March 22, 2011

Educational Funding cuts in Central Florida’s schools 2009

Dear Mr. Shaw:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about education funding cuts in Central Florida’s schools. Hearing from you helps me better represent Florida’s Eighth District.

As the father of five, I will be the first to tell you that nothing is more important than a child’s education. I share your frustrations regarding education funding cuts in the state of Florida. These cuts impact everything from the jobs of quality teachers and administrators, to after school activities and athletic programs. That is why I voted for H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which included an important provision that would increase education funding nationwide, by approximately $47 billion. Initially, Florida was not eligible for Recovery education funding because the state legislature was not meeting funding obligations. However, myself and other members of the Florida Congressional delegation personally asked the U.S. Secretary of Education to grant Florida an emergency waiver, making our state eligible for increased education funds.

On May 12, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Recovery funding of up to $1.8 billion was available to the state of Florida, with the opportunity to apply for another $891 million this fall. This money will benefit the children of Florida because it will help save the hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs that were at the risk of state and local budget cuts. Although this is just a first step, please know that as the 111th Congress debates issues related to education and federal funding, I will have the best interests of my constituents, like you, in mind.

March 21, 2011

Senator Bill Nelsons’ response towards Continuing Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011

Dear Mr. Shaw:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the spending plan set forth by the House of Representatives in H.R. 1, the Continuing Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011. The Senate declined to take up this measure, and a Senate version of a continuing resolution also failed to gain enough votes to proceed to debate.

H.R. 1 blindly slashed programs without taking the time to examine the consequences. What we need instead are responsible solutions that can reduce the deficit and, at the same time, ensure economic opportunity for the middle class.

I have long been committed to getting Federal spending under control, going back to my support for a balanced budget in the 1980s. Last year I voted for an across-the-board cap on discretionary spending through 2014, and recently voted to ban earmarks for three years. Furthermore, I am a cosponsor to the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act (S.102), which would establish a streamlined procedure for Congress to vote on discretionary spending cuts proposed by the President, much like a line-item veto.

Now Congress must work together on a new plan to keep the government funded past March 18. I assure you that I will look for common ground across the political divide, and admonish efforts to derail good-faith negotiations. I am committed to finding real solutions to our fiscal situation, and will work to ensure that appropriations bills and measures to reduce the deficit reflect the values and priorities of Floridians.

I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future

Sincerely,
Senator Bill Nelson

March 16, 2011

Marijuana Review

The population of the United States is 307,006,550. What is recorded here is the actual number of arrests that have been made in sake of marijuana possession. Reason enough under the assumption of current point and tie analysis is now under the influence of simply issuing a court summons and a fine of $50.

Currently there are several states within the nation that have already considered marijuana for what it is a social drug and have lessened the penalties that has been associated.

Marijuana Arrests For Year 2005 — 786,545 Tops Record High… Pot Smokers Arrested In America At A Rate Of One Every 40 Seconds with an estimated 15 million users averaged on a monthly basis.

Police arrested a record 829,625 persons for marijuana violations in 2006, approximately 89 percent some 738,915 Americans were charged with possession only.

872,721 Americans were arrested for marijuana in 2007, and of those arrests, 89% or 775,138 were arrests for simple possession

Police arrested 847,864 persons for marijuana violations in 2008. Marijuana arrests now comprised one-half (49.8 percent) of all drug arrests reported in the United States.

Police prosecuted 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009. Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 88 percent (758,593 Americans) were charged with possession only.

Each year there is an increase to the number of arrests that are made to marijuana possessors with really is not necessary. It costs more money to continually arrest an incarcerate marijuana possessors which is costing tax payers big dollars. There is a solution to all this though, just allow there to be a passing of a bill that is written to handle the instances in which those in possession of marijuana at time of interaction with law enforcement be issued a court summons and fined a certain stated amount of money in lue of possession. It would make sense in the effort of reform and it sure would free up tax payers dollars.

March 15, 2011

William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund

I’m pretty sure that with the concern that is going on in Broward County in all with the acceptance of the parochial school advancement and all that a bit of information on another aspect of religious subjecting would be about the homeless situation that has transpired for some time now in what most could consider a metro Broward County. In 1992 Visionary Fla. Lawmakers enacted a landmark affordable housing law that earmarked revenues raised from the documentary stamp tax on real estate transactions to affordable housing.

“Gov. Bush initially opposed reauthorizing the funds. He claimed that recent dramatic increases in home prices and the resulting increase in property tax revenue funneled too much money into the affordable housing trust funds, and he believed more of it should be spent on other worthy state programs. SB 2514, A separate bill that the governor favored, would have limited the total amount of money in the trust funds to their 2003 levels; but that failed to pass the Florida Legislature, making it unclear whether Gov. Bush would sign the reauthorization bills without his requested spending limit guarantee. Lawmakers continued the tradition of providing for affordable housing for Florida families by passing legislation to reauthorize the state’s two housing trust funds. This includes the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund in which this program has helped more than 130,000 families buy a home. (Florida Association of Realtors)

HB 1375, this session’s ‘comprehensive’ affordable housing bill included $15 million for extremely low income housing development. This is a 50 percent decrease from the current funding set a-side.

Florida lawmakers refused to remove the cap on the Sadowski Trust Fund. The House did workshop a bill to remove the cap in its Policy and Budget Council; however that is where it ended. The Senate did not address the cap in any committee. (No bill heard in committees). The Legislature did appropriate $391,400,000 of the Sadowski fund towards Housing initiatives some of the money appropriated was from last year’s unappropriated dollars.

ENROLLED 2004 Legislature SB 1000;

An act relating to trust funds; re-creating:

Local Government Housing Trust Fund within the Department of Community Affairs without modification; carrying forward current balances and continuing current sources and uses thereof; providing an effective date.

WHEREAS, the Legislature wishes to extend the life of the Local Government Housing Trust Fund within the Department of Community Affairs, which is otherwise scheduled to be terminated pursuant to constitutional mandate, and WHEREAS, the Legislature has reviewed the trust fund before its scheduled termination date and has found that it continues to meet an important public purpose, an WHEREAS, the Legislature has found that existing public policy concerning the trust fund sets adequate parameters for its use, NOW, THEREFORE, Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida. Evidence that there [(a state acted involvement concern)] was a suspected consideration to take an effective approach to what seemed to be a prospecting public funded program. This act shall take effect November 4, 2004.

ENROLLED 2004 Legislature SB 1002:

An act relating to trust funds; re-creating the State Housing Trust Fund within the Department of Community Affairs without modification; carrying forward current balances and continuing current sources and uses thereof; providing an effective date.

WHEREAS, the Legislature wishes to extend the life of the State Housing Trust Fund within the Department of Community Affairs, which is otherwise scheduled to be terminated pursuant to constitutional mandate, and WHEREAS, the Legislature has reviewed the trust fund before its scheduled termination date and has found that it continues to meet an important public purpose, and WHEREAS, the Legislature has found that existing public policy concerning the trust fund sets adequate parameters for its use, NOW, THEREFORE,

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

This act shall take effect November 4, 2004.

“The next step is for the subcommittee to mark up a THUD bill that divvies up the $50.7 billion in allocated subcommittee funding among all of the federal programs under its jurisdiction, including funding for all HUD programs. The THUD subcommittee, chaired by Representative John Olver (D-MA), will hold its mark-up for the FY08 spending bill…” and this was back in June so what has come of the approach that has been taken by those of concern? (http://www.flshc.net/documents/FLSHCworkgroup.pdf)

“Right now, we’re on the defensive,” she says. “We’re not even asking for increased funding. We just want lawmakers to get rid of the cap.”

Jaimie Ross, [left,] affordable housing director for 1,000 Friends of Florida, a Tallahassee-based watchdog group, says unless the cap is repealed, affordable housing programs will lose up to $1 billion in unallocated funds.

It’s now 2007 and no word has come of this program as of yet! Is there still any-one out there that has anything to do with the concern of what is at hand? We must feel proud that we can over look the fact that this program has been hailed and yet there is no economic response of any more success or even improvement coming from this network of private peoples that have expressed their own personal consideration for the homeless as a mass. I’m taken the approach that the big fuss is supposed to be about the HUD McKinney-Vento act that is also being put but for more money considerations, how bout that!

When it comes to me, consider the state as it sees the views and opinions of those involved with this act as a trust fund also.

As it was responded to me from you Representative Mica, you were or are a co-founder of the HUD Vento-McKinney Act that as a response to the lack of housing situation that are allotted to the homeless made sure that there can continue to be an option of available funds to allow such a consideration. However with some research there has brought another fund that seems to be state drive but more of a private funded act in the Sadowski Trust fund. For some time back in 2004 and 2005 there seemed to be a lack in approval taken in by the state that made this fund become to a state of remorse and lacking the funding that it needed to maintain a dependable resolve for those that are out on the street. As a matter of concern, what made this a fund that does not receive such attention as the Vento-McKinney Act? Is it that there is a difference in the fact that one is a national matter as opposed to the Sadowski fund which is mainly a local effort keeping all the attention focused on the Metro Broward area?

As the Vento-McKinney Act receives that attention that it needs to becoming restructured questions about other funds and acts that are structured in the same manner as such will become more and more attentive and demanding the same attention, will this happen and under what means?

March 15, 2011

Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act

Friday, February 2, 2007

With New Mexico’s legislative session in full gear, the Drug Policy Alliance Network is working on five different drug policy bills that are rooted in compassion and science. The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, a medical marijuana bill, passed its first committee hearing yesterday.

The hearing took place before the Senate Public Affairs Committee, which unanimously passed the bill. If the bill maintains its current momentum, this could be the third year in a row for Senate approval of medical marijuana legislation.

The sticking point for medical marijuana in New Mexico in past years has been the House, where the legislative session ended in both 2005 and 2006 without a floor vote. Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico director Reena Szczepanski is optimistic about the bill’s prospects this year. “I am confident that our elected officials see that this is an important issue for New Mexicans,” she said. “I sincerely hope that they realize that the sick and dying should not have to wait any longer for relief.”

Other reform legislation is also off to a promising start in the legislature. A treatment bill and an overdose prevention bill both unanimously passed their committee hearings yesterday.
Another bill, to improve Medicaid coverage of substance abuse treatment, is being heard today before the Senate Public Affairs Committee. This legislation is sorely needed because New Mexico has one of the highest rates of unmet treatment needs for adults and teens in the country.

March 15, 2011

Florida’s Energy Policy

These are exciting times for Florida’s future in the Alternative Energy field.

Both the Governor and the Legislature are taking strides to implement policies that make Florida’s Energy Policy an example to the rest of the country. As a member of the Energy Committee in the House of Representatives I would like to share with you where I think we should be headed with regards to Alternative Energy and Fuel. Currently, more than half of our State’s Energy needs are met through Natural Gas. While this is a clean energy source, it is also creates a volatile market and an inefficient use of Natural Gas. I feel that one of the best ways to meet emission reduction standards while stabilizing our energy market is to make Nuclear power a key component in our State’s energy portfolio. Currently, Progress Energy and other Florida utilities are developing plans for Nuclear reactors in our state. However, due to a long permitting process, these facilities will not be operational for at least another decade.

There needs to be a stop-gap to fill our State’s energy needs as we progress

to towards these long term solutions. When used in conjunction with

agricultural based fuels, energy efficiency measures can help us meet our energy needs by reducing waste. Polk County has led the way in both areas and continues to do so. In the section marked “Did you know…”, you can see several examples of this leadership. While all of these resources are proving more viable everyday, I believe our state should have an open conversation about the costs related to meeting our energy needs. I will continue to promote that conversation while serving on the House Energy Committee and welcome your input and comments on this critical issue for Florida.

March 15, 2011

Shifting Demands: Trends in Land and Living‏

Shifting Demands: Trends in Land and Living
Featuring Anthony Flint, author of the book This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America, the first forum focused on land use and America’s insatiable appetite for eating up land.

Flint suggested that the fundamental question is how we desire to arrange ourselves on the land and in general, over the last 25 years the desire has been to create un-tethered communities that have no connection to urban centers. Flint calls this phenomenon “Ex-urban Sprawl.” He added that one reason for this trend is that people move further away from the urban core because the housing tends to be more affordable, leading people to “drive to qualify.”

He also pointed to the pattern of separated use as a major reason for increased land consumption. Over the last three decades, most development has separated living, working and shopping in different locations. Since 1982, 25 million acres of rural land has been converted to development in the United States with the nation adding 43,000 new shopping centers.

Flint did provide some hope for the future as he said there is a “perfect storm for change” revolving around three factors: Environment, Economics and Equitability. He said that factors including global warming, shifts in consumer demographics and the high cost for infrastructure will help reduce the appetite for developing land.

In the future, he expects significant recycling of land through redevelopment. He pointed to Baldwin Park as an example of land reuse and said that redeveloping old airfields, military facilities, industrial sites and shopping centers will continue to be a popular trend.

March 15, 2011

Nonviolent Offenders. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Statute.

Requires State to expand and increase funding and oversight for individualized treatment and rehabilitation programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees. Reduces criminal consequences of nonviolent drug offenses by mandating three-tiered probation with treatment and by providing for case dismissal and/or sealing of records after probation. Limits court’s authority to incarcerate offenders who violate probation or parole. Shortens parole for most drug offenses, including sales, and for nonviolent property crimes. Creates numerous divisions, boards, commissions, and reporting requirements regarding drug treatment and rehabilitation. Changes certain marijuana misdemeanors to infractions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state costs that could exceed $1 billion annually primarily for expanding drug treatment and rehabilitation programs for offenders in state prisons, on parole, and in the community. Savings to the state that could exceed $1 billion annually due primarily to reduced prison and parole operating costs. Net savings on a one-time basis on capital outlay costs for prison facilities that could exceed $2.5 billion. Unknown net fiscal effect on expenditures for county operations and capital outlay.

At a time when one in 100 adult Americans is in prison, California faces a prison overcrowding crisis that may be the worst in the nation. The system is at 175% of capacity. This is due in large part to excessive incarceration of nonviolent offenders, many of whom are drug law violators. Overcrowding has been exacerbated by the state’s failure to provide meaningful recidivism-reduction programs, including addiction treatment and other rehabilitation services.

The measure would also make low-level marijuana possession an infraction–equivalent to a traffic ticket–rather than a misdemeanor, a sentencing change that could affect 40,000 people a year and conserve millions of dollars in court resources for other, more serious cases. To further help young people struggling with substance abuse, NORA provides dedicated funding of about $65 million per year to build a system of care that would offer treatment to at-risk youth.

Besides helping youth and people who have been arrested for nonviolent drug offenses, NORA would dramatically expand rehabilitation services for people in prison and on parole, and prohibit the return to prison of nonviolent offenders who commit minor violations of parole. Spending on these programs, which are proven to reduce crime and recidivism, will be more than paid for by reductions in prison and parole costs. NORA is projected to save at least $2.5 billion on future prison construction costs, too, by rendering new prisons unnecessary.

March 15, 2011

This nations marijuana policy‏

For what has been Two-hundred plus years, this nation has sustained a very reliable system of checks and balances that from time to time has been subjected to regulation, reform, as well as policy chance as far as regulations are concerned. All which allow this nation to address the attentions of one of the largest social groups that will ever be sustained in one place.

As we have entered into a new age of time and management as a society ideas are often taken into more of an appealing role than before as the capabilities of an individual are not so limited as technology as some what exceeded the limitations of control. Technological advances that allow people the option to becoming more adaptive to certain situations that might not be expected of them under considerations of survival, work, and leisure.

As far as the current system of checks and balances the same rules have applied since the initial spawning of the idea of bringing forth a federal system of government that takes on the role of a paternal instinct of protection of the smaller cities, regulation of income, as well as the simple introduction of new ideas that may become a justifiable law to being issued into the current theory of ethical capabilities and actions of the people of this nation.

With this has come the change of numerous laws and policies that have brought this nation to the stead fasting conglomerate known as of now. So no longer are women not allowed to the attentioning and addressing of matters that men were only allowed such as voting and holding major roles in a political society as held primarily by men, no longer is it illegal to smoke in public in small town Yorkshire Mass., no longer are we subjected to outstanding import taxes on the finer leisure items of the past such as tobacco, tea, and coffee. We have adapted to the change that has come with the introduction of social groups and ethnic backgrounds that a free nation would and could offer.

March 15, 2011

Educating Florida

As related to an expression that National Education Secretary mentioned in a recent press release Florida will be keep in mind at this time. A time in which education in this state seems to be at its worse, a worse state even since the introduction of segregation and the laws accustomed to promoting fair and equal education as deemed a right of all citizens of this nation.

As witnessed Monday May 1, 2008 Margaret Spelling was a guess speaker on the Washington Journal television program in which all the acclaims were geared towards the promotion towards the “ No Child Left Behind” incentive as a guideline for educational standards. As expressed, the intentions of this system are to aid the progressions of classroom accomplishments as well as teachers relations straight down to a retro-specting of curriculum’s as presented to the state education boards approval as educational innovations are now becoming noticed practices of the progressive needs of learning as well as adapting taken on rather students or administration faculty.

As a state we are witnessing the progressions of negating educational programs such as “Schools to prison” networking as well as individual attempts to modify the educational standards rather teaching administration or those seeking to be taught, (issues ranging from gang and drug activity in Florida schools down to the current issues of teachers seemingly thinking that its right to have sex with students), are very delicate educational system is being ripped and torn in a way that makes it hard to generate a positive response as national standards of education are now being addressed and identified to generate a compassionate approach geared towards education.

For some time now it seems that as a state, we when it comes to a national standards are seemingly failing and no aid may be administered equipped to generate the sought after competitive educational system as expressed by other states in this nation.

A competitive spirit that as mentioned and expressed we as a state have a hard time gearing up for through-out the state as an expression of progression for the purpose of identifying progression as a consensus of sorts.

As expressed it seems that we are not worthy of advancements in our lacking educational system as a state, an educational system that is mentioned to promote jobs as well as setting other expressions of a state that is living and living well as fundamental programs such as job market and educational accomplishments are addressed on a national level. No wonder Florida seems hungry all the time, it’s because “we are”! As reflected on a national level of progression we are amongst the worse of the failing with no help in sight what so ever, even as progression seems to be a very reasonable approach to aiding those states with addressable problems, even Alaska has a chance at proper educational considerations as remote as they are compared to the progressions of quality education when mentioning Florida as a competitive program based with standards.