State Politics

Class size, FCAT are on the table

MIAMI — Measures to ease class-size amendment requirements, replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test with end-of-course examinations and require teachers in the state’s pre-kindergarten program to hold a bachelor’s degree are all up for consideration as the Legislature goes into session this spring.

Florida voters approved an amendment in 2002 to ensure smaller classes, the requirements of which have been gradually implemented over the last eight years. The final phase are scheduled to take effect next fall, when every class must meet a specific grade-level cap, rather than calculate a school or districtwide average.

Experts: 2010 may not be make, break for drilling

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House last year voted to allow exploration for oil and natural gas in state waters, but the Senate didn’t bring it up for a vote. This year the issue may not come up for a vote — but it will still weigh heavy in the upcoming session’s background.

Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs and a member of the Senate’s Committee on Energy, Environment, and Land Use, predicted offshore drilling will loom large in the background of the upcoming session.

But Constantine said he wouldn’t be surprised if the drilling fight explodes in the Capitol halls again.

Lawmakers to consider ethics reform — again

TALLAHASSEE — In the wake of questions about some members of the Public Service Commission being too cozy with those they regulate and a scandal resulting in the ouster of a House speaker, many lawmakers want to pass tougher ethics laws when they return to the Capitol for the 2010 session.

Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul plan to start with the ethics issue the moment the gavel bangs to begin the session March 2.

“I represent Palm Beach and Broward” counties, said Atwater, R-North Palm Beach. “Most of Palm Beach’s county commission is already in jail and Broward is heading there.”

— Herald wire services