Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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

Legislature attacks League of Women Voters' proposal as "politically corrupt"

In filings with the Florida Supreme Court, "attorneys for the Legislature say groups suing the state over its congressional districts submitted 'politically corrupt' maps as part of the challenge."

It’s the latest in a lengthy and high-profile legal battle after a coalition of plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, filed a lawsuit in 2012 arguing the congressional districts were drawn to favor the GOP.
"This summer, Circuit Judge Terry Lewis found the state’s congressional maps were drawn to favor Republicans."
Lawmakers redrew those maps, which received Lewis’ approval in August. Oral arguments in the plaintiffs’ appeal of that decision are set to be heard by the Florida Supreme Court early next month.

The lawsuit has featured reams of legal documents dotted with colorfully disparaging comments as both sides have attacked the other’s credibility to cast them as being influenced by political operatives.

"New shots fired in battle over voting districts."

Republican scramble

"Republican voters went to the polls in special elections needed after former Sen. John Thrasher accepted the presidency of Florida State University, setting off scrambles for his Florida Senate seat and two Florida House seats vacated in the aftermath of his resignation." "Hutson, Stevenson and Renner Win Legislative Special Election Primaries." See also "GOP Primary: Paul Renner Wins For House, Travis Hutson Wins For Senate."

Background: "An Election For Republicans Only That Will Likely Decide Flagler’s House and Senate Seats."

Runnin' Gub'mint like a bidness

"Jury awards $340,000 to fired state corrections officials in whistle-blower suit." Meanwhile, "Senate Bill Targets Troubled Prison System."

Insurance Commissioner dodges media, huddles with lobbyist

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin "McCarty refused to talk to reporters after his speech and instead met privately with a Holland & Knight policy adviser who does lobbying." "Atwater: Stress tests may instill confidence in insurance."

Surely the Flabaggers will oppose this?

"HUD announces $1.8 billion in grants for homeless."

Second amendment stoopid

"A Merritt Island man was charged with accidentally shooting and killing a 17-year-old while they were listening to music, a Brevard County Sheriff's spokesman said." "Deputies: Man accidentally kills teen while acting out music lyrics."

Looks to be a banner session for lobbyists

"The country’s big beer companies have set their sights on craft brewers in the Sunshine State -- again." "Florida Craft Brewers Gear Up For Another Fight."

Local gub'mint funds 55.6% of Florida’s total state and local revenue

More evidence of the irresponsibility of our elected officials in Tally. The Tampa Tribune editors point out that

Florida relies more heavily on local governments to fund services than almost every state. Local governments fund 55.6 percent of Florida’s total state and local revenue, the second-highest percentage in the nation.
"Cut communications tax with care."

Wingnut caucus

"A Florida congressman is one of the founders of a new congressional caucus which hopes to ensure the GOP majority in the U.S. House is staunchly conservative." "Ron DeSantis Helps Launch House Freedom Caucus." Meanwhile, "Conservatives in Congress are launching an effort pushing back against President Barack Obama on Common Core standards with members of the Florida delegation -- including Tom Rooney -- backing [the bill by Rep. Joe Wilson’s, R-S.C]. . . . Wilson’s bill has drawn more than 30 co-sponsors including three Republican congressmen from Florida: U.S. Reps. Curt Clawson, Ron DeSantis and Tom Rooney." "Joe Wilson's Common Core Fight Against Obama Joined by Florida Congressmen."

Big sugar gets a pass

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott is promising to dedicate tens of millions to helping the Everglades." "Gov. Scott to pledge millions for Everglades restoration."

Webster stripped of Rules Committee assignment

"Stripped of his assignment on the Rules Committee after challenging U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to lead the chamber, U.S. House Dan Webster, R-Fla., kept his posts on the Water Resources and Environment, and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials subcommittees of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Florida congressman also claimed a new spot on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee." "After Failed Challenge to John Boehner, Dan Webster Expands Subcommittee Role."