Sunday, March 30, 2014

After reading the hard copy of your hometown newspaper, please consider "Liking" us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

"Here he comes . . . Who will remember him?"

The media is loving the Jebbie - especially Florida's ink stained wretches (who stand to gain if the fellow about whom they possess special insight goes for the brass ring in 2016). That's right, Jeb Bush - he of the "shoot-first, take-no-advice method of governing", and whose "back-to-back terms were marred by frequent ethics scandals, official bungling and the inability of the government he downsized to meet growing demands for state services, including education and aid for the infirm and the elderly." "The Jeb Bush Era Ends in Florida".

Facts be damned, the media loves the thought of a political dynasty, so here's a taste: this from FoxNews: "A group of top Republican donors have reportedly begun an intense effort to draft former Florida governor Jeb Bush into the race for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016."

A Washington Post report quotes one major donor as saying that the "vast majority" of the top 100 givers to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney would back Bush in a nomination fight.
"GOP donors reportedly working to draft Jeb Bush for 2016 presidential run".

The Washington Post:

Many of the Republican Party’s most powerful insiders and financiers have begun a behind-the-scenes campaign to draft former Florida governor Jeb Bush into the 2016 presidential race, courting him and his intimates and starting talks on fundraising strategy.
"Influential Republicans working to draft Jeb Bush into 2016 presidential race". And get this, from the guy - with a degree in Latin American affairs - who doesn't get the difference between a Spanish and U.S. "Republican": "Jeb Bush Blames Obama for ‘American Passivity’".

And the redoubtable locals, like the Tribune Company's Sun Sentinel editors, of course argue "Jeb Bush, GOP's best choice for 2016" (subscription required).

Free speech, Scott style

"Florida officials have abruptly canceled a talk by a Florida State professor and writer who has been critical of the administration of Gov. Rick Scott." "Florida abruptly cancels talk by professor and writer".

Scott's claims "Mostly False"

"The ad suggests that the Congressional Budget Office reported a loss of 2.5 million jobs under Obamacare, but PolitiFact found no such number in the report." "Scott’s ad claim on lost jobs under Obamacare doesn’t add up". More: "Rick Scott’s political committee says Obamacare has led to 300,000 health plans canceled".

Chapter 119

"A bill that unanimously cleared the Senate last week, and is set for a House subcommittee hearing Monday, would make it a little quicker and easier for Floridians to get a look at documents produced by state and local governments. The proposal was produced by the Senate Governmental Oversight and Productivity Committee at the behest of Senate President Don Gaetz, and it represents a change in attitude as much as a new set of ground rules for the public’s right to know." "Proposal codifies Sunshine law".

Runnin' gun'mint like a bidness

"State workers may have to decide next year whether they want a health-insurance plan with more benefits and higher monthly premiums or a cheaper one with fewer benefits and more take-home pay." "Changes may be coming to state employee health insurance plans".

"Fracking has hit a partisan brick wall"

"A bill that would require oil companies to disclose the chemicals used in a controversial drilling process called fracking has hit a partisan brick wall, its sponsor says."

Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, doesn’t think House Bill 71 will pass. The chilly reception is due to partisan politics in an election year, Rodrigues claims.
"Fracking bill smacks a partisan brick wall".

Voucher games

"An attempt to revive a sweeping expansion of the state’s de facto voucher system passed a House subcommittee on a party-line vote Friday, setting up a potential showdown with the Senate over school choice legislation."

The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee voted 8-4 to introduce the measure (PCB EDAS 14-03), which would bind together a program aimed at students with disabilities and the voucher expansion. Senate leaders last week pulled their counterpart to the House voucher bill, but the measure for students with disabilities remains alive. . . .

The House move injected legislative brinksmanship to the debate about one of House Speaker Will Weatherford’s top priorities. Bills establishing a “Personal Learning Scholarship Account Program,” which would reimburse parents for some educational services for children with disabilities, have been moving on both sides of the Capitol. . . .

But Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, told reporters that he wasn’t trying to jam the Senate by attaching the two measures. . . .

The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, ripped the move to combine the two measures during comments at the subcommittee meeting Friday.

“While we have concerns about the personal learning accounts for children with disabilities, I have to say, as a teacher who taught disabled students daily, that this attempt to salvage the expansion of the … voucher program by attaching it to this bill is disingenuous to the public and those of us who have dedicated our lives to serving disabled students,” said FEA Vice President Joanne McCall.

"'Opportunity Scholarships': Lawmakers Revive Vast Expansion of School Vouchers By Riding Coattails of Students With Disabilities".