Saturday, November 21, 2015

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

FlaNRA in full-on whine

"A House committee killed off a bill to shift the burden of proof in Stand Your Ground cases earlier this week and the National Rifle Association isn’t too pleased with the committee, calling the 6-6 tie vote a “betrayal” to law-abiding gun owners. "

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, would shift the “burden of proof” for Stand Your Ground cases, and give defendants more protection from prosecution by requiring prosecutors to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” whether a defendant is entitled to immunity at a pretrial hearing in order to disprove a claim of self-defense immunity.

The bill’s swift death in the House committee drew fire from the NRA, which slammed several Republican state representatives for voting against the bill.

In an email sent to members, longtime lobbyist and former NRA president Marion Hammer singled out House Criminal Justice Committee chair Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, for orchestrating a betrayal to gun owners, Rep. Baxley, and the legislative process itself. - See more at:

"NRA: Republican Reps Killing Stand Your Ground Bill 'Betrayal' to Florida Gun Owners."

"Gun-rights advocates are targeting the chairman of a House committee and some of its Republican members after a bill intended to broaden the state’s controversial 'stand your ground' law was scuttled."

The National Rifle Association and Unified Sportsmen of Florida sent an email to their members on Thursday calling the actions by House Criminal Justice Chairman Carlos Trujillo an “orchestrated” betrayal of “law-abiding gun owners,” as the measure (HB 169) failed to pass in a 6-6 vote two days earlier.
"Gun groups target GOP ‘betrayers’ of ‘stand your ground’ bill."

"What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State"

Marc Caputo: "Jeb hits Marco, Ted for Syria inaction – Grover bashes Rubio’s sweet tooth – Trump coming to FL – Rick Scott ‘transparency’ – Cop fired for death metal singalong, monkey hit, cobra owner fined." "Florida Playbook."

Trump crushing his Florida competition

"Florida Atlantic University's poll of Florida voters shows Donald Trump crushing the competition, with 36 percent favoring the loquacious businessman and 18 percent for Marco Rubio. That's also a significant change for Rubio, who has bypassed Ben Carson for the number two spot in this and many other polls in the last two days. The Sun Sentinel's man in Washington, William E. Gibson, has analysis of the poll, which also looked at the Democratic presidential race in Florida and the matchups of Democratic and Republican candidates for the state's U.S. Senate race." "Trump triumphant in latest poll."

"Bush calls out Rubio"

"Jeb Bush, continuing to press his case as a strong commander in chief in the wake of last week’s ISIL attack in Paris, singled out Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz for opposing the authorization of force against Syria in 2013." "Bush calls out Rubio, Cruz for opposing authorizing force in Syria."

More: "We Asked Marco Rubio to Lay Out His ISIL Strategy. Here It Is."

Some FlaGOPers say say Scott not telling taxpayers the whole truth

"When Gov. Rick Scott rolls out his budget proposal Monday, he’ll talk about spending more money on schools, but some fellow Republicans say he’s not telling taxpayers the whole truth." "Lawmakers want to advertise ‘truth’ about rising property taxes paying for higher education spending."

Scott strides world stage

"Scott, GOP governors ask Obama to ‘suspend’ Syrian refugee plans." See also "Rick Scott, GOP govs ask for no more Syrian refugees in letter to Obama."

Meanwhile, a "Cuban migrant surge"

"Miami congressman presses Obama on Cuban migrant surge."

"You may wonder: Who is this stooge?"

Carl Hiaasen writes that "Gov. Rick Scott is one boot-step closer to denaturizing Florida’s state parks."

A Senate committee last week voted 7-1 to confirm Jon Steverson as Scott’s hand-picked choice to lead the shriveled and demoralized Department of Environmental Protection.

One of Steverson’s missions is to fulfill the governor’s dream of opening state parks to hunting, cattle grazing and commercial timber harvesting. The second part of Steverson’s job is to take the heat for this obscene idea, and he’s getting plenty.

Environmental leaders and citizen groups have blasted the scheme, ostensibly designed to make parks pay for themselves. The full Senate refused to confirm Steverson’s nomination last spring, so he remains “interim” head of DEP for now.

"You may wonder: Who is this stooge? At least on paper, Steverson looked more qualified for the top environmental job than his predecessor, shipping executive Herschel Vinyard Jr., who quit a year ago. A lawyer and lobbyist from North Florida, Steverson was executive director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District."
The move was vintage Scott, who’s been trying to weaken the water agencies and seize more control. He prefers to wage his war on the environment from behind the curtain, letting others get the blame for his extreme agenda. He won’t admit it’s his idea to rape the parks, just as he never admits his role in other blunders, like Attorney General Pam Bondi’s embarrassing intervention on behalf of polluters to block the faraway cleanup of Chesapeake Bay.

Despite opposition from even some Republican legislators, Steverson hasn’t backed away from the governor’s plan to open our parks to activities that have been banned since 1935. . . .

Maybe he’s not a terrible person, but he’s got a terrible boss. Send them both a message.

"Scott’s plan would ruin our state parks."

Prosecutors yet to decide whether to charge Rubio's pal

"Federal prosecutors in Miami have yet to decide whether to charge ex-U.S. Rep. David Rivera in a criminal campaign-finance scheme." "David Rivera investigation remains stalled."

FlaDems hope to "retake a toehold" in Tally

"A coalition of voting-rights groups has unveiled six possible maps for the Florida Senate’s 40 districts, setting up a court battle that could boost Democrats’ hopes of retaking a toehold in state government now dominated by Republicans." "Voting-rights groups file maps friendly to Democrats."