Monday, March 18, 2013

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

"Jeb Bush blasted"

"Jeb Bush blasted on idea to limit family visas".

Five things

"The legislative week kicks off with some controversial issues including a possible ban on Internet cafes, tax breaks for another sports team and a workshop taking up a dozen charter school bills." "Five things to look for in Monday’s legislative session". See also "At the Capitol: Charter schools, elections and budget decisions coming in Week 3 of session".

"Growing alliance of business advocates"

"As the Florida Legislature gears up for the third week of the 2013 session, Senate committees are expected to start taking up four pieces of legislation which have the backing of a growing alliance of business advocates that make up the newly-formed Coalition of Legal Reform." "Coming Up in the Senate: Four Business-Backed Bills to Improve Florida's Legal Climate".

"Scott gets a do-over"

Marc Caputo: "A first major test of how a candidate might govern: choosing a running mate."

Rick Scott flunked that one.

On Tuesday, just seven days into Scott’s third regular legislative session, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned amid a racketeering investigation of Allied Veterans of the World, an Internet gambling operation that masqueraded as a charity.

“I have no knowledge that she broke the law,” Scott told reporters the next day.

For a candidate who campaigned to clean up Tallahassee and fight special interests, that’s a tough line to deliver.

Now he gets a do-over pick, a campaign-trail make-up exam.

"After flunking running-mate test, Rick Scott gets a do-over".

The New York Times: "Carroll’s relationship with Mr. Scott was seen as troubled well before news of the investigation. Rumblings had surfaced in recent months that he might replace her in the 2014 campaign. Her connection to Allied Veterans was seen in Tallahassee as the latest in a string of missteps that Mr. Scott had come to view as troublesome, political consultants said, among them, excessive travel expenses and the firing of an aide who later made embarrassing accusations about her and the governor’s office." "In Florida, a Political Marriage Soured Before a Top Official Stepped Down".

Meanwhile, "Republican rift: Will Gov. Scott's policy shifts limit lieutenant governor choices?"

The Miami Herald editors write that "the real issue here is the propensity of legislators to make extra money from their public 'service.' Disgraceful." "Lessons from ex-Lt. Gov. Carroll’s fall from grace".

"Panhandling emails"

Nancy Smith: "Another week, another couple of panhandling emails from Patrick Murphy. This is getting ridiculous."

Since the 2012 election ended, I've had 27 emails from Murphy, his camp or the national Democratic Party on his behalf. Every one of them is out to stiff me for a donation because of some usually-obscure effrontery to the rights of citizens that needs my money and Murphy to cure.
"Patrick Murphy, Please Get the Tin Cup Out of My Face".

"Legal threat still looms"

"Agreement calls for legislation to address an all-or-nothing provision in last year's HB 7051 that had blocked implementation of state rules. Agriculture, industry and utility groups hail the agreement but environmental groups warn that it will require federal court approval." "DEP announces agreement with feds on water quality, but legal threat still looms".


"House takes first step to ban internet sweepstakes caf├ęs; Senate not far behind".

FRS follies

Will Weatherford "is on a collision course with the Senate, where Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-New Port Richey, has an alternative version [of FRS changes] that would let public employees continue taking the 'defined benefit' option – but would give them financial incentives for opting into the riskier 'defined contribution' plan." "Florida lawmakers consider dueling pension proposals".

Charter madness

"After suffering bruising defeats during last year’s Legislative session, charter school advocates have descended upon the capital city with a revamped strategy."

Circle the wagons. Narrow the agenda. And make nice with the school districts.

This year, charter school lobbyists will focus their efforts on winning state money for maintenance and facilities. If they can’t secure the dollars, they want the right to use the empty space in traditional public schools free of charge.

With the state running a surplus, charter school advocates find themselves in a stronger position than last year. They have an all-star lineup of lobbyists, the ear of House Speaker Will Weatherford, and a crop of lawmakers sympathetic to their cause.

But victory isn’t guaranteed, especially with Gov. Rick Scott trying to win over public-school teachers and parents in advance of the 2014 election. The moderate Senate could be an obstacle, too. Rather than vote on any of the charter-school bills, the Senate Education Committee will hold a workshop on the issue Monday, signaling a desire to move forward cautiously.

"Charter school supporters plan to tone down lobbying strategy in Tallahassee".

Never forget

"The unearthing of the Johns Committee's dirty work".