Legislative Session is Underway

With Florida’s early Legislative Session already underway, Keep It Local, Florida readers are asking for updates and information. Two recurring policy hot-buttons seem poised to pop once more: The Department of Juvenile Justice and its rampant over-billing of local taxpayers is the subject of a piece in the Bradenton Herald, while a proposal to leave local taxpayers on the hook for costly new union benefits is the topic of a recent editorial in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

sunsentinel-alarm-bellsThe Florida Legislature dislikes unions — unless they are firefighter or police unions.

Teachers, for example, get no love from Tallahassee. In recent years, legislators have forced them to pay toward their pensions and approved an underwhelming bonus plan. Ignoring pleas from the teachers’ union, legislators have starved public schools of maintenance and construction money, thus worsening the teachers’ workplaces.

But when it comes to public safety unions, every favor is possible. Read more.

bradenton-herald-tallahassee-wrongAn issue that has bedeviled dozens of counties across Florida returns to the spotlight thanks to a Clearwater senator who has filed legislation that would fix a shamefully inequitable state mandate.

In 2004, the Legislature forced 38 counties to pay a portion of the costs of incarcerating juveniles before adjudication. Before that bill became law, the state paid all those costs. But as is common practice in Tallahassee, lawmakers look for ways to pass down costs in order to beef up the state budget for other projects and programs. Read more.

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