Monday, March 16, 2015

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

"Democrat in the Weeds"

"Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown has posed quite a problem for conservatives over the last five years. He has shown political skills he didn't display when he primaried U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., in the 1990s and has been able to find some success in traditionally Republican Jacksonville by hiding in the weeds and toning town his Democratic affiliation." "Alvin Brown, Democrat in the Weeds."

Florida’s death penalty on thin ice

Martin Dyckman via FlaglerLive: "For 13 years, Florida’s death penalty process has been on thin ice at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Legislature has pretended not to notice even though the state Supreme Court sent an early warning."

Now, the ice is cracking.
"On Monday, the high court agreed to consider whether Florida’s law conflicts with its 2002 opinion in Ring v. Arizona that the jury, not the judge, must determine the existence of aggravating factors to support a death penalty."
Florida law leaves that to the judge, along with the power to condemn a defendant even without a unanimous jury recommendation for death. Only Alabama has a law like that.
Much more here: "Will U.S. Supreme Court Rule Florida’s Cavalier Death Penalty Unconstitutional?"

Unintended consequences

"In another example of the unintended consequences of new technology, the use of body cameras on law enforcement officers is on a collision course with the state’s public records law." "Police body cameras could conflict with Florida’s public records law."

Lawmakers need to more to protect springs

The Gainesville Sun editors: "Our lawmakers need to be doing more to protect our springs and to use Amendment 1 money as it was intended." "Same springs story."

"Trouble for enterprise zones"

"State report spells trouble for enterprise zones."

Charter games

Even charter school cheerleaders like the Tampa Trib editororial board concede that "the wave of charter school expansion across Florida has caused its share of friction with educators who run traditional public schools. The lack of accountability, and the drain on tax dollars available to school districts for capital expenditures, are legitimate concerns." "Moving toward charter school accountability." See also "" and "".

FlaGOP looks to flip Murphy's Congressional seat

Wingers see "Murphy's Senate Bid Gives GOP a Golden Opportunity to Flip Congressional Seat"

Miami Mayor's Daughter challenges Miami-Dade Mayor

And then there were three: "Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez isn’t running against Miami Mayor Tom├ís Regalado. But he is being challenged by the mayor’s daughter, Raquel Regalado, possibly setting up proxy campaign fights on some major projects in the city." "It’s Gimenez vs. Regalado — and Regalado — for Miami-Dade County’s next mayor."

Yee haw!

"Emergency gun-carrying bill heads to Senate floor."

"The money and Ma Barker"

Gary Fineout: "In the wake of the Great Recession legislative leaders pulled the plug on the process that helped the public know a little bit about where items stashed in the budget came from."

For various reasons, and despite some Democrats decrying the amount of pork contained in the state budget, legislators have not reinstated the process known as "community budget issue requests" even as the economy has steadily recovered. - See more at:
"Richard Corcoran, the money and Ma Barker."