J-Soc condemns decision to clear OULC members of anti-semitism

first_imgOxford Jewish Society (J-Soc) has reacted angrily to reports that the Labour Party will not take disciplinary action against two members of the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) accused of anti-Semitism.According to reports, the disputes panel of the party’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), voted on Tuesday to clear the two student members under investigation for alleged anti-Semitic behaviour.The pair were apparently given informal warnings for bullying, but were absolved of showing prejudice against Jews.This follows an eleven-month investigation into reports of anti-Semitism within OULC, which featured in a report by Baroness Royall last May.The report controversially withheld a full investigation conducted by Labour Students into anti-Semitism among OULC members. Some claim the evidence found in the report was so damning that the party leadership sought to “block” its publication.While the published report found no evidence of “institutional anti-Semitism” in OULC, it did find evidence of “cultural discrimination” by members of the club.The inquiry was triggered last February after OULC’s Co-Chair, Alex Chalmers, resigned in protest at members who he claimed had “some sort of problem with Jews” and sympathised with terrorist groups such as Hamas.Following this week’s NEC ruling, Chalmers told Cherwell: “Baroness Royall’s Inquiry into OULC concluded that the weight of evidence of anti-Semitism meant that the party’s disciplinary procedures should be invoked.“This latest move by the party leadership is disappointing but unsurprising considering its track record on this subject.”The ruling was described as “utterly shameful” by Oxford J-Soc, who said in a statement: “This decision is bitterly disappointing and will only continue the trend of Labour spaces becoming increasingly frightening and alienating for Jewish students.“It is hard to believe that following Baroness Royall finding that the incidents in the OULC took place, that the NEC decided to drop the case. “At every stage of this process the Labour Party has sought to help the perpetrators of anti-Semitic abuse and to deny justice for its victims.”“This decision should not be seen in isolation, but rather as part of the wider story, in which the concerns of Oxford’s Jewish students have been repeatedly ignored.“Despite this setback, we will continue to fight for justice for Jewish students who have been the victims of anti-Semitism, and work to ensure that Jewish students can feel comfortable being involved with the OULC.”The Union of Jewish Students (UJS), which represents 8,500 Jewish students across the UK, described the decision as a “discrace”, saying the Labour Party “have created an atmosphere in which antisemitism may thrive without fear of being challenged”.They described the alleged anti-Semitic incidents as “part of a culture which the University of Oxford, Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU), and now the Labour Party, have failed to grasp.”OUSU released a statement last week expressing their “commitment to tackling anti-Semitism”. Oxford University has previously stated that anti-Semitic behaviour is “considered grounds for severe disciplinary action.”OULC told Cherwell: “Labour party procedures have not given us any insight into these specific cases, and we are unaware of any named individuals.“In this context we cannot fairly comment on the actions of the Party—though we note that Baroness Royall, who initially conducted the investigation, is disappointed with the NEC’s ruling.“We are working hard with Oxford J-Soc to make sure that everyone feels comfortable in OULC and condemn antisemitism unreservedly.”A spokeswoman for the Labour Party declined to comment on an internal NEC decision.last_img read more

Ocean City Police Activity Report for Aug. 30 to Sept. 5

first_imgSeptember 3, 2015: ThursdayCalls for service: 87Motor Vehicle Stops: 8Motor Vehicle Accidents: 1Property Checks: 27Alarms: 2The Police Department assisted with 8 fire and 7 EMS callsDomestic violence, 900 block West Ave., at 1:35amFraud, 700 block Moorlyn Terr., at 12:52pmBurglary, 800 block Atlantic Ave., at 1:10pmMotor vehicle accident, 15th St. & Wesley Ave., at 6:23pmTheft, 400 block Atlantic Ave., at 7:16pm August 30, 2015: Sunday                                                Calls for service: 144Motor Vehicle Stops: 27Motor Vehicle Accidents: 2Property Checks: 23Alarms: 0The Police Department assisted with 11 Fire and 9 EMS callsDomestic violence, 700 block 9th St., at 1:39amTheft, 200 block Bay Ave., at 7:59amTheft, 200 block Bay Ave., at 9:07amMotor vehicle accident, 55th St., at 12:17pmMotor vehicle accident, 5300 block Asbury Ave., at 5:48pm August 31, 2015: Monday Calls for service: 162Motor Vehicle Stops: 45Motor Vehicle Accidents: 0Property Checks: 43Alarms: 3The Police Department assisted with 8 Fire and 7 EMS callsWarrant, 700 block Bay Ave., one in custody, at 11:54pm OCEAN CITY POLICE SUMMARIZED WEEK’S ACTIVITIES August 30 – September 5, 2015Calls for Service: 1,023Daily Average: 146 September 1, 2015: TuesdayCalls for service: 124Motor Vehicle Stops: 31Motor Vehicle Accidents: 1Property Checks: 27Alarms: 3The Police Department assisted with 10 fire and 9 EMS callsWarrant, Route 52, one in custody, at 12:41amWarrant, 700 block Plymouth Pl., at 9:01amWarrant, 800 block Central Ave., one in custody, at 1:32pmWarrant, 1400 block Bay Ave., one in custody, at 6:07pmMotor vehicle accident, 10th St. & Wesley Ave., at 4:52pmcenter_img September 2, 2015: WednesdayCalls for service: 100Motor Vehicle Stops: 24Motor Vehicle Accidents: 2Property Checks: 26Alarms: 0The Police Department assisted with 11 fire and 12 EMS callsTheft, 800 block North St., at 11:30amMotor vehicle accident, 200 block West Ave., at 12:01pmBurglary, unit block Simpson Ave., at 3:02pmMotor vehicle accident, 9th St. & Bay Ave., at 9:42pm September 4, 2015: FridayCalls for service: 185Motor Vehicle Stops: 54Motor Vehicle Accidents: 4Property Checks: 51Alarms: 2The Police Department assisted with 7 fire and 8 EMS callsBurglary, 700 block Boardwalk, at 7:34amTheft, 2000 block Wesley Ave., at 8:12amTheft, 1300 block West Ave., at 10:19amMotor vehicle accident, 1500 block Boardwalk, at 10:31amMotor vehicle accident, 36th St., at 11:02amMotor vehicle accident, 9th St. & Bay Ave., at 12:53pmWarrant, 500 block West Ave., 0ne in custody, at 2:38pmFraud, 2100 block Asbury Ave., at 2:48pmMotor vehicle accident, 3400 block Simpson Ave., at 8:58pm September 5, 2015: Saturday Calls for service: 219Motor Vehicle Stops: 61Motor Vehicle Accidents: 3Property Checks: 37Alarms: 4The Police Department assisted with 9 fire and 14 EMS callsTheft, 800 block Boardwalk, at 12:24amFraud, 2300 block Simpson Ave., at 8:58amDomestic violence, 400 block Atlantic Ave., at 9:01amBurglary, 700 block Boardwalk, at 10:13amMotor vehicle accident, 11th St. & Asbury Ave., at 11:51amTheft, 1000 block Ocean Ave., at 12:14pmThreats, 400 block Atlantic Ave., at 3:08pmMotor vehicle accident, 40th St. & West Ave., at 3:26pmWarrant, 2500 block Central Ave., at 4:10pmMotor vehicle accident, 600 block 8th St., at 7:17pmTheft, 1100 block Boardwalk, at 8:48pmBurglary, 2400 block Asbury Ave., at 9:55pm PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS:Just a reminder that it is a violation of a City Ordinance to have dogs on the boardwalk anytime during the year.City Ordinance 87-17sec.4-32 prohibits any Boat/Trailer over 22 feet in overall length from being parked on a city street. Any boat/trailer less than 22 feet in overall length can only remain on a city street for three consecutive days. Officers will be issuing summons and towing boats/trailers for any observed violations. Ocean City Police Departmentlast_img read more

Forum on Bicycling in Ocean City Set for Tuesday, August 23

first_imgThe public is invited to a forum on bicycling in Ocean City 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Howard S. Stainton Senior Center.Participants are encouraged to learn about new bicycle-friendly amenities in Ocean City and to share opinions on bicycle safety and the usability of Ocean City streets.The forum is an annual event sponsored by BikeOCNJ, a community group dedicated to promoting a more bike-friendly Ocean City. BikeOCNJ has successfully advocated for the development of a island-long bicycle corridor, the installation of a user-activated HAWK signal at Ninth Street, and other measures to make bicycling in Ocean City safer.The Senior Center is located within the Ocean City Community Center at 18th Street and Simpson Avenue.last_img read more

Time to tighten up on spending

first_imgWith constant media attention fixated on spreading the message of a looming recession and crashing stock markets, both in the US and UK, many bakers may be wondering, “How does this affect my business?”Analysts warn that 2008 is going to be “a tough year” for businesses, which will affect UK bakery firms in several ways: some bakers will find it increasingly difficult to secure loans; the average consumer in the high street will have less money to spend on bakery goods; and businesses that import and export will see their profit margins eroded as the value of the pound continues to fall.The number of negative trading statements issued on the London Stock Exchange during the last quarter of 2007 was at its highest level for nearly two years, according to new research by financial adviser Grant Thornton, while the number of positive trading updates dropped to 41% (down from 62% in the third quarter).This is potentially a worrying concept for the high street baker, as UK businesses brace themselves for tighter consumer spending. However, analysts say that the baking industry could be less affected than other sectors, particularly compared to luxury or non-essential sectors. For example, sales of Harley Davidson motorbikes in the US have been in sharp decline, but “with bakery goods being classed as ’essentials’ it is arguably less susceptible than many other markets”, says Plimsoll’s senior analyst David Patterson.Simon Richardson, sales and marketing director at Rich Products, thinks that the predicted decrease in disposable income will not stop consumers buying quality products, but will make them more choosy when parting with their money. “Quality operators will not have to worry, they will still be able to ask higher prices for excellent products,” he says. “Good baking is definitely on the up. It is the products that consumers feel are not as good value-for-money that will decline.”He adds that the informal eating occasion market is showing no signs of slowing down and a new trend is starting to emerge for home-entertaining bakery products – for example, indulgent products such as cheesecakes, carrot cakes, eclairs and brownies. “Where people used to go out for formal meals, more are staying at home, inviting friends and family to eat with them,” he says.David Bush, head of Grant Thornton’s retail services team, notes that bakery and food retai-lers “have shown a greater ability to weather the storm of a slowdown in consumer spending, with five successive quarters of like-for-like sales increases”. He says that it is likely many shoppers will cut back on spending on non-food items before food and drink.Some are now referring to the period of excessive consumer spending over the last few years as a “spendemic”, with more than 10% of UK adults spending more than they earn on a monthly basis and relying on overdrafts and credit cards to plug the gap. A further 20% have no spare money at the end of the month, according to online price comparison firm uswitch.Factors such as gas and electricity companies raising their prices by up to 15%, record petrol prices, higher mortgage costs and the well-documented food inflation are all eating into the average person’s disposable income, which currently stands at £157 a month according to the Office of National Statistics.As well as a slowdown in consumer spending, bakery companies – and indeed all UK companies – will increasingly find it difficult to secure credit over the coming months, as banks recover from recent crises and a period of nervousness triggered by the sub-prime mortgages in the US.David Patterson of Plimsoll warns: “Many bakery firms may look to swap unsecured loans for long-term debt, in a bid to stabilise the business. But in reality, this will not solve the problem – debt is still debt.”Paul Morrow, MD of British Bakels, says that as the banks lend less money, the companies most likely to suffer are medium-sized businesses that have a turnover between £15m-£20m. “We are starting to see increasing job cuts, more companies are going up for sale and there are more management buyouts,” Morrow adds. “Companies should look to slow down on capital expenditure, keeping the money in their businesses.”The pound’s value continues to slide; last month it reached its weakest level in four years and an all-time low against the euro. As a result, bakery and ingredients companies have seen almost a 9% rise on certain imported goods.For example, because there are no UK producers of enzymes, these need to be imported from Europe and, as such, profit margins are “eroding” says Martin Churchill of Sonneveld, especially as many companies are locked into six- or 12-month contracts.Despite this, Plimsoll’s research shows that two-thirds of com- panies are well-placed to deal with any economic downturn over the coming months. Patterson says: “The majority of UK bakery businesses are in good shape and the task for them will be to monitor their outgoings and reduce debt with interest rates being unpredictable at the moment.”He adds that, throughout 2008, companies will be looking to cut costs. Expensive investment projects could be put on the back-burner until things are on more of an even keel. “Bakery companies should look to tighten their belts and rein in unnecessary spending,” he says.last_img read more

Professional Bake Off set to air

first_imgThe Great British Bake Off will hit new heights of technical excellence tonight, as the professional version of the show launches.Bake Off Creme de la Creme is presented by Tom Kerridge, owner of the Hand & Flowers pub in Marlow, and the judging panel will bring together some of the UK’s finest pastry chefs: Benoit Blin, chef patissier at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons; Cherish Finden, executive pastry chef at The Langham, London; and pastry consultant Claire Clark, who was awarded an MBE for her work in 2011.The first episode promises a battle between three teams of chefs. One team is made up of young chefs from a five-star hotel, another creates desserts for a leading supermarket, and the third is comprised of chefs working in London restaurants.These teams will face two punishing challenges. First, they must make three different items of perfect patisserie; a framboisier (raspberry cake), a Paris-Brest (a choux ring stuffed with praline and cream) and a cylindrical petit gateau of their own creation.If this sounds hard, the next challenge will be even more testing, as the teams must turn apple crumble and custard into high patisserie art.Episode one in the eight-part series airs tonight (29 March) at 8pm on BBC2.last_img read more

Members of Kung Fu Perform Funky “Hot ‘Lanta” Tribute To Butch Trucks [Watch]

first_imgLast night was a difficult day for rock & roll, and most anyone who had the chance to play music played in honor of Butch Trucks and the Allman Brothers Band. Such was the case for Adrian Tramontano (drums), Chris DeAngelis (bass), Rob Somerville (saxophone) of Kung Fu, and keyboardist Cyrus Madan (Deep Banana Blackout) last night.The BRYAC Funk All Stars came together in Bridgeport, CT last night and played a funky version of “Hot ‘Lanta” in memory of Butch & the Allmans, with special guest Sammy Blanchette (CK3, Hubinger St, Fattie Roots) on guitar. You can watch the performance below, courtesy of YouTube user stublatt:Butch Trucks had an influence on many musicians, and the memories continue to share throughout social media. Adrian Tramontano had this to say about the loss:last_img read more

Saint Mary’s hosts Junior Mom’s Weekend

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Maggie Crowe Saint Mary’s juniors enjoyed dinner with their mothers at the Gillespie Center at the Hilton Garden Inn.This weekend Saint Mary’s hosted Junior Mom’s Weekend, which allowed mothers and daughters to share a special weekend on campus together.Junior class president Corinne Craig said she began planning for this in September. The weekend helped moms and daughters grow closer, as it allowed mothers and daughters to experience Saint Mary’s together.“The main purpose of all the events is to show mothers how their daughters have fun during the weekend,” Craig said. “It’s very important to have this weekend junior year because at that time, students are older and more mature. They can have more fun with their moms.”Craig said one of the most memorable parts of the weekend was “Cupcakes and Canvas.” Art major students taught over 150 moms and daughters how to paint a picture of Le Mans Hall. She worked with a local bakery, Yummy Cupcakes, to provide snacks at this event.Junior Veronica McDowell said she served as an art instructor for this event, suggesting certain painting techniques and helping to mix different colors.“Art is a great way for people to bond,” McDowell said. “It is a low-pressure environment where you can have a conversation while also creating something beautiful.”This creative portion of the weekend attracted many mother and daughter duos, but Craig said other events included a wine and cheese reception, a yoga class, Mass and a dinner at the Gillespie Center.According to McDowell, the yoga event was especially fun for her because she and her mom love to exercise together but can never find the time. She said she enjoyed the scheduled activities, but she also recognizes the benefit of a weekend spent simply relaxing with loved ones.“It’s a time when you can put school on hold and focus on your family,” McDowell said. “Also it’s a chance to show your mom around school and give her insight on your college life. The weekend will be another great memory I can add to my time at Saint Mary’s.”Craig said one of the best parts of Junior Mom’s Weekend was the opportunity to meet her friends’ mothers and bond with them outside of the scheduled events.“It’s really fun to be with your mom and have your friends’ moms meet your mom,” she said. “You’re with a bunch of moms and daughters, so you can connect with everyone.”McDowell, too, said the social aspect of this weekend was especially meaningful to her because it reminded her of all her family has done for her.“Junior Mom’s [Weekend] is important because it strengthens appreciation for mothers and other family members who have taken care of you,” McDowell said. “It’s always nice to spend time with the ones you love.”Tags: Junior Moms Weekend, saint mary’slast_img read more

Notre Dame plans 174th commencement ceremony

first_imgNotre Dame’s graduating class of 2019 will receive their degrees Sunday at the University of Notre Dame’s 174th commencement ceremony. The weekend includes graduation ceremonies from different schools and programs, events recognizing the work of students in dozens of departments and four student and guest speakers.“We have 2,045 undergraduate degrees and 1,122 graduate degrees being awarded this weekend,” University registrar Chuck Hurley said.Hurley said this will be the 10th year where commencement will be held in Notre Dame Stadium. The stadium has a higher capacity than the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center, the venue that hosted the commencement ceremony until 2009.“We’ve been at this format for many years now,” Hurley said. “Saturday night Mass, Sunday morning University ceremony in the stadium and about 19 diploma ceremonies. We have close to 100 events between Wednesday and Sunday here on campus.”Hurley also said some newer facilities will host the smaller graduation ceremonies, which has made the weekend run more smoothly.“The Dahnke Ballroom, the Smith Gymnasium in Duncan Student Center — these facilities have helped us out because they have higher capacity than the locations we were utilizing in the past,” he said. “This will be the third year that the University has used the Campus Crossroads buildings for commencement weekend.”The keynote speaker for Sunday’s graduation ceremony is Peggy Noonan, New York Times best-selling author and a former speechwriter for President Ronald Regan. Hurley said event preparation can be different for different speakers.“The only time it really changes for the ceremony is if we have secret service for years where we have presidents or vice presidents come to speak,” he said.Guest speakers requiring additional security in past years have included Vice President Mike Pence and former President Barack Obama as well as bishops and cardinals from the Catholic Church.Hosting the families of all the graduates poses its own unique challenges each year, Hurley said. Though the campus often experiences heavy traffic for football games, Hurley said the University undergoes special preparations for this weekend.“We typically have about 30,000 people in the stadium for commencement,” he said. “Game day operations go through many of the same protocols that they would go through for a home football game where they’re checking bags and tickets — things like that. One challenge that’s a little bit different is the crowd that we actually have in attendance. Those visiting for commencement tend to be a little bit older. Many people bring grandparents and other relatives to the ceremony. We accommodate people will mobility impairments, which we have at football games but definitely in higher numbers at commencement.”Hurley said the University has received over 2,700 RSVPs for Sunday’s graduation ceremony. The procession into stadium begins at 9:30 a.m., and the event is expected to begin at 10 a.m.Tags: Class of 2019, Commencement 2019, commencement schedule, Graduationlast_img read more

Colombian Forces Seize a Semisubmersible and a Narco-lab in 1 Day

first_imgBy Myriam Ortega/Diálogo October 28, 2020 During a joint operation in late August, the Colombian Navy, Army, and National Police intercepted a semisubmersible that was carrying more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride off the Pacific coast of the Nariño department. On the same day, in the Tumaco municipality of the same department, security forces found a narco-lab with almost 1.5 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, the Colombian Military Forces’ General Command (CGFM, in Spanish) said in a press release.“They [the Police] learned about a semisubmersible naval artifact […] that was heading for the Mexican coast; immediately, an intelligence aircraft and units of the [Navy’s] Coast Guard began the search for this artifact, finding it 47 miles off the coast,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Hernando Enrique Mattos Dager, commander of the 72nd Poseidon Task Force Against Narcotrafficking, told Diálogo.Navy units found 26 packages containing 1,030 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride aboard the semisubmersible, which was manned by three Ecuadorean nationals, the CGFM reported.From January 1 to August 31, the Navy seized 27 semisubmersibles in the Pacific coast of Colombia, Rear Adm. Mattos said, adding that they found more than 30 tons of cocaine hydrochloride on board.The operation in which service members found a narco-lab with nine rustic facilities, and a production capacity of 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride per week, took place simultaneously, the CGFM said. “That was a joint operation where both Army and Navy troops entered, some by the river and others by helicopter, to the site of the lab for the production of the final stage, which is  cocaine hydrochloride,” Rear Adm. Mattos said.In a jungle area, authorities found 1,496 kg of cocaine hydrochloride and 658 kg of coca base paste, as well as other elements to produce the drug, the CGFM reported in a press release.“We found a large amount of liquid and solid chemical supplies, but most importantly, the product obtained in the final stage of cocaine hydrochloride production, where it only needed to finish the drying process in the microwave and the pressing [process], which are the last two phases,” Rear Adm. Mattos said.The facilities affected by these operations, the officer said, belong to the 30 and Oliver Sinisterra groups, both dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.In late August, the Colombian Navy led an operation that resulted in the interception of a semisubmersible carrying more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride off the Pacific coast of Colombia. (Photo: Colombian Navy)last_img read more

Bar Moves to upgrade UPL to a felony

first_img January 15, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Bar Moves to upgrade UPL to a felony Bar Moves to upgrade UPL to a felony Senior Editor Increasing the criminal penalty for the unlicensed practice of law from a misdemeanor to a felony has won the approval of the Bar Board of Governors, which has also receded from a position in reaction to proposed Senate confirmation of gubernatorial judicial appointments.The board, at its recent Amelia Island meeting, also heard that the legislature likely will look at restricting initiative amendments to the Florida Constitution and that adequate funding for the courts remains a top Bar concern.Legislation Committee Chair Alan Bookman brought the UPL issue to the board, noting that several legislators have talked about raising the criminal penalty for violating the state’s UPL laws from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony. The issue was raised and extensively discussed with Bar President Miles McGrane during a House Judiciary Committee meeting last fall.Sen. Steve Geller, D-Hallandale Beach, recently introduced SB 422, which would increase the penalty, and Rep. John Quinones, R-Kissimmee, is expected to introduce a similar bill in the House.Bookman said the Legislation Committee unanimously endorsed the change, and the board added its unanimous support.On judicial appointments, Bookman said that it made political sense for the Bar to recede from the position taken by the Executive Committee last year in hasty response to a bill by Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, to have the Senate confirm, at least, a governor’s selection of any Supreme Court justice or DCA judge. The “emergency” position essentially espoused continued Bar support for the judicial selection process in place prior to 2001 legislation that changed how judicial nominating commissioners were chosen. Smith’s bill made little progress in the 2003 Session, but he has vowed to revive the issue in the coming year.Bookman acknowledged that his committee’s recommendation effectively leaves the Bar— for the moment —with no specific position on state judicial selection. And, he confirmed that withdrawing the position implies no Bar sentiment on Senate confirmation either.“We’ll see what develops,” he said. “But, we’re not going anywhere with this [the legislative position] and we might need a position that is more tenable based on what the 2004 Legislature does.”Board member Mayanne Downs added that the action does not mean that the board is giving up on its support for the former judicial appointment system, where the Bar appointed one-third of the members of all judicial nominating commissions. The governor, who also used to appoint one-third, now appoints all nine members of each commission, although the Bar makes nominations for four seats on each JNC.On a related matter, Bookman said the Bar needs to be especially ready this year to help the legislature on critical court funding issues. He noted one bill has been filed that would raise court filing fees from $200 to $300, earmarking $275 for the state and $25 for counties. The Bar may need to give advice about earmarking some of those fees for law libraries or legal aid programs.“Those are some of the issues that the legislature will call on us to assist, and we need to be ready,” Bookman said.Bar chief legislative consultant Steve Metz told the board: “You’re going to hear a lot this session about trying to put some reasonable restrictions on the way we amend the constitution.”He noted several recent initiative amendments that have been approved, adding that 51 petitions are currently circulating, and 15 to 20 have a realistic chance of making the November general election ballot.“Business leaders are afraid of how easy it is to change the constitution,” Metz said. “You will see the legislature try to put on the September ballot restrictions on citizens’ initiatives.”Some suggestions include requiring a 60 percent “yes” vote to amend the constitution or limiting the subjects that can be amended by an initiative petition. Metz said that Smith is chairing the Senate committee studying the issue, while the corresponding House committee is chaired by Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka.The legislature also is in the unusual position of knowing who the leaders will be for the next two legislative bienniums, barring a major electoral upheaval, Metz told the board. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, will be Senate president in 2005-06, followed by Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, for 2007-08. In the House, Rep. Allan Bense, R-Panama City, will be House Speaker for 2005-06, followed by Rep. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, in 2007-08. Rubio will be the first Hispanic to hold that post.“I think that is a good thing,” Metz said of knowing who the leaders will be for the next five years. “It does allow some stability in to the process.”last_img read more