Today's news -- March 31, 2017

 

 

 

 

“Union-busting” bill passes House; Senate in doubt *

A highly controversial measure opponents describe as “union-busting” legislation meant to target Florida public school teachers passed the Republican-led House Thursday in a near party-line vote, although it’s unlikely to have any life in the Senate. Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, said his proposal, HB 11, “provides greater transparency, democracy and accountability to public-sector labor unions,” but Democrats lined up on the House floor to question Republicans’ motives for endorsing the bill. “This bill targets teachers, state and local government employees, nurses, bus drivers and many others who serve us and care for us every day,” Rep. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee said. “And we’re targeting them, because these organizations make political decisions that some people don’t like. That is wrong.” Under the bill, any public-sector union — except those representing firefighters and law enforcement or corrections officers — would be automatically decertified if more than 50 percent of the workers they represent don’t pay dues to the organization. The unions would have to report to the state annually how many employees are eligible for representation by the union and then how many of them do and don’t pay annual dues. If the union fell short of the 50 percent mark in dues-paying members, it would be decertified as the official bargaining unit for those workers and have to go through the formal process of re-establishing itself, much like a new union does to form. Florida is a right-to-work state, so employees cannot be forced to join or pay dues to a union that represents them. Although HB 11 easily passed the House by a 75-41 vote, the Senate version (SB 1292) has long odds of getting any traction. It hasn’t been heard yet, and the session’s nearly half over. It was assigned to four committees — signaling it’s not highly desired by leadership — and its first stop, Commerce & Tourism, is chaired by a Democrat. In advocating for his bill during House floor discussion Wednesday, Plakon said repeatedly he felt it was “wrong” to “have a small number of people imposing their will on a large group of people.” Citing only anecdotal evidence and providing no data or research to back up his claims, Plakon said some labor unions in Florida had only 2 percent or 3 percent of their members paying dues to the organization. “Public-sector unions should have to operate in a more transparent fashion under time-honored, democratic, majority-rule principles where the union has to be responsive, or more responsive, to its members,” Plakon said Thursday. Several Democrats alleged that Republicans were using the bill as a “disguise” to weaken unions — and specifically to go after the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union. Last fall, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, called the union “evil” because it had challenged in court a Republican-backed, voucher-like program that helps low-income families afford private school. “It’s more bullying,” House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz, of Tampa, said of HB 11. “Stop bullying teachers. Stop bullying teachers’ right to organization. Stop bullying teachers’ voices.” “I have no idea what you’re talking about with the teachers’ union,” Plakon replied to Democrats. “Impugning those motives on why I’m doing the bill is simply not correct.” Asked for comment on the bill’s passage, FEA spokesman Mark Pudlow said only: “Why is the House wasting taxpayer money on a bill that isn’t needed?” Three Republicans — Thad Altman of Indialantic, Tom Goodson of Rockledge, and Rene Plasencia of Orlando — joined Democrats in voting against the bill. Outside of House Republicans, the only vocal supporter of HB 11 is Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has received funding from the Koch brothers and that lobbied aggressively for the bill.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article141833119.html

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/235072-house-unions

 

House committees flesh out plans to boost charters

House leaders have revealed detailed plans for boosting charter schools after pledging for weeks to invest heavily in alternatives to traditional public education. House education committees this week approved three proposed committee bills that would ease the proliferation of charter schools, including giving them access to significantly more public money. The cutoff for proposing new bills is long past, but legislative leaders often stuff their priorities into the proposed committee bills, which are not subject to the same deadlines.  One of the bills, a top priority in the House’s proposed budget, would allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to incentivize high-performing charter networks from around the country to locate schools in Florida communities where traditional public schools are failing. Another would repeal certain statutes that hinder high-performing charter schools from replicating. A third allow charters access to local facilities funding currently available only to traditional public schools. The chamber unveiled the legislation in the same week it presented its 2017-18 budget plan, which includes a much smaller increase to traditional public schools than what Gov. Rick Scott and the Senate have proposed. During a House education committee meeting Thursday, prominent Republican members argued that some traditional public schools have squandered millions in local, state and federal funds without improving outcomes for their students. Money isn’t the answer, they stressed. What persistently D- and F-rated schools need are a new approach. State Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr., a Hialeah Republican who chairs the chamber’s education budget committee, advocated for the bill that would entice charter operators that have been successful in impoverished communities elsewhere to open “schools of hope” near failing public schools in Florida. The legislation is tied to a $200 million budget allocation that would help the charters pay start-up costs, compensate teachers, offer professional development and lengthen the school calendar, among other initiatives. “We have tried everything else. It is our moral responsibility to make this move and try this option for our kids,” said Diaz, a former public school teacher and principal who now works for an unaccredited college operated by a charter school management company. “It’s time to try something different.” Several Democrats on the committee voted against the bill. Rep. Shevrin Jones, another former teacher, said his colleagues were “sadly mistaken” if they believed a private company from outside Florida could solve the societal problems that hinder progress in schools serving poor communities. “If we sit at this table and we believe that just because we bring in a different entity, that they are going to turn around a school, we are not telling the truth,” said Jones, of West Park, the committee's ranking Democrat. “If we have $200 million to give, put computers inside the class. If we have $200 million to give, pay teachers to stay at the school longer. If we have extra money to give, pay to make sure that [public schools] have the support,” he said. A representative for the Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers union, also argued that the Legislature should invest resources in struggling schools so they can do try some of the same things the charters want to, like paying teachers more and extending the school day or year. “You’ve been really clear in the priorities in the bill and the budget,” said Cathy Boehme, a retired teacher and legislative specialist for FEA. “You’re saying funding matters. You’re saying good strategies matter. And then you turn around and keep those strategies from schools that you could save.”

http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2017/03/house-education-committees-flesh-out-corcorans-plans-to-boost-charter-schools-110873

http://www.news4jax.com/education/schools-of-hope-legislation-passes-initial-committee (Cathy Boehme quoted)

Santa Rosa teachers form new union (Bill Vincent quoted)
http://www.pnj.com/story/news/education/2017/03/30/santa-rosa-county-teachers-form-new-union/99817596/

http://news.gulfbreezenews.com/news/2017-03-30/Front_Page/Teachers_school_district_to_mediate_contract.html

 

Pinellas union leader takes issue with “inconsistencies” in evaluation system (Mike Gandolfo quoted)
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/pinellas-teacher-union-leader-takes-issue-with-inconsistencies-in-teacher/2318598

 

Palm Beach schools may dump those dreaded half-days (Kathi Gundlach quoted)
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-pn-palm-beach-school-calendar-20170328-story.html

 

Why is Brevard's spring break so late this year?

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/30/why-brevards-spring-break-so-late-year/99809674/

 

Gadsden school consolidation plan still not publicized

http://www.wtxl.com/news/gadsden-county-school-board-still-awaiting-superintendent-s-plan/article_f1a62e68-158c-11e7-9032-bb91f5bf7c76.html

 

Recess bill keeps moving through Senate

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/recess-bill-keeps-moving-through-florida-senate/2318559

 

High school math, science, and foreign languages: at risk from computer coding?

http://wlrn.org/post/high-school-math-science-and-foreign-languages-risk-computer-coding

 

Legislation would improve career education standards

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/235092-legislation-improve-career-education-standards

 

Teachers across Poland strike to protest education overhaul

http://www.bradenton.com/news/nation-world/world/article141894324.html

 

New FGCU president confirmed, but there's a hitch

http://www.news-press.com/story/news/education/2017/03/30/new-fgcu-president-confirmed-but-theres-hitch/99826454/

 

Rollins reinstates student who battled with Muslim teacher, lawyer says

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/school-zone/os-follow-rollins-christian-20170330-story.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SentinelSchoolZone+%28Sentinel+School+Zone%29

 

House, Senate face $2 billion divide

http://www.theledger.com/news/20170330/house-senate-face-2-billion-divide/1

 

Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida pledge more transparency amid budget battle

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-visit-florida-contract-transparency-20170329-story.html

 

Corcoran: Scott is “a governor who won't help us”

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/richard-corcoran-rick-scott-is-a-governor-who-wont-help-us/2318666?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

 

GOP-led House wants to limit challenges to redistricting

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/florida-gop-led-house-wants-limit-challenges-redistricting/wCFj4YOFjQKcReOojdxaQI/

 

Will state soon limit Supreme Court justices to two consecutive terms?

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/will-florida-soon-limit-supreme-court-justices-consecutive-terms/scy6sz0hqa0XZKqxBvhUlM/

 

Constitution Revision Commission gets grumpy reception at first meeting

http://orlando-politics.com/2017/03/29/constitution-revision-commission-gets-grumpy-reception-at-first-meeting-from-overcapacity-crowd-in-orlando/

 

Are House Republicans making health care more “free market” or “unfair”?

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/are-florida-house-republicans-making-health-care-more-free-market-or-unfair/2318614

 

Orlando prosecutor's allies rally at the Capitol

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/orlando-prosecutor-aramis-ayalas-allies-rally-at-the-capitol/2318576?utm_source=TBT_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DAILY%20BUZZ_USE%20THIS%20ONE_Clone%20first&utm_email=6575d82b873cf5ef9faac9fbc241bd1f

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-aramis-ayala-rallies-death-penalty-20170329-story.html

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/235044-ayala-rally

http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/30/protestors-back-state-prosecutor-ayala/99833546/

 

Florida welfare recipients could face tougher sanctions

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/sns-bc-fl-xgr--welfare-requirements-20170330-story.html

 

House votes to limit Sunshine in murder cases

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/florida-house-votes-to-limit-sunshine-in-murder-cases/2318624

 

Winners, losers under new House rules for hometown projects

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/winners-losers-under-new-house-rules-for-hometown-projects/2318516?utm_source=TBT_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DAILY%20BUZZ_USE%20THIS%20ONE_Clone%20first&utm_email=6575d82b873cf5ef9faac9fbc241bd1f

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/235094-81-2-billion-house-budget-aims-meat-ax-member-projects

 

Ausley blames Scott, DMS for state charity mess

http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2017/03/30/ausley-blames-scott-dms-state-charity-mess/99833238/

http://www.tbo.com/news/florida/florida-house-tells-workers-dont-give-at-the-office-ap_florida9fadb98900aa4eeeb6206c98a221dcf1

 

“There is a great, great deal of smoke”: Senate panel on Russia probe

http://www.businessinsider.com/senate-intel-committee-hearing-russia-2017-3

 

Two White House officials helped give Nunes intelligence reports

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/devin-nunes-intelligence-reports.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170330&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/three-white-house-officials-tied-to-files-shared-with-house-intelligence-chairman/2017/03/30/de4b8c30-1589-11e7-9e4f-09aa75d3ec57_story.html?utm_term=.480c636bbcce&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nunes-sources-watnick-ellis_us_58dd3f96e4b05eae031df616?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Morning%20Email%20013117&utm_content=The%20Morning%20Email%20013117+CID_65253d262947942955142fb4fb091d7f&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=HuffPost&ncid=newsltushpmgnews

 

Why does Nunes still have a job?

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-does-devin-nunes-still-have-a-job/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DAILY_2017_03_30&utm_term=daily

 

Russians took Trump’s side in GOP primary, too, expert tells Senate panel

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article141746659.html

 

Rubio says his campaign was a target of Russian cyberattacks

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/marco-rubio-russian-cyberattacks.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cn_20170331&nl=first-draft&nl_art=5&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/ryan-rubio-may-have-been-targets-of-damaging-russian-social-media-campaigns/2017/03/30/bdf5f4fa-154f-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.98c8fba5f5f2&wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/marco-rubio-says-russians-tried-to-hack-his-presidential-campaign-team/2318634?utm_source=TBT_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daystarter&utm_email=6575d82b873cf5ef9faac9fbc241bd1f

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/marco-rubio-russia-hackers-campaign-staff-236714

 

Rubio decries Putin as tyrant, calls on White House to push human rights

http://saintpetersblog.com/marco-rubio-decries-vladimir-putin-tyrant-calls-white-house-push-human-rights/

 

Thursday’s Russia hearings actually revealed something new and important

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/03/30/todays-russia-hearings-actually-revealed-something-new-and-important/?utm_term=.27870af1e233&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

 

Flynn offers to testify before Congress in exchange for immunity

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/michael-flynn-congress-immunity-russia.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cn_20170331&nl=first-draft&nl_art=2&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/michael-flynn-immunity-testify-russia-trump-investigators-236734

 

Trump calls congressional inquiry “witch hunt”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/us/politics/trump-calls-congressional-inquiry-witch-hunt.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170331&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

 

These are the right people to get the truth about Russia — and do it quickly

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/these-are-the-right-people-to-get-the-truth-about-russia--and-do-it-quickly/2017/03/30/ff6d3e2e-1550-11e7-833c-503e1f6394c9_story.html?utm_term=.6aeda25a0c18&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

 

The prince of oversight

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/jason-chaffetz-oversight/521271/

 

Spokesman: Yoho “misspoke” when he said Nunes “works for the president”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/ted-yoho-misspoke-devin-nunes-works-for-the-president-236705

 

House GOP won’t defer to White House on tax reform

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/house-gop-tax-reform-donald-trump-236691

 

Trump threatens hard-liners as part of escalating Republican civil war

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/trump-we-must-fight-hard-line-conservative-freedom-caucus-in-2018-midterm-elections/2017/03/30/56783e38-154e-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.a3790de9b914&wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/freedom-caucus-donald-trump.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cn_20170331&nl=first-draft&nl_art=3&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-freedom-caucus-tweet-236724

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/opinion/how-the-freedom-caucus-is-undermining-the-gop.html

 

Trump’s threats against Freedom Caucus cause few shivers of fear

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/donald-trump-freedom-caucus.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cn_20170331&nl=first-draft&nl_art=4&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

Trump struggles against some of the forces that helped get him elected

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-struggles-against-some-of-the-forces-that-helped-get-him-elected/2017/03/30/d792ee1a-156b-11e7-9e4f-09aa75d3ec57_story.html?utm_term=.6ed180dfcc89&wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

 

Health subsidies for low earners will continue through 2017, GOP says

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/health-insurance-republicans.html?emc=edit_th_20170331&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=3179832

 

Pence and ailing senator deliver votes to block family planning money

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/pence-congress-family-planning-money.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170330&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/03/30/pence-breaks-tie-on-debate-for-planned-parenthood-measure/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.93cd0b557ed8

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/mike-pence-johnny-isakson-planned-parenthood-vote-senate-236702

 

A radical idea for health-care reform: Listen to the doctors

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-radical-idea-for-health-care-reform-listen-to-the-doctors/2017/03/30/e6aaccb4-158a-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.1e78e7936a81&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

 

Scott says failed GOP bill was “way better than Obamacare”

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/rick-scott-says-failed-gop-bill-was-way-better-than-obamacare/2318551?utm_source=TBT_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DAILY%20BUZZ_USE%20THIS%20ONE_Clone%20first&utm_email=6575d82b873cf5ef9faac9fbc241bd1f

 

Trump administration files new appeal to revive travel ban

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/03/30/technology/30reuters-usa-immigration-appeal.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cn_20170331&nl=first-draft&nl_art=8&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-travel-ban-appeal-236731

 

Trump may force thousands of legal immigrants to stop working or leave

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-may-force-thousands-of-legal-immigrants-to-stop-working-or-head-home/2017/03/30/27d2d8c6-1586-11e7-833c-503e1f6394c9_story.html?utm_term=.89173bed9dd2&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

 

Republicans are so hopeless, Trump may have to work with Democrats

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/republicans-are-so-hopeless-trump-may-have-to-work-with-democrats/2017/03/30/70585a90-1571-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.303c8896b71c&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

 

Congress’ vote to eviscerate Internet privacy could give FBI massive power

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/congresss-vote-to-eviscerate-internet-privacy-could-give-the-fbi-massive-power/2017/03/30/0feae55e-1550-11e7-9e4f-09aa75d3ec57_story.html?utm_term=.30d8608af6f0&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

 

Net neutrality is Trump’s next target, administration says

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/technology/net-neutrality.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170330&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y&_r=0

 

Senate heads for “nuclear option” if Democrats filibuster Gorsuch

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/schumer-virtually-impossible-to-avoid-a-filibuster-fight-on-gorsuch-next-week/2017/03/30/1dead786-156e-11e7-9e4f-09aa75d3ec57_story.html?utm_term=.e24b1ba51f67&wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-gorsuch-filibuster-20170330-story.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/two-democrats-back-gorsuch-supreme-court.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170330&nlid=3179832&tntemail0=y

 

Senate panel backs Acosta as labor secretary despite Democratic opposition

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article141694144.html#emlnl=Afternoon_Update

 

Tillerson spends his first weeks isolated from an anxious bureaucracy

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/secretary-of-state-rex-tillerson-spends-his-first-weeks-isolated-from-an-anxious-bureaucracy/2017/03/30/bdf8ec86-155f-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.a79adbce2c79

 

After calling NAFTA “worst trade deal,” Trump appears to soften stance

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/business/nafta-trade-deal-trump.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cn_20170331&nl=first-draft&nl_art=6&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

Judge signals he will approve Trump University settlement despite a challenge

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/judge-signals-he-will-approve-trump-university-settlement.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_cn_20170331&nl=first-draft&nl_art=11&nlid=3179832&ref=headline&te=1

 

Trump has nothing but contempt for facts and reality-based policy

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/03/30/trump-has-nothing-but-contempt-for-facts-and-reality-based-policy-now-its-backfiring/?utm_term=.062addc0773a&wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

 

Can Trump change libel laws?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/can-trump-change-libel-laws.html?emc=edit_cn_20170331&nl=first-draft&nlid=3179832&te=1&_r=0

 

Here's the biggest lie Spicer told Thursday

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/heres-biggest-lie-sean-spicer-told-today?utm_source=All+Poynter+Subscribers&utm_campaign=fa9c878e2b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_03_31&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5372046825-fa9c878e2b-196862717

 

Trump’s climate order may make it harder to prepare for natural disasters

https://www.thenation.com/article/trumps-climate-order-may-make-it-harder-to-prepare-for-natural-disasters/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DAILY_2017_03_30&utm_term=daily

 

Why Trump’s climate-wrecking agenda could fail

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-trumps-climate-wrecking-agenda-could-fail/

 

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