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  • Class Size Changes 1, March27, 2015
    Florida voters put class size limits into the constitution in 2002. As Matt Galka tells us, a bill passed by the Florida House would give schools a break for exceeding the class size numbers, but opponents say that’s not what voters wanted. A little more than a decade ago, Florida voters put caps on class […]
    Matt Galka
  • Uniforms Coming to a School Near You? 1, March26, 2015
    The Florida House of Representatives has given tentative approval this afternoon to make it easier for school districts to adopt standard uniform policies for kindergarten through eight grade. Under state law, uniforms are already allowed, but this legislation offers an encouragement. The legislation offers a ten dollar per student incentive for districts th […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Hitting a Donkey with a 2X4 1, March26, 2015
    One lawmaker likened legislation making major changes in the body that regulates high school sports in Florida to hitting a donkey on the head with a 2 x 4. The House Education committee today passed legislation requiring a complete shakeup of the governing organization, reorganizing its board and membership, allowing students to attend any school. […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Cards on the Table 1, March26, 2015
    Destination resort casinos, the future of greyhound racing, and renewing the compact that allows blackjack in certain places around the state. All were topics of discussion for lawmakers today, and as Matt Galka tells us, the odds are against getting many of the proposals to pass. A four hour long workshop saw legislators diving into […]
    Matt Galka
  • Turf wars: Nurses vs. Doctors. Round one to the Nurses 1, March25, 2015
    A turf war over your health care options is heating up at the State Capitol. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, it has to do with giving Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners more authority at the expense of doctors. Elizabeth Markovich isn’t a doctor, but she has a Doctorate degree in nursing and more than 15 years […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • A First for Political Theatre: Bag Monster 1, March25, 2015
    Take a look at this. He’s called a bag monster and he was walking around the state Capitol today to dramatize the harm done by plastic bags. According to the Surfrider Foundation, the average family uses 500 plastic bags a year that end up in land fills or in our waterways.Holly Parker says the Foundation […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Hillsborough County Comes to the Capitol 1, March25, 2015
    A pirate stormed through legislation offices today passing out beads and posing for pictures with lawmakers and staff as part of Hillsborough day in the State Capitol. The annual fest fed cuban sandwiches to more than a thousand people and offered stunts from the Museum of Science along with exhibits from the Lowery Park Zoo […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Taxis are Uber Mad 1, March25, 2015
    The boom of ride sharing services through smart phones has ruffled some feathers in the traditional cab company community.  As Matt Galka tell us, taxis say ride sharers are breaking the rules, and the legislature is trying to fix that. Tom Villaverde says he used to work 80 hours a week selling cars. “And I […]
    Matt Galka
  • Cut My Taxes 1, March24, 2015
    Governor Rick Scott is facing some opposition to his plan to cut 673 million dollars in taxes this year., so he kicked off what he is calling his “Cut My Taxes Week”  with a booth in the state Capitol. Even the Governor is adding to the confusion with a TV spot in which he says […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Confederate Vets Excluded from Hall of Fame…for now 1, March24, 2015
    5 people were inducted into the Veterans Hall of Fame today, but controversy continues to swirl around three who were nominated but not chosen because they served in the Confederate army. The law as written says they must have served in the US Military. One of them was David Lang’s great grandfather, who went on […]
    Mike Vasilinda

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House Tackles Court Restructuring

April 15th, 2011 by Mike Vasilinda

Last August, the Florida Supreme Court found three amendments authored by state lawmakers misleading, and ordered them removed from the ballot. Today, the state House approved three bills dramatically changing the structure of the states highest court. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, if the Senate follows suit, the final decision will still be up to voters.

House Speaker Dean Cannon personally argued before the Supreme Court to keep three amendments on the ballot last year. He Lost. Now Cannon is leading the effort to split the court in two, add three justices, and take away its rule-making authority.

Republicans say the changes will make the court more efficient.

Its a complicated state and its grown quite a bit since the constitution was originally passed,” Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Seminole County) said. “So, allowing for that difference, and splitting will allow it to be more efficient.

The idea is sweetened by increasing court funding. But Democrats say call it what it is: court packing.

Here we have a Florida Supreme Court that struck down several constitutional amendments passed by the 2010 legislature, over many of our objections,” Rep. Darren Soto (D-Orlando) said. “In the very next session, here we have a bill that is trying to change the make-up of the court.

The move is reminiscent of 1937, when then-President Franklin Roosevelt tried to add judges to the U.S. Supreme Court to get favorable rulings.

The nation rejected the issue then; but what happens next in Florida is up in the air.

Until now, the effort to split the court has been driven almost entirely by the House Speaker. But this week the Senate got on board, and that makes passage of the proposal more likely.

Even if lawmakers approve the changes, voters will still have the final say in 2012. Unless the court itself does what it did last year, which was to find the legislative amendments unclear and misleading.

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