Florida Five: RPOF defends ballot access rule, Teachers fume over bonus program

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

RPOF_logo_800Blaise Ingoglia: Why ballot access needs to be addressed – Have you ever wondered how a candidate qualifies for Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary ballot? Currently, that power rests solely with the Republican Party of Florida and its Chairman. In my opinion, this is too much power in the hands of one person or organization. Read more

Related: Good Decision, RPOF: Presidential Candidates Need to Show Florida Counts

Teachers fume over bonus program tied to ACT, SAT scores – Florida teachers have about a week left to apply for a $10,000 bonus program that has exasperated many because eligibility hinges on their ACT or SAT scores, even if those college-admissions exams were taken decades ago. “It’s absurd to think that anything I did when I was 17 years old should be affecting my pay right now,” said James Brendlinger, a 23-year veteran who teaches at Lake Howell High School in Seminole County. Read more

FEMA rejects Scott’s appeal for federal disaster declaration – For the second time in a month, the federal government has rejected Gov. Rick Scott’s plea for a disaster declaration for flooding that swamped the Tampa Bay region in late July and early August. Scott was already turned down for a disaster declaration on Sept. 3, but appealed the decision a week later to Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator W. Craig Fugate, who advises President Barack Obama on disaster declarations. Read more

Senator seeks to toughen texting-while-driving law – Florida’s texting-while-driving ban would be strengthened under a proposal filed Tuesday by Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, for the 2016 legislative session. The measure (SB 328) would make texting while driving a “primary” offense — meaning police could pull over motorists who violate the ban. Read more

More from Altman: Bill would require unanimous juries for death penalty

New invasive fly shuts down $700 million Florida fruit industry – A tiny fly has forced a sizable and productive agricultural area in Florida’s Miami-Dade County to grind to a halt. The creature, known as the Oriental fruit fly, is capable of feeding and laying eggs upon 400 different types of fruit crops. It was first spotted in Miami weeks ago and has since spread to Redland, a community in Miami-Dade that is home to many fruit growers raising crops such as papaya, tomatoes and dragon fruit. Read more

VIDEO: Congressional redistricting maps back in court this week

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