Monday, April 22, 2013

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

"Republican leaders have failed to deliver"

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Despite their flaws, the voting reforms expected to be approved this week by the Florida Senate are a substantial improvement over current state law. Republican leaders have failed to deliver on the reasonable expectation that the state would return to a full 14 days of early voting. And a proposal to let the unelected secretary of state discipline the elected county elections supervisors should be abandoned." "Gov. Rick Scott's priorities in danger as session hits crucial stage".

Florida GOPers in Legislature can't bring themselves to do right by teachers

"The House and the Senate aligned their position on teacher pay raises Sunday, putting the Florida Legislature on a collision course with Gov. Rick Scott. The two chambers have agreed to spend $480 million on salary increases for educators — the same figure Scott has in his budget. The key difference: the Senate and the House are insisting on performance-based raises, while Scott is championing $2,500 across-the-board increases for every classroom teacher in Florida." "House, Senate agree on merit pay raises for teachers". See also "Gov. Scott to sign sweeping education bill" and "Fla. gov. won't get $2,500 raises for teachers".

Five things to look for Monday

"Five things to look for in Monday’s legislative session".

FlaGOP "mega-donor" won't be so generous next time

George Bennett: "Republican mega-donor Al Hoffman of North Palm Beach, disappointed at last week’s defeat of legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases, says he’s reluctant to raise money for GOP candidates who oppose 'reasonable' gun control measures." "Republican donor won’t be generous with those who bailed on gun control". See also: "Will gun control be a problem for GOP in 2014?"

"Aside from Scott, statewide elected Republicans up for re-election in 2014 look safe"

Jeff Henderson: "Democrats across the nation are already licking their chops over the possibility of defeating Gov. Rick Scott next year -- but other statewide elected Republicans up for re-election in 2014 look safe for the moment." "Dems Could Block Florida Cabinet's Road to Re-election".

"House Republicans are not convinced"

"Senate Republicans seem willing to join Democrats in supporting a massive healthcare expansion, but many House Republicans are not convinced." "Future of Medicaid expansion in hands of key GOP House members".

Nelson, Sink and Crist "freeze the field"

"Former state Sen. Dan Gelber, unsuccessful Democratic candidate for attorney general in 2010 and a potential future candidate, told a Tiger Bay Club of Tampa audience Friday that the 'simple desire to do what is right' and 'the courage to act upon your conscience' are what’s missing in Florida politics."

In his speech and an interview, Gelber said he’s not inclined to run for attorney general again and that he and other lesser-known candidates will have to wait on those he called “the big ” — Sen. Bill Nelson, former Gov. Charlie Crist and former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink of Tampa — before deciding whether to run for governor.

“Those candidates freeze the field,” he said, because no others have equal name recognition. “Your ticket to entry in a statewide race is name ID … . I’m on the bench with everybody else.”

"Ex-senator: Florida politics needs more courage".

Not so bright

The Miami Herald editorial board: "State-funded scholarships should be based on more than standardized tests." "Bright Futures darken".