The Dean’s List: A Look at Who Made the Honor Roll in Florida Politics–and Who Didn’t

Those Who Made the Grade

State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia. One of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pet projects is to deregulate certain industries and leading the charge is Ingoglia is helping lead the effort. The Spring Hill Republican has a bill for the deregulation of professions and occupations which would remove barriers for labor organizations, hair braiders, hair wrappers and body wrappers, boxing timekeepers and announcers and revises certain requirements for barbers, nail specialists, business organizations and impacts other professions. Ingoglia said some regulations will need to exist but cutting down on occupational licenses is a step in the right direction.

State Rep. Michael Grieco. In Tallahassee this year, there has been a debate about whether concealed weapon permit holders should be allowed to carry guns onto church and school property and over if they can take their guns into government meetings. Grieco, a Miami Beach Democrat, said it was strange that concealed weapons permit holders–which he is–couldn’t bring their gun to meetings, adding that government officials should be able to protect themselves.

State Sen. Aaron Bean. A few years back, Bean and other Senate Republicans were on the wrong side when they backed Medicaid expansion in the aftermath of Obamacare. The First Coast Republican, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, now supports a more modest approach to Medicaid expansion. He is backing Medicaid Block Grants, which would allow Florida more flexibility to use how the services should be provided without as much federal involvement.  Bean said the grants could save taxpayers around $100 million dollars a year.

Those Who Didn’t Make the Grade

State Rep. Anna Eskamani. The Orlando Democrat is calling for legislation that would go after private schools that turned away LGBT students. Some private schools have policies that forbid these students from attending their schools but Eskamani insisted private schools that receive “tax dollars” for education should be denied public funding because they discriminate. But the question remains, shouldn’t the money follow the child? If parents–who pay taxes–want to send their child to a school of their choice, even if it puts limits on who they accept, they should be able to do so.

Jacksonville Downtown Investment Authority. In order to “spur” economic growth, the Jacksonville Downtown Investment Authority is almost giving away the farm when it comes to attracting business using taxpayers dollars. This includes restaurants receiving incentives of up to $350,000 in five-year, forgivable loans. Other establishments would get government financing ranging anywhere from $50 to $75 per square foot with a $350,000 cap while small coffee shops and juice bars could get $40 per square foot for projects.

Kevin Wagner. Wagner, a political science professor at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), recently wrote an op-ed where he addresses the issue of political gerrymandering in the Sunshine State.

“Partisan gerrymandering…is very much alive and well, and is practiced by both major parties,” Wagner insisted. Wagner is correct but every columnist that writes about this issue “acts” as if they are surprised it still happens. Of course, if the GOP, is in power then it is seen as partisan redistricting.

Wagner and others fail to realize there will always be gerrymandering, no matter how you draw up legislative districts. Certain groups and communities will always be included in a district and others will be left out. Some counties have more Republicans than Democrats and vice versa. Not all districts will be able to see a good split between Democrats and Republicans especially with the growing number of voters outside the major parties.

 

Reach Ed Dean at ed.dean@floridadaily.com.

 

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