Sunday, April 07, 2013

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

"Perverting, misappropriating and generally mucking up"

John Romano: "In case you aren't up to speed, the state House passed a bill on Thursday that allows parents to petition for a variety of overhauls if a local school is struggling."

What's so bad about that, you ask?

In theory, not a thing.

"But reality has a way of perverting, misappropriating and generally mucking up even the best of intentions. And I'm not even sure this one began with good intentions."
So if we can skip all of the minor details and skirmishes, the real issue is this legislation potentially allows public schools to be handed over to for-profit charter companies. . . .

It's looking more and more like the Senate is going to pass its version of the parent trigger this time around. The combination of Jeb Bush's stamp of approval, heavy lobbying by charter companies and partisan politics will likely be too much to overcome.

"Florida House blows past facts to pass parent trigger bill". See also "Charter, online schools set to get push by Legislature" ("After spending heavily on ruling Republicans last election, charter schools and online education companies are poised to gain a major push forward this spring from the Legislature.")

"NRA’s task is to frighten, sell more guns"

Carl Hiaasen: "NRA’s task is to frighten, sell more guns".

Florida's "foreclosure tsunami"

The Tampa Trib editorial board: "Florida accounts for 20 percent of the foreclosure inventory in the nation, far more than any other state. One in 32 housing units received a foreclosure filing in 2012, the highest rate of any state." "Confronting foreclosure tsunami". Related: "Looking for bubbling in real estate boomlet".

"Once crystal clear, springs are now clouded with algae and weeds"

The Orlando Sentinel editors: "It's hard to figure what goes on in the heads — and hearts — of Florida's lawmakers."

For months, the Sentinel and other state newspapers have published alarming reports on the rapidly deteriorating health of Florida's incomparable natural springs. Many are dying because of pollution and excessive groundwater pumping. Once crystal clear, they're now clouded with algae and weeds. . . .

Yet halfway through the 2013 legislative session, proposals in the Senate and House to launch a serious rescue mission for springs are drowning in committee.

"Lawmakers must seize chance to save springs".

Florida voters demand for background checks is ignored

"After the killing of three deputies and a little boy, Florida voters demanded background checks for private gun sales. And then, the whole thing fizzled." "Misfire: How Florida failed to close gun-show loophole".

Rubio looks to slow walk on immigration reform

"Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) recent concerns about the pace of immigration reform are causing heartburn for immigration activists, who warned the senator on Friday that he’ll only damage the odds of a bill passing and his own political standing if he keeps calling for a slower process." "Immigration Advocates Tell Rubio: Fall In Line Or Else".

Meanwhile, fringe "Evangelical pastors push immigration overhaul". They disagree with Donald Trump, who said he thought "it was a mistake for Republicans to help pass immigration reform because most of those benefiting will be Latinos who will vote for Democrats."

"Florida has a huge fund of money available to help those facing foreclosure"

The Miami Herald Herald editors: "It will come as news to many homeowners facing the loss of their homes that Florida has a huge fund of money available to help those facing foreclosure, and a deadline of Dec. 31, 2017 by which to spend it. And at the rate the state is going, many homeowners in trouble who might be eligible for assistance will be left out on the street when the program shuts down." "Florida Housing Finance Corp. must stop stalling and help homeowners".

Remember when

Chris Ingram: remember when Charlie "Crist lambasted Marco Rubio for being soft on guns and chastised him for his support of waiting periods and background checks. At the time, Crist was proud of his 'A' rating from the NRA, being named 'Gun rights defender of the month' by another Second Amendment group, as well as having signed into law a bill allowing employees to take their guns to work."

"From his own mouth, Crist said the following about key issues:"

“I am pro-gun, pro-family and I am anti-tax, and I always have been.”

“I am pro-life. I support limiting abortion to cases of rape, incest or where the mother's life is in danger.”

“[The] legislation Dean Cannon has been a real champion of is something I support,” Crist said of Cannon's bill allowing offshore oil drilling five miles off Florida's coast.

"Committed to Crist, or should Crist be committed?".

Rejection of Medicaid Expansion Would Prove Costly to Florida

The latest report (.pdf) from the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy: "Many of the businesses that anchor the state's service-based, tourist-dependent economy would be placed at a significant competitive disadvantage if Florida rejects Medicaid expansion."

These include, for example, Florida's retail, restaurant and hotel chains.

If Florida expands Medicaid, employers pay no penalty for low-wage workers who enroll in Medicaid.

As a result, a large employer that does not provide meaningful, affordable coverage to its eligible low-wage employees will save $3,000 for each such employee that enrolls in Medicaid instead of using Premium Tax Credits in the Exchange—but only if Florida elects to expand Medicaid.

Much more here: "Rejection of Medicaid Expansion Would Prove Costly to Businesses".


"Democrats are breaking new ground in a long-fought — and long-failed — attempt to defeat Rep. C.W. Bill Young."

Five months after the election, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is paying for an electronic billboard that suggests the 22-term representative is a fixture of Washington partisanship. The billboard, on Ulmerton Road in Pinellas County, is only the latest salvo against Young. Robocalls have already hit him on gun control and immigration. He's been named a target by a number of liberal groups. The billboard is tied to Young's support of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget.

Democrats have reason to be hopeful: President Barack Obama won the district. But Young, 82, destroyed his last Democratic challenger, Jessica Ehrlich, as he has past foes. When Young retires, that congressional seat will be a prime opportunity for Democrats, but not before then.

"Democrats fire early salvo at Rep. C.W. Bill Young".