Saturday, January 17, 2015

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

RPOF repudiates Scott, elects new Chair

"Republican Party of Florida Vice Chair Blaise Ingoglia unseated Gov. Rick Scott's hand-picked chairwoman, Leslie Dougher, Saturday morning at the party's annual meeting in Orlando." "Blaise Ingoglia Unseats Leslie Dougher as RPOF Chair." See also "GOP Party of Florida elects new chairman."

Flabaggers in a dither

"U.S. relaxing Cuba restrictions Friday, easing trade and travel."

Florida's lost federal hospital funds

"Florida lawmakers are facing a quandary over the likely annual loss of $1.3 billion in federal funds that compensate hospitals and providers for care of uninsured and Medicaid patients." "How will Florida compensate for lost federal hospital funds?."

"Florida remains dead last in both its per-capita size and cost of state personnel"

Bill Cotterell: "A state report issued this week indicates that positions in Florida’s main personnel systems fell by nearly 11,000 jobs during Gov. Rick Scott’s first term – a faster rate of reduction than any governor has recorded.And Florida remains dead last in both its per-capita size and cost of state personnel."

The annual report, compiled by the Department of Management Services under a legislative mandate, does not guage the transferred costs of jobs privatized with contractors, such as thousands of state prison positions.Automating, consolidating and privatizing government services began in a big way under Gov. Jeb Bush, between 1998 and 2006. General workforce numbers leveled off under Gov. Charlie Crist, but the downward trend resumed – and accelerated – with Scott’s arrival in 2011.The State Personnel System — the Career Service, Selected Exempt and Senior Management jobs – accounts for 61.6 percent of state employment, spread among 36 agencies under Scott, or under him and the Cabinet.

The number of established positions in the personnel system fell by 10,867 in the past five years, which includes the last six months of Crist’s term. The number of employees in those positions fell even more, from 105,031 in mid-2010 to 89,686 as of last June 30.

"Gov. Rick Scott cuts more state jobs than any governor in recent history."

GOP Generational Battle

Jeff Henderson "GOP Generational Battle Heating Up in Florida House Race."

At the trough

"The path to a $1 billion redevelopment of downtown Tampa likely will go through Tallahassee – and right past the office of super-lobbyist Brian Ballard on its way to the Capitol." "Lobbyists looking for money for Tampa Bay."

"Dead man walking"

Nancy Smith: "Kevin McCarty, appointed insurance commissioner in 2003, apparently tops the prospective 'dead man walking' list -- particularly after the governor's office would not deny the rumor he's up next for the chop." "Who's Next for the Chop? Bet on Insurance Commissioner McCarty."

"Bits and Pieces"

Kevin Derby: "Political Bits and Pieces."

Cozy relationship

The Tampa Trib editors: "Add another bill to the growing pile of legislation aimed at reining in the questionable billing practices by the giant power companies operating in the state, in particular Duke Energy Florida." "Editorial: Targeting the cozy relationship between utilities and regulators."

"Bigots Hide Behind Religious Freedom"

Pierre Tristam: "When Bigots Hide Behind Religious Freedom."

Atwater delays homeless cash

"More than eight months after lawmakers approved millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded homeless grants, the money continues to collect dust and a local state senator is pointing the finger at the office of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater." "Latvala blasts delay in getting state money to homeless groups."

"Huckabee Kicks Off Book Tour in Destin"

"2016 Buzz Building, Mike Huckabee Kicks Off Book Tour in Destin."

"Attention Florida Pot Growers"

"Attention Florida Pot Growers: State Would Pick 5 Nurseries To Cultivate Marijuana Under New Rule."