Thursday, February 19, 2015

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

"Jeb storms Tallahassee"

"Supposedly, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was in Tallahassee this week for a summit on education."

But between the fundraiser he held in town, another fundraiser later in the week in New York City and the release of the first chapter of a book chronicling his time as governor through emails he sent and received, it looked a lot like the soft launch of a presidential campaign.
"Jeb Bush, the 'non-candidate' for president, storms Tallahassee."

"Pie in the sky"

"Sending water south from Lake Okeechobee to meander naturally through the Everglades -- the 'flowway' endorsed by the Everglades Foundation as the only way -- 'will never happen, it's pie in the sky,' admitted one of Florida's leading voices on environmental policy." "Eric Draper: Lake Okeechobee to Everglades Flowway 'Will Never Happen'."


"Legislators roll out bill to snuff damages for tobacco victims."

Good to know: "Who's who in the tobacco wars? Chapter One."

Testing run wild

"Florida should scrap a new 11th-grade standardized test and reduce the number of other exams it gives students, the state's education commissioner said Thursday — a move that critics of testing said doesn't go far enough. Gov. Rick Scott said he would work with the Legislature to enact needed laws to cut back on state-mandated testing." "Education chief, governor agree to pare back school testing." See also "Florida Education Saturated in Tests, Say Rick Scott and Pam Stewart."

Feed 'em enough liquor

"A wide-ranging alcohol measure that would allow shoppers to pick up fifths of Jack Daniel's in the same stores where they buy groceries passed its first House test Wednesday over the objection of Florida's largest grocer."

Members of the House Business & Professions Subcommittee voted 9-4 to advance the measure (HB 107), which would remove an 80-year-old state law that requires liquor stores to be stand-alone facilities.

The bill has drawn opposition from independent liquor stores, some county sheriffs and Lakeland-based Publix. Meanwhile, support for the measure has come from retailers including Wal-Mart and Target.

"Publix, Wal-Mart at Odds over Separating Liquor, Groceries."

Florida political targets

"The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) unveiled its top targets for 2016 on Wednesday with two members of the Florida delegation on the list. . . . The DCCC is targeting two Florida Republicans -- U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo and David Jolly -- in the early stages of the 2016 election cycle." "NRCC Going After Gwen Graham and Patrick Murphy in Florida."