Trump Admin. Gives Rick Scott Offshore Drilling Win Ahead Of Possible Senate Bid

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The Trump administration has handed Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) a major political win as Republicans try to entice him to run for the Senate, promising to spare his state from its plan to massively expand offshore drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke flew to Tallahassee to meet with Scott Tuesday night and pledged to exempt Florida from his plans to open nearly all coastal areas in the U.S. to offshore drilling, while heaping praise on the governor for his work.

Republicans from Trump on down have spent more than a year pushing Scott, a self-funding billionaire and close Trump ally, to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). The move was seen by many as a naked political ploy — a way to boost Scott’s standing in the state, where offshore drilling is deeply unpopular, while pushing ahead on the plan in states like California where there are fewer local Republicans to worry about helping.

Zinke called Scott a “straightforward leader that can be trusted” in his statement announcing the decision, giving Scott all the credit for the reversal.

“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” he said. “As a result of discussion with [Scott] and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”

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Yep, Medicaid expansion is working, where it’s allowed

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors carry signs as they demonstrate against proposed cuts to Medical and Medicare outside San Francisco city hall on September 21, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of disabled people staged a protest aga

Image: Daily Kos

It’s not a big secret that Obamacare is working to reduce the uninsured in the states that fully embraced the law, particularly those that expanded Medicaid. That’s still true, according to two new studies which show that low-income patients have better access to care and hospitals are doing better financially in those states.

Fewer low-income residents of Kentucky and Arkansas, two poor states that expanded Medicaid in 2014, reported problems paying medical bills after the coverage expansions, especially compared with residents of Texas, which has rejected the health law.

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Shooter Injures Six In Georgia Town Where Everyone Is Required To Own A Gun

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A gunman opened fire Tuesday morning at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw, Georgia. Six were shot, with their injuries ranging from minor to one in critical condition. Authorities report that the gunman is dead.

The Georgia facility is located in Kennesaw, near Atlanta, a quiet suburb unique in the U.S. for mandating every household own at least one gun. The law is not enforced, so the Kennesaw gun ownership rate hovers around 50 percent, according to its police chief. That’s still higher than the average rate of gun ownership in the U.S., estimated to be about 34 percent. When the law was enacted in 1982, Kennesaw had only 5,000 residents. Today, it has a population of 30,000.

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NC State Board of Ed green lights 26 charter schools to open this fall

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Follow-up to earlier story about public school education in North Carolina…scary!

South Brunswick Charter approved amid questions surrounding charter operator’s financial conduct and conflicts of interest

After very little discussion, members of the State Board of Education gave final approval yesterday to 26 charter schools that intend to open in the fall of 2014.

Among those approved was South Brunswick Charter School, a fourth charter school to be run by Baker A. Mitchell, Jr.

Over the past several months, Brunswick County school district officials have called out Mitchell for profiting heavily off of taxpayer-funded charter schools that offer no new or innovative educational experiences outside of what traditional public schools already offer. Mitchell also serves on the Charter School Advisory Board, which is tasked with reviewing and recommending charter school applications.

The impact on Brunswick’s local schools

Public charter schools were intended to provide alternative educational settings for those who desire a different curricular approach to education or who need specialized attention. To accomplish these goals, charter schools receive taxpayer funds based on the number of students they enroll. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools have few accountability requirements and are not obligated to explain in detail how they spend their tax dollars.

During the charter school application review process, local school districts have the opportunity to submit impact statements for members of the Charter School Advisory Board and the State Board of Education to take into account as they consider approving the opening of a charter school. Impact statements usually explain how the local public school could be negatively affected by the opening of a charter school.

More from NC Policy Watch

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Reactionary Legislature in NC Set for Big Charter Expansion

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The governor and legislature in North Carolina are determined to privatize as many public dollars as possible.

They have approved vouchers for religious schools, private schools, and even home schools.

But their main privatization strategy is charter schools.

They are set to expand the number in the state, thus creating a consumer mentality and simultaneously draining funds from the public schools.

A news report says that:

The next two weeks will determine how rapidly North Carolina’s charter-school movement expands, at a time when supporters say the schools are giving families more choices and critics say they’re harming traditional public schools.

On Thursday, the State Board of Education will vote on whether to give final approval to 26 charter schools – four in Wake County, one in Durham, one in Harnett County and 11 in the Charlotte area – that want to open this fall. It would mark the state’s largest single-year expansion of charter schools since the program was in its infancy in the late 1990s.

Next week, the state Office of Charter Schools will recommend which of the 71 charter schools that have applied to open in 2015 should go forward for further review. Those applicants includes eight in Wake County, eight in Durham and 31 in Charlotte and surrounding areas.

North Carolina could have more than 200 charter schools open in 2015 – double the number that existed until a state limit was lifted in 2011. With the help of a sympathetic state legislature, charters are poised to become a larger part of the public-school landscape.

More from Diane Ravitch’s blog

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