Marco Rubio in 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future, by Marco Rubio

On Corporations: Loser pays, to discourage frivolous lawsuits

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

On Crime: Collect DNA of those convicted of sexually deviant behavior

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

On Crime: Mandatory life sentence for repeat sex offenders

Convicted sexual criminals consistently display four times higher recidivism rates than those convicted of other crimes. Florida law enforcement officials currently collect DNA samples from people convicted of certain felony offenses. Florida has not expanded the database to include samples from all convicted felons. However, many times those convicted of felonies have prior misdemeanor convictions that signal the likelihood that they will commit more serious crimes.

[We should] toughen prison sentences to keep Florida's children safe from sexual predators, and expand DNA collection to include all felony offenses and sexually deviant misdemeanors. Florida should expand the dangerous sexual felony offender law to that all second-time sex offenders are subject to a minimum 20-year sentence. The act will also provide a mandatory life sentence for all third-time offenders. It will also allow misdemeanor sex offenses to be enhanced to felonies and apply the enhanced penalties to those crimes

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 65-66 Nov 1, 2006

On Crime: Endless death row appeals hinder justice

Problem: Endless appeals by convicted felons postpone a sense of finality and erode public confidence in the judicial system. Even in the simplest of criminal cases, post-conviction litigation frequently continues for a minimum of 3 years. In death penalty cases the post-conviction process averages 12 years, but in some cases it has consumed up to 20 years before a warrant is signed. With over 370 inmates on death row in Florida, delays of this nature hinder justice for the victims and erode public confidence in Florida's criminal justice system. Very few inmates receive actual relief from the current cumbersome, time-consuming, and expensive process.

Solution: Streamline the appeals process in criminal cases. Florida should create a new, more efficient, less expensive process for reviewing criminal cases that instills more public confidence in the criminal justice system. This could be accomplished by limiting the time convicted felons have to appeal their sentences.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 74-75 Nov 1, 2006

On Drugs: Teach students skills to avoid gangs, violence, & drugs

Problem: Florida is witnessing growing rates of gang participation and gang-related violence. Local law enforcement agencies have identified over 760 gangs in a statewide database managed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Hate groups have also proliferated. The Southern Poverty Law Center found fifty hate groups active in Florida, second only to California.

The tragedy of Sept. 11 has revealed that gangs are also a threat to our domestic security. The deep infiltration of gangs in our society is extremely attractive to terrorist organizations.

Florida should increase funding for additional law enforcement resources to combat gang activities. Florida should pattern its gang elimination program after the successful Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT) program. GREAT is a curriculum-based program aimed at teaching students skills to help them avoid gangs, violence, and drugs.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 71-72 Nov 1, 2006

On Education: Incentivize foreign language curriculum in elementary school

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

On Education: Prepare students for the Global Marketplace

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

On Education: More options for student and parent choice in education

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

On Education: 2+2 System: AA degree guarantees admission to university

Florida has attempted to control costs and expand access to postsecondary education in many ways. Florida's open admissions policy provides high school students access to the state's community colleges. Florida facilitates the transition of students from secondary to postsecondary education--that is, from high school to a career center or on to a state university.

Florida's 2+2 system promotes our public community colleges as the primary point of entry for an undergraduate education, while the statewide articulation agreement guarantees community college graduates who receive an associate of arts degree admission to a state university. By providing many student with affordable access to an undergraduate education, the 2+2 policy reduces the enrollment pressures on state universities for the first two years of an undergraduate program.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 23-24 Nov 1, 2006

On Education: Integrate competition principles into education marketplace

Problem: Florida needs to further integrate the principles of freedom, competition, and choice into the education marketplace.

Parental involvement is at the heart of education. Parents know their children best, love them most, and are in the best position to know if a school is successfully teaching their children. Consequently, parents should have the means and ability to influence their children's education.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 36 Nov 1, 2006

On Education: $4,500 voucher saves state $10,000 in per-student cost

Florida's school choice programs are comprehensive yet simple. Florida stands out partly because some of its choice programs are unique, but mainly because Florida simultaneously offers multiple programs. Each program is relatively pure, in that sense of being designed around a particular, classic vision of school choice. In short, Florida offers a tapestry of school choice programs, and the success of the state's choice initiatives depends on this tapestry approach to coverage.

Vito Fossella (R-NY) introduced a House bill to create a federal tax credit of $4,500 per family to offset the cost of private or parochial school tuition. Florida school districts, meanwhile, receive about $10,000 per student enrolled in a public school. That is why school choice means more money for education without raising the tax burden.

Thus the answer to Florida's education woes is not more spending but smarter spending. Success is not defined by per student spending or classroom size but by learning outcomes.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 37 Nov 1, 2006

On Education: Private partnerships for provision of school services

Private sector efficiency can build schools in a fraction of the time while still ensuring safety and quality. Putting companies that specialize in construction in charge of building schools, rather than school boards that lack the expertise and technica acumen of general contractors, makes sense.

Public-private partnerships could also be extended to the provision of other school services. Privatizing school services such as transportation in numerous states, including Illinois and Alabama, resulted in substantial savings and improves service quality. A 1998 study by Florida's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability found that privatized school transportation could save Florida over $13 million annually. Another are to examine for public-private partnerships is school provision of cafeteria food. In sum, public-private partnerships will enable schools to free up money for other educational uses.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 47 Nov 1, 2006

On Education: A+ Plan for Education: charters and choice

In 1999, we rocked Florida's K-12 education world by enacting the "A+ plan for education," a bold and revolutionary program based on high standards and expectations, clear measurement and accountability, and rewards and consequences for results. This was only our starting point, and since then we have embarked on the largest effort of all fifty states to implement policies, practices, and finding initiatives to improve classroom reading abilities. We significantly expanded education choice options by way of charter schools, virtual schools, and path-breaking scholarship programs. We have accomplished so much, but there is still more to be done.
Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 8-9 Nov 1, 2006

On Energy & Oil: Tax incentives for energy-efficient appliances

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

On Energy & Oil: Loans to public institutions for energy efficiency

The LEED program, run by the US Green Building Council, certifies commercial buildings partly based on their EPA Energy Star rating, but also reviews water efficiency, sustainability of the construction materials, and indoor environmental quality. Florida has begun a similar program called the Florida Green Building Standard (FGBS).

Florida should implement a voluntary statewide incentive program for energy efficiency. Florida should explore incentives for homes that pledge to meet the FGBS or similar standards. Increasing the energy efficiency of new homes will save homeowners money and will reduce the need for costly new electric generating facilities.

Florida should create an Energy Efficiency Fund to offer loans to public schools, public hospitals, cities, counties, special districts, and public care institutions. Eligible projects are those with proven energy savings, such as lighting and HVAC efficiency improvements.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p.107-108 Nov 1, 2006

On Energy & Oil: Florida has obvious advantages in solar energy

Producing less than 1% of the energy it consumes and limited by its geography, Florida is more susceptible to interruptions in energy supply than any other state. The state's reliance on imported petroleum products, in addition to its anticipated growth, underscores its vulnerability to fluctuations in the market.

Solar energy & biofuels appear to be especially promising alternative energy sources for Florida. Florida has obvious advantages in the area of solar energy and is also pursuing the productio of ethanol. Recent scientific developments and expected future developments could greatly expand the types of feedstock available to produce ethanol at a lower cost than that of either corn or sugar. Thanks to past initiatives, Florida also appears to have achieved a leadership position in the development of hydrogen power. Clean, safe nuclear energy is another promising option to diversify Florida's energy portfolio. Other promising areas include waste-to-energy conversion and wind and water power.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p.113-115 Nov 1, 2006

On Energy & Oil: Let hybrid drivers use HOV lanes & discount parking

Problem: Although hybrid vehicles save on gas, Floridians find them prohibitively expensive.

Solution: Offer incentives to encourage purchases of hybrid vehicles.

Many states, Florida included, passed legislation to help consumers offset the initial price of purchasing a hybrid vehicle. And like other states, Florida currently offers hybrid vehicle owners a commuting advantage. Hybrid drivers are allowed to drive in the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane at any time, regardless of their vehicle occupancy.

Florida should offer free and/or discounted parking and free or reduced tolls on Florida's toll roads for high fuel efficiency vehicles. The idea would be fairly easy to implement--hybrid vehicle owners could simply obtain a special E-PASS allowing hybrid vehicles to pass through tolls at a free or discounted rate. Additionally, Florida should provide tax incentives for all clean alternative-fueled vehicles and hybrid passenger vehicles that get at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p.117-119 Nov 1, 2006

On Environment: Partner with private companies for transportation system

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

On Environment: Hurricane Savings Accounts for homeowners' insurance

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

On Environment: Utilize toll revenues to widen & improve expressways

For many years, Florida has leveraged toll facilities including Florida's Turnpike, Miami-Dade County Expressways, Orlando-Orange County Expressways, and Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressways, utilizing toll revenues to widen and improve these expressways and to build new expressways. The toll rates, while not at market rates, have been increased periodically to help fund these improvements.

Florida has numerous un-leveraged toll facilities that currently have comparatively low toll rates. These include Sunshine Skyway and Alligator Alley, both part of the interstate system. Florida should examine its existing toll practices and policies and explore opportunities for privatizing roads to help fund needed transportation improvements.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 81-82 Nov 1, 2006

On Environment: Increase funding for making homes hurricane-resistant

Safe construction is the best way to protect homes from hurricanes. Ensuring safe construction would require repairing many older homes. This would create large up-front costs ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, but would result in long-term payoffs. If homes could incur only minimal to moderate damage in hurricanes as opposed to total destruction, insurance payouts would significantly decrease, thus reducing premiums, allowing more companies to enter the market, creating competition, and lowering prices. In 2006, the Legislature appropriated $250 million for home inspections and grants to make homes hurricane-ready. On the program's first day, over 30,000 people called to inquire if they were eligible. Florida should increase funding of home inspections and grants to upgrade homes to better withstand hurricanes by creating a recurring source of funding. Hurricane-ready homes would further drive down insurance prices and ensure greater preparedness for future storms.
Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 90 Nov 1, 2006

On Families & Children: Parental notification for social networking website use