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Top Florida Political Discussions and Debates

Topical Breezes
Following the Currents that Guide Florida's Future
Current Florida law exempts businesses from paying taxes on the first $25,000 in valuation on tangible personal property -- the furniture, computers and other equipment that keeps a business running. A proposed amendment to Florida's Constitution would increase that exemption to $50,000, so long as the value of the property does not exceed that amount. Supporters of the amendment say the increased exemption will improve the economic environment for small businesses, the main source of employment in the Sunshine State. Opponents say it would cost local governments too much revenue in a time already marked by belt-tightening. What do you think?
Since 1994 Florida has had a limitation on revenue based on growth in personal income. Amendment 3 would instead limit state government's revenue to the previous year's revenue, plus an adjustment based on inflation and population growth. Proponents say the amendment is needed to restrain overspending during times of revenue growth. Opponents say it will hamstring Florida's ability to fund needed services, including education and medical care.
Forty years after Roe v. Wade, abortion is as divisive a topic as ever. On Nov. 6, Floridians will be asked whether to approve an amendment to the state's constitution that makes clear no public funds will be used to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother's life. The amendment also would limit laws governing "privacy." Specifically, according to the summary language, the amendment "overrules court decisions which conclude that the right of privacy under Article I, Section 23 of the State Constitution is broader in scope than that of the United States Constitution." Here's why the author of the amendment and its supporters think it's necessary, and why its opponents say it should be defeated.
On Nov. 6, Florida voters will decide whether to remove the prohibition against sending taxpayer dollars to religious institutions, which would have a big impact on religious schools. Supporters say the provision is rooted in bias against religious organizations that do good work; opponents say it would violate the separation of church and state. Below, we hear from both sides in this knotty debate. What do you think?
By any measure, Charlie Crist is an outsized figure in Florida politics. A former state senator, education commissioner, attorney general and governor, he's been in the public eye for 20 years. With that attention comes controversy, especially in the state Republican Party, which Crist left in 2010 upon facing an almost-certain primary loss in his U.S. Senate bid. Now with the law firm of Morgan and Morgan, Crist remains a dominant political presence, particularly with his speech at the Democratic National Convention, where he spoke on behalf of President Obama's re-election. While Crist has said he is not interested in seeking a return to the governor's office as a Democrat, his convention appearance renewed talk that he plans to do just that in 2014. So we asked several observers of the political scene: Could Crist's appearance in Charlotte help him win the Florida Governor's Mansion?
Florida has the highest percentage of Medicare recipients. Speakers at the Republican National Convention in Tampa warned of dire effects from President Obama's Medicare management. And hardly a Democratic critic of the Republican rhetoric avoided blasting GOP proposals. Can Medicare continue as it has with only the small tweaks of a Democratic plan? Proposed changes include more tax support from wealthy Americans and more restrictive compensation for doctors and hospitals. Or will a Republican-proposed voucher system, permitting recipients to buy private health insurance with a government subsidy, work for our growing older population?
Although Tropical Storm Isaac forced a postponement of the Republican National Convention in Tampa until Tuesday, delegates are gathering to nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as their 2012 presidential and vice presidential candidates. Check back regularly for what is being said about the convention, the Republican message and how Gov. Romney reintroduces himself to American voters. Plus, daily insights from Florida delegate Linda Ivell.
Next week's 2012 Republican National Convention will focus intense attention on the host city, Tampa, and the state. It also will attract more than 4,400 GOP delegates and alternates, 15,000 media people and 30,000-plus other politically wired visitors. They will drop money by the bucket-load providing an economic stimulus to a metro area and state that need it badly. If the RNC is this year’s big gift to Florida, will voters in the largest swing state in the U.S. reciprocate by throwing their weight to presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney? Our respondents just can’t seem to agree.
Mitt Romney's choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate makes it clear the upcoming election is about the economy, the size of the federal government and spending on federal entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security. Republicans and Democrats are cheering the choice of Ryan, for vastly different reasons. Now it's your turn to be heard. What do you think of Paul Ryan as Romney's vice presidential choice?
For the U.S. manned space program, 2012 is a good year for anniversaries. Forty years ago this year, Apollo 17 ended the last mission of a legendary program that put the American flag on the moon. One year ago in July, the U.S. Space Shuttle program ended when the Atlantis touched down at Kennedy Space Center. With the cancellation of the Constellation program, the federal government's commitment to space exploration has slowed considerably. Florida's state government, through Space Florida, is trying to attract aerospace companies from around the globe to Brevard County and the surrounding area and its space-intensive labor pool. Can private industry make up for the loss of the shuttle program to Florida and the country as a whole? Or has the United States permanently ceded space development to the country's main international competitors: Russia and China?
Opponents of Florida’s participation in an expanded Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act echo the Republican governor’s argument that the state can’t afford it and that education and other priorities would suffer. Supporters of expanded Medicaid contend that extending coverage to more than a million uninsured, low-income Floridians will help the economy, strengthen families, and curb the rise in insurance premiums due to the cost of caring for the uninsured. Still others are waiting for the outcome of November’s elections before addressing the issue.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist suggested that, by 2020, the state could generate a fifth of its energy from the power of the sun. New state policies and carefully targeted financial support from the government, Crist said, would jump-start our solar industry. That was in 2009, but legislators have rejected his plan ever since. Florida’s and the nation’s fiscal pain and a popular uprising against government efforts to move the economy forward have conspired to keep Florida nearer the bottom of states embracing solar power. Should Florida invest in building this new industry or permit the market to guide its energy future? Four opinion leaders share their views
Since 2000, Florida has been among a minority of states that do not require motorcyclists to wear helmets when riding. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control maintains the 2000 repeal of Florida's law requiring helmet use has cost the state both lives and money, in the form of medical costs for injuries that could have been avoided. The report has prompted renewed debate: Should Florida require motorcyclists to wear helmets?
Immigration has been a hot-button issue in American politics. The proposed DREAM Act, which would end deportations for children of undocumented immigrants and provide a path to citizenship, has languished in the politically polarized Congress. Advocates for immigrants have welcomed the temporary ban on deportations but criticized the policy for its lack of a long-term fix. The President’s political opponents have castigated him for bypassing Congress, and immigration hardliners have labeled it amnesty.
The Supreme Court upheld most of the federal health care law on Thursday, including a controversial requirement that most Americans have insurance, or pay a penalty. What is your reaction to the decision, and what would you like to see happen next?
A legal fight over whether state newcomer Adena Ranch can divert as much as 13 million gallons of water a day from the source that feeds Florida’s Silver Springs to irrigate cattle land has brought conditions of Florida’s springs into sharp focus. Years of sprawl, population growth, greater industrial and, especially, agricultural water use have taken their toll on these natural pools, diminishing their flow (already by 50 percent at Silver Springs) and clarity. Now, what is more important to the state, saving these natural resources or boosting economic development? A conference on the issue convenes today at Silver River State Park, Ocala.
The Sunshine State's unemployment rate has dropped since Gov. Rick Scott took office in January, 2010, but remains higher than the national average. What can be done to get the state's rate below the national average? And what could the jobless picture mean in a state up for grabs in November's presidential election?
Because of the lengthy appeals process, more Florida death-row inmates died in prison (30) since 2000 than were executed (25.) And because of mistakes made, more death-row inmates have been exonerated here (25) than in any other state. It also costs the state $51 million a year to maintain the death-penalty system - money that could be used elsewhere. See what informed people say, then tell us, what do you think?
Controversy has swirled around the state’s voting process after the Division of Elections distributed to county supervisors a list of nearly 2,700 Florida voters who may not be U.S. citizens. Six Democratic House members say releasing a list of names with questionable validity undermines "confidence in the integrity of our elections." Others express confidence in Florida’s voter registration rolls, saying that, while not perfect, "we are continually improving."
Since its start, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test has been a lightning rod for controversy. But criticism intensified this month, after writing scores were released showing just more than a quarter of Florida students posted passing grades -- forcing another change in passing standards. So, how effective is the FCAT in assessing public education?


by Dr. Radut.