Saturday, May 09, 2015

Please consider giving a newspaper subscription as a gift and/or buying one or more subscriptions for delivery to your workplace; whenever you visit a newspaper site online, please click on one or more of the advertisements and make an effort to patronize newspaper advertisers. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Scott wants profit sharing

"Gov. Rick Scott’s suggestion comes at a time when lawmakers are in a stalemate over the budget and how to fund growing healthcare costs. A special session to resolve their differences and finalize a state budget is scheduled for next month." "Gov. Rick Scott asks hospitals to consider profit sharing."

"The Republican governor likened the idea to the profit sharing in Major League Baseball."

“This would be similar to how large market baseball teams share revenues with small market baseball teams. With the hospital industry’s record-high profits, it does not make sense for the hospital industry to ask state taxpayers to backfill funding the Obama Administration has elected to terminate,” the letter states.

Some hospitals, such as Shands Jacksonville, have said they could close if federal funds for the Low Income Pool do not come through. Scott’s letter says that hospitals in the state made $3.7 billion in "recent" profits, a number that some hospitals have disputed.

"Scott to hospitals: Share your profits."

Charter school madness

"Authorities say a Florida [Charter School] principal has been arrested after she was caught partially unclothed in a marijuana-smoke-filled car with a student." "Principal arrested partially unclothed with student in car."

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: Seems Like Old Times."

Wingnuts of the World Unite

"Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi added clout in Florida's fight against the federal government's forced Medicaid expansion Friday, when the governors of Texas and Kansas filed an amici curiae brief in U.S. District Court in support of the plaintiffs." "Governors of Texas, Kansas: We Support You, Gov. Scott."

GOP Fantasy

The Miami Herald editors" "GOP spending plan calls for draconian cuts in benefit programs." "Fantasy budgeting."

That's our "Jeb!" . . . commencement speaker at Liberty University"

"Bush, a former Florida governor, will be the commencement speaker on Saturday at Liberty University, the institution in Lynchburg, Va., founded by the evangelical leader Jerry Falwell." "Rick Scott Reveals His Cards In Messy Fight Over Obamacare."

Ausley looking to get back

"Former Rep. Loranne Ausley is looking to get back to the Florida House. The Tallahassee Democrat filed her paperwork this week to run in 2016 for the House seat currently held by the term-limited Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee. Ausley is the first candidate to file for the seat which is solidly Democratic." "Loranne Ausley Hopes to Return to the Florida House."

Wingnut whinge

Ed Dean: "Ron DeSantis, John Legg Pass Easily; Not So Bill Nelson, SLC Commission."

"O’Malley makes quiet Miami pit stop"

"The former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor held a fundraiser hosted by his friend Manny Diaz, the ex-Miami mayor." "Potential Hillary Clinton challenger Martin O’Malley makes quiet Miami pit stop." Related: "Rick Perry Stumps Florida as He Looks at 2016 Presidential Bid."

And they expect pensions? The arrogance

"A 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of 30,000 firefighters showed they are diagnosed with cancer at a rate 9 percent higher than the general population and are 14 percent more likely to die of cancer."

Researchers do not know why firefighters have higher cancer rates. But they have found that the more time they spend responding to fires, the more likely they are to be diagnosed. . . .

Firefighters are twice as likely as the general population to die of mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lung lining associated with asbestos exposure, said Thomas Hales, a senior medical epidemiologist with the CDC.

The numbers in the study were adjusted for age, race and gender, as firefighters studied were mostly white males.

Their rates of esophageal cancer are 62 percent higher than average, and they are 39 percent more likely to die of it, Hales said. They also have higher instances of cancers in the oral cavities, intestines, kidneys and lungs.

"Orange firefighter's pancreatic-cancer diagnosis leads to calls for change."

"Watered-down prison reform plan"

"Gov. Rick Scott’s action directs DOC Secretary Julie Jones to implement many of the changes suggested by the Legislature as part of a watered-down prison reform plan agreed to by the House and Senate before the session melted down in disarray." "Gov. Rick Scott orders prison reforms similar to those proposed by lawmakers." See also "Gov. Rick Scott orders prison reforms similar to those proposed by lawmakers" and "Gov. Rick Scott issues executive order to reduce beatings, corruption."

House’s dysfunction part of FlaDem game plan in swing districts

"House Democrats’ are so far in the minority that they can’t use procedural challenges to slow Republican bills they oppose. In short, they are not even a policy speed bump."

Now, though, they are hoping to capture some momentum after House Speaker Steve Crisafull, R-Merritt Island, sent his members home on April 28 after a dispute with the Senate over Medicaid expansion that halted budget talks.

“Middle-class families and veterans don’t get to quit work when times get tough,” was part of a robo call that immediately went to the districts of 11 House Republicans after the shutdown.

The calls, and a later round of political mailers, were the work of the Florida Democratic Party and targeted districts in Orlando, Tampa and Miami that are seen as vulnerable in 2016. Those areas are not dominated by either party and can be fertile territory in a presidential election cycle when Democrats vote in much larger numbers than in off-year elections.

[Democratic Party Executive Director Scott] Arceneaux said he does not think the House’s dysfunction and early exit will prompt a wave of pickups, but he does say it will be part of his game plan in swing districts.

“I do think it will help us,” he said. “Anytime we can begin a process of defining the Republicans as dysfunctional and unable to govern, … it’s a good thing.”

"Democrats may profit from GOP feud in ’16." See also "Florida lawmakers aim to avoid pitfalls of past, troubled special sessions."