Florida considering slavery memorial at state Capitol

Capital seems like the perfect site for the memorial

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida may construct a memorial on state Capitol grounds reminding visitors that slavery was once allowed in the nation’s third-largest state.

A House panel Tuesday approved the bill sponsored by Rep. Kionne McGhee. McGhee, a Miami Democrat, says it’s important to remind people of the contributions of those enslaved against their will in Florida.

The bill also says the memorial would recognize the injustice, cruelty and inhumanity of slavery. Florida does not currently have any slavery memorials.

State legislators last year authorized the creation of a Holocaust memorial at the state Capitol.

McGhee’s bill does not say exactly when the memorial will be built but instructs state officials to work with the state’s historical commission regarding the design and exact placement.

Florida House resumes push to change employee pensions

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Public employees could get steered away from Florida’s pension plan under a bill now moving in the Florida House.

The House Government Accountability Committee voted 14-8 Wednesday for a measure that would place newly hired public employees in an investment 401(k) styled-plan if they fail to make a choice within six months of starting their jobs. Currently those employees are placed in a traditional pension plan.

Democrats voted against the bill and complained Republicans didn’t set aside enough time to consider such a major change.

The legislation would apply to employees hired starting in 2018.

House Republicans have pushed for changes to the Florida Retirement System for several years. The Senate has refused to go along.

The House measure would also prohibit future elected officials from enrolling in the pension plan.

Florida student suspended for treatment of Muslim professor

WINTER PARK, Fla. (AP) — A student at Rollins College in Florida has been suspended temporarily for his treatment of his Muslim professor. The Christian student says he is the victim of religious discrimination.

A disciplinary hearing was held Tuesday for Rollins student Marshall Polston. The outcome is pending.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that professor Areej Zufari also made a “protection against stalking” request with the courts because of concern over Polston.

Injunction documents include an email from Polston in which he tells the professor that she is trying to silence him.

Polston told the Sentinel he disagreed with Zufari’s teachings on Christianity in the Middle Eastern humanities class.

An associate dean who talked to Polston about his behavior says she became concerned by his reference to guns, even though he never threatened anyone.