Thursday, January 29, 2015

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

Scott bows to his Flabagger masters in the Legislature

Bowing to his Flabagger masters in the Legislature,

Scott's budget does not call for the expansion of Florida's Medicaid program. The governor two years ago supported the idea of expanding eligibility of the health care safety net program in order to draw down billions in federal aid available under the health care overhaul pushed by President Barack Obama.
And yet again, Scott disrespects Florida's wildfire firefighters, state law enforcement officers, and other state employees - Scott wants
No pay raises for state workers.
"Scott proposes nearly $77 billion state budget."


State workers last got an across-the-board raise in 2013, their first such raise in six years. [and that after taking a pay cut in 2011 when Scott and the FlaGOP] passed a measure requiring Florida Retirement System participants to chip in 3 percent of their pay toward their retirement. "It's a slap in the face for state workers," Edson said. "Here they've had to put in 3 percent in their retirement, and that's money that when they were hired it was understood that they wouldn't have to pay." . . .

Florida [already] has the country's lowest ratio of state employees to the population — 108 per 10,000 residents.

"Scott proposes cutting 1,000 state positions." More: "Rick Scott Makes $673 Million in Tax Cuts the Showpiece of Budget Proposal."

Good luck with that

Back at the ranch,"Democratic leaders lay out priorities." See also "Democrats Unveil 2015 Agenda for Florida Legislature."

"Southerland in a skirt"

Bill Cotterell reports that "voted in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. She voted with the Republicans to roll back some Wall Street reforms. She voted for the new majority’s idea of requiring cost-benefit analyses for changes in federal regulations. Graham even said she’d sit with a GOP member at the State of the State address, a symbolic visual gesture to underscore “the North Florida way” of bipartisanship. Many Democrats around here, who were so giddy when Graham won on Nov. 4, now think they got Southerland in a skirt." "Gwen Graham is showing independence."

Raw political courage

"GOP leaders vow to cut taxes, spend more on public education."

Curbelo will have big seat at the table

"In his first term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., will have a big seat at the table when it comes to transportation issues." "Freshman Carlos Curbelo Claims a Big Role on Transportation."

Baileygate heats up as "Scott vigorously denied doing anything wrong"

"A St. Petersburg attorney is asking a Tallahassee prosecutor to investigate whether Gov. Rick Scott and three Cabinet officials violated the state's open meetings law in the ouster of Gerald Bailey."

Matthew Weidner filed his complaint Wednesday. It came the same day Gov. Rick Scott vigorously denied doing anything wrong in the dismissal of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner.
"Attorney asks for probe of Scott, Cabinet over Bailey's ouster." More: "Attorney asks for probe of Scott, Cabinet over Bailey's ouster."


"Will Florida Allow Drones to Survey Agriculture?."

Less sunshine?

"Public records and access to them continue to be limited, warned First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen on Wednesday." "Foundation keeping an eye on public records exemptions."

"Bondi acknowledges she had no proof"

Abdicating her responsibility as Florida's Chief Law enforcement officer, Attorney General Pam Bondi stands by her man, contending "that Scott didn't approve of Bailey's ouster."

Bondi instead suggested it was the governor's staff who pressed Bailey to resign from his job.

"Did I know that Jerry Bailey was going to be told he was fired and have his things packed up, his entire life as a career law enforcement officer in a cardboard box, and be told to be out of the office before the end of the day? Absolutely not. Nor do I believe the governor knew it," Bondi said to reporters.

Later, she added: "I do not think that Rick Scott would do that. I think it was done at the staff level. I firmly believe it was done at the staff level."

Of course, "Bondi acknowledged she had no proof to back her opinion and had not discussed the matter with Scott."

"Civil war brewing in Florida politics"

"There’a civil war brewing in Florida politics and it’s over what to " You see, "in the Senate, both of Florida’s senators -- Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio -- want to send assistance to rebels looking to take down the Syrian government. Nelson even took to the Senate floor on Wednesday and called for America to provide training and weapons to the Syrian forces battling Islamic State (IS) forces." "Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio Break With Conservatives and Liberals on Syria." Related: "Marco Rubio Takes Over Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Expands Foreign Policy Credentials."

Amendment 1 betrayal

"Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday that a portion of Amendment 1 funds would be better spent on improving municipal water and waste-water systems in some areas, but supporters who successfully pushed the amendment say that is not what voters approved." "Policy and Politics 9 hours ago 11:46 p.m. Debate heats up over Amendment 1 funds."