Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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

Governor sets "a new standard in banality"

The Miami Herald's Michael Putney writes that, "bombarded daily by “news” releases from Gov. Rick Scott’s press office. I’m glad to get them in the event news breaks out and the governor wants to assert or explain a policy decision. But that never happens."

He complains that

The governor’s so-called “news” releases set a new standard in banality. Every governor engages in self-serving media flackery, but Scott has raised it to a new level. It’s the heights of hokeyness.
Putney points out that
most of the jobs created in Florida since 2010 would have happened with or without Rick Scott. It’s the natural result of the usual boom-and-bust business cycle. Our economy waxes and wanes, jobs come and go no matter who the governor is. Even one who calls himself “the jobs governor.” . . .

Additionally, most of the jobs added here and around the state appear to pay low-to-medium wages. We don’t hear the governor say much about that.

"It can’t be just about jobs, Gov. Scott."

"Florida Delegation Sets the Stage for Dramatic 2016"

"The Florida congressional delegation endured a year of highs and lows as they focused on veterans issues, the Middle East and leadership contests even as redistricting back home made them keep their focus on 2016." "A Busy Year for Florida Delegation Sets the Stage for Dramatic 2016."

20 million Floridians

"Florida's growth has reached a milestone: For the first time, more than 20 million people live in the Sunshine State. That's according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which on Tuesday released figures showing the state's population at 20,271,272, making Florida the third state to cross the 20 million-people mark." "Florida population milestone: More than 20 million reside in Sunshine State." See also "Florida Population Tops 20 Million."

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

Marc Caputo: "FL-SC-NH mega poll: it’s a Trump-Cruz-Rubio race – Haiti’s elections meltdown – Pitbull’s secret FL contract – WARNING SIGNS: dying mangroves, dead fish – scared state Muslims packing heat." "Florida Playbook."

"For the second year running, a state lawmaker has introduced legislation to create a gaming department to oversee the regulation and revenue collection of all legal betting operations in Florida." "State senator files bill to create gaming commission."

Union challenges Florida's embarrassing bonus-pay rules

"Teachers’ union challenges Florida Best and Brightest bonus-pay rules."

Entrepreneurs in action

"An audit conducted at the behest of Florida Gov. Rick Scott shows that every Medicaid managed care plan under contract with the state has paid hospitals more than what is allowed under a 2011 law." "Scott administration says HMOs flouted law."

Workers' comp challenge derailed

"The business community is declaring a small victory after the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider the merits of another legal challenge to the state’s workers’ compensation system."

Late Tuesday the court issued a brief order denying jurisdiction in the case, Florida Workers’ Advocates versus the State of Florida.

Associated Industries of Florida General Counsel Tammy Perdue told POLITICO Florida Tuesday that many of the legal arguments in the Florida Workers Advocates case are similar to arguments in Stahl v. Hialeah, which the court in October agreed to hear.

The Stahl case alleges that the workers' compensation system should not be the exclusive remedy for injured workers because the benefits provided them are not sufficient to waive their right to access to court and a trial by jury.

"Florida Supreme Court declines a new workers' comp challenge."