racism


Luther Strange, an establishment Republican, follows Sessions to Senate


Labor unions press Trump to drop Puzder nomination


Inside the GOP campaign to save Puzder's nomination


Puzder and Trump’s Cabinet nominees: Wrong for working families


Vehement Obamacare critic Price confirmed as health secretary


Nelson blasts Price’s Medicare record


The Republican health-care plan the country isn’t debating


Republicans in Idaho tried to design a better plan than Obamacare -- and failed


What worked in Obamacare? Study might offer lessons for Congress


Report: Disgraced Baylor President Ken Starr may get post in Trump administration


In Congress, Republicans are quiet and meek as mice


Consumer watchdog faces attack by House Republicans


When rules no longer apply


Federal managers say Trump’s hiring freeze hurts government


Do you need to worry about Trump’s reforms? It depends


Trump signs orders to combat crime, with little new in them


U.S. general seeks “a few thousand” more troops in Afghanistan


Trump: We spent $6 trillion in Mideast and didn't even get a “tiny oil well”


Trump attacks McCain for questioning success of deadly Yemen raid


Despite denials, Flynn is said to have talked to Russians before Trump took office


In call with Putin, Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty, sources say


Trump’s Russia strategy collides with foreign policy reality in leaked call with Putin


GOP senators to Trump: Putin is not your friend


Rubio re-sharpens condemnation of Putin and any U.S.-Russia deals


A new and rising price tag for Trump’s wall: $21.6 billion


Backing away from a fight, Trump to honor one-China policy


When the fire comes


A game plan for Senate Democrats


Obama's party-building legacy splits Democrats


A WWII military strategy explains what Trump is doing to the media


State-sponsored hackers targeting prominent journalists, Google warns


How tech ate the media and our minds


What Trump is supposed to be doing while he’s tweeting


Dominican deal tests Trump pledge of no new foreign projects's-pledge-of-no-new-foreign-deals


Saudis foot tab at Trump hotel


Conway promotes Ivanka Trump brand, raising ethics concerns


Conway’s White House infomercial


A history of Ivanka Trump using her dad’s presidency for profit


Trump’s defense of Ivanka reflects approach that could hurt the economy


The lesson of Nordstrom: Do business with the Trumps or else




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