Mitch Perry Report 1.24.13 - Hillsborough poised to become latest local county to approve a domestic partner registry?

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Over the past year, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and as of last week, Pinellas County, have been just some of the local jurisdictions who have passed domestic partner registries, which would allow unmarried couples to have some of the rights that married people have, such as for hospital visiting privileges.

In early 2013 in any major metropolitan area it's truly non-controversial, but we'll wait and see if we can say that about Hillsborough County when the Board of County Commissioners discusses the proposal this afternoon.

There are already three board members who support it, but the remaining four Republicans have assiduously avoided comment up until today. We just hope the rhetoric discussing its merits amongst the public doesn't degenerate into crude stereoypes, which judging by those who have come out in opposition, could be the case.

Meanwhile, at the same time the board will be discussing that issue, Governor Rick Scott will be in Tampa today to tout his new proposal to offer every school teacher in the state a $2,500 raise. Interesting that the first bill he signed while in office was all about rewarding good teachers and penalizing poor ones, yet this proposal doesn't discriminate at all on who gets the cash.

It got a bit intense yesterday morning over at the PSTA meeting regarding that transit agency authorizing that there should be a penny sales tax to help for rail and new buses in 2014. CL's Kelsey Sunderland reports.

And a former Scientologist announced a lawsuit against the church yesterday in Tampa, claiming that his $340,000 in contributions to help pay for a new facility over in Clearwater was a complete lie, and he wants his money back. The man's attorney also says they intend to depose Scientology leader David Miscavige to the witness stand.

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