The Reapportionment Chair hopes to pass maps in the chamber next week.
Sen. Ray Rodrigues expects amendments to be filed on the maps he chose for consideration by the Senate Reapportionment Committee. One of those will be his own.
“I do intend to file my own amendment to the map,” Rodrigues told Florida Politics.
Why? It goes back to the congressional and Senate maps drawn by the Legislature a decade ago getting tossed by the courts mid-decade. As Rodrigues noted, the state House map at that time survived judicial scrutiny.
“Our goal as the Senate has been to emulate the House process that the court blessed in their apportionment decisions,” Rodrigues said.
Last go-around, the House released draft maps regularly, while the Senate did not. And efforts were made to constantly improve the process based on criteria laid forth in the federal Voting Rights Act and Florida’s Fair Districts Amendment.
The House last year amended its final map to try and accommodate city limits as much as possible. That’s another important step the Senate did not do.
Rodrigues noted the Senate thus far has prioritized keeping counties whole and following geographic features to draw lines.
“We chose those two criteria over municipal boundaries as the foundation because counties are contiguous, which allows us to be compliant with Tier 1 criteria,” he said, referencing the top-level legal guidelines the process must follow. “County boundaries and geographic boundaries like rivers, roads and interstates don’t move. City boundaries are constantly changing, and they’re not contiguous.
“But then once we’ve done that, we then went back recognizing municipalities are co-equal Tier 2 criteria, and have looked at where we can make more municipalities whole.”
If anything, this should be easier than the amendments filed to clean up House maps, simply because the cartography drafting 120 districts split more cities than the current Senate and congressional plans.
To date, the only amendment filed to Rodrigues’ two redistricting bills (SB 100 and SB 102) remain those the Senator filed on Tuesday, attaching draft Senate and congressional maps to legislation. He hasn’t seen any plans for potential amendments besides his own before the Thursday meeting of the full Senate Reapportionment Committee.
“That doesn’t mean they are not coming,” he said.
Rodrigues hopes his select committee on Thursday closes in on a map he can bring to the Senate floor and wants to see it pass as early as next week.
But that begs the question, is the House moving fast enough? The Senate published 25 draft maps in the time the House has taken to release four. For the congressional map, the twochambers will need to come to an agreement. Does the lower chamber need to pick up the pace?
Rodrigues wouldn’t level such an assessment.
“I trust the leadership of the House and the leadership of the redistricting committee in the House,” he said. “I’m sure that they’re going to get their maps done as quickly as possible.”
CDC Releases Statement Following Pennsylvania Crash Involving 100 Test Monkeys
As reported earlier — A truck and trailer carrying about 100 monkeys collided with a dump truck Friday afternoon along Route 54 just off Interstate 80 near Danville, Pennsylvania.
Three monkeys escaped the crash. The monkeys were later reportedly “humanely euthanized.”
The CDC is now monitoring local residents for cold-like symptoms.
That’s very comforting considering the lab leak from Wuhan that just destroyed the global economy.
The monkeys are originally from Mauritius an island country off the African coast.
Earlier this week a woman who came in contact with the monkeys said she is experiencing symptoms and has pink-eye and a cough.
Earlier this week, following the much-publicized crash, the CDC sent out a letter on precautions when dealing with monkeys. The CDC tells the first responders to monitor themselves and contact their physician if they experience symptoms.
“If you were within five feet of the NHP crates without respiratory and eye protection, monitor yourself for signs of illness including fever, fatigue, cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you become ill during the 31-day quarantine period (until February 21, 2022), you should immediately report to your physician that you had exposure to monkeys and notify the Pennsylvania State Department of Health at (717) 787-3350.”
Via a trusted TGP source.
California City First in US to Mandate Liability Insurance for Gun Owners
The San Jose city council has passed a bill that will require gun owners to pay an annual fee and purchase liability insurance policies.
The piece of legislation was passed in two separate votes on Tuesday evening and became the first of its kind in a country where the right to own firearms is enshrined in the Constitution and ingrained in culture.
One councilwoman dissented on both items, saying that the bill may be unconstitutional. She predicted that it would not help reduce gun violence, contrary to what its sponsors argued, since the latter often comes from those who possess arms illegally. Two members voted only against the fees, citing concerns over how they would be managed. The rest of the 10-seat body voted for the piece of legislation.
The bill was put forward in 2019 by Mayor Sam Liccardo after a shooting at a San Jose food festival claimed the lives of three victims, two of them children, and left 17 others injured. The mayor said gun owners should be paying fees to cover taxpayer costs associated with gun violence, comparing the proposal to policies already in place for car drivers or tobacco smokers.
Gun rights advocates opposed the idea from the get-go, pledging to take the city to court if it were ever passed into law. They say it seeks to de facto punish law-abiding citizens for exercising their right under the Second Amendment instead of addressing the root causes of violent crimes.
Unless overturned, the mandate will come into force in August. The insurance is to cover cases of accidental discharge and those in which a firearm gets lost or stolen from the rightful owner. The annual fee will amount to between $25-$35 and will be paid to a nonprofit, which will distribute the money among groups offering services like suicide prevention counseling and firearm safety training.
The pioneering ordinance provides exceptions to active and retired police officers, people with a license for concealed carry, and poor people facing financial hardships, who wouldn’t be able to afford the additional costs.
The enforcement is not supposed to be proactive, with checks of payments done by the police whenever they come across a firearm during an investigation, similarly to checking driving licenses.
San Jose, a city of over one million residents, has adopted several laws recently to increase gun controls, including one that requires videotaping all gun purchases and another one that demands that gun owners lock up their property when they leave home.
A Reese Report edit of Riccardo Bosi’s recent address to all people sworn to defend their nation.
Scientists Find New Way to Isolate Insect Protein for Human Consumption
Scientists at West Virginia University have found a way to isolate protein from insects, paving the way for wider direct human consumption of insect-based food in the near future.
The scientists used a new technique to isolate and determine the nutritional properties of powders made from cricket, locust and silk-worm pupae.
Insect protein powder: the next step on the road to mass human consumption?
The consumption of insect protein is being heavily touted as one way to feed a world whose population is predicted to reach 10 billion by 2050.
But while the practice of eating terrestrial insects is widely accepted throughout most of the world, in the West few people find the prospect of eating them appetising.
Researchers and advocates are at pains to point out that most edible terrestrial insects are “cleaner” than crabs, lobsters and shrimp, because they feed on fresh plants and wood instead of carrion.
According to Jacek Jaczynski, professor of food science and muscle food safety at West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, 80% of the global human population already consumes insects, and that Western cultures make up the 20% that do not.
“It’s a minority that doesn’t consume insects,” Jaczynski said. “As the population grows, we’ll have to feed everyone. I don’t say insects will replace our farm animals, but it’s another alternative that seems more sustainable than what we currently do.”
Advocates of insect protein claim it has a number of benefits over traditional animal sources. For example, insect protein can be harvested much faster than a cow or pig and would require less land and water usage as well. In addition, insects have a short lifespan, rapidly reproduce, and require simple and minimal habitat and nutritional requirements.
There are over 2,000 species of insects that have been identified as safe for human consumption, but some species have been more commonly explored than others, said Yong-Lak Park, another of the study’s authors.
“Mealworm and crickets are popular because they’re very easy to mass produce,” Park said.
“So, when we produce insects as human food and animal feed, it should be very easy to mass produce, otherwise it does not justify the cost.”
To make eating the insects more appealing, researchers have suggested turning them into a powder. This method is close to how we already process grains into flour to make them more edible. Insect powders are currently commercially available and can be found in granola bars, tofu and burgers.
But although insect powders are a simple and convenient processing method to increase shelf life, the original composition is likely to limit their applications in food products, which could result in low consumer uptake, according to the authors of the new study.
To attempt to solve the problem of composition, Jaczynski, Park and the other researchers found that protein can be efficiently isolated from insects using pH-solubility-precipitation, resulting in isolates with high nutritional and functional quality.
Proteins, just like sugar and salt, dissolve in water. However, protein solubility depends on the pH of a solution that the protein is in.
“Depending on the pH of a protein solution, protein solubility can be turned on or off, sort of like a light switch, so that protein can dissolve or precipitate (no solubility),” Jaczynski said.
Precipitation is the opposite of solubility. When protein dissolves in a solution, it visually disappears from that solution, just like sugar or salt, while when protein precipitates, it visually re-appears, according to Jaczynski.
“With insects, our point is to selectively extract those nutrients, like proteins and lipids,” Jaczynski said.
“Grains have been around for ages, and they were totally accepted by all populations,” Jaczynski continued. “Why don’t we use insects with the same kind of model on a high level as a source of nutrients? We have to find a way to extract and isolate high quality nutrients and develop prototypes that will jive well with our taste buds.”
“Foods of the future”: will we have a choice?
Readers are likely to ask, though, whether such ersatz foodstuffs will remain a consumer choice in future years, or whether they will be forced on consumers, either through legislation or artificial scarcity, as an alternative to traditional foodstuffs, especially meat and animal-products.
As we wrote in a recent article on the British government’s new National Food Strategy, a wide-ranging evaluation of the United Kingdom’s “food security” in the wake of the decision to leave the European Union, in 2016, “the age of dietary choice may very swiftly be coming to an end.”
At the governmental level, this is signalled by the looming threat of “meat taxes” – narrowly avoided in the National Food Strategy’s final report, but still a future possibility – and an increasing recognition among legislators that people cannot be allowed to continue to consume meat at anything near present levels.
Christopher Snowdon, a journalist who heads the Lifestyle Economics unit at London’s Institute of Economic Affairs, even went so far as to say, during a televised interview, that “the political reality is that Boris Johnson is going to have to stop advising people to fly less and eat less red meat and find ways of forcing people.”
At the commercial level, companies such as Oatly and other plant-based brands are resorting to increasingly manipulative tactics to shame consumers into stopping buying animal-based food products.
In doing so, they are bolstered by scientific research which shows that claims about the taste and health benefits of plant-based animal-product alternatives fall flat with consumers, and that ‘social pressure’ is a much more effective way to get them to give up their favourite foods.
Oatly’s “Help Dad” campaign is a particularly unsavoury example of this new shame-based advertising, featuring ‘woke’ teenagers berating their ‘unenlightened’ fathers for wanting to drink cow’s milk instead of a ‘milk’ slurry of oats, sugar and vegetable oil, which we’ve called ‘one of the worst things you can eat.’
Expect the pressure to be ramped up in the coming months and years.
A Reese Report edit of Riccardo Bosi’s recent address to all people sworn to defend their nation.
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