In The News Today – January 4, 2016

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FLORIDA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

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Space Coast Daily:  Florida First Responder Appreciation Week Begins Jan. 4, Reach Out and Say ‘Thank You’

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – As we wind down a wonderful 2015 and look forward to an incredible 2016, we have been blessed with so many reasons to be thankful.

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Inland News Today: Minimum Wage

Fourteen states, including New York and California lifted their minimum wages on either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

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Tampa Bay Times: Tampa Bay makes gains in education levels, but where are the benefits?

While the surge in degrees among Tampa Bay adults is unquestionably good news for making the region competitive in luring jobs, it has brought mixed results for people who hold the degrees. As student debt mounts and wages remain flat, …

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The Detroit News: Abortion, union fees on Supreme Court’s plate in 2016

Washington — As the nation heads further into a presidential election year, the Supreme Court is set to decide a half-dozen politically charged cases in 2016 on such topics as abortion, affirmative action, contraceptives and immigration.

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WESH: Substitute teacher faces sexual battery charges

ST. CLOUD, Fla. —A paraprofessional and substitute teacher at St. Cloud Middle School is facing sexual battery charges after being arrested Saturday.

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NBC 2 News: Armed group seizes Oregon federal building

(CNN) — Armed anti-government protesters have taken over a building in a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land.

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American Press: States plan debates on LGBT rights, religious freedom

..it’s targeting at least a half dozen states — Arizona, Florida, Indiana, … ban discrimination in housing, employment and publicaccommodations …

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Tallahassee Democrat: State of the state workforce: A coming crisis?

That state of affairs is self-defeating, critics charge, since it is increasingly difficult for Florida to attract bright young people to public service, especially if the terms are worse than neighboring Alabama, Mississippi and other Southern states.

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Florida Times Union: Look at what’s ahead for Florida lawmakers and the governor in 2016

The legislative session that kicks off next week might not be as bizarre as last year’s gathering, but everyone will be watching body language to see if things will go smoothly in 2016. And another election is on tap in the biggest swing state in the nation.

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WFLA: Results of  to be released

TAMPA, FL (WLFA) — A study by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the thousands of untested rape kits in the state is expected to be released Monday morning. It’s believed there are more than 11,000 untested kits in Florida.

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BPR: 400 fraudulent commercial vehicle licenses, popular with terrorists, issued in Florida

A Florida woman was sentenced to 10 months in prison for helping 400 people obtain phony commercial driver’s licenses by covertly giving them answers during tests and for falsifying documents.

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TBO: Betty Castor: Return to an elected — and accessible — Florida commissioner of education

Next week the annual session of the Florida Legislature begins. Two courageous legislators have filed bills that will allow Floridians to regain control of our public education system. HJR 767 and SJR 942 would return Florida’s commissioner of education to an elected position.

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Orlando Sentinel: Treasures, pleasures at Florida State Parks

Florida’s state parks are Florida’s special places. They exemplify what is exceptional about natural Florida. They are the commons that belong to the people. Is there any other public service more appreciated and loved than our state parks? Thirty-one million visitors validated their significance last year.

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Tallahassee Democrat: Can Florida’s looming water crisis be averted?

Often, the public develops the perception that funding traditional water storage and treatment projects is the only solution. Many policy makers would have you believe this, and are quick to take credit for their role in acquiring project funding.

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