Saturday, July 06, 2013

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

"Florida does the worst job in the nation . . ."

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Florida does the worst job in the nation of ensuring poor children get dental care."

Now it's expected to do even worse. Changes to the state's Medicaid system appear likely to make it impossible for the vast majority of young enrollees to obtain preventive care, increasing the odds of toothaches and disease that can have costly lifetime consequences for children and society. Florida can do better, and Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature need to see to it.
"Florida dental plan failing poor children".

Legislative staffers get theirs

"When Florida legislators this year broke the freeze on employee pay and offered state workers salary increases for the first time in seven years, legislative leaders made sure to give some of their own employees pay raises, too. Using criteria based on performance and promotions, the increases amounted to about three to five percent for most workers but as much as 20 percent for others." "Legislative leaders rewarded high-performing staff with salary hikes".

Florida, "a sub-tropical Deadwood"

Daniel Ruth: "It is probably safe to assume that a combination of morons, liquor, guns and strip clubs will pretty well guarantee that nothing much very good will result. And that's how it was that Fred Turner Jr. wound up dead — literally being the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time."

This is what the all-too-easy proliferation of guns in our society has wrought. There was a time, before Florida opted to turn itself into a sub-tropical Deadwood, when tiffs like what occurred at the Gold Club coo-coo-ca-choo emporium would have been resolved with some innovative expressions tossed back and forth about the participants' sexuality, parentage and suggestions to commit various acts upon themselves all wrapped up very nicely by some halfhearted and ill-aimed punches attempted.

Now whatever untoward actions took place between two sad sack bumpkins sitting in a chintzy strip club apparently rose to the level where someone felt justified to shoot a total stranger.

It is probably sadly true that any serious effort to forge consensus on gun control is a political nonstarter. But just maybe some lives could be saved if society imposed a literacy test on slack-jawed yahoos wanting to enter a hoochie-coochie club.

"I-4 shooting proves gun ownership rules too lax".

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: A Deluge of Planning as the Rains Keep Coming".

Fasano to step away from Tally?

"Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Mike Olson, the long-time Pasco County tax collector who died last week. . . . Fasano's appointment as county tax collector would also likely eliminate any chance that he would challenge in a GOP primary for the state Senate in 2014. That possibility has been discussed in Tallahassee in the context of creating future alliances for the Senate presidency." "Rep. Mike Fasano emerges as candidate for Pasco tax collector".

And firefighters have the audacity to expect the pensions they were promised?

As we read the horrific details of how nineteen firemen were burned alive, "Wildfire cut off Hotshots' access to safety zone", let's not forget how just two years ago,

Two state firefighters were killed Monday after being overtaken by fast-moving flames and smoke while battling a blaze in rural Hamilton County that also injured two other firefighters attempting to rescue them . . . [As of June of that year, Florida's] Division of Forestry [had] battled more than 1,500 wildfires, which [had] burned nearly 200,000 acres across the state. Officials said firefighters have been facing an average of more than 31 new wildfires each day.
"Wildfire 'burnover' kills two firefighters in Hamilton County". Excerpts of the report and a link to the full report is available here.

"The backstory is years-long and complicated"

"The backstory is years-long and complicated. But the conflict really comes down to a simple question: What counts as a parimutuel horse race in Florida?" "Group claims Florida ‘rubber-stamped phony horse racing’".

Database leak?

"The governor tried to kill it. Lawmakers wouldn't fund it. Few used it."

And now, less than two years since its birth, Florida's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is the subject of new criticism, legal action and calls that it be overhauled — or abolished.

On Monday, the Florida Department of Health will hold a workshop in Tallahassee to discuss further limiting access to records of who writes and fills prescriptions for the most addictive drugs.

The meeting comes in response to allegations last month that medical data for 3,300 Floridians had been "leaked." The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida demanded a federal investigation, and critics pointed to the incident as evidence that the system was fundamentally flawed and had allowed an inevitable breach of privacy.

"Did Florida's prescription pill database really spring a leak?".

Murphy money

"U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat from Jupiter, is one of the House of Representative’s top fundraisers." "Murphy rakes in big bucks in early fundraising".

"You want to bash Rick Scott . . ."

Nancy Smith: "You want to bash Rick Scott, look for something besides his defiant stand against college tuition increases. Right now he's a Florida student's, a Florida family's best friend." "Rick Scott Wages a Righteous War Against Mounting College Costs".

"Scott Sounds Alarm"

"Rick Scott Sounds Alarm over Obama Cuts to National Guard in Hurricane Season".

Water wars

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board argues that

Congress should intervene to keep Georgia and the Army Corps of Engineers from further damaging the seafood harvest and environmental habitat in Florida's Apalachicola Bay. The federal courts have sent a clear message they don't intend to bring fairness, clarity or a sense of urgency to ending the 23-year water wars among Florida, Georgia and Alabama. It's time that Congress established once and for all that the states must share a watershed that serves a distinct need for all three. And Washington needs to act before Apalachicola's oyster beds and estuary dry to the point of becoming both an ecological and an economic crisis.
"Water war leaving Florida dry".