Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

"Jeb Bush used another, previously unreported email address"

"As Florida governor, Jeb Bush used another, previously unreported email address, records show - the newest wrinkle in an evolving debate over public officials' use of private email accounts."

Bush said through a spokeswoman that he was unaware of the account, although records showed that people wrote to him there more than 400 times between 1999 and 2004.
"But its existence - and the mystery around it - show the potential complications when public officials, like Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton, use private email accounts to conduct public business. Republican Bush and Democrat Clinton are two likely contenders in the 2016 race for the White House." "Jeb Bush had another email account while Florida governor."

Watch Florida's political poodles leap to Jeb's defense, even as Jeb himself skirted Florida law in disclosing his emails, and otherwise was quick to criticize Clinton's email practices.

More: "Jeb Bush: I'm No Hillary Clinton When it Comes to Email" and "Bush’s aides pointed gleefully to their handling of electronic correspondence as a model."

State healthcare funding under scrutiny

The Miami Herald editorial board: "Critical questions facing state’s healthcare funding."

Yee Haw!

"After a debate that conjured memories of Hurricane Katrina, the Florida Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bill that could lead to more people carrying concealed weapons when fleeing natural disasters." "Florida Senate passes bill to allow guns during evacuations."

PPP Poll: "Clinton has leads of 2-8 points over all GOP contenders in Florida"

"Floridians aren't very excited about the prospect of either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio running for President, and Hillary Clinton leads the entire field of potential GOP candidates in the state."

Floridians aren't very excited about the prospect of either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio running for President, and Hillary Clinton leads the entire field of potential GOP candidates in the state.

Only 37% of Florida voters think Jeb Bush should run for President, to 52% who say they think he shouldn't. The numbers for Marco Rubio on that front are almost identical- 35% say he should run to 51% who believe he should sit it out. The lack of enthusiasm for either Bush or Rubio making a White House bid is at least partially a function of their not being terribly popular. 45% of voters approve of the job Rubio is doing as a Senator to 40% who disapprove. Bush's favorability numbers are similar with 45% giving him good marks to 42% with a negative opinion. Their numbers aren't bad but they aren't that impressive either.

Hillary Clinton has leads of 2-8 points over all of the potential GOP contenders in the state. Rubio comes the closest at just a 48/46 deficit and Bush is down by a similar margin at 47/44. Rand Paul trails by 4 at 46/42, Mike Huckabee's down 5 at 49/44, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz each trail by 7 at 48/41 and 49/42 respectively, and Ben Carson (49/41), Rick Perry (50/42), and Scott Walker (49/41) all lag Clinton by 8 points.

"Florida Tepid Toward Bush."

House approves even more tax cuts than Scott wants

"The House approved a tax cut plan that is slightly larger than a $673 million tax-cut package that Gov. Rick Scott proposed, but it remains to be seen if the Senate will go along with such large cuts." "Florida House and Senate battle over tax cuts." More: "Calculator in hand, Scott makes tax-cut push."

Jeb not the "popular former governor" as the media endlessly bleats

The recent PPP poll reveals something all Floridians - aside from Florida's Bushco xxxxx "45% giving him good marks to 42% with a negative opinion" Full results here. Here's how 538 rates this polling operation.


"Lawmakers tout $160 in tax cuts for each state family."

Clinton early favorite among Dems in Florida

"Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling (PPP) [you may want to 538's detailed analysis before accepting that statement] released a poll of Florida Democrats Tuesday which shows Clinton as the early favorite in the Sunshine State, blowing out the field with 58 percent support. Vice President Joe Biden takes a very distant second with 14 percent followed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. with 10 percent. Warren has said she will not run if Clinton enters the contest." "Hillary Clinton Blowing Out 2016 Democratic Primary Rivals in Florida."

Neo-Confederates infuriated

"All three men had been chosen by a nominating council of seven volunteers to be members of the 2014 class of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. They were denied recognition not because of politics but on narrow legal grounds, which only infuriated their supporters more." "Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet refuse to honor Confederate war heroes."

House Committee approves backyard firing ranges

"A House panel Tuesday shot down a measure aimed at clamping down on backyard shooting ranges in residential neighborhoods."

The Criminal Justice subcommittee killed the bill (HB 623) by an 8-5 vote after opposition by the National Rifle Association.

“What this is all about is preventing discharge of a firearm on private property, period,” NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, said he sought only “to curtail the use of a gun range, which the law currently allows, in urban and residential settings.”

He filed the legislation after reports that a St. Petersburg man had set up a makeshift firing range of wooden pallets and sand, upsetting neighbors.

"Bill aimed at backyard shooting ranges dies in House."

Florida Senate rebukes President Obama

"The measure, which rebukes President Obama for opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba, is largely symbolic." "Florida Senate votes to oppose U.S.-Cuba relations."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Murphy running for Rubio’s Senate seat

"The Democrat from Florida’s Treasure Coast says he will run for the the U.S. Senate no matter what Rubio decides to do. He is the son of Thomas Murphy, owner of Miami-based Coastal Construction." "U.S. Rep Patrick Murphy is running for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat."

"The announcement sets the stage for a big-money, high-profile Senate race next year — whether Rubio seeks re-election or decides instead to run for president."

Murphy, 31, toppled Republican Congressman Allen West, a tea-party favorite, in 2012 before easily defeating former state Rep. Carl Domino in 2014. Murphy’s campaign said Monday that he raised more than $11 million for the two campaigns, hinting at his ability to pull in the massive amounts of cash that would be needed to win a U.S. Senate seat.

In the announcement, Murphy presented himself as a businessman who would be an “independent voice for Florida.” Murphy, who lives in Jupiter, represents a congressional district that includes St. Lucie and Martin counties and northern Palm Beach County.

"Democrat Patrick Murphy, Conqueror of Allen West, Will Run For Rubio’s Senate Seat in 2016." See also "Patrick Murphy Off and Running for Marco Rubio's Senate Seat in 2016."

"Um … no, not a done deal"

"Funny thing about the “will of the people” in Florida. Even when expressed via an overwhelming majority “Yes” vote on a constitutional amendment, the Legislature can and does subvert it."

That’s what’s happening with the environmental protections and preservations Floridians thought were a done deal after more than 75 percent of voters joined forces to pass Amendment 1 last November. But, um … no, not a done deal.
"Florida Legislature to Voters For Amendment 1’s Water Protection: Drop Dead."

Stop the madness

"Children would be allowed to enroll in any public school in the state that hasn’t reached capacity under a new legislative proposal." "Bill would give more choices to students about where they can enroll."

FRS deform dead again

"A move to revamp Florida’s $160 billion state retirement system is dead for the 2015 session."

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said questions about a new financial analysis of proposed changes to the pension fund have prompted him to call off any legislation this spring on the Florida Retirement System. Instead, Crisafulli said lawmakers will now put an extra emphasis on bills seeking to reform municipal pension funds for police and firefighters this year.

As in the past two years, House leaders had pushed legislation to reduce the size of the Florida pension fund for state workers, school system employees and county workers over the long term. The main emphasis was to encourage more workers to sign up for a 401(k)-type investment plan for their retirement rather than the more costly traditional pension with its guaranteed benefits.

"But to the House’s surprise, unlike previous reports in 2013 and 2014, the new financial analysis of the proposed pension changes showed it would cost the state more rather than projecting 'billions of dollars in savings to the FRS (Florida Retirement System) and the state.'"
Last year, lawmakers agreed on a local pension reform bill. But it died in the session when it became entangled with a state pension reform measure that was rejected narrowly by the Senate.

State Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach, said he was pleased by Crisafulli’s decision and he hoped it would mean lawmakers would look at other issues.

“It’s to Speaker Crisafulli’s credit that he sought out expert opinion on the proposals to change our healthy Florida Retirement System,” Taylor said. “I thank (him) for his decision, given the results of those studies, to focus this year on other pressing matters.”

"Florida’s pension reform efforts shot down."

"Whispers that Southerland could seek rematch"

"Whispers are growing louder that Steve Southerland could seek a rematch with Gwen Graham in 2016." "Steve Southerland Faces Uphill Battle in Possible Rematch With Gwen Graham."

FlaDem delegates will continue to be distributed proportionally regardless of primary date

"Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Thursday setting the primary date, which will give Republicans the option of making the election a winner-take-all contest. The law previously had the date set for March 1, but that would have meant the Republican delegates would be dispersed proportionally. Democratic delegates will be distributed proportionally regardless of the primary date." "Scott signs bill moving presidential primary to March 15."

"Jeb!" denies he's a wingnut

"Jeb Bush visits Daytona for fundraiser."

Budget blues

"Budget vote delayed over battle between House GOP factions." More: "Florida House releases nearly $76.2 billion spending plan."

Yee haw!

"Bear hunt expected to take place in October." More: "Senate Committee Agrees to Guns on Public School Campuses."

"Folly of the state’s write-in candidate laws"

Tampa Trib editors: "The folly of the state’s write-in candidate laws was on full display last year in the Florida House District 64 race in the Tampa Bay area." "Editorial: Lawmakers have chance to fix flawed write-in law."

"Under the Radar Democrat"

Kevin Derby: "Over the last five years, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson continued his stint as the most consistently effective Democrat in Florida in recent years, even as he often took a supporting role on the political stage." "Bill Nelson, Under the Radar Democrat."

Tax credit program to end

"Tax credit program for blighted areas to end."

"The conversation no one wants to have"

"Talking taxes is the conversation no one wants to have. Not in Washington, where anti-tax sentiments prevail. And definitely not in Florida, where a Republican-controlled legislative and executive branch dismiss the idea." "Gov. Rick Scott and DOT reject talk of gas tax increase despite transportation deficit."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

"Gov. Scott, This Is America"

Nancy Smith is usually "on the other side of" what she perceives to be the usual, unfair "media attacks against Gov. Rick Scott. Not this time."

She "can't defend forcing Barton Bibler, a longtime, valued employee at the Department of Environmental Protection, to take a leave of absence and seek a mental health evaluation ... for what? For writing a report he was asked to write. Mostly, his crime was using the phrases 'climate change' and 'global warming' in the report."

OK, it's a little more complicated than that. Bibler circled the words "Keystone XL pipeline" and put a line through them. And he was obviously glad to hear discussion of climate change at the Coastal Managers Forum.
To which Smith says, "Big deal."
The fact is, climate change, rising sea levels and the possible environmental impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline all were discussed at the meeting.

Bibler has an opinion, for heaven's sake. He's not a slug. Is that a firing offense? It's not as if the report he turned in was a treatise on global warming; not as if it was going to be distributed to the press (though now it might be). It was inside baseball. As a longtime employee, he probably should have learned by now that color commentary from rank-and-file bureaucrats is frowned upon.

"Come On, Gov. Scott, This Is America." See also "Answers sought after reports of ‘climate change’ ban," "Answers sought after reports of ‘climate change’ ban" and "PolitiFact Florida: Fact-checking Rick Scott on the environment and sea-level rise."

In Florida, pollution, sea level rise and wildlife habitat loss are worsening

"Bill Maxwell": "Game on!"

How else do we describe the portent of President Barack Obama's veto of a GOP-sponsored bill that would have forced authorization of the 875-mile Keystone XL pipeline? By rejecting the bill, Obama not only enraged Republicans; he deepened the wrath of the oil industry and other businesses with financial interests in the venture.

The veto is being called a "milestone" in Obama's presidency. Not only will it bring more partisan gridlock in Washington, its ideological impact will be felt nationwide, especially in Florida where environmental problems such as water pollution, sea level rise and wildlife habitat loss are worsening.

"Don't be fooled by environmental bills in Washington, Tallahassee."

"Destiny and DNA might have foretold that Jeb Bush would make a run"

"Destiny and DNA might have foretold that Jeb Bush would make a run for the White House someday, aiming for a job that both his father and brother held. That his wife Columba stands a chance of becoming the first Latina first lady is a more unlikely story." "Columba Bush’s painful, unlikely road toward the White House."

"A tale of two budget proposals"

"Now that lawmakers may be facing a potential $1.3 billion hole in the health care budget, many of Gov. Rick Scott’s once-obtainable goals are in sudden limbo as money gets shifted around to cover gaps." "A tale of two budget proposals leaves Gov. Rick Scott’s tax cuts, education spending at risk." See also "Florida House, Senate budgets are $4.3 billion apart."

Sorry Jeb, no "Homeland Security" for you in Florida

"The Jeb Bush effort in Florida, code-named 'Homeland Security,' will pour enormous resources and energy over the next year into a state that many thought Bush, its governor from 1999 to 2007, would be able to count on as a bedrock of support." "Seen as Linchpin, Florida Is Focus of ‘16 Bush Plan."

"Bush is the front-runner in the financial sense, but no other"

In Michael Tomasky's take on books attributed to GOPer candidates for president in the New York Review of Books, he first discusses Jeb Bush, a candidate whose hirelings have not yet written a book to which he can assign his name:

[I]n his first big policy speech, Jeb Bush emphasized the “opportunity gap,” telling the Detroit Economic Club that “only a small portion of the country [is] riding the up escalator.” Median incomes are down, he said, and “households are, on average, poorer.” In Romney’s absence, Bush has become the instant front-runner among the candidates representing the establishment wing of the party, and the big money will likely coalesce around him and his message, at least to the extent to which conservative plutocrats can bear to do so.

On the evidence of his February 18 speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Bush’s foreign policy will not differ dramatically from his brother’s. Rhetorically, Bush tries to sound more like his realist, cautious father. But the substance of his policy positions puts him closer to George W. (the phrase “take them out” when applied to the Islamic State can mean only a ground war, although he’s not likely to admit to that). And he is surrounding himself with some of his brother’s key advisers—most surprisingly Paul Wolfowitz, the intellectual architect of the disastrous Iraq intervention.

The odd thing is that Bush polls no better against Clinton than several of the other candidates; so he is the front-runner in the financial sense, but no other. His politics are basically conservative, which is reflected by his record as governor of Florida on issues from education to privatization to his lamentable handling of the Terri Schiavo case, when he defied all medical expertise and advice to pander to a right wing that believes in preserving “life” in all situations.

But, surely aware that staking out nothing but those kinds of positions makes a Republican unelectable, Bush began a couple of years ago to present himself as more moderate, on immigration and supporting the “Common Core” learning standards and, now, on economics, which will obviously be his major talking point. Naturally, these positions have awakened contempt for and distrust of Bush within the more extreme base voters, among whom he polls poorly. A big fight clearly looms.

Tomasky moves on to Florida's other candidate:
Unlike the other campaign books, American Dreams is at least largely about policy. There are chapters on the struggles of the middle class, regulation in the age of the “sharing economy” (Uber, Airbnb, etc.), higher education, retirement, economic security, and, inevitably, values. Chapters open with homiletic descriptions of the particular crisis in question, told through the stories of a few real-life Americans Rubio has encountered in his journeys, and then move on to prescriptions.

His prescriptions aren’t innovative. On poverty, as he said in his speech about a year ago, he wants the federal government to eliminate many of its programs and turn the money over to the states with fewer strings attached. Ronald Reagan proposed this a generation ago. Rubio’s chapter on retirement largely repeats the proposals set forth by Paul Ryan in his budgets, proposals that would (especially with regard to Medicare) result in much higher out-of-pocket expenses for future seniors, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Where his solutions aren’t standard conservative policies, they are in fact already in place. With regard to higher education, for example, he wants a transparent, return-on-investment kind of ranking of colleges and universities, so that applicants and parents can see what kinds of salaries graduates make. And he favors something called “income-based repayment” that would reduce the monthly cost of most graduates’ loans. These are plausible ideas. The Obama administration has instituted them both (though not yet on a large scale).

"2016: The Republicans Write."

"Online voter registration"

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Florida should allow online voter registration."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

"Democrats Clear the Decks for Murphy"

"On Monday, Charlie Crist said he wasn’t going to run for the Senate in 2016. Tuesday saw Debbie Wasserman Schultz on CNN with Wolf Blitzer where she bowed out of the Senate race."

Patrick Murphy’s people are saying he will run for the Senate next year no matter what Marco Rubio does.

If Rubio foregoes a second term to run for the presidency, Murphy offers Democrats a decent shot at picking up a Senate seat. Even if Rubio decides to stay in the Senate, Murphy at least gives Democrats a credible candidate, though he would certainly be an underdog.

"Democrats Clear the Decks for Patrick Murphy's 2016 Senate Run."

See also "Charlie Crist not seeking Senate seat eyed by friend Patrick Murphy."

"Lawmakers seem to care not a whit"

The Tampa Trib editorial board: "The disconnect between Florida lawmakers and voters is strikingly displayed in legislators’ response to Amendment 1."

The constitutional amendment mandating more state spending on conservation was the biggest vote-getter last November, backed by 75 percent of voters....

So the public’s will here is crystal clear — and lawmakers seem to care not a whit.

Many legislators are dismissing the need for more land purchases. Some even want to spend the money on drainage and other government infrastructure projects, which would be a complete corruption of the amendment.

Indeed, lawmakers seem more inclined to listen to industry groups that had nothing to do with the Amendment 1 campaign, such as Associated Industries of Florida, than to its backers, who won the public’s endorsement.

It’s outrageous. But, sadly, lawmakers can get away with such arrogance. Most are in safely drawn districts that rarely expose them to a broad section of voters.

"Stunning disregard for voters’ will." See also "Amendment 1 Spending Plan Lands Mixed Reviews."

You got a problem with that?

"Inspectors said a new confidentiality agreement was intended to quiet their complaints about the agency, but a judge said it didn’t violate the law." "Judge upholds prison ‘gag order,’ dismisses lawsuit."

Good luck with that

"House moves on budget while Senate waits on Medicaid talks."

Daddy's boy

"Old Bush Hand James Baker Gets on the 2016 Jeb Bandwagon."

Privatization madness

"The private Broward agency that provides foster care, adoption and other services was awash in problems, according to a series of inspector general reports." "Misconduct found at privately run child-welfare agency."

Heaven help us

"Over the last five years, former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has grown into one of the most prominent political leaders in the Sunshine State and his star could go even higher in the years to come." "Will Weatherford, Young Star Shines Out of the Shadows."

"Bailey has met with federal prosecutors"

"Former Commissioner Gerald Bailey’s abrupt and unexplained dismissal from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has triggered a lawsuit by dozens of news outlets that are now seeking Bailey’s sworn testimony." "Ousted FDLE chief Gerald Bailey met with federal prosecutors over firing by Gov. Rick Scott, cabinet."

Tom Nickens: "Why the Times joined the lawsuit against the governor and Cabinet."

"Reckless gun bill"

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Senate should reject reckless gun bill."

This from a man who was born with his father's silver foot in his mouth

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday that minimum wage increases should be left to businesses and state governments, opposing a hike in the federal pay floor as an impediment to individuals trying to escape from poverty." "Jeb Bush rejects idea of raising federal minimum wage."

He's gone

"After losing a bid to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November, Democrat Charlie Crist ended speculation Monday that he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2016."

Last week, Crist said some Democratic operatives had been encouraging him to consider a run for the Senate again.
"The 2016 Senate race is drawing heavy speculation, as Rubio weighs whether to run for the presidency or to seek re-election. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., has emerged as a potential Democratic candidate, but questions swirled around Crist, who was elected governor as a Republican in 2006 and later became an independent before running last year as a Democrat." "Crist says he won't run for anything in 2016." See also "Crist Says He Won’t Run For Office In 2016."

Rubio strides world stage, trips

"Eying the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday that he would 'absolutely' defy stalwart European allies if necessary to revoke any Iranian nuclear deal he might inherit from President Barack Obama." "Sen. Marco Rubio says he's 'absolutely' willing to defy European allies on Iran."

Monday, March 16, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

"Democrat in the Weeds"

"Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown has posed quite a problem for conservatives over the last five years. He has shown political skills he didn't display when he primaried U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., in the 1990s and has been able to find some success in traditionally Republican Jacksonville by hiding in the weeds and toning town his Democratic affiliation." "Alvin Brown, Democrat in the Weeds."

Florida’s death penalty on thin ice

Martin Dyckman via FlaglerLive: "For 13 years, Florida’s death penalty process has been on thin ice at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Legislature has pretended not to notice even though the state Supreme Court sent an early warning."

Now, the ice is cracking.
"On Monday, the high court agreed to consider whether Florida’s law conflicts with its 2002 opinion in Ring v. Arizona that the jury, not the judge, must determine the existence of aggravating factors to support a death penalty."
Florida law leaves that to the judge, along with the power to condemn a defendant even without a unanimous jury recommendation for death. Only Alabama has a law like that.
Much more here: "Will U.S. Supreme Court Rule Florida’s Cavalier Death Penalty Unconstitutional?"

Unintended consequences

"In another example of the unintended consequences of new technology, the use of body cameras on law enforcement officers is on a collision course with the state’s public records law." "Police body cameras could conflict with Florida’s public records law."

Lawmakers need to more to protect springs

The Gainesville Sun editors: "Our lawmakers need to be doing more to protect our springs and to use Amendment 1 money as it was intended." "Same springs story."

"Trouble for enterprise zones"

"State report spells trouble for enterprise zones."

Charter games

Even charter school cheerleaders like the Tampa Trib editororial board concede that "the wave of charter school expansion across Florida has caused its share of friction with educators who run traditional public schools. The lack of accountability, and the drain on tax dollars available to school districts for capital expenditures, are legitimate concerns." "Moving toward charter school accountability." See also "" and "".

FlaGOP looks to flip Murphy's Congressional seat

Wingers see "Murphy's Senate Bid Gives GOP a Golden Opportunity to Flip Congressional Seat"

Miami Mayor's Daughter challenges Miami-Dade Mayor

And then there were three: "Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez isn’t running against Miami Mayor Tom├ís Regalado. But he is being challenged by the mayor’s daughter, Raquel Regalado, possibly setting up proxy campaign fights on some major projects in the city." "It’s Gimenez vs. Regalado — and Regalado — for Miami-Dade County’s next mayor."

Yee haw!

"Emergency gun-carrying bill heads to Senate floor."

"The money and Ma Barker"

Gary Fineout: "In the wake of the Great Recession legislative leaders pulled the plug on the process that helped the public know a little bit about where items stashed in the budget came from."

For various reasons, and despite some Democrats decrying the amount of pork contained in the state budget, legislators have not reinstated the process known as "community budget issue requests" even as the economy has steadily recovered. - See more at:
"Richard Corcoran, the money and Ma Barker."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

"Scott and his cabinet have retained nearly a dozen lawyers"

"Scott and his cabinet have retained nearly a dozen lawyers charging up to $400 an hour each after being sued by First Amendment groups and news outlets, who contend the four officials violated Florida’s Sunshine law by removing state law enforcement commissioner Gerald Bailey without a public vote." "Taxpayers could foot large legal bill of Scott and 3 Cabinet members over charges they violated state Sunshine law."

MJ Politics

"Republican leaders in Tallahassee aren’t buying the political calculation that they must pass a medical marijuana law now to take the issue off the table during next year’s presidential race." "Medical marijuana backers pitch law as way to help 2016 GOP presidential nominee."

"Never a dull moment in the world of Florida’s education"

"There’s never really a dull moment in the world of Florida’s education. From issues in standardized testing to guns on school campuses, things didn’t slow down in education world at all this week across the Sunshine State." "Testing Glitches, Limits Take Over State Legislature."

"Murky role of political committees"

"'Election law has weak muscles,' said T. Wayne Bailey, a political science professor at Stetson University. 'It places so much responsibility on the public for taking notice and taking action, which is probably an unrealistic expectation.' Moving Tampa Forward’s murky ownership is an example of how little scrutiny these committees receive." "City race highlights murky role of political committees."

"Infuriating Florida's political right"

Nancy Smith: "Since 2010 no one has done a better job of entertaining and/or infuriating Florida's political right with her mouth than U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz." "Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Controversy 'R' Us."

Second amendment stoopid

"An Orlando man allegedly shot himself during a robbery, stole a Mercedes from a strip club and then flagged down a deputy himself, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office." "Orlando man shoots himself during robbery, flags down deputy himself."

"Jeb!" cheerleaders in full-swing

The Miami Herald feels the love: "Amid melting snowbanks and wall-to-wall throngs of reporters at stops in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush — looking at least 30 pounds trimmer than when he was governor — took pointed questions about his views on immigration and the Common Core education standards without a hint of defensive." "Relaxed Jeb Bush brings his A game to New Hampshire."

"The Dean's List"

The Sunshine State News' Ed Dean gives us "'The Dean's List' -- an Ed Dean-style look at who Florida's political achievers were (and weren't) in the last seven days." "The Dean's List."

What's wrong with Polk County?

"Florida lawmaker skeptical carbon dioxide causes global warming."

Herald lauds Rubio's "powerful rhetorical skill" (seriously)

"Like Barack Obama as a candidate, Marco Rubio is a first-term senator who lacks sweeping accomplishments and is known as much as anything for his powerful rhetorical skill. Some Republicans say he lacks the experience to be commander-in-chief." "As Sen. Marco Rubio nears presidential bid, experience question looms."

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: Shots, but not Agency Heads, Fired."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

Crist considering Senate run

"Charlie Crist is considering another run for the U.S. Senate, in the 2016 race."

"Well, I have been encouraged to," Crist said Wednesday when asked by phone about reports that he might run again. Crist, who is in New York, declined to elaborate.

Crist, a former Republican governor of Florida, ran for the Senate in 2010 as an independent, losing handily to Republican Marco Rubio, but finishing ahead of Democrat Kendrick Meek.

In 2013 he formally changed his party affiliation to Democrat and last year ran again for governor, losing to incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott in a close race.

There is a chance that Rubio will not seek re-election. He has repeatedly said that if he decides to run for president, he would not seek re-election to the Senate.

"Crist says he is considering U.S. Senate run."

Nancy Smith: "Charlie Crist's career as a highway billboard was embarrassing enough. But running for a U.S. Senate seat he already lost twice? Five months after he came up empty in the Florida governor's race?" "Sure You Want to Run Again, Charlie?."

Even the Trib

Even the Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Senate committee’s Medicaid expansion plan a worthy measure."

"Jeb Bush withdraws from remaining businesses"

"Preparing for presidential run, Jeb Bush withdraws from remaining businesses."

"Florida's budget faces an unexpected deficit"

"Florida's budget faces an unexpected deficit. Accepting the federal Medicaid money could potentially offset the loss of the Low-Income Pool Funds. But the plan faces stiff opposition." "Fearing Loss of $1 Billion in Federal Aid, Senate Again Considers Medicaid Expansion."

Yee haw!

"Education Committee Easily Approves Gun-Carrying By Select Florida School Employees."

"Bill would remove gay adoption ban"

"A bill that would create incentives to adopt children in state care passed the House on Wednesday on a vote made much closer because of opposition from conservative Republicans who don't want gay couples to adopt children despite an appeals court ruling five years ago that said they can." "House bill would remove gay adoption ban from law."

"Law firm funding attack ads"

"Fort Myers law firm funding attack ads in Tampa race."

"Drastically different plans"

"The House and Senate are drafting drastically different plans on how to spend Amendment 1 money that could only complicate efforts to come up with a comprehensive water policy." "Water bill splits House and Senate, but for how long?" Related: "Transportation, Housing Funds Split Senate, House."

"Santorum Ramps Up Florida Outreach"

"In spite of former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., testing the 2016 waters, Santorum will make a swing through Florida, offering an address to The Villages Conservative Action Group in The Villages on Friday night. On Saturday morning, Santorum will travel to Orlando to speak on 'Celebrating Faith, Family, and Freedom' at the Awakening Conference." "Rick Santorum Ramps Up Florida Outreach as 2016 Nears."

"Florida Blames School Testing Trouble on Cyber Attack"

"Florida Blames School Testing Trouble on Cyber Attack as FDLE Investigates."

"Koch brothers sock puppet"

Fred Grimm has a little fun with our Gub'ner, who insists on running the gub'mint like a bidness: "Unfair! It’s so unfair how our governor has been disparaged across social media."

As if Rick Scott was some kind of anti-science, Koch brothers sock puppet, just because his administration forbade state workers from employing — let’s face it — some pretty depressing terminology.

“Climate change” and “global warming” are not terms apt to help Floridians kick their Xanax addiction.

Just two measly terms, mind you. When it comes to state censorship, Scott’s administration is a piker compared to the Chinese Politburo, which has forbidden hundreds of search terms on the Chinese Internet including “Dalai Lama” and “sea cucumber Holothuria,” something Scott ought to consider adding to his own blacklist. What with rising sea levels, folks wading through the flooded streets of Miami Beach don’t want to be thinking about fat, black, squishy invertebrates underfoot. . . .

In a state particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of climate, especially sea level changes, failing to account for global warming might make the Department of Environmental Protection seem like an oxymoron. But Rick “I am not a scientist” Scott clearly needed a new strategy. With 2014 going down as the hottest year on record, after 14 of the last 15 years registered as the hottest ever, denial began to seem moronic, without the oxy.

Scott couldn’t just tell his constituents, “Who cares? I’ll be out of office before things turn really nasty. Then I’ll just take my millions and move to balmy Canada.”

Obviously, censorship’s more expedient than that honesty stuff.

Besides, other government entities have done a dandy job of suppressing unwelcome information. And not just dictators in Uzbekistan and Cuba.

Since 1996, the Centers for Disease Control has been banned (through Congress at the behest of the National Rifle Association) from conducting research on gun violence. Because, sometimes, for politicians, it’s better not to know.

The Texas Board of Education demanded textbooks that deemphasize unwanted stuff about evolution and climate change. North Carolina passed a bill in 2012 that banned ban state agencies from basing coastal policies on the latest scientific predictions about sea level.

The mean Mr. Grimm closes his piece with this cattiness:
Rick Scott catches all this heat for censoring two little terms. Obviously, in a rush to judgment, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting didn’t consider another possible explanation when the governor’s administration forbade DEP workers from uttering “climate change” or “global warming” aloud.

Scott, fun-loving guy that he is, just might be a big fan of charades.

"None of this climate change stuff. Just happy talk."

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