Thursday, July 11, 2013

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

Catholics call on Scott to end death penalty

"Florida's Catholic bishops have repeated their decades-long call for Florida to abolish the death penalty, as the state prepares to execute a former escort service owner convicted of raping and murdering two women, and attempting to murder a third, all in the 1980s."

“We urge Governor [Rick] Scott to commute the death sentence of Marshall Gore to life in prison without possibility of parole,” the seven spiritual leaders of Florida's 2.3 million Catholics pleaded in a joint statement Tuesday. “In making this plea, we are saddened and troubled by the brutal murders of his victims, Susan Roark and Robyn Novick, and we express our sincere sympathy to their families. However, neither retribution nor deterrence can justify the use of the death penalty.”
"Florida Catholic Bishops to Rick Scott: End Death Penalty".

Marco's mess

Update: "In House, GOP balks at sweeping immigration overhaul". See also "Gang of Eight's Immigration Reform Loses Momentum" and "Immigration reform: GOP rejects comprehensive approach". "Marco Rubio still has the support of Gov. Rick Scott, but Rubio’s immigration reform plan is drawing fire from some of his allies in Florida and in national conservative circles." "Marco Rubio Supporters Part Ways on Immigration Reform Bill".

Bondi's raw political courage

"Bondi bashes Obamacare with FOX friends".

"Democrats pounced"

"The Florida Democratic Party said Tuesday Gov. Rick Scott is dragging his feet in finding the state’s next lieutenant governor. A day after Scott told reporters that his search will be handled by his chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, Democrats pounced on a phrase he used Monday." "Search for Gov. Rick Scott's No. 2 will be done in-house".

"The roughest of days"

"U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia has had the roughest of days for a congressional freshman: His former campaign team is under investigation for possible elections crimes and a bevy of Republicans is lining up to take him out."

But none of it has badly damaged the Miami Democrat’s fundraising.

Garcia’s team Search for Gov. Rick Scott's No. 2 will be done in-houseTuesday that he raised about $440,000 in the last three months and has about $800,000 cash on hand.

“We are honored by the overwhelming support and I will continue to reach across the aisle and push for real immigration reform, improve our economy and get our fiscal house in order,” Garcia said in a written statement.

Garcia’s campaign said he has the second-highest fundraising total of the nearly 70 House freshman members, and that it’s a “reflection of his focus on the issues important to voters.”

Garcia made sure to make the announcement on the day that Miami-Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo, a Republican, announced he’d officially challenge Garcia in 2014.

Two other Republicans have announced plans to run for the District 26 seat: former Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Joe Martinez and Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall.

"Joe Garcia draws challenger Carlos Curbelo on day he posts big cash-haul".

Can't slow down

"Records: Red-light camera foe, Miami politician Francis Suarez received two tickets".

"The Party's Over"

"Charlie Crist is taking his message of political redemption and evolution from the Democratic club circuit to your local bookstore. The former Republican governor turned independent U.S. Senate candidate turned potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate has a book coming out this winter." "Former Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist ran for the U.S. Senate as an independent and is now a Democrat. He tells how it all came about in a new book, The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.".

Florida games

"Genting to Launch Taste of Its Gaming Brand in Miami -- Pending USCG OK".

"Incumbents haul in cash"

"Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's first campaign report showed he has raised nearly $600,000 since mid-April. Campaign finance reports for the second quarter were due Wednesday for candidates, and most incumbents have an early edge over opponents -- if they have opponents at all more than a year away from the mid-term elections." "Incumbents haul in cash preparing for 2014 battles".

A man of letters

"Former-Fla. Gov. Crist is writing book critical of GOP". See also "Crist Book Latest Chapter in Clash with GOP".

No excuses

The Treasure Coast Palm editors write that, "Delay in part of health care bill doesn't change need for Florida action".

"FCAT woes"

"The Pasco County school district - and other districts statewide - are bracing for bad news this month when the Florida Department of Education releases the annual school grades." "Schools anticipate FCAT woes".

The Putnam Parade

"Adam Putnam Builds for 2014 and the Future".

South Alabama

"This week, a congressional staffer jumped into the increasingly crowded field battling for the Florida House seat currently held by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, who faces term limits in 2014." "Congressional Staffer Jumps Into Bay County's Crowded Florida House Race".

FlaDems raise less than a million

"Florida Democrats raised less than $1 million for party".

And their shirts are brown

"Florida Conservative Launches Alternative to Boy Scouts".

The best they can do

"Q&A: Florida Republican leader says re-electing Gov. Scott a GOP focus". Meanwhile, "Gov. Rick Scott keeps raising millions for 2014 re-election campaign".

Phantom absentee-ballot requests"

"Members of a group advising Miami-Dade on how to improve its elections want the county to try get ahead of the curve of fraudsters who have attempted to manipulate the system by submitting phantom absentee-ballot requests online." "Miami-Dade should take steps to thwart absentee-ballot fraudsters, advisory group says".

Paying to get paid

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Low-wage workers are often one broken-down car, one injury or one unexpected expense away from disaster. But some large employers and big banks are making the financial lives of these workers even more precarious by charging them fees to access their pay. Sold as a convenience for employees and a money-saver for employers, payroll cards are unfairly eating into workers' wages. With the incentives of major banks and employers aligned, workers need federal and state regulators to step in and end the gouging." "Don't make workers pay to get paid".

Scott hides under his desk

"Gov. Rick Scott said Monday he prefers to stay out of the current congressional debate over a federal Internet sales tax bill. Although other Republican governors are pushing their Congressional delegations to support a federal Internet sales tax bill, even pledging offsetting tax cuts, Scott declined to wade into the debate when asked Monday." "Tax question dodge: Unlike colleagues, Scott avoids Internet sales tax debate". See also "Tax question dodge: Unlike colleagues, Scott avoids Internet sales tax debate".

"Wildlife die-offs"

"Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, at a budget conference committee meeting in April, will chair the newly created Senate Select Committee on Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin. Sen. Joe Negron is to chair the committee, which will conduct hearings and prepare a report by Nov. 4 on federal and state policies related to Lake Okeechobee and the 156-mile-long Indian River Lagoon in southeast Florida. Manatees, dolphins and pelicans have been dying for unknown reasons during the past year." "Senate president creates select committee to look into Indian River wildlife die-offs". Related: "Environmentalists: Don't allow spaceport to be built in wildlife refuge".

Vern speaks

"Vern Buchanan Stays the Course on Cutting Foreign Aid to Egypt".

"Scott's tough talk meets reality"

"Gov. Rick Scott"

sounded determined a year and a half ago when he demanded a thorough review of obscure special taxing districts that have the power to "tax, spend and incur debt at the expense of Florida taxpayers."

Scott was surprised that so many appointees who never have to face voters had the power to tax, so he signed an order on Jan. 11, 2012, ordering his budget experts to scrutinize nearly 1,700 districts and whether they serve "a legitimate public interest."

Eighteen months later, the districts are still thriving, as Scott's tough talk meets the reality that special districts have clout.

"Gov. Scott slow to scrutinize special taxing districts".