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Informed Personalities from Across the State, Across the Spectrum
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“I want to connect the dots, in a unique way that makes readers think."
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 — Rick Outzen

The Florida Senate proved its value on Tuesday by not approving SB 0862, the Parent Empowerment in Education Act -- better known as the “Parent Trigger” bill. The tie vote -- 20-20, the same tally as last year – effectively killed the proposed legislation.

The House version passed with the backing of former Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida's Future and another group headed by Michelle Rhee,...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 — Rick Outzen

The Florida Senate isn’t confident that the eight counties in the Florida Panhandle impacted the most by the 2010 BP oil disaster can be trusted to properly handle the millions of BP funds that are expected to come to Florida. And they have a point.

For the past two decades, counties, particularly Escambia and Okaloosa, have been synonymous with corruption. Four county commissioners in Escambia County...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 — Rick Outzen

On Monday, two bombs exploded near the end of the Boston Marathon course. Those running toward the end of their 26-mile test of endurance and the family and friends cheering them on were rocked by the successive blasts that sent ball bearings through the crowd of innocents.

Three people were killed, including an 8-year-old who had just hugged his father as he approached the finish line and was...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 — Rick Outzen

Florida Democrats are hungrily awaiting the announcement from its newly minted member, Charlie Crist, that the former Republican governor will seek the office again, this time as a Democrat. Republicans will tell you that he has always been more Democrat than Republican and left the party principles years ago.

The Democrats are the party of lost causes -- marriage equality, labor unions, healthcare...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 — Rick Outzen

On March 13, the Senate Armed Services military personnel subcommittee held hearings on rape in the military. It’s an issue that few at the Pentagon truly want to address and a matter of importance to Florida.

The Pentagon estimates that 19,000 sexual assaults in the military go unreported out of fear and lack of confidence that the military justice system will punish the attackers.  One in five...

Thursday, March 28, 2013 — Rick Outzen

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is traveling across the state handing out checks to school districts. Collier County got $2.5 million. Escambia County received $751,000. More checks and press conferences will surely follow, but did the funds go to the right schools?

The money was from the state’s $134 million School Recognition Fund, intended for those schools that have sustained high student performance or...

Friday, March 22, 2013 — Rick Outzen

The phone call was one I never thought I would get from my youngest daughter.

“Dad, I’m okay. The campus security have the gunman. He’s dead,” my daughter, a coed at the University of Central Florida, told me Monday morning.

That morning James Oliver Seevakumaran, a UCF business major living in the...

Thursday, March 14, 2013 — Rick Outzen

The Florida Legislature has dodged another political bullet. Over the past few years lawmakers have been considering legalizing Internet cafes, which have operated as strip mall casinos across the state, under the auspices of raising money for charities.

I don’t think we have to worry about that happening now.

...

Thursday, March 07, 2013 — Rick Outzen

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has confounded his supporters and detractors since the first of this year with his newfound conscience.

The change from staunch conservative to a more moderate, caring Republican is difficult to take, especially in the Us vs. Them world of Florida politics. However, Scott appears to be committed to revitalizing education, expanding health care and creating more working-class...

Thursday, February 21, 2013 — Rick Outzen

The James Madison Institute has issued a new report to persuade the Florida Legislature to take more power away from local governments. Though the basic premise of most conservative think tanks is less government, the boys at JMI think that it’s our local officials, you and me that are the problem.

The institute’s “Preserve Freedom of Contracts in Florida’s Labor Market” report wants state lawmakers to...