Florida Five: Voters say ‘no’ to unions for athletes, ‘yes’ to outright pot legalization

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Florida voters say ‘no’ to unions for college athletes: College sports in Florida made headlines this year when Florida State University’s football team won the BCS National Championship, but Florida voters are sharply divided on whether college athletes should be allowed to form a union or be paid salaries beyond scholarships. A new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found more than half of voters — 51 percent — oppose allowing college athletes to form a union. Forty-one percent said they oppose unionization for college athletes. Read more.

Charlie Crist stumps at Versailles, bashes Rick Scott over taxes and tries to deny flip-flops: Newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist campaigned like a Republican Monday when he visited Little Havana’s Versailles Restaurant and attacked Gov. Rick Scott over an issue commonly associated with GOP candidates: Taxes. “Rick Scott is trying to boast that he increased education funding. Well, he did it by raising property taxes about $400 million,” Crist said. What Crist didn’t mention: the tax rate didn’t increase, but the tax base and taxable values did — and property taxes used to pay for education rose under Crist as well. Read more.

New college grads see more job opportunities: As they don their caps and gowns, college graduates this spring are finding more reason to celebrate: It’s the best job market since the Great Recession. New graduates are fielding more job opportunities than last year or even last fall, college career counselors said.”Students are much more confident, much more optimistic about their opportunities for employment at graduation,” said Sandra Jakubow, director of the career development center at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Read more.

Lake Okeechobee dike quick-permitted for repair and rehabilitation: Repairs to the dangerously leaky Herbert Hoover Dike — the 140-mile-long earthen barrier that holds back the waters of Lake Okeechobee — are finally good to go, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced. On Friday, the DEP issued a consolidated environmental resource permit, or ERP, to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It allows the Corps to install new culverts and replace decades-old devices to increase the dike’s structural integrity. Read more.

Q-Poll Florida: 88% back medical marijuana; 53% support outright legalization: The issue garners 88 percent support, up from 82 percent the last time Quinnipiac surveyed the question.One nit with the poll: It doesn’t ask the specific ballot language, which says: “Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.” Read more.

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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