New Yorkers Approve $2 Billion in School Spending

New Yorkers have approved spending a historic $2 billion to try to bring its overcrowded and outdated public classrooms into the 21st Century with more space, better security and new gadgets for teachers like iPads and interactive whiteboards.

The ballot measure, dubbed the Smart Schools Bond Act, will direct borrowed money to school construction, including expanding schools to accommodate new pre-kindergarten classes, and installing high-tech security features. The money would also go to big technology upgrades like high-speed broadband or wireless internet and purchasing educational technology equipment. READ MORE

by Source: The Washington Post

Keeping Up with the Kennedys in Local Politics

William Kennedy Smith, who counts among his uncles two senators and a president, is going into the family business — in the political equivalent of the mailroom.


by Source: The Miami Herald

Florida Gov. Scott Supports In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

Gov. Rick Scott supports a Senate proposal allowing some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates, his office confirmed Wednesday.

The governor is on board with the measure partly because it addresses one of his top legislative priorities: preventing state universities from raising tuition rates above those set by the Florida Legislature.
“I want tuition to be lower,” Scott said. “It’s unbelievable how much tuition has gone up.”
The House version of the immigrant tuition bill, sponsored by state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez of Miami, does not currently restrict the ability of colleges and universities to set tuition rates. But lawmakers will consider adding a similar provision.
House Speaker Will Weatherford, who has made immigrant tuition one of his top priorities this year, said he was encouraged by Scott’s support.
“The governor has shown great compassion by working to prevent children from being punished for the mistakes of their parents,” said Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. “I appreciate his support and look forward to working with him.”
Florida lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully to extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented students for more than a decade.
The conversation gained momentum in the Florida Capitol this year, thanks largely to Weatherford’s support.
There has also been a groundswell of support on college and university campuses. Both Florida International University and Miami Dade College already grant partial tuition waivers to students who participate in President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. And students at the University of Florida, the University of South Florida and Florida State University are pressing their trustees to enact similar policies.
Observers had been watching to see where Scott would fall on the issue.
He has taken a hard-line position on immigration issues in the past. Last year, Scott vetoed a bill passed with near unanimous support in the House and Senate that would have helped some children of undocumented immigrants obtain temporary driver’s licenses.
Now that Scott is running for reelection against former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, he finds himself in a difficult position.
On one hand, Scott must rally his conservative base. But is also working hard to court Hispanic communities.

by Source: Casper Star-Tribune

Wyoming Governor Talks Jobs in State of the State Speech

Gov. Matt Mead touted Wyoming's progress in gaining industrial jobs and increasing savings during the past year, as he delivered his annual State of the State speech Tuesday before the state House and Senate.



Colorado State Senator Resigns to Avoid Recall Over Gun Control

A third Colorado state senator facing a possible recall vote tied to new gun restrictions has decided to resign from office.

State Sen. Evie Hudak, a Democrat, supported several controversial firearm restrictions passed in Colorado earlier this year. Two of her fellow Democrats in the state Senate lost their seats -- largely over their support of tightening gun restrictions -- in September recall elections: Sens. John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo. In a letter announcing her resignation, Hudak referred to several bills she supported in 2013, including a requirement for criminal background checks on all gun sales and a ban against magazines that can store more than 15 rounds of ammunition.* READ MORE