Burnadette Norris-Weeks, principal, Burnadette Norris-Weeks PA

Looking ahead: Nearly three years after Governor Scott took office, Florida's economy is still struggling to achieve “long-term, good paying jobs” promised by candidate Scott. A Florida International University “State of Working Florida” report shows a Florida economy falling short. The report revealed that the state's median income fell at a greater pace than the rest of the country and that poverty increased 47 percent between 2007 and 2011. Now, Gov. Scott is touring the state proposing $500 million in additional cuts. If past performance is any indicator, this is very bad news for economic growth and job creation in Florida.

Sept. 1

Last week: The U.S. House of Representatives is threatening a partial government shutdown if the healthcare law is not removed from the upcoming budget bill. The movement is drawing support from more than one-third of Congressional Republicans and some members of the Tea Party. This is all happening just before the Oct. 1 sign-up period that will afford millions of Americans healthcare coverage. As we reflect this week on Dr. King’s “Dream,” it is difficult not to recall one of his popular quotes: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Aug. 25

Last week: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that his office is seeking less jail time for mandatory minimum sentences involving certain non-violent offenses. Expect push back from the private-sector prison industry which has benefited. Blacks and Hispanics have been disproportionately impacted by the warehousing of persons due to private drug use. These persons are treated the same as murderers and rapists, while the private prison industry continues to execute contracts with states that guarantee prison beds will be filled.  Companies such as Corrections Corporations of America are spending millions of dollars lobbying decision makers. This sentencing disparity must end now!

Aug. 11

Looking ahead: The Supreme Court in, Shelby County v. Holder, struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act requiring Justice Department approval prior to changes in voting rights laws for historically discriminatory voting areas. Essentially, the court decided that the formula previously used by Congress to determine states requiring pre-clearance was outdated. The aftermath of Shelby brought about immediate and renewed calls for more stringent voter ID laws, which had been previously rejected. In Florida, there is a renewed call from our Governor to purge the voter rolls. Haitian and Latino populations will be impacted the most. Lawsuits await.

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