Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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

Tampa crazies claim "Obama is targeting whites"

"Florida Tea Parties Mull Joining IRS Lawsuits". Meanwhile, in Tampa "protesters, some from Tampa 9-12 and other tea party groups, came out to demand change. Some said they want the IRS to be audited. Others want the agency disbanded."

Speaking over a bullhorn, 57-year-old John Junstrom of Tampa said: "The IRS must stop targeting Christians and tea partiers and patriots. This is tyranny. Obama is targeting whites and Christians.

"Obama hates the tea party and all other patriots and all those who uphold and obey the Constitution."

"Tampa tea party groups protest at IRS office".

"Scott donor giveaway?"

"Two months after contributing $110,000 to Gov. Rick Scott’s reelection campaign, an upstart property insurance company is likely to reap a $52 million windfall, paid from the coffers of Citizens Property Insurance Corp."

Sitting on a record cash surplus of $6.4 billion, Citizens is hoping to ink a special deal Wednesday with Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance Company, a St. Petersburg firm that opened for business nine months ago and made significant political contributions.
"Heritage has donated more than $140,000 to Scott and the Republican Party of Florida in recent months, and spent tens of thousands more lobbying the Legislature. Now it’s in line to get special treatment from Florida’s state-run insurance firm in the form of an unusual and lucrative “reinsurance quota share” agreement.
If the Citizens board of governors approves on Wednesday, the state-run insurer will pay Heritage up to $52 million to take over 60,000 policies, about $866 a piece.
"Sweet deal for state taxpayers or Scott donor giveaway?"

"Puzzling at best"

The Tampa Trib editors: "Scott’s rejection of Amazon’s plans to build a warehouse in Florida is puzzling at best. At worst, it smacks of politics getting in the way of what’s best for Florida." "Scott wrong on Amazon deal".


"Florida’s Republican leaders -- including former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- will be on center stage in July when Maverick PAC (MavPAC) hosts its annual conference in Miami."

Led by Texas-based George P. Bush, son of the former governor and the nephew, grandson and namesake of two former presidents, MavPAC looks to support conservative candidates and bring young professionals into the political process. The group claims to have more than 3,500 in chapters across the nation, including four based in Florida.
"Expect Florida's GOP High-Flyers in Miami for Annual MavPAC Conference".

Bill reverses some Republican voting restrictions

"Scott has finished the fix of the flawed election law that relegated Florida to a late-night joke in 2012 by signing an elections cleanup bill passed on the final day of the legislative session." "Gov. Rick Scott signs elections bill to fix long voter lines".

The bill "attempts to reverse some of the restrictions the Republican-controlled Legislature put in place in 2011, including allowing more early-voting."

The legislation is a response to the ridicule Florida received in the days after President Barack Obama's re-election when votes were still being counted in a few counties. . . .

Lawmakers also added a provision late in the session to move Florida's 2016 presidential primary back from January to a later date so the state won't be penalized by the national Republican and Democratic parties.

It also increases the allowable early voting hours, and goes from eight days to 14 days. The Legislature had reduced that early-voting window to one week in 2011, which some evidence has found decreased early-voting turnout last year -- particularly among minorities.

It also expands the locations for early voting from just election offices and city halls to include courthouses, civic centers, stadiums, convention centers, fairgrounds and government-owned senior and community centers.

"Gov. Scott signs elections bill extending early voting". See also "Gov. Scott signs bill to restore early voting days", "Scott signs elections package" and "Gov. Scott signs elections bill to fix long voter lines".

Crist making the rounds

"It’s still unknown how well Charlie Crist’s newly minted Democratic ideals will withstand the intense scrutiny and pressure of a gubernatorial campaign. What is clear is that to succeed at another tilt at the governor’s mansion, the once- Republican governor will need to convince Democrats that his jump across the political aisle is about more than political ambition. That may be why Crist this week is lending his name-recognition and political pull to Democratic candidates running for office." "Crist making rounds for Democratic candidates".

"Rubio and AFL-CIO clash"

"U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and the head of the AFL-CIO clashed Monday as the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted two amendments dealing with the importation of workers in high tech fields. Rubio applauded the amendments introduced by Se. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. saying they will 'boost American job creation through improvements to the H-1B visa program.' . . . But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the amendments job killers for U.S. workers." "Rubio and AFL-CIO clash over immigration bill amendments".

Scott's "Death penalty politics"

Michael Putney: "Death penalty politics in Florida".