Thursday, July 16, 2015

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

Special redistricting session and trial to be finished by Sept. 25

"Pointing to a time crunch, a Leon County circuit judge Wednesday gave the Florida Legislature little more than two months to draw new congressional districts and to defend them in court."

Judge George S. Reynolds III issued an order that said a special legislative session to redraw districts and a subsequent trial must be finished by Sept. 25. The order came after the Florida Supreme Court last week tossed out eight congressional districts because it found that lawmakers violated a 2010 constitutional amendment aimed at preventing gerrymandering.

Reynolds' order said Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, who has presided over the long-running case, will be assigned to continue hearing it. A conference will be held July 27 to resolve issues such as scheduling.

Reynolds also requested that the parties in the case try to reach agreement on the time needed for the Legislature to redraw the districts and for the subsequent court review.

"Judge Orders Redistricting Wrapped up by Sept. 25."

The Sun Sentinel editors: "New chance to get truly fair districts."

"On the taxpayers' dime"

Nancy Smith: "It's a time-honored political tradition -- officeholders flying around the country and farther than that even -- on the taxpayers' dime." "Legal Corruption: Campaign Travel on the Taxpayers' Dime."

"From relative obscurity"

"Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a former state lawmaker who rose from relative obscurity as Miami-Dade County property appraiser to become next-in-line to the Florida governor, will pursue the U.S. Senate seat now filled by one of his close friends, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio." "Running on Florida’s record, Carlos Lopez-Cantera launches campaign for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat." See also "Carlos Lopez-Cantera: I'm Your All-Florida, Non-Beltway Senate Candidate." See also "Lopez-Cantera seeks Senate seat friend Rubio is leaving" and "Taking Aim at Washington, Carlos Lopez-Cantera Enters Senate Race."

Rubio has 70% attendance rate

"On average, senators miss about 3 percent of their votes, or have an attendance rate of 97 percent. But Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, has a 70 percent attendance rate this year, meaning that for the 30 percent of the days he was out, he missed 69 votes." "Marco Rubio Has Missed Most Votes This Year of Senators Running for President."

Curbelo moves into House leadership

"Even as he ramps up the rhetoric against Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., moved into the U.S. House leadership on Wednesday as U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., named him to the Republican whip team." "Donald Trump Critic Carlos Curbelo Moves Up Into the House Leadership."

"Crisis for clerks of court"

The Orlando Sentinel editors: "The Florida Legislature has created a crisis for clerks of court statewide that is resulting in layoffs, furloughs and service cutbacks." "Florida's clerks of court need a legislative lifeline."


"Ted Yoho Takes Aim at Sanctuary Cities, Backs Kate's Law."

Hillsborough rejects privatization (for now)

"A private probation company accused of human rights violations in Georgia and poor performance in California was eliminated Wednesday from consideration for a Hillsborough County contract worth $2.4 million." "Hillsborough rejects recommendation to privatize probation."

Say what?

The Tampa Trib editors think "Jolly would be appealing Senate candidate."