A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: Florida

Can’t Hold on to Your Wallet? Read This

Lost Wallet

By Halina Schiffman-Shilo

My wallet and I have a difficult relationship. I try to make sure it’s stays put in my pocket or bag, and it tries to wander off into the great unknown without me. I don’t know exactly how many times I’ve lost my wallet in the past ten years, but suffice it say, I would probably need to count on both hands.

Over the past decade, I’ve been an equal opportunity wallet-loser in terms of geography. My wallet’s gone missing in New York, D.C., Botswana, Montreal—you pick a region, and I’ve probably lost my wallet there. But while I’ve visited my grandparents in Florida many, many times, somehow, I’ve never lost my wallet in the Sunshine State. And this is a shame, because, according to the sheriff’s department in Port Charlotte, whoever found it there would have been obliged to turn it over to the police or to me, or be guilty of a crime.

As reported by the Huffington Post, Rene Marie Glynn of Port Charlotte, Florida found an iPhone4 in a Walmart bathroom. She got in touch with the phone owner and told her she’d be happy to return it – for money. The phone owner agreed, but had already called the police to report it missing. So when the phone owner’s boyfriend met Ms. Glynn to pay the “ransom” and get the phone back, police were on hand to arrest her as soon as she was paid. Ms. Glynn was then charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property. The HuffPo article quoted the sheriff’s office as saying “failure to report the finding to law enforcement or return the property when asked is considered theft.”

Have I been losing my wallet in all the wrong places?! I decided to investigate.

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Weeding Out Drugs From Welfare

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By Ryan Morrison

Welfare tends to be a polarizing issue in America. Whether you believe welfare recipients are (a) little more than lazy drug addicts suckling at the teat of America’s hard-working middle class, (b) that they are good people who have temporarily fallen on hard times, or (c) something in between, you probably have a strong opinion on the subject.

I’m a news junkie and consume with gusto, from media outlets highbrow and lowbrow alike. And it seems to me that choice (a) is, more and more, the go-to thinking of many of us above the poverty line.

“Taxpayers have a vested interest in making sure that their hard-earned tax dollars are not being used to subsidize drug addiction,” says Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, GA. And to date, 32 states, have decided the best solution to this problem is to drug test potential welfare recipients.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida, who championed the idea of bringing drug tests to Floridian welfare recipients, recently signed a bill into law that would do just that. Since July, new applicants for welfare in Florida must not only take a drug test to receive benefits, but they have had to foot the bill, and are reimbursed if they pass. If they fail they must wait one year to reapply for benefits. Meantime, at the federal level Senator David Vitter, R-Louisiana, is sponsoring the Drug Free Families Act of 2011, which would require all 50 states to drug-test welfare applicants.

Never mind that the notion that taxpayers are funding welfare recipients’ drug habits has been proven untrue. Never mind that the monthly government aid that welfare recipients receive would seem a pittance to most readers of this article:  $180 for a single person or $364 for a family of four.

Never mind that such drug tests may be unconstitutional.   (more…)

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