Florida

venezuelaanalysis.com

What do you do when your country’s foreign reserves are dropping at a rate that would make avid bungee jumpers nauseous? If you’re left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, you take strong, decisive macroeconomic action.

You withhold dollars from Mickey Mouse.

Yessir, you discourage your countrymen from traveling to Florida, by further restricting the amount of dollars they can spend there with their bank credit cards – from $2,500 to $700.

New Congressional Map Won't Apply In November Elections

Aug 22, 2014
Florida House of Representatives / floridaredistricting.org

  A Leon County judge upheld a second draft of the state's congressional districts in a decision issued Friday, but shelved the new map until after the November elections.

The decision marked a major victory for legislative Republicans, who approved the new plan this month after Lewis ruled that their first draft violated the Florida Constitution's ban on political gerrymandering. The GOP had also pushed for the earlier version of the districts, approved in 2012, to remain in place through this year's elections.

Florida House of Representatives / floridaredistricting.org

  Plaintiffs say newly drawn congressional districts still favor Republicans and discourage black representation in Central Florida.

But the defense argued Wednesday before a judge the new districts follow his order and asked for his approval. 

Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis had ruled the districts unlawfully favor Republicans and ordered the Legislature to redraw them. 

David King is a Central Florida attorney for the League of Women Voters and other groups suing over the districts. He rejects the argument the new districts protect black representation.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a controversial history in Florida -- especially when it comes to the Everglades and the state’s wildlife.  

But now, the agency wants Floridians to know they’re working harder to protect endangered species.  

Each year the Corps of Engineers receives requests for various projects to build on regulated wetlands or the coast.  

The agency tries to issue half of those permits within 120 days.

freedigitalphotos.net

A nationwide settlement between SunTrust Mortgage and a state and federal partnership amounts to over $500 million. Nearly 40 percent of the settlement will go to Floridians who financed their homes with SunTrust.

According to Whitney Ray of the Attorney General's Office, 8,400 Floridians have been targeted for direct cash payments. They are borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 and 2013.

Locals Testify On Florida's Election Issues

Apr 1, 2014
Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

The National Commission on Voting Rights met Monday at the University of Miami. 

National and local experts on voting law heard witness testimony on topics ranging from felon disenfranchisement, to long voting lines, to restroom access at polling places.

The goal of this commission is to create reports out of the testimony in hopes that Congress will make changes to voting laws. 

Hear what some Florida voters would like to see changed for the 2016 election.

Courtesy of Severiana Novas-Francois

In Florida, children who were born outside the United States -- and live here lawfully -- have to wait five years to qualify for the subsidized health care program known as Florida KidCare.

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, are sponsoring legislation to drop the five-year waiting period.

The law made its third trip to the legislature this year, and will get its first hearing in the Senate committee Tuesday.

Got Water?

Mar 10, 2014
Tom Hudson

 

The good news from last summer's rains is that South Florida's water supply is running above average. But that doesn't ease the concerns of those responsible for finding, protecting, cleaning and distributing freshwater to the more than six million people from Pam Beach County through Key West.

They tell us there is no "average" year for water supply. It's either too wet or too dry. And while it's technically the dry season, there's plenty of water.

The Guatemalan-Maya Center, Lake Worth

The Maya have many cool nicknames. The Greeks of the New World. Men of Maize. But you can add a more unfortunate moniker – the Children of Scorched Earth – to explain why they’re suddenly one of Florida’s fastest-growing immigrant communities.

The Maya are the largest indigenous group in the Americas, descendants of the glorious pre-Columbian civilization that occupied southern Mexico and northern Central America. Most live in Guatemala – where in recent decades they’ve faced one violent plague after another.

kbzachry / Flickr CC

A U.S. senator, a Boca Raton lawmaker and a former Florida governor are demanding answers about why a new website is still tying up unemployment benefits for thousands of out-of-work Floridians.

The state's $63 million unemployment website, CONNECT, has been plagued with technical glitches since its Oct. 15 launch. Complaints have been flooding into the offices of Gov. Rick Scott and the Department of Economic Opportunity, which oversees the website. But the state agency won't explain what the problems are.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

It’s hard to be a fan of hurricanes. Two out of three Haitians don’t have enough food to eat these days – thanks largely to storms like last year’s Hurricane Sandy and how they’ve ravaged Haiti’s agriculture.

And yet we need hurricanes once in a while. They’re a sort of planetary thermostat that cools oceans and redistributes hot air. Their rains more effectively alleviate droughts, and that can be a help instead of a horror to impoverished countries like Haiti.

New Florida Law Challenges Federal Ethanol Standards

Jul 8, 2013
Rama/ Creative Commons

On July 1, close to 200 new Florida laws went into effect, one of which is a direct challenge to Federal fuel regulations.

And one unexpected beneficiary is the recreational boat user.

Florida struck down the following part of its Renewable Fuel Standard Act:

“Each terminal supplier, importer, blender, and wholesaler shall also include in the report to the department the number of gallons of blended and unblended gasoline.”

chrismeller / Flickr Creative Commons

Summer is the time when snow birds and tourists abandon the state and leave native Floridians to swelter alone in the subtropical sun. Instead of bemoaning the heat and humidity (and occasional hurricane), delve into some writings that celebrate -- at least, in most cases -- what it means to live in this state.

https://www.facebook.com/VivaFlorida500

06/13/13 - Thursday's Topical Currents begins with info about the “Viva Florida 500” program.  It commemorates the arrival of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon in 1513.

The Not So Quiet Rebellion Against Florida's State Bird

Jun 12, 2013
Beautiful Lily/Flickr

Birding blogger Nicolas Lund recently argued in an article for Slate magazine that Florida should change its state bird to the Flamingo.

He was actually advocating for several states to change their birds, but he seemed particularly peeved with Florida’s current choice:

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