Saturday, June 06, 2015

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

FlaGOPers leave 400,000 Floridians without medical coverage

"A plan to offer 800,000 Floridians health care using Medicaid funds flat-lined Friday when the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly voted down the bill, likely killing the issue for perhaps years to come." "House kills Senate's health care expansion." See also "Florida House rejects Senate health insurance expansion plan, "After seven-hour debate, 400,000 Floridians left without coverage" and ""Analyst: House Medicaid stance could cost state $18B."

The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Failure to expand health care hurts all Floridians."

"Broad deal on state budget"

"Republican leaders of the Florida Legislature say they have a broad deal on a new state budget."

Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said Friday that they have agreed on how much money to set aside for spending areas such as education and health care.
"Florida legislators reach broad deal on state budget."

Medical coverage dies, tax-cuts sails through

"In the wake of a near-four-hour debate and rejection of the Senate Medicaid expansion alternative, the House on Friday approved its scaled-back, 18-item tax-cut package. The vote was 97-10." "House Tax-Cut Package Sails Through."

House hypocrites gorge selves on government health care

"The part-time job of being a Florida legislator comes with a popular perk: taxpayer-subsidized health insurance that costs them a fraction of what the average Floridian pays for coverage." "Florida lawmakers, most of whom oppose Medicaid expansion, benefit from generous tax-subsidized health insurance."

The "new and improved" Rick Scott

Dara Kam News Service of Florida: "Gov. Rick Scott set tongues wagging at an economic summit featuring half-a-dozen GOP presidential hopefuls this week at Disney World."

The hubbub wasn't only about Scott's ability to draw more than 400 of the state's corporate honchos, or the gushing admiration expressed by current and former Republican governors like Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee.

Scott fans -- and even those who aren't so keen on the governor -- were struck by what appeared to be a new and improved, clearly comfortable Scott, a sharp contrast from the man who has been mocked over the past four years for his awkward demeanor and frustrating penchant for responding to reporters with talking points seemingly unrelated to the question at hand. - See more at:

"Backroom Briefing: 'Rick Scott Is a National Player'."

"Clash over drilling off Florida coast heats up"

"Legislation in the Senate designed to ease drilling restrictions opens the way for a debate over drilling amid worries about the quality of the Gulf of Mexico." "Clash over drilling off Florida coast heats up in Congress."

Jeb! "Losing Momentum"

"Jeb Bush Plans to Hit Early States After June 15 Announcement, Though Pundits Claim He's Losing Momentum." "What Jeb Bush's friends (and others) want in a new budget."

And Rubio calls this "new" leadership?

"Last week, Rubio added a provision to the state and foreign operations appropriations bill prohibiting the use of federal funds for any diplomatic center related to Cuba — including consulates in the U.S. — beyond what is already in place."

Also last week, Rubio introduced the “Cuban Military Transparency Act” to prevent American money from supporting the Cuban military or law enforcement — agencies that the bill says are restricting freedoms. Analysts believe the bill is written so broadly it could cut off most U.S. business and tourism opportunities in Cuba.

Then there is a provision attached by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, the Cuban-American Republican from Miami, to a transportation and housing funding bill that would prevent additional U.S. flights to Cuba and the start of cruises or ferries to the island nation.

"Rubio, seeking more freedoms, throws obstacles in way of Cuba relations."

Grubbing for wingnuts

"Marco Rubio’s in-person courting sessions are starting to pay off. Longtime Bush loyalists and other big-money players on the right have emerged from the meetings raving about his abilities, according to people familiar with private gatherings he has had around the country." "With some donors doubting Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio seizes opening."