By a margin of at least 3-to-1 so far, Floridians are telling Gov. Rick Scott they want him to veto a controversial $419 million K-12 public schools bill House Republicans pushed through at the end of session, according to information requested from Scott’s office Thursday evening.
In the 10 days since lawmakers approved HB 7069, the state’s Republican governor has been inundated with roughly 10,000 emails, phone calls, letters and petition signatures urging him to either sign or reject the bill.
Both sides have been vocal, but the cries from the opposition — advocates of traditional public school — have been greater in number so far, based on tallies provided by Scott’s office.
But is that the full picture? Maybe not.
As Senate President Joe Negron aims to make Florida’s 12 public universities “elite” destinations, state lawmakers this spring voted to give an extra $232 million next year to those institutions — while simultaneously cutting $25 million that has helped the state’s 28 state colleges serve students who are most in need.
The stark difference in funding priorities was received as a decisive insult to institutions like Miami Dade College and Broward College — and the tens of thousands of students they serve: That they don’t matter as much as the universities.
“That, I think, is what is the most demoralizing part of the conversation. … we’re disinvesting in them,” MDC Executive Vice President and Provost Lenore Rodicio said in reference to the 800,000 students served by the Florida College System. “This population of students, in a sense, don’t count as much as students who are more elite, more high performing.”
President Donald Trump is being unfairly persecuted, local elected officials said Thursday during a meeting of the Sarasota Republican Club.
With Trump dominating the news, state lawmakers gathered for a panel discussion about the 2017 legislative session first were asked to give their thoughts on the appointment of a special counsel to investigate potential ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
The special counsel appointment came after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the probe.
“The president controls the Justice Department and the FBI and he can hire and fire whoever he wants,” said Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota.