Sunday, July 26, 2015

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

"They’re going to hate it"

Bill Cotterell: "The Florida Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Florida don’t agree on much, but they will be united on a new ballot proposal that aims to increase voter turnout, pull candidates away from the political fringes and keep pace with registration trends."

They’re going to hate it. . . .

A bipartisan group of very experienced political operators last week filed a constitutional amendment petition that will be known as “All Voters Vote.”

If they can round up nearly 700,000 voter signatures by next February, and get 60 percent of the voters to support it, their constitutional amendment would open the state’s “closed” primaries. The way it is now, only registered Republicans can vote in GOP primaries, only Democrats in Democratic heats, and all the rest have to wait until November – when we pretty much get to choose from what the parties offer us.

There is one little exception in current law. If only Democrats or only Republicans seek an office, everyone can vote in that race because the primary is going to determine who serves in the office. But if an unknown, unserious write-in candidate signs up, the primary is closed, under a legal interpretation by the Division of Elections.

Under an All Voters Vote arrangement, all of us — even independents or minor-party amendments — could vote in the first round. If somebody gets more than 50 percent, they’re home free. If not, the top two contenders would duke it out in November.

"If parties don’t like ‘All Voters Vote,’ it must be OK."

"Closed-door spending spree"

The Sun Sentinel editors: "Gov. Rick Scott shocked and outraged many state lawmakers last month when he vetoed $461 million in programs and projects from the budget they passed. But he also did them a favor." "End closed-door spending spree with state budget."

"Lay off Florida’s parks"

"Governor, lay off Florida’s state parks."

Open primaries?

"With 55 percent of new voters choosing not to register as Republican or Democrat, a new group is seeking signatures to transform the way primary elections are run in Florida." "Group proposes amendment to open Florida’s primaries to all voters."

"Tolls, tolls and more tolls"

Scott Maxwell: "In recent years, Florida leaders have developed a three-pronged approach to road congestion: tolls, tolls and more tolls." "Florida is addicted to tolls — at commuters' expense."

Lawmakers land big pensions

"Florida legislators keep finding ways to dodge the career-ending trap of term limits, often with richly rewarding results — paid for by taxpayers." "Lawmakers dodge term limits, land big pensions through local politics."