Florida lawmakers completed work Thursday on a new plan to help pay for Everglades restoration, drawing praise from environmental activists and the sugar industry after years of squabbling over ways to protect the famed River of Grass.

House Speaker Chuck Kleckley reversed course Thursday and threw his support to bipartisan budget negotiations in the House between Democratic leaders and a group of conservative Republicans. Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, had been supporting a plan that involved simply maneuvering the budget through the House and working with the Senate on a final budget that includes patchwork financing sought by Gov. Bobby Jindal but that is opposed by a bloc of conservative GOP House members. That approach ran into widespread opposition from House lawmakers, who say they should have a hand in crafting the more than $24 billion budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Seventy-one members of the House earlier this week used a procedural move to stall Kleckley’s approach.

For background, read this Lens story on Kleckley’s recent assertions of independence from the Jindal administration. 

Land Use

As New Orleans nears 90 percent of its pre-Katrina population, one wonders what would have happened if the Crescent City had embraced “smart decline” after the flood. As a counterpoint to Owley’s post, see this recent Atlantic Cities article: “16 Rules for ‘Smarter’ Smart Growth.”

School districts statewide are moving forward with plans to tie teacher salary bonuses to the results of proposed new evaluations despite a constitutional challenge to the law that mandates both those evaluations and the bonus system itself.

Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and...