Redistricting Meeting in Jacksonville Gets Heated

Redistricting Meeting in Jacksonville Gets Heated

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tempers flared at Monday's redistricting meetings in Jacksonville.

"People are trying to take politics out of it, and you can't," said Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL).

The purpose of these meetings, 26 of them statewide, is for lawmakers to gather public input on the prickly issue of redrawing legislative and congressional districts.

"Everytime we do redistricting there is always lawsuits and litigation, but the important thing is that we have the opportunity to get it right," said Republican Rep. Will Weatherly.

By law, legislators can't draw the lines until January 2012, but as time marches on some are worried that there's not yet a plan for the new districts.

"On Election Day, people are going to stay home from the polls because they won't know what district they're in," said Duval County Democratic Party spokeswoman Billee Bussard.

Governor Rick Scott's Robocalls Anger Constituents

Governor Rick Scott's Robocalls Anger Constituents

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We started hearing about the robocalls by Governor Rick Scott right after the budget passed in May.

Then a week later another call about wasteful spending, and the week after that the phone rang again.






"Hi, I'm Governor Rick Scott," the call begins.

For the past month, the calls have been coming to households all over the state, with Governor Scott touting his pre-recorded accomplishments.

"I'm calling to personally tell you about the state budget I signed," the call continues.

The Republican Party of Florida is funding the calls, which on average cost about two cents a piece. And while it won't disclose who the calls are targeting, a statement released says: "The party is committed to helping the Governor communicate his accomplishments directly to the voters of the state."

First Coast Republicans, Tea Partiers Weigh in on GOP Debate

First Coast Republicans, Tea Partiers Weigh in on GOP Debate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  As seven of the Republican candidates for President of the United States squared off in the New Hampshire debate, dozens of First Coast Republicans and Tea Partiers looked on.

"I haven't quite made my mind up yet. I want to see what else is out there. I wanna hear what's going on," said Chuck Berlinghoff, a member of the First Coast Tea Party.

He has been looking forward to the Republican presidental debates and waiting for a candidate to earn his vote.

"I know what we've got now is wrong, and I just don't trust a lot of the ones running," he said.

Berlinghoff said he's been disappointed in his party's candidates lately, both nationally and here in Jacksonville.

"I don't think we had really good choices for the mayoral run we had here," he said.

So who would he be happy with?

Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Governor Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that will require people who receive government assistance to take a drug test in order to receive benefits.

"The goal of this is to make sure the taxpayers aren't paying for someone to take illegal drugs," Scott said.

The law requires every person who applies for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to pay for the drug test. If the test comes back negative, then the state will pick up the cost. If it's positive, the person loses benefits for one year.

"In some ways I think it's a good thing," agreed 36-year-old Jacksonville resident Casandra Greene.

Greene depends on public assistance to feed her eight children. She said she understands some people abuse the system and she hopes the law will make them think twice.

But Greene thinks it's too bad those people have to hurt parents like her who are trying to do right by their kids.

Scott Approval Rate Hits New Low

Scott Approval Rate Hits New Low

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott's approval rating has dropped to a new low, although he's been on the job for less than five months.

A poll released Wednesday shows Florida voters disapproved of the way Scott's been doing that job by a 57 percent to 29 percent margin.

The Quinnipiac University poll, though, shows the Republican governor has plenty of company. Voters rated the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature about the same. They disapproved of lawmakers' work 56 percent to 27 percent.

Scott and the Legislature each are down from 35 percent approval ratings they got in a similar poll released April 6. Pollsters called 1,196 registered voters on cell and land lines May 17 through 23. The poll has an error rate of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

SJC Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Carol Saviak as new Government Relations Manager

SJC Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Carol Saviak as new Government Relations Manager

The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce announces the addition of Carol Saviak, Government Relations Manager, to its staff. In this newly crafted Government Relations Manager position, Saviak will have two primary areas of focus: business advocacy and economic development. She will work closely with the Economic Development Council in establishing both the State and Local legislatives agendas and subsequently, serve as our advocate for the business community. She will also assist the Vice President of Economic Development in implementation of the tactics focused on increasing employment totals, average wages and commercial tax base within St. Johns County.

Florida First Lady Ann Scott to Host Storytime at Ponte Vedra Beach Library

The Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library will host special guest Ann Scott, First Lady of Florida, at a special storytime event on Tuesday, May 10th at 4:00 pm. All children and their families are invited to attend the storytime, where the First Lady will read to the children.

Questions should be directed to the library at 827-6950 or visit the library’s website www.sjcpls.org.