Florida Five: Gun bill could spark school safety debate, Fla. senators respond to Hagel’s demise

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

guard-schoolGun bill could rekindle school safety debate – After the issue drew heavy debate during the 2014 legislative session, a House Republican is bringing back a proposal that could lead to some public-school employees or volunteers carrying guns on campus. Sarasota Republican Greg Steube last week filed the proposal (HB 19) for consideration during the 2015 session. Under the bill, a school superintendent, with the backing of the local school board, could authorize a “school safety designee” to carry a concealed weapon on school property. That designee could be an honorably discharged military veteran, an active-duty member of the military, National Guard or reserves or an active-duty of former law-enforcement officer. The designee would also have to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon, complete a school-safety program and pass a background screening. Read more

U.S. sugar policy doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime – The Palm Beach Post’s editorial policy continues to disappoint. Case in point is the newspaper’s recent biased diatribe against America’s sugar farmers. One of its laughable claims is that federal sugar policies “kill American jobs.” The truth is that the policy protects thousands of jobs in Palm Beach County, over 13,000 jobs in Florida and tens of thousands of indirect jobs throughout the state. The economically-ignorant liberal media unfairly castigates U.S. sugar farmers with stories that help foreign sugar producers, who receive billions in subsidies from their own governments. You’d think The Post would understand that sugar farming is one of the largest local economic generators, providing jobs in rural areas suffering from up to 40 percent unemployment. But you’d think wrong. Read more

Florida senators weigh in after chuck Hagel resigns under pressure – Just as they did when President Barack Obama nominated him to lead the Defense Department, Florida’s two U.S. senators — Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio — split as Sec. Chuck Hagel announced his resignation on Monday. Before a White House announcement on Monday, the New York Times reported Hagel was leaving under pressure as President Barack Obama does not think he is the right man to lead the Pentagon as conflict looms with Islamic State (IS) forces. A senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said he was “saddened” that Hagel was leaving. Nelson served with Hagel when that Nebraska Republican was in the Senate. Read more

Fla. dairy farm fighting regulators forcing use of ‘misleading’ milk labels – State regulators took on a third generation family-owned dairy farm in one of Florida’s smallest counties and gave it an offer the owners had to refuse: call a natural milk item imitation milk or inject it with additives. When Mary Lou Wesselhoeft, owner of the Ocheesee Creamery, didn’t comply, the result was a stop sale order issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. That was two years ago. Now, Wesselhoeft is taking on regulators with the help of the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm. A federal lawsuit filed last week accuses state officials of infringing on the small business’s First Amendment rights by forcing it to mislead its customers. Read more

Florida’s chief justice taps Disney, Publix executives for new civil commission – Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga on Monday morning signed an administrative order creating the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, which includes executives from some of Florida’s biggest companies such as Walt Disney Co. and Publix Super Markets Inc. Labarga began discussing the initiative publicly this summer. The goal of the commission is to study the unmet civil legal needs of disadvantaged, low-income and moderate-income Floridians, according to a statement from the Florida Supreme Court. This will be the major initiative of Labarga’s two-year administration. “Its work will include a close look at improving existing legal programs, developing solutions based on new technology, and exploring other ways to meet the needs of Floridians caught in the current civil legal services gap,” the statement said. Roughly 30 states have established similar commissions, the Supreme Court said. Read more

Bonus: Peaceful protest held in Sanford over Ferguson decision

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

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