Tuesday's Afternoon Pulse
Jeb Bush Leads Move to Weaken Teachers UnionThe battle over the teacher tenure bill is the latest in a long-running war between the Florida teachers union and conservative Republicans. Led by former Gov. Jeb Bush, the conservative side of the GOP has long sought to marginalize teachers' unions in Florida, which merged in 2000 to form the Florida Education Association. Non-partisan but Democratic-leaning, it is Florida's largest and most politically powerful union, with about 140,000 members, including 100,000 of the state's 175,000 public schoolteachers.
OUT OF THE BOX
Senate rejects Charlie Crist AHCA Chief Confirmation
Sen. Don Gaetz' Health Regulation Committee made a surprise rejection of Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Tom Arnold. The vote: 4-3. Arnold was rejected because, in the words of the senators, his agency failed to rein in fraud, failed to properly implement a medical-home program and didn't properly implement a so-called "telephony" project designed to ensure that home-health agents prove by telephone that they were actually doing their jobs. [Source: Buzz Blog on TampaBay.com]
Consumer Reports Calls Lexus GX 460 'Unsafe'
Consumer Reports has given the Lexus GX 460 SUV a rare "Don't Buy" warning, saying a problem that occurred during routine handling tests could lead to a rollover accident in real-world driving.
In the latest blow to Toyota's reputation, the magazine said that during a test of the vehicle's performance during unusual turns, the rear of the vehicle slid until it was nearly sideways before the electronic stability control system kicked in.
Consumer Reports said in real-world driving, such a scenario could cause a rollover accident. As a result, the magazine has given the seven-seat SUV a "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" label until the problem is fixed.
With Dow Hitting 11,000, What Comes Next?
Are the markets done roaring? The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 11,000 Monday for the first time in 18 months, capping a 68 percent rise in just over a year. The S&P 500 index came within a point of 1,200. Many local stock watchers weren't surprised, figuring the huge rally of 2009 still had some legs. Now comes the tricky part. With record unemployment and tight credit, "the equity markets seem so out of whack," Johnson said. "We think the rubber band is stretched pretty far at this point." Confused? Here's what market prognosticators will be watching in the months ahead to get their bearings. [Analysis from St. Petersburg Times]
Voting Time: Sansom's Replacement to be Decided Today
A new state representative will be selected today to represent parts of Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties in House District 4. Either Republican Matt Gaetz or Democrat Jan Fernald will be selected to replace Ray Sansom, who resigned amid scandal and controversy Feb. 21. District 4 voters should know tonight who will represent them but, depending on when the Florida House chooses to swear in its newest member, it could be April 26 before the new lawmaker sees any legislative action. [Source: Northwest Florida Daily News]