My dedication to legalizing medical marijuana results from personal experience. My daughter has epilepsy, and although she was always compliant with her medication, she continued to have occasional seizures. When she moved to California for her job, and had yet another seizure, she met with a neurologist, who recommended that she join a medical marijuana dispensary. That was in 2000. She has not had another seizure since.
But she cannot come home to visit us in Florida. Because of our marijuana laws, she cannot legally maintain her doctor-recommended medical regimen.
Lonnie Robinson fell on hard times in the early 80s with drugs and alcohol. Addiction kept him out of college for decades, and he found himself living under a bridge. During the day, Robinson found solace at a Miami Dade College library in Liberty City, where a reading program changed the future course of his life. He graduated from the college in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
"No other college would accept me," said Robinson, who’s 59. Today, Robinson visits the same library daily, where he hopes to mentor and inspire younger students.
Citizens do not have the right to speak before a public board or commission takes official action, according to Florida’s Constitution. Though Florida citizens have a right to access public records and meetings, they do not have a right to be heard before governmental bodies take official action any given proposal. This means that city council members, county commissioners and other officials could vote on issues without letting citizens have their say.
Getting a handle on property insurance rates is a top priority in the upcoming Florida Legislature 2013 regular session, but it's no easy task, according to popular consensus at Monday night's Town Hall session hosted by WLRN and the Miami Herald.
"The legislature is in a terrible box," said Mary Ellen Klas, the capital bureau chief for the Miami Herald and a panelist at Monday's event. "This is one of the tough issues they have to grapple with."
As I lean my motorcycle into the curve that takes me onto I-95, I roll the throttle to accelerate up to highway speeds. Up ahead I see a car going well below the minimum speed of 45 mph, with the left turn signal on but swerving to the right. I give this big unknown a wide berth, and as I pass, I see the person gabbing it up on a cell phone.
Education, voting reform, property insurance, and political transparency were among the topics covered during Monday night's Town Hall event on Session 2013 of the Florida Legislature hosted by WLRN and the Miami Herald. The second annual forum marks the beginning of WLRN's coverage of Session 2013, which convenes March 5 and continues through May 3.
Tough economic times put environmental issues on the Florida Legislature's back burner in recent years, but this session should be different, according to Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater), who sat on the panel at Monday night's Town Hall Session 2013 hosted by WLRN and the Miami Herald.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is asking state lawmakers for half a million dollars in order to recoup a $20-million investment in the now-defunct digital animation studio, Digital Domain.
And according to local experts, Florida has a tough fight ahead to get its money back.
The state originally gave Digital Domain $20 million in incentives in order to lure the company--and jobs--to Port St. Lucie. Four months ago, the firm filed for bankruptcy, shut down and let go 300 Florida workers.
The National Rifle Association has blamed violent video games and films for recent mass shootings. The state of Florida gives economic incentives and tax breaks to both industries as well as gun manufacturers.