Monday, March 03, 2014

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

Ten Issues to Watch During the Session

"Florida lawmakers will start the 2014 session Tuesday with a budget surplus and an eye on the November elections. But they still will have to address some tough questions before the session ends May 2. Among the questions: How can Florida better protect vulnerable children? Is it time to overhaul the state pension system? And should the state allow resort casinos to set up shop? Here are 10 issues to watch during the next two months . . . ." "Ten Issues to Watch During the 2014 Session".

"Peters Has Competition"

"Things are getting tougher for Kathleen Peters as she runs to keep her Florida House seat after losing the Republican congressional primary to David Jolly last month." "Kathleen Peters Has Competition from Left and Right".

Quick, Marco . . . the difference between the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus?

"The crisis in Crimea and the violence in Venezuela are making Marco Rubio a hot ticket again on cable news."

Having faded somewhat from view after the conservative blowback over his immigration bill, Florida’s Republican senator is back to being a must-book for the 24-hour news beast, in great part because of his role on the Senate’s foreign relations committee.

Rubio called on the Obama administration to further “isolate” Russia for its invasion of Ukrainian-held Crimea, suggested the U.S. should help bolster Ukraine’s military capabality as well as its government, and urged a restart of a missle-defense shield plan that has troubled Russia and, before it, the Soviet Union for decades.

"Crises in Ukraine, Venezuela put Florida Sen. Marco Rubio back in spotlight".

Raw Political Courage

"Fla. Gov. will use speech to stress tax cuts".

Did Hillsborough County change its rules?

"A computer installation company says Hillsborough County changed its rules to reject the company’s bid to provide services, costing taxpayers more than a quarter-million dollars." "Computer firm claims Hillsborough changed rules to aid vendor".

"What is Bousquet's excuse?"

Nancy Smith ain't happy. She writes: "Who is more disingenuous about gubernatorial travel, Charlie Crist or Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times? Charlie is running to get his old job back, you expect hypocrisy and you get it. But what is Bousquet's excuse?" "Jet Plane Fantasies of Charlie Crist and Steve Bousquet".

Please, just "do no harm"

The Miami Herald editors: "The Legislature begins this week — say a little prayer."

The recent report by the LeRoy Collins Institute on Florida’s future minced no words: The Sunshine State is near the bottom of the barrel on a wide range of issues affecting Floridians’ daily lives. Whether it’s public transit, housing, education, the tax and pension systems, employment, access to healthcare — chances are Florida is doing badly.

A better future for Florida’s 19 million people depends on how well lawmakers, who begin their session this week, can grapple with the issues. Some issues — gambling and medical marijuana — call for a choice. With others — affordable housing, for instance — all we ask is, do no harm.

"Fingers crossed".

5 Things to Know

"5 Things to Know in Florida for March 3".

Whatever Marion Hammer Says

"Bills dealing with toaster pastries and insurance policies are just two of more than a dozen gun-related measures lined up for the 2014 legislative session that starts Tuesday. As in previous years, many of them will go nowhere, especially if Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association's powerful Florida lobbyist, doesn't like them." "Lawmakers Look to Pass Far-Flung Gun Bills".

North Miami absentee-ballot requests case

"New details emerge in North Miami absentee-ballot requests case".