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My Turn

A Message From Bradenton Times
For the past year and a half, Florida Voices has stood out as an exemplary source of credible analysis of the many issues facing our state. By aggregating state news stories and then providing expert, fact-based perspective from talented and experienced columnists, it has been a valuable one-stop medium for Florida political news. In today's age of digital media and its comparatively miniscule revenue sources, any news pro will tell you that's an ambitious undertaking. Still, its failure to catch on does not bode well for fans of... MORE
A Message From Reform Works Inc
Bill Gates is finally admitting what people who actually work in schools have been saying for the past 10 years. Trying to hastily evaluate teachers by over-reliance on standardized test results is a fool’s errand. Many of the most important things counselors, social workers and many teachers do (think art, music, drama, PE) for our kids cannot be measured by standardized tests. Yet, current law requires that 50 percent of their evaluation, which is now tied to possible termination, should rely on them. Before you know it, PE teachers... MORE
A Message From UCF Forum
Diversity has changed and the face of America has changed. As a nation, we have to come to grips with the reality that our melting pot has never had so many ingredients mixed in – and we are never going back to what it used to be. In the 2010 U.S. Census, the under-18 population was at parity between traditional minority and majority groups. By 2040, the projected percentage of non-Hispanic whites in the population will drop below 50 percent. Florida is the fourth most diverse state in the nation and that diversity continues to grow... MORE
A Message From Florida Democratic Party
Before the start of the 2013 legislative session Gov. Rick Scott was undergoing a dramatic shift away from everything he ran on in 2010. Suddenly he was for expanding Medicaid, for raising teachers’ pay, and possessed a newfound affinity for Floridians’ right to vote. Now, in the last week of the session, House and Senate Republicans have laid bare the governor’s inability to lead or even make an effort to defend his legislative goals. Medicaid expansion? Rejected by the House. Undoing the damage wrought by the voter... MORE
A Message From R.C. Stevens Construction Co., Winter Garden
A few weeks ago, I went to a stranger’s house and worked up a sweat digging a dirt path in her front yard. While that sounds far from glamorous, it’s actually one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. As a volunteer during the Center for Independent Living’s RAMPAGE event, I joined hundreds of others across Central Florida to build wheelchair ramps for people with disabilities. My crew was made up of co-workers from R.C. Stevens Construction Co., along with other corporate teams. We built a ramp for a woman... MORE
A Message From Clay County Sheriff's Office
Last week, America experienced two heartbreaking and terrible tragedies – the Boston Marathon bombing and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas – both of which killed and injured many innocent Americans.  Unfortunately, a week like that reminds us that we, as Americans, need to be prepared for mass casualty incidents. While America may never fully recover from the tragedy in Boston, the events that unfolded after the bombings showcased the extraordinary heroism of citizens, emergency responders and the surgeons at... MORE
A Message From Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign
With an eye toward conserving Florida’s rich natural beauty for future generations, our state has had a long-standing commitment to protecting public land and water through acquisition and management.  Since 1990, Preservation 2000 and its successor, Florida Forever, have provided $300 million per year to acquire conservation and recreation lands.  These programs, started during the administration of Governor Bob Martinez in 1990 and continued under Governor Jeb Bush’s leadership in 2000, were funded by issuing bonds... MORE
A Message From St. Mary's Medical Center, West Palm Beach
Trauma care; it's not a topic that Floridians think about on a daily basis.  But when you or a loved one is in a horrific accident, becomes the victim of a crime or suffers a traumatic injury, you expect and deserve your health-care system to deliver the best possible outcomes available.    As a trauma surgeon, I see these cases first-hand day in and day out and have the necessary experience and training to ensure my patients receive the best possible care.  But, that trauma care could be threatened by legislation... MORE
A Message From Florida Committee on Trauma
In large states such as Florida, it is essential to carefully develop a statewide trauma care network that ensures that our citizens have access to timely, life-saving care delivered by highly trained specialists. Over the past 30 years, Florida has built a trauma care system that is a national leader, thanks to the ongoing, close collaboration of the Florida Committee on Trauma and other health-care providers, state health regulators, the Legislature and local communities. Now, all of those years of careful planning could be wiped away by... MORE
A Message From Integrity Florida
Lawmakers are beginning the process of cleaning up the government and restoring trust with Floridians. Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford promised sweeping ethics and campaign finance reform and they have delivered. After a 36-year drought, Florida lawmakers should be commended for advancing good-government reforms. Integrity Florida is grateful to see most of our research recommendations included in the ethics and campaign finance legislation that has been passed. While there is still more work to do to make... MORE
A Message From Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc.
There has long been a troubling attitude in our society about low-income parents. Put bluntly, it goes like this: Poor people make poor parents.  Of course, folks in proper circles usually don’t come right out and say it, which is what made the recent comments by state Sen. David Simmons so stunning. When asked by the media about the parent empowerment bill, Sen. Simmons responded: "Let's face it, the parents are the very people who haven't been involved in their own children’s lives so as to cause... MORE
A Message From Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association
With South Florida’s two Thoroughbred tracks engaging in an escalating regulatory battle over racing dates, the professionals who do the “heavy lifting” to provide the actual horse racing product -- the horse owners, trainers and breeders -- find themselves as unexpected bystanders in an unwanted dispute. Thus, the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA), made up of Thoroughbred owners and trainers, and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) can only urge... MORE
A Message From Florida Legislature
One of the most important decisions the Florida Legislature will make this year will be how to provide health care to those Floridians who are not covered by either Medicaid or a private health plan. The Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate are both advancing plans that take dramatically different approaches to accomplishing this goal. The current House plan would provide financial assistance to an estimated 115,000 Floridians so they can purchase health coverage.  The $2,000 of yearly assistance is hardly a... MORE
A Message From FSU Research Foundation
As Florida and the rest of the nation emerge from an extended period of economic stress, it is noteworthy that there is an economic engine in Florida that has been quietly chugging along, to the tune of $1.6 billion plus each year, and is poised to do even more for the state in the future. The majority of the faculty at Florida’s public universities has tripartite job descriptions that include teaching, research and service. For many, the research requirement of their position means competing for and receiving outside research grants to... MORE
A Message From Florida office of the Center for Biological Diversity
    In 2010 a powerful industry coalition that included the world’s largest producer of white office paper received permission to plant thousands of  genetically altered eucalyptus hybrids across seven Southeastern states.   After minimal environmental review, federal regulators quickly approved a proposal to plant test plots of the highly invasive nonnative trees at 28 sites stretching from South Carolina to Texas.   Now, three years later, regulators are considering deregulating... MORE