Gov. Scott weighs in on funding school resource officers, clemency, state economy

By Bruce Hamilton - The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A court battle on restoring voting rights to convicted felons, the issue of finding money to put school resource officers in local classrooms and the state’s economic challenges were all topics Florida Gov. Rick Scott weighed in Thursday in an exclusive interview on The Morning Show.

A three-judge U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued a stay Wednesday of a lower court order in an escalating battle over Florida’s process for restoring voting rights to convicted felons. A lower court ruled the system was unconstitutional and arbitrary.

But Scott said his priority is fighting for victims of crime and their families.

“I’m always going to be on the side of victims and their families rather than felons,” Scott said. “I believe people need, if you're a convicted felon, you need to show us that you've turn your life around. And if you've committed these heinous acts, show that you've turned your lives around. Come back and get involved in society -- and that is the process that we have set up through the clemency process.”

Scott, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Bill Nelson, picked up the endorsements of local, state and U.S. Chambers of Commerce on Thursday. He said his economic initiatives led to that endorsement. 

Scott said the answer to the state’s lack of skilled workers is to work with state schools to make sure there’s training to fulfill that need.

As for economic uncertainty, he said sustaining job growth in Florida will reconcile that.  

He also insisted the money is already there to fund a school resource officer in every Florida school, as the state now requires, but it's a matter of allocating resources.

“Since I got elected, we've had a $4.5 billion increase in the amount of money for K-12 education in the state. Right now, our school systems around the state are sitting on $2 billion in cash,” Scott said. “I think Duval has $62 million worth of cash.”

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