Monday, April 28, 2014

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

"Crist has always been all over the map on abortion"

Politifact: "As Charlie Crist has been attacked for flip-flopping on an array of issues, he argued during an April 20 television interview that one topic he has been consistent on is abortion."

While Crist enthusiastically admitted he changed his view on gay marriage and now supports it, he argued with interviewer Michael Williams of WPTV about whether he changed his views on abortion.
"Crist said in a TV interview that he hasn’t changed his view on abortion restrictions. We find that misleading — unless you're talking about having views that have always been difficult to pin down."
Even before he switched parties, Crist voted both for and against abortion restrictions: In the 1990s, he opposed a waiting period for adults but also backed restrictions that included a waiting period for minors and a ban on partial birth abortion. In 2010, he vetoed a bill to require women to undergo ultrasounds before they have an abortion.

He's also called himself both "pro-life" and "pro-choice," and he seems comfortable offering up his own personal definitions of the terms.

If he's shown a kernel of consistency, it's that he often — but not always — talked about being personally "pro-life" but wanting to respect the right of women to make decisions with their doctors and without government interference.

Interestingly, this is not a case of a politician changing his stance after switching parties. Crist has always been all over the map on abortion. On balance, we rate his claim Mostly False.

"Crist portrays his view on abortion as consistent".

Nancy Smith agrees: "Charlie Crist can't stop telling his audience what they want to hear, even when it's so full of baloney he should pass out napkins first." "Charlie Crist's Hyperbolicious Solar Flair".

Midnight madness

"Florida legislators have a reached a deal over most of the spending that will be included in a new $75 billion state budget. House and Senate budget chiefs met shortly before midnight Sunday. Part of the deal includes a 2.6 percent boost in spending on public school students." "Fla. legislators reach deal on most spending items".

"Lawmakers haggling over next year’s $75 billion budget on Sunday moved closer to significant deals on state worker’s salaries, a controversial plan to build another engineering school, and environmental projects." "State Senate, House move closer on Florida budget priorities".

More: "House, Senate agree on Lake Okeechobee, Indian River Lagoon funds; FAMU-FSU split still in question". See also "Session's end in sight, bills still in motion".

Pension haters "stymied again"

"House and Senate leaders hoping to accomplish what they couldn’t last year — a major overhaul of the Florida Retirement System — have been stymied again this year."

A proposal to close the pension plan to new hires except firefighters and police didn’t go anywhere. Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, scaled back the proposed legislation, offering instead a more modest bill that would place by default new hires into the 401(k)-like investment plan if they don’t choose a specific plan within nine months of beginning their public employment.

An amendment filed last week made more changes to the bill, including closing the pension plan to newly elected officials except for judges. A bill that would make many of the same changes passed out of the House on Friday. That bill, however, was combined earlier this month with another bill making changes to how tax proceeds can be used to fund firefigher and police ptension benefits.

"Retirement System — have been stymied again this year".

500,000 people in Tampa region on food stamps

"The number of Tampa-area residents relying on food stamps has fallen to a level not seen since November 2011. Since food stamp numbers peaked last August, more than 19,000 people have left the food stamp rolls in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, according to the Department of Children and Families. But that still leaves nearly 500,000 people in the region depending on the federal government for help with their groceries." "Rule changes part of decline in food stamp recipients".

We wish you luck

"Fla. Gov. Scott names new DCF secretary".

"Crowd of Foes"

"Daphne Campbell is now facing political peril as she takes on three new foes and still has an extremely unimpressive fundraising operation. The Miami Democrat has been running for 2014 since October 2012 and has done next to nothing in terms of building up a war chest. In the last year and a half, Campbell brought in only $22,370 and spent less than $625." "Daphne Campbell Now Faces Crowd of Foes in Miami-Dade House Race".

"Water differences at night"

Aaron Deslatte writes that "hammering out the finer points on a raft of other issues from higher education spending, springs and Everglades restoration, services for the disabled, school construction, and road projects have been dragging out behind closed doors all weekend." "Lawmakers hammer out water differences at night".

"Pounding away at Eric Holder and Obamacare"

"Running for his second term in Congress, conservative rising star Ron DeSantis should easily be able to keep his seat this year."

DeSantis has clearly discarded the old congressional rule demanding freshman members should be seen and not heard. Almost every week, DeSantis can be seen on the national cable talk shows, pounding away at Lois Lerner, Eric Holder and Obamacare.
"Ron DeSantis Shows No Signs of Slowing Down in 2014".