Sunday, May 05, 2013

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

"The triumph of toxic politics over common sense"

The Miami Herald editorial board: "Surely the people of Florida had a right to expect that during the 60 days of the annual legislative session lawmakers would find a way to accept the federal government’s offer of $51 billion over the next decade to expand Medicaid"

And yet House Republicans, led by Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, failed to reach a workable compromise with their counterparts in the Republican-led Senate, effectively killing any deal for now and leaving Florida’s uninsured in jeopardy.
"This is a huge loss for the people of Florida, the triumph of toxic politics over common sense."
Gov. Rick Scott’s role in all this has been disappointing. Once an outspoken opponent of “Obamacare,” he saw that the feds’ Medicaid offer was too good to pass up, but he failed to do the work necessary to get support in the House.
"On Medicaid, GOP politics trumps common sense". See also "Failed Medicaid deal could be costly for businesses in Florida".

The Sun Sentinel editors point out that "one out of four Floridians lacks health insurance. The state ranks third worst in the number of people who can't afford access to health care. But because of ideologues in the Florida House of Representatives, our state will reject $51 billion in federal funds over the next decade, money meant to help the poorest among us see a doctor." "Florida's shame: the Florida House". Related: "GOP-controlled Legislature boasts wins on priorities but leaves poor without health insurance".

"Stark spending choices"

"Hefty budget poses stark spending choices for Gov. Rick Scott". Related: "Legislative session’s over, but The Herald’s vigilance isn’t".

Florida House "embarrassed itself"

The Orlando Sentinel's Aaron Deslatte, writes that "the Florida House of Representatives embarrassed itself this week by ramming through a tax-cut that turns one of Gov. Rick Scott's top legislative priorities into potential litigation fodder." "Tax-cut vote shows might trumps right".

Nothing to fix the grotesque flaws"

Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm writes, "On Thursday, Maryland became the sixth state in the past six years to abolish capital punishment. Eighteen states have now done away with the death penalty. Florida, of course, is not among them."

Rather, the Florida Legislature has taken a different, defiant tack. Last week, legislators sent Gov. Scott the so-called Timely Justice Act, a bill designed to hasten executions. The bill sets new deadlines for death-penalty appeals, and forces the governor to sign a death warrant within 30 days, once the case has been reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court. And that starts the timer again, giving the state 180 days to execute the prisoner.

The bill, no doubt, makes for savvy politics, addressing the public’s frustration, often voiced by victims’ families, with the long wait for justice after horrific murders. Condemned prisoners spend an average of 13.22 years on Florida’s Death Row before they’re finally executed.

But House Bill 7083 does nothing to fix the grotesque flaws that undermine confidence that we’re killing the right people for the right crimes — the same problems that led Maryland to junk the whole damn system.

"As other states ban executions, Florida kills 'em faster".

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Swift is not sure on death penalty".

Lie down with dogs

The crazies are after non-exile exile, Marco Rubio's non-amnesty amnesty plan: "Marco Rubio’s Bad Deal". More: "Sen. Marco Rubio battling conservative opposition to immigration bill".

"Mistakes in the making"

The Palm Beach Post editors: "2013 Legislature fixed mistakes on education, created mistakes in the making.".

Big of 'em

"Legislature passes bill to extend early voting, moves back early presidential primary for 2016".

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Two steps forward, one back on elections".

Rubio planning for 2016

"U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio persuaded state lawmakers Friday to make a last-minute change eliminating Florida's early presidential primary — in which the Republican could be on the ballot."

Right now, the Sunshine State's early primary violates Democratic and Republican national party rules, which penalize the state by severely devaluing the vote of its delegates who nominate each party's presidential candidate.

Florida Republicans, for instance, would have only 12 delegates instead of 99 if the state kept its early primary in January or early February

"At Rubio's urging, Florida election reform bill ends early presidential primary".


"Miami congressman trekked to Everglades to meet U.S. secretary".

"Winners and losers"

"Legislature 2013: Winners and losers". More: "Florida Legislature’s 2013 winners and losers".

Affordable officials

"Affordable-housing developers under investigation contributed to Miami-Dade political campaigns