Saturday, May 17, 2014

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

FlaGOP fights release of redistricting documents

"The last-minute stay comes in a trial pitting the League of Women Voters against the Republican-controlled Legislature and which could change the current makeup of the state's congressional delegation. The League wants to look at e-mails and planning documents but a private consultant says the documents contain 'trade secrets.'" "Appeals Court will decide whether to release redistricting documents."

Rubio reaps royalties and advances

"GOP Sen. Marco Rubio earned $345,000 in royalties last year from sales of his 2012 best-selling autobiography, according to his latest personal financial disclosure form filed Thursday."

That's roughly twice what he earned from his day job as a senator.

In addition to the royalties, Rubio received an $800,000 advance in 2012 from Penguin Group USA to write the book, "An American Son."

"Rubio reaped $345,000 in royalties last year".

Scott is outspending Crist at an 11 to 1 ratio

Aaron Deslatte points out that "the incumbent governor has outspent the former GOP governor-turned-Democrat roughly $11 to $1. That ratio cannot continue." "Ads in governor's race fueled by policy flip-flops".

"Plenty of time to decide what Rubio is full of"

Mark Hohmeister writes that "a presidential campaign is long and hard, and voters will have plenty of time to decide what Rubio is full of." "The smart guy heads for the top".

Weekly Roundup

Kevin Derby: "Political Bits and Pieces." See also "Week in Review for May 16, 2014," "Arrivals and Departures, May 16, 2014," and "Weekly Roundup: The Two Sides of the Governor's Office."

Rubio backs program that allegedly awards outsized share of scholarships to affluent white students

"Sen. Marco Rubio is asking the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to end its probe into Florida’s Bright Futures scholarship program."

The office is investigating claims that the eligibility criteria have the effect of discriminating against black and Hispanic students. . . .

The program has long shouldered criticism for awarding an outsized share of scholarships to white and affluent students. The allegations prompted the federal investigation more than a decade ago.

"Sen. Marco Rubio: Feds should end Bright Futures probe."

The best he could do

"Jobless rate ticks down to 6.2 percent; 34,000 jobs added in April." More: "Florida Adds 34,000 Jobs in April."

Pension deform

"The most recent version of the local legislation had nearly universal support, including the backing of the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Police Benevolent Association. The league and the PBA had been on opposite sides of the issue, which dealt with how local governments can use insurance-premium taxes that bankroll the pension plans. Essentially, the bill would have repealed restrictions in state law on how the premium taxes are spent, so long as local governments and unions agree." "Future of pension reform next year still not clear."

"Smells fishier than a Japanese sushi market"

Nancy Smith: "For a lawsuit claiming to lift the state into sunlight and fresh air, the 'emergency petition' two notable Floridians filed Wednesday in the state Supreme Court sure smells fishier than a Japanese sushi market."

I never thought I would be arguing on the other side of the Sunshine Law -- legislation I've always believed represents Florida government at its best. But here I am, frankly, feeling the law that helped frame who I am is at this moment in very skillful, very manipulative hands, being used for political expediency, to embarrass and humiliate a governor the petitioners don't want to see re-elected.
"This is my take on what's going on: Careful Who You Blindly Trust: Florida's Sunshine Law and Political Opportunism."

Session Summary

"2014 Session Summary: Gaming".

"Softer touch"

"Instead of attacking Democrat Charlie Crist, Republican Gov. Rick Scott is opting to soften his own image in a campaign ad that features his 2-year-old grandson." "Latest Gov. Scott ad has softer touch."

More than spoilers

"Libertarians, meeting in Tampa, aim to be more than spoilers."