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Capital Report: 04-04-2014

The Florida House and Senate are set to begin hammering out a state spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year after both chambers approved their respective budget proposals. As Lynn Hatter reports, now comes the hard part: reaching a consensus.

A House panel has agreed to advance its version of overhauling the Florida Retirement System, despite much opposition from public employees and Democrats. As Sascha Cordner reports, the newer pension reform proposal is similar to a plan that died in the Senate last year.

There are some new questions about the system now used to evaluate Florida teachers.  The value-added model – or V-A-M – has gotten a lot of attention since the Department of Education reluctantly released the scores following a year-long battle with Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union newspaper.  The present Florida model accounts for ten factors that could unintentionally sway student performance.  Rhema Thompson with member station WJCT in Jacksonville repots Florida leaves out one potentially critical factor that many other states don’t.

Lawmakers are giving a big thumbs up – actually, GREEN thumbs up - for a plan to give food stamp recipients more access to farmers markets. Regan McCarthy reports ….

There are many heated debates in Tallahassee during the legislative session.  They’re sparked by serious public policy issues, such as education, health care, the environment and growth management.  But, at the moment, the hottest controversy in the Capital City right now involves a university logo. Florida State University’s motto is: “Fear the Spear”, but after the premature release of a revised logo this week, school officials are starting to “Dread the Head”.  Ryan Benk caught up with some F-S-U students and asked what they thought of the change.