Update from Tallahassee, banned books, teacher pay, and ‘O, Miami’ poetry
On the Tuesday, April 26, edition of Sundial:
How what's going on in Tallahassee could affect you
Lawmakers have been doing a lot lately in Tallahassee – and what they've been voting on could affect Floridians across the state.
There's the governor’s fight with Disney, redistricting maps, even a new elections police.
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He had this to say about the recent Democrat protests on the House floor during the vote on the state's redistricting maps:
“They were there for about an hour. And then suddenly the Republicans all came back in. And basically, [Speaker of the House Chris] Sprowls said, you know, we're going to get our work done and we're not going to let you interrupt us… he gaveled them back in and they basically did the vote," Fineout explained. "And then they approved the two Disney bills with no debate while the protesting was still going on. It's something I've never seen. And I've been covering Tallahassee and sessions since the 90s."
Democrats were protesting the maps because of what they do to "minority access districts." The maps, now signed into law, change the configuration of two seats that are currently held by Black Democrats, thus changing the way voting in those areas will happen in the future.
As for the broader political division in the state right now, Fineout described a climate that's impacted by the upcoming midterm, and even the 2024 presidential elections:
"It's going to be difficult to run for office in Florida if you're considered to be an opponent of the governor," he said. "It started in COVID and it's continued on as he has dealt with culture war issues. Gov. DeSantis is now, he's a force and he is a rising star, potential 2024 presidential candidate. And you don't have Republicans who at this point in time are willing to cross him."
Banned books and teacher pay
Broward County voters will decide on approving millions of dollars for the school district. The money would be used to hire more security, more mental health specialists, and help teachers.
The vote is coming up in August and it would increase the amount of taxes homeowners pay.
Without this money, the district fears that more teachers will leave the area, where schools are already facing a growing shortage.
“Our student allocation is still one of the lowest in the country," said Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union. "We need the resources, we need lots of components...there's such a rise in everything but salaries are not increasing."
Fusco also joined Sundial to talk about the Florida Department of Education rejecting dozens of math books, citing critical race theory.
‘O, Miami’ poetry
Noticed any extra poems lately? Maybe on your commute, on school fences, ice cream shops… you might have noticed a haiku or two decorating your favorite public space.
That's because April has become synonymous with Poetry in Miami.
The annual O, Miami Poetry Festival has been taking place all month with events in physical and virtual spaces that are designed to bring people together.
WLRN and O Miami have once again brought back the 'ode to your zip code' or zip-odes as we like to call them. They're poems designed around your neighborhood, and the lines are determined by the numbers in your zip code.
O Miami's founder, Scott Cunningham, joined Sundial to talk about some poetry.