Monday, March 02, 2015

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

"This is the time to be in Tallahassee"

Bill Cotterell: "Here’s what the 2015 legislative session looks like, by the numbers."

There were 1,666 lobbyists registered as of late last week. That’s more than 10 for every lawmaker in the House and Senate.

There were 1,183 pieces of legislation on file — counting resolutions, memorials to Congress and actual proposed laws — of which a few hundred, at best, are likely to reach the governor’s desk.

And they’ve got 60 days to do it starting Tuesday. There’s always a late-session scare about going into overtime, but somehow they work it out.

That means a two-month ban on political fundraising for 88 House members who have already signed up for re-election in 2016. So have 13 state senators, along with six current or former House members hoping to move up to the Senate.

But their parties and various political front committees can still pass the hat for the campaign season that never really ends

"From the session-eve Associated Industries of Florida reception, an annual party that draws nearly 2,000 big and small Capitol denizens, to the final handkerchief drop in the fourth floor rotunda on May Day, this is the time to be in Tallahassee."Political prime time: Capital comes to life for session."

"Rubio looks increasingly like a candidate"

Jeff Henderson writes that "Rubio looks increasingly like a candidate who will run in 2016, [but] he needs badly to get some daylight between himself and Bush. At the very least, Rubio’s comments at CPAC were a good start in that direction." "Marco Rubio Uses Common Core to Distance Himself from Jeb."

"The latest screwball idea making its way through the Legislature"

Carl Hiaasen: "The latest screwball idea making its way through the Legislature: Allowing guns to be carried on college campuses." "Lawmakers cooking up recipe for a bloodbath."

"Better pay, less testing"

"Volusia teachers rally for better pay, less testing."

"Looming flood insurance crisis"

The Tampa Tribune editors believe the "best way to fix the state’s looming flood insurance crisis is to create a marketplace that makes it easier for private companies to sell policies. State Sen. Jeff Brandes, who pushed last year to create a private market, is back this year with another proposal that would give private companies and customers a range of coverage options while at the same time giving assurances to lenders that the policies meet or exceed those offered by the federal government." "A legislative session with key decisions for Florida’s future, and Tampa’s, too."

"Five lawmakers and five key issues to watch"

"With the Florida Legislature set to open the 2015 session, here are five lawmakers and five key issues to watch this spring in Florida’s capital." "Five people, five issues to watch in Florida’s 2015 session." See also "Gov. Scott faces big hurdles to push his legislative agenda." See also "Florida's hot legislative issues: Guns, gambling, pot."