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Jessica Bryce

Orlando Weekly

Recent Stories from Jessica Bryce

Image: Senator Amy Klobuchar speaks on the Act from inside the Capitol Building, wikipedia.org

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: The Federal For the People Act would be a much-needed check on anti-democracy voting laws

Florida is among several states in the nation whose Republican lawmakers are attempting to retake power by any means possible. The 1965 Voting Rights Act outlawed barriers to voting that were enacted against African Americans. Section 4 required certain areas of the country, which Congress determined had shown “prevalent racial discrimination,” to get approval from the Justice Department before changing voting laws. Fifty-eight years later, a 5-4 Supreme Court struck down that provision and opened the floodgates to a new age of voter discrimination. Across the country, GOP legislators are proposing and passing laws that add pointless but burdensome requirements for mail-in voting, limit the use of ballot dropboxes, and even make it a crime to give water to voters …

Image: FL Senator Dennis Baxley, twitter.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: FL Senator Dennis Baxley backs off on misguided Bright Futures proposal

Going to college should be more than a four-year job training session. There’s a place for the practical, but the purpose of higher education, in the words of public policy writer Steven Brint, is to develop “human capital.” But State senator Dennis Baxley seems dead set on making it impossible for students who earn Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships to pursue liberal arts degrees. The first iteration of his recent education bill called for eliminating funding for any degree deemed “unlikely to lead to a job.” After a massive outcry from educators, families and students themselves, that part of the bill has been scrapped. Maybe focusing on the “capital” part of “human capital” would settle Baxley’s mind. After all corporate raider …

Image: Cannabis, adobe Orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Florida GOP plans to cap THC levels on smokable cannabis

Republican lawmakers in Florida have never hidden their discomfort with the use of medical marijuana. Even after more than 70 percent of Florida voters approved an amendment making it legally available, the Republican-controlled Legislature has dragged its feet on implementation every step of the way. Amendment 2 passed in 2016, yet some of its key aspects are still being hashed out five years later. Now a pair of 2021 bills propose a 10 percent THC cap on smokable cannabis, and a 16 percent limit on THC levels in other products. Physicians say the proposed caps are unnecessary and not scientifically based, and according to Ben Pollara of MMJ advocacy group Florida for Care, this simply will force patients to spend …

Image: Murder the Media Screenshot from Jessica O’Donnell twitter account

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Proposed Florida Legislation “The Offenses Against Members of the Press” Bill would give Journalists pre-existing Hate Crime Protections

https://wmfeimages.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/24165957/OrlandoWeekly022521.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: RSSState Sen. Janet Cruz proposed legislation Tuesday that would make attacking or threatening a journalist in the state of Florida a hate crime. The Offenses Against Members of the Press bill would give journalists pre-existing hate crime protections and would escalate penalties when a crime is committed against a member of the media. Florida code defines a hate crime as a criminal act against a person that is an expression of hatred of the victim because of personal characteristics, like race, color, gender, gender identity, religion, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, …

Image: Orlando Sentinel Logo, orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: The Tribune Company, parent of the Orlando Sentinel, will be bought by Alden Global Capital

This is a rough week for anyone who cares about local news. On Tuesday it was announced that the Tribune Company, parent of the Orlando Sentinel, will be bought by Alden Global Capital. The Manhattan-based hedge fund has become known as “the destroyer of newspapers” as it buys local publications across the country and enacts brutal layoffs. For instance, after being acquired by Alden in 2016, a network of regional papers in California went from an editorial staff of 1,000 to 150, and reporters say their newsroom now features rats, mildew, and falling ceilings. Last year, when Alden acquired a stake in Tribune, Orlando Sentinel reporters felt the cold breath on their neck and accelerated their efforts to form a …

Image:  Tampa Super Bowl Street Party, Kimberly DeFalco, Orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor “Happy” with Super Bowl Pandemic Compliance

Cognitive dissonance reigns supreme in the United States once again. George W. Bush declaring “mission accomplished” in 2003 arguably launched our modern age of political inconsistency. Presidents have long said one thing and done the opposite, but that speech ushered in an era of brazen divergence from reality that was brought to high art by our 45th fully unclothed emperor. So Americans of this generation are used to hearing our leaders make statements contradicted by the evidence of our own senses, but Central Florida — Tampa, to be specific — is the locus of the biggest whopper of this young year. Last weekend’s Super Bowl brought tens of thousands of fans together in the middle of a deadly airborne pandemic. …

Image: Fifteen dollars, ncpolicywatch.org

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: The FL Legislature has taken up a proposal to thwart the determination of their constituents

How many times does the Florida Legislature need to demonstrate how little they value the opinions of their constituents? Once again, they’ve taken up a proposal to directly thwart the determination of the voters. This time, it’s the minimum wage. A question on the 2020 ballot proposed a constitutional amendment that would gradually boost the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 and passed with more than 60 percent support. The amendment was self-executing and did not need legislative action. But that hasn’t stopped Sen. Jeff Brandes from trying to exempt certain workers. He proposes a reduced minimum wage for workers under age 21, for workers convicted of felonies, for state prisoners and for what he calls “other …