Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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.

Clinton in see-saw battle with Bush in Florida

"Voters in Florida and two other swing states have trust issues with Democratic presidential prospect Hillary Clinton because of her email controversy and now prefer Jeb Bush in Florida and Rand Paul in Pennsylvania."

In Florida, in head-to-head match-ups, Bush, the former Florida governor, gets 45 percent to Clinton's 42 percent in the Qunnipiac University Swing States Poll released Tuesday morning, testing her standing as the dominant Democratic prospect. The former First Lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state still holds slight leads on the rest of the field.
"Q Poll: Email flap has made Clinton vulnerable."

From the poll:

While Clinton remains in a see-saw battle with Bush and is in a tight race with either Sen. Rubio or Sen. Paul, she leads other Republicans, but her leads are down from a February 3 Quinnipiac University poll:
-Bush at 45 percent to Clinton's 42 percent, compared to Clinton at 44 percent to Bush's 43 percent;

-Clinton at 46 percent to Rubio's 44 percent, compared to a 49 - 39 percent Clinton lead;

-She's at 46 percent to Paul's 43 percent, compared to a 50 - 38 percent Clinton lead;

-Clinton tops Christie 44 - 39 percent, compared to a 51 - 33 percent lead;

-Clinton over Huckabee 48 - 40 percent, compared to 51 - 34 percent;

-She tops Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker 46 - 40 percent;

-Clinton beats Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas 48 - 39 percent.

"Clinton gets a slim 49 - 46 percent favorability rating from Florida voters, down from 53 - 39 percent last month. Bush's 47 - 42 percent favorability compares to 46 - 38 percent February 3." "March 31, 2015 - Clinton Down But Still Up In Florida."

However, in a different poll released just last week, "Clinton takes 47 percent against former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., who pulls 44 percent, within the margin of error. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., keeps Clinton to a single-digit lead but trails 42 percent to 50 percent." "Hillary Clinton Running Over 2016 Primary Rivals in Florida."

Plainly, Florida's "favorite sons" are having trouble even defending their "home" states.

Legislature considering restrictions on choice

"The Florida Legislature is considering measures to restrict abortions, including one with a strong chance of passage that calls for a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can undergo the procedure."

House Bill 0633 would require that a woman make one trip to the clinic for counseling before coming back 24 hours later for the procedure. Another measure, House Bill 147, with less chance of passage, would require that abortion clinic doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Waiting periods and admitting privileges have been part of unsuccessful Florida legislation in past years.
"New restrictions on abortion could pass in Florida Legislature."

Grayson Remains Open to Senate Bid

"Grayson Still Open to Senate Bid as Democrats Continue to Back Murphy."

"Accountability shortcomings in multi-million dollar incentive programs"

"The proposed overhaul comes in the wake of a Herald/Times investigation into accountability shortcomings within the state’s jobs multi-million dollar incentive programs." "Lawmakers seek to revamp Florida’s jobs incentive programs."

The man who gave Florida Rick Scott

Nancy Smith: "In the last five years nobody did more to change the course of Florida history than Gov. Charlie Crist." "Charlie Crist, Who Gave Florida Rick Scott."

Battle to end state’s largest voucher program

"The Florida Association of School Administrators announced on Friday it would be withdrawing itself as a party in the controversial lawsuit over school vouchers in Florida, leaving one less group attached to the legal battle threatening to end the state’s largest voucher program."

The FEA, however, isn’t worried.

“This happens sometimes when groups decide they have particular priorities and it doesn’t concern us much at all,” said FEA spokesperson Mark Pudlow, who told SSN he hasn’t heard of any other involved groups intending to withdraw their names from the suit.

"Anti-Voucher Lawsuit Loses Key Education Group."

"Florida’s mental health problem"

"The data on Florida’s mental health problem tells the story: People whose mental illness goes untreated are more likely to be addicted to drugs, have children in the state’s child welfare system, draw unemployment checks, and land in prison." "Legislature opens door to for-profit mental-health services."

"Powdered Alcohol"

"Three Weeks After ATF Approves Powdered Alcohol, Florida Senate Votes To Ban It."

Constitutional challenge to state’s workers’ comp system

"A South Florida appeals court Monday heard arguments in a challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s workers’ compensation insurance system — as two other closely watched challenges awaited rulings at the Florida Supreme Court." "Florida workers’ comp law challenged as unconstitutional." See also "Appeals court weighs workers-comp law."

Batista dead-enders in a dither

"U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker was the keynote speaker at a Cuba forum in Tampa on potential business opportunities on the island. Details were outlined on how the new trading relationship with Cuba will work." "Pritzker: U.S. business can be at the forefront of change in Cuba." See also "U.S. commerce chief expects Tampa-Cuba ties to pay off."