Looking ahead: Next month, once again, the U.S. will hit its debt limit. Bogus arguments notwithstanding, this issue relates solely to meeting legal and contractual commitments incurred by past and present Congresses and presidents. There is no Constitutional debate over bills owed. No different than when you receive a bill for something you purchased, you are obligated to pay. Tying the debt ceiling to defunding Obamacare or other unrelated policy issues is playing Russian Roulette with our economy. Stop with the self-indulgent, self- inflicted crises. Pay our debts on time and then let's get on with a serious debate about the budget.
Next week: As one of the authors of the Jimmy Ryce Act 10 years ago, I can say that the goal was to keep the most dangerous sexual predators off our streets. The Supreme Court mandated a process which examined and diagnosed these people as a threat to the community. They needed to be treated and that way they could be held after their sentence was completed. The law had good intentions, but the Sun Sentinel investigative articles show that the state has failed in its role of administering the law. The law needs to be fixed. Our safety depends on it.
Last week: How many years have we heard the justification that higher reinsurance rates justify higher insurance premiums for Florida homeowners? How many years have we heard that insurance rates are tied to international reinsurance trends, regardless of whether or not we have storms in Florida? How many years have passed without a major hurricane in Florida, yet our premiums go up every year without fail? Lastly, anybody believe that our rates in Florida will not skyrocket if we do have a major storm, regardless of what reinsurance costs are at the time? Heads you win, tails I lose.
This week: Once again, "school accountability," a valid and essential goal for quality schools is getting caught up in the game of shifting standards and false and artificial grades. If you don't have consistency in standards, there is no credibility to grading. It's as simple as that. Parents do not want to hear a continued string of cronyism deals and empty justifications as to why grades of schools are going up or down. Those in charge, Governor Scott and Education Commisioner Bennett, must be credible people who earn the confidence of our families and businesses
Last week: The House Republican caucus met Wednesday to discuss how to move forward with immigration reform. We should recognize that no one is 100% right or wrong on either side of the issue. However, it is clear that rational minded people can find agreement in enhancing border security, employment verification, and allowing hard working, honest people to stay here, contribute to our economy and make our country stronger. Let's remember, we are a nation of immigrants and the ability to come to our country and live the American dream has served us well for over 200 years.
Last week: President Obama's delay in the mandatory obligation for the purchase of health insurance is frustrating for people who have been waiting for the plan to kick into effect. For many people, this delay will prolong the agony and angst of not having health insurance for another year. However, it does not prevent businesses and individuals from using the exchanges to find the best, least expensive health insurance for their families. The partisan games relating to health insurance need to stop. If there are ways to improve Obamacare, instead of creating political obstacles, offer constructive suggestions on how to make it better.
Last week: In a damaging decision affecting voting rights, the Supreme Court ruled that the Justice Department no longer has oversight over voting procedure laws in Florida and other parts of the U.S. Unfortunately, Florida and a number of other states have, in recent years, sought tactical advantage by creating obstacles to voting. These laws are usually cloaked in justifications of preventing voter fraud, but in many cases, they are really designed to prevent access to voting by creating subtle or overt ways of making it more difficult for certain groups of citizens to vote. Every American, Democrat, Republican or Independent, should appreciate and defend the sacred value and right that every citizen should have the right to vote. Our democracy works best when every voter has the free ability to vote and every vote is counted.