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Abortions on Decline in Florida

April 8, 2010 - 6:00pm

Statistics released this week from Florida Right to Life -- compiled from data gathered by the state Agency for Health Care Administration -- show that Floridians are having fewer abortions.

The number of abortions in Florida dropped in 2009 to 82,038, the lowest levels the state has seen since 1997.

The number of abortions in Florida peaked back in 2006 with 95,586 abortions performed in the state that year. Since then, the number has decreased, with 91,954 in 2007 and 87,520 in 2008.

Peformance Pay Plan on Its Way to the Governor

April 8, 2010 - 6:00pm

After a marathon debate that dragged into the early hours of Friday -- and increased speculation that Gov. Charlie Crist plans to veto the measure -- the House joined the Senate in passing a bill that creates a performance pay standard for Floridas teachers.

The bill passed 64-55 at 2:26 a.m. with 11 Republicans joining all 44 Democrats in opposing it.

House Tackles Host of Education Bills

April 7, 2010 - 6:00pm

While teacher performance pay dominated the lengthy House session Thursday, lawmakers also passed other measures concerning education, including one that would give voters the chance to loosen class-size restrictions during November's election.

The measure, introduced by Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, passed 77 to 41, almost on a party-line vote.

A class-size amendment was approved by Florida voters in 2002. The measure would remove caps established by the 2002 statute and allow schools to use the average size of each class.

Political Bits and Pieces

April 7, 2010 - 6:00pm

Candidates keep piling into next year's Jacksonville mayoral race. Publisher Jim Bailey and General Counsel Rick Mullaney joined the Republican field this week, while City Councilwoman Glorious Johnson, initially elected as a Republican, will be running as a Democrat.

Community College Students Rally For Education Changes

April 7, 2010 - 6:00pm

More than 400 community college students rallied at the Capitol early Thursday before spending the day lobbying the Legislature on education issues near and dear to the nearly 1.2 million people enrolled in Florida's 2-year colleges.

Obamacare Lawsuit Stumbles in House

April 7, 2010 - 6:00pm

In the latest chapter of the Florida Republicans pushback against the new federal health-care legislation, the House Rules & Calendar Council met Thursday to discuss a proposed amendment to the state Constitution.

But, even though the measure has more than half of the House members listed as co-sponsors, it sputtered and stalled.

House Roars on, Readying for Teacher Performance-Pay Vote

April 6, 2010 - 6:00pm

Despite a whopping eight-hour Educational Policy Council meeting Monday, the House committee came roaring back for more Wednesday -- including a lengthy discussion on teacher performance pay.

Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, tried to keep the focus on questioning and hold off debate until Thursday.

There has been lots of, lets just say, confusion about this bill, said Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey, who introduced the performance pay measure in the House.

House Sets Stage to Conference with Senate

April 5, 2010 - 6:00pm

With both chambers of the Legislature passing their initial budgets last week, the House spent early Tuesday evening paving the way to meet with the Senate in conference to hammer out a final budget.

Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said the House was following a procedural roadmap that would pave the way for conferencing with the Senate.

This will get us into a conference posture, he said.

That line was echoed several times as the House took up a number of bills from the Senate and quickly passed them with almost no debate.

House OKs Sales Tax Holiday

April 5, 2010 - 6:00pm

Having passed the first version of its budget last week, the Florida House met on Tuesday to tackle economic issues, including creating a sales tax holiday just in time for back-to-school shopping and forming an organization to invest in Floridas ports.

The House created a three-day sales tax holiday running from Aug. 13 until Aug. 15. During that period, books, clothes, shoes and book bags under $50 and school supplies under $10 would be exempt from sales tax.

Kottkamp Back on Track

April 1, 2010 - 6:00pm

When the fundraising figures for the last quarter of 2009 were released, conventional wisdom held that Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp was in severe trouble in his bid to be the states attorney general. News stories were already saying that Kottkamp was no longer the frontrunner in the race.

Kottkamps fundraising lagged behind his two chief rivals for the Republican nomination, former Agency for Health Care Administration secretary Holly Benson and Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi. Kottkamps fundraising efforts also lagged behind the two Democratic candidates, Sen.



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