Thursday, July 17, 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.

FlaGOP Waives Appeal in Redistricting Case, So Long As Districts Aren't Redrawn until after 2014 Election

"Judge Lewis has set a Thursday morning hearing to discuss the potential ways for re-drawing the districts." "Florida Legislature opts to re-draw Central Florida congressional map."

Meanwhile, "Florida legislative leaders ended their silence on their rejected congressional map Tuesday and announced they will not appeal a judge’s ruling and will redraw the invalid map — as long as they can wait until after the 2014 election."

House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz asked Judge Terry Lewis to clarify his ruling about the timing of the revisions he is ordering when he ruled two districts violate the Fair Districts standards of the state constitution, rendering the entire map invalid.
"The two districts directly affected are held by Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden. Surrounding districts, especially the one held by Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, are also likely to be modified slightly."
The voter groups that brought the case, led by the League of Women Voters, contend Florida must not run the next elections on a constitutionally flawed map and want the judge to order an immediate fix.

The voter groups asked Lewis for a hearing soon to decide how to make the fix. Among the options likely to be considered would be to have the parties submit proposed revisions and let the court decide which to choose.

The legislative leaders cited numerous cases in which courts in other states have allowed elections to proceed when redistricting maps have been held invalid.

"Florida GOP pols claim judge redistricting ruling could cause 'chaos'." The New York Times: "Florida G.O.P. Seeks Delay on New Districts." See also "Florida GOP: No appeal on map ruling, but put district changes on hold," "Florida lawmakers agree to redraw voting districts, but asks to wait till after November elections," "GOP Leaders Want to Redraw Districts After Fall Elections," "GOP Leaders Want to Redraw Districts After Fall Elections" and "Florida GOP won't appeal redistricting ruling."

In the PR Department, Gaetz called the ruling slamming the Legislature for making a “mockery” of the redistricting process, a mere "bump" in the process.

HD 113

"Laura Rivero Levey says she should not have been disqualified from the race to represent Florida House District 113." "Former Florida House candidate fights to get back on the ballot."

Another fine Jebacy

"Jeb Bush's reading rule loses ground."

Republicans giddy

"Charlie Crist’s bad summer continued on Tuesday as Republicans giddily brought out a deed for a Fisher Island home that Crist and his wife Carole sold back in 2012 but didn’t include in any of their tax returns or financial disclosure forms that they released to the public." "Charlie Crist's Summer of Stumbles Continues."

Scott blames Crist

"On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott refused to give a direct answer to questions about on-duty uniformed police officers who said they attended one of his campaign events in the belief it was an official governor’s office function."

Tuesday, Scott gave a more direct answer: He blamed his likely Democratic election opponent.

The questions arose because at least a dozen uniformed officers turned up for the Scott re-election campaign photo opportunity and news conference on crime and public safety at a Tampa uniform store last week.

Florida law says public employees can’t take part in political events during working hours. The officers were participating in the event, not providing security — they were lined up behind Scott as a backdrop while television cameras filmed him talking about his policies on crime.

One officer from the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said he thought he was asked to the event to help with security, and officials with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said they thought it was a governor’s office event, not a campaign event.

A Scott campaign spokeswoman insisted the campaign made it clear in invitations that it was a campaign event.

"Scott on police flap: ‘All Charlie Crist mudslinging’."

One wonders if that Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement Officer (who recently had his pay cut 3% to pay for his pension) appreciated being used as a Scott campaign prop.

Three judges in separate cases could rule any day on Florida's ban on gay marriage ban

"Three judges in separate cases across Florida could rule any day on whether to overturn Florida's ban on gay marriage. Each case deals with different set of couples who want to get married in different counties, but the basic question is the same: Does Florida's ban on same-sex marriage violate an individual's right under the U.S. Constitution to equal protection? Florida gay-rights activists and their attorneys expect to win in all three courts." "3 judges to decide whether to allow gay marriage in Florida." Related: "Florida's ban on same sex marriage: Battlegrounds."

Good luck with that

"Some of the leading marine, ocean, atmospheric and climate scientists asked Scott for a meeting to explain the latest climate science and emphasize the importance of a state policy to reduce greenhouse gases." "Scientists ask governor for meeting to talk climate science."

Draggin' them knuckles

Kevin Derby: "With six weeks to go until the primary, the two Republicans battling for the Florida House seat currently held by Rep. Dan Davis, R-Jacksonville, are stressing their conservatism as they ramp up their outreach efforts. After two terms, Davis is leaving the House due to his position in charge of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce." "GOP House Candidates Play Up Conservatism in Jacksonville Race."

Not so Bright

Scott Maxwell: "Bright Futures keep dimming for Florida students."

All that and no surprises

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott stood by efforts to drug-screen welfare recipients, touted private-school vouchers and delivered an upbeat assessment of the state’s condition during a wide-ranging talk with the Times-Union’s editorial board Tuesday." "Rick Scott backs drug-testing, school choice in meeting with T-U editorial board."

The best they could do

"Jeb Bush Backs Scott Brown In New Hampshire Senate Race." See also "Jeb Bush and Debbie Wasserman Schultz Get Busy in New Hampshire."