Politics

Congressional Leaders Say They Are Close to a Deal on the Debt Ceiling

WASHINGTON D.C. - President Barack Obama's top ally in the Senate has signed on to a long-delayed agreement to raise the government's borrowing cap and cut spending - subject to approval by his fellow Senate Democrats.

A spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Nevada Democrat supports the measure. He's the first top congressional leader to announce support.

Republican Senate leaders said Sunday they were close to a deal.

The tentative agreement would guarantee enough borrowing authority to keep the government afloat into 2013.

The measure would provide an immediate hike in the debt limit, accompanied by the promise of trillions of dollars in future spending cuts.

Cuts in spending would be phased in over a decade. Social Security and Medicare benefits wouldn't be cut, and taxes would be unlikely to rise.

Rick Scott Puts Mike Hogan to Work

Rick Scott Puts Mike Hogan to Work

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former mayoral candidate Mike Hogan didn't win his bid to lead Jacksonville, but he'll still have a job in government.

On Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott announced that he appointed 61-year-old Hogan to the Public Employees Relations Commission.

Hogan, who was the Duval County Tax Collector from 2003 to 2011, will serve as the commission's chair, succeeding Stephanie Williams Ray. 

His term starts on July 27, 2011 and ends January 1, 2012.

In the same announcement, Scott said he appointed Donna M. Poole, a labor law attorney from Tallahassee, to the commission as well.  Her term also starts on July 27 and she'll serve on the committee through January 1, 2014.

Duval County Public Schools Employee Heatlh Fair

Duval County Public Schools in partnership with each of the Bargaining Unions will be sponsoring a two-day Optional Health Insurance Fair in an effort to assist our employees with finding alternative ways to shoulder the burden of health care costs.

During the two-day event, the health insurance vendors listed below will be onsite to provide information and quotes on individual dependent health insurance plans.

Teacher Merit Pay Fails in NYC Before Florida Schools Start Program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local education advocates are calling on Governor Rick Scott to look to New York City after their teacher merit pay program was abandoned Monday.

"I applaud New York for doing what's fiscally responsible and realizing that political ideology shouldn't set the tone for what we put into practice," said Colleen Wood, Save Duval Schools Executive Director.

The program in New York City rewarded the entire school based on performance.

Here in Florida individual teachers would be rewarded.

Wood has rallied against teacher merit pay since it was first introduced in Florida, and she thinks the state should follow in New York's footsteps.

Duval Superintendent Statement Regarding Board Recommendation for Intervene School Oversight

When Duval Partners for Excellent Education, Inc. was started, the primary responsibility was to mobilize the entire city in supporting the four intervene schools and their feeder schools. Specifically, they were to expand the involvement of businesses and faith-based partners, university staff, non-profit and government wrap around services, as well as adding to the financial resources to attract and retain the best principals and teachers, extend learning time, and other important needs.

Redistricting Meeting in Jacksonville Gets Heated

Redistricting Meeting in Jacksonville Gets Heated

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tempers flared at Monday's redistricting meetings in Jacksonville.

"People are trying to take politics out of it, and you can't," said Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL).

The purpose of these meetings, 26 of them statewide, is for lawmakers to gather public input on the prickly issue of redrawing legislative and congressional districts.

"Everytime we do redistricting there is always lawsuits and litigation, but the important thing is that we have the opportunity to get it right," said Republican Rep. Will Weatherly.

By law, legislators can't draw the lines until January 2012, but as time marches on some are worried that there's not yet a plan for the new districts.

"On Election Day, people are going to stay home from the polls because they won't know what district they're in," said Duval County Democratic Party spokeswoman Billee Bussard.

How Redistricting May Affect You

How Redistricting May Affect You

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida lawmakers are required to redraw new boundaries every ten years to ensure that their is 'equal' representation for every voter.

This time the state is adding two congressional districts and that will translate into two additional electoral votes.

"This is the end game," said Stephen Baker. Baker is a political scientist at Jacksonville University.

"When it comes to districts, you can cut them up in all sort of ways," said Baker.

A Florida legislative committee began the process to solicit the public's input.

"The only criticism is they don't have a plan," said Baker.

The plan is to use the public's input from hearings around the state to develop a redistricting plan.

Max George, who describes himself as a blue collar worker, has often questioned why some of Florida's congressional districts have an unusual shape. But George said he was unaware of the hearings.