YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: Florida's poverty, the war on women, free-speech panties



BEWARE OF THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON POVERTY, BECAUSE IT’S BASICALLY A WAR ON YOU (AND UNDERPAID WORKING CLASS). ALSO, BEWARE OF HOUSE SPEAKER WILL WEATHERFORD’S MAGNETIC SMILE: “Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford laid out his agenda for the next 60 days of the 2014 legislative session, and it sounds much like his vision for the previous year -- making great social progress with as little government as possible.Ethics reform. Instate tuition for undocumented students. Vouchers. Pension reform. Lower taxes. In a 20-minute speech to the House and others, like Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Weatherford made the elimination of ‘generational poverty’ a focal point for his final 60 days as speaker. ‘There will always be poverty -- the kind that results from temporary setbacks: job loss, foreclosures, or unexpected challenges,’ Weatherford said. ‘But there’s a far greater and more dramatic problem for some of our Floridians. They’re stuck in generational poverty -- the persistent, year after year oppression and hopelessness that starts with grandparents, is passed on to parents and continues to their children.’ But Weatherford says the way to remedy this chronic condition is with higher employment. ‘The answer is a paycheck -- not a welfare check -- that’s the ticket to economic and personal freedom,’ Weatherford said. ‘Because a job is more than  just pay. Work gives us a sense of dignity. Of self-actualization. Of purpose.’ (That's a curious train of thought for Weatherford, whose employment has raised issues about how exactly he earns his money.)” (via Tampa Bay Times)



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THE DISTURBING TREND TOWARD REMOVING HOME RULE FROM MUNICIPALITIES CONTINUES IT’S DEMOLITION ROLL: “Legislation that would exempt new developments from concurrency fees – revenues used by local governments to pay for the expanded roads required by the increased use the development would bring – brought sharp rebukes from members of the House Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. Rep. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, noted his bill, HB 7023, would allow local governments to override those exemptions by a simple majority vote and would only apply to new developments of 6,000 square feet or less. He said the intent is to encourage a business-friendly, developer-friendly environment in the state. ‘It alleviates over-burdensome concurrency requirements for truly small businesses,’ Hutson said. ‘I think it's important that we want to be business friendly in our state.’Although the bill was approved unanimously, some members of the committee were unconvinced and remain concerned about the concurrency exemption. ‘To me it’s taking away home rule,’ said Rep. Kathleen Peters, a Republican and former mayor of South Pasadena. ‘Cities are working really hard to use that as an economic development tool.’ (via the Florida Current)


LADIES, YOUR MANDATORY ULTRASOUNDS AND FORCED SECOND OPINIONS ABOUT YOUR REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE WILL HAVE TO WAIT A BIT: “A vote on a controversial proposal that would outlaw abortions in Florida any time a doctor determined a fetus was viable was postponed indefinitely Wednesday. Sponsor Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said she asked to delay a vote on Senate Bill 918 because she started receiving calls from the pro-life community that indicated the proposal was being misinterpreted. She said she plans to work with these groups to make sure they understand the bill is intended to further limit abortions prior to the third trimester and expects the bill will be put on the agenda for next week's Health Policy Committee meeting. The proposal requires doctors to perform medical examinations, including ultrasounds, on pregnant women who seek abortions to determine viability. If the doctor rules the fetus is viable -- defined as the stage of development where the life of a fetus could be sustained outside of the womb -- then an abortion can only be carried out if the woman's life is at risk or she faces serious risk of injury. Similar restrictions are added to the state's existing ban on third-trimester abortions and there is also the requirement of a second doctor's opinion before the exception is granted. A ‘temporary postponement’ means the bill could be brought back to the committee any time -- there will be at least two more meetings during the 2014 session -- or never again.” (via Tampa Bay Times)

IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU WEAR A SKIRT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT, YOU’RE ASKING FOR IT “It is not against the law to secretly take photographs up a woman’s skirt in Massachusetts, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled Wednesday. The court dismissed charges against Michael Robertson, who was arrested by Boston transit police for taking photos and videos up multiple women’s skirts or dresses on the subway. The judges sympathized with the notion that a woman should be able to have a reasonable expectation not to have secret photos taken up her skirt when she goes out in public, but ruled that current state law does not address that. Massachusetts’ “Peeping Tom” laws, as written, only protect women from being photographed in dressing rooms or bathrooms when they are undressed. Since upskirt photos are taken of fully clothed women in public, they don’t count, according to the court. ‘A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is `partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing,’ the court wrote. Robertson’s lawyers defended his actions by arguing the photos were a matter of free speech. (via Think Progress)



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