Saturday, January 16, 2016

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

Scott campaigning hard

"Rick Scott is running TV ads and just wrapped up a bus tour of the state. But he's not on the campaign trail."

Instead, he is using election-style tactics to push his agenda in the Legislature.
"It's an unusual move for Scott. Since taking office in 2011, he has normally been hesitant to get involved in the details of lawmaking."
But in the lead-up to the legislative session that began Tuesday, Scott, his administration and his political committee have worked to sound a drumbeat of support for his policies.
"Gov. Rick Scott campaigns hard for agenda this year."

Bill restricts (some) refugee resettlement in Florida

"Frustrated with how the federal government screens refugees, and fueled by a fearful constituency, state lawmakers want to give the governor and attorney general sweeping powers to keep out anyone they deem to be a risk to the people of Florida."

Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, are sponsoring measures that would prohibit agencies receiving tax dollars from helping resettle refugees from countries known to harbor groups that want to commit violence against the U.S. . . .

Simpson said the legislation is not an attempt to discriminate against Muslims or people from Middle Eastern countries and he will work with his colleagues to adjust the bill’s language so it protects Floridians without sacrificing humanitarian aid.

"Sen. Simpson pushes bill to restrict refugee resettlement in Florida."

Big of 'em

"Florida Legislature passes measure to aid disabled." See also "Bill promoting jobs for disabled passes Senate, on way to Scott."

Jeb, Rubio: Climate change, huh?

"State Roundup Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio say climate change is distant threat, but they live at ground zero."

"A road map leading nowhere"?

Kevin Derby: "Democrats have a chance to make major inroads in Florida come November but one of their legislative leaders is giving them a road map leading nowhere." "Mark Pafford Gives Democrats a Far Better Way Out of Political Limbo than Arthenia Joyner."

Go figure

"The Florida Supreme Court has denied a condemned inmate's request to have his execution delayed after the nation's highest court ruled that Florida's death penalty sentencing system was unconstitutional."

However, the court said it will hear arguments from the state and Lambrix's attorneys on Feb. 2 about how the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling applies to capital cases already decided in the state. . . .

Florida's attorney general is arguing that the Hurst ruling does not apply retroactively to cases already decided.

".Florida court rejects inmate's request for execution delay."

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Call time out on Florida executions, capital cases."

Joe Henderson: "Supreme Court death penalty ruling leaves state with big mess."

"Thorny free speech issues"

The Tampa Trib editors: "Anyone who drives Florida’s roads can see there are too many specialty license tags and not enough rules to address the thorny free speech issues that put the state in an untenable position when groups — even those some might find objectionable — want to spread their message via state-sanctioned license plates." "Maybe a new “Stop the specialty tag madness” license plate will get the attention of lawmakers."


"Lobbyists often skirt the rules but are rarely punished in Hillsborough County."

Gardiner's Trifecta

"The state Senate sent Gov. Rick Scott a measure Friday aimed at expanding career opportunities for Floridians with developmental disabilities, the final piece of a package that was a priority for Senate President Andy Gardiner." "'Trifecta' of bills before Scott that Senate president says will 'change lives'."