When state leaders created the Collins Center for Public Policy in 1988, political leaders welcomed an independent source of unbiased information to illuminate issues that the state faced.
In photo: Members of the Florida Chamber Foundation, one of the larger think tanks in the state. From left: Mark Wilson, president and CEO; Tracey Lowe, director of program development; Tony Carvajal, executive VP; and Bentina C. Terry, chairman.
» Go to story: Heavy hitters
Twenty-five years later, the ranks of Florida’s think tanks have swelled. And what’s changed is that most of the think tanks now are grounded in an ideology or focused on a single issue. Even more notable is how some think tanks are aggressively blurring the line between information provider and advocate. Read the full story and see also:
It’s still a long way from Asia to Florida, yet a growing number of Asians are joining the throng of foreign investors buying Florida real estate, according to a recent study. While still a minor player in Florida real estate, China has joined Latin American nations like Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina in becoming a growing source of foreign-national buyers in the state. [Source: Miami Herald]
Gambling research company Spectrum Gaming Group released a 464-page report describing the condition of gambling in Florida and how 12 scenarios of legislative action could play out. But where are we right now? What are the rules? [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Common Core may be the most controversial education issue you know nothing about. It's been trashed on radio talk shows and touted in speeches, and it will be the subject of three public hearings across the state this month. Yet 55 percent of parents are clueless about the nationwide initiative, a recent poll showed. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
» As Common Core kicks in, praise and criticism
Florida Republicans face a pivotal election next year, when their control of Tallahassee and their potential for reclaiming the White House will be at stake. As party leaders gathered for two days of meetings and strategy sessions, the state GOP had reasons for optimism. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Permit for oil drilling near homes and panther refuge stirs uproar [Tampa Bay Times]
Despite protests, , the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently said yes to the Dan A. Hughes Co.'s application to drill an exploratory oil well on land owned by Barron Collier Resources Co. The move has sparked an uproar, prompting a Florida senator and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to get involved.
› When Major League Baseball investigators came to town [Miami Herald]
Major League Baseball’s sleuths, most of them former New York City cops, were described by one witness as “goons” with “big muscles” who bullied their way across South Florida in a quest to nail players involved in baseball’s biggest doping scandal.
› Inventor works to rise from ashes of downtown Orlando blast [Orlando Sentinel]
At some point, Aaron Fechter may appreciate the irony of losing part of his downtown Orlando warehouse to an exploding tank of gas. After all, back in the day, he got rich manufacturing an animatronic band there known as The Rock-afire Explosion. But right now, he has practical matters to deal with.
› One of Florida's oldest golf courses will get face-lift [AP]
One of Florida's oldest golf courses is getting a facelift just before its 100th birthday. Fort Myers Country Club was designed in 1917 by Donald Ross. The city council last month agreed to $5.2 million in improvements to the public course.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› Excitement, frustration over "Obamacare" in Florida [AP]
By week's end, with most Floridians still unable to access the online marketplace and sign up for health insurance, organizations were trying to build on momentum even though there was little they could do.
› Orlando taxis go green with hybrid Camrys [Orlando Sentinel]
If you hail a cab in Orlando, you may end up on the leading edge of a green-taxi revolution in the world's biggest family destination.
› Homeowners can challenge flood insurance rates [Times/Herald]
Homeowners hit with substantial increases in their flood insurance as a result of recent changes in the federal program should do their homework, experts say, because there may be ways to lower their bills.
› School districts want tighter rein on charters [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Charter schools are designed to be free to innovate, but district officials — and many charter school leaders — say that freedom from regulation has gone too far. It is time to put in stricter standards, they say.