Sunday, January 31, 2016

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

Oh Noes . . . More "Devious Plans"

The Tampa Trib editors: "It is troubling to see the Florida Legislature plow ahead with a bill that would rob local governments of any control over fracking in their communities."

Supporters say the measure is aimed at regulating fracking and would require the state Department of Environmental Protection to study what impacts fracking and related excavation processes would have, particularly on water sources.

That sounds reasonable, but this industry-driven bill is primarily aimed at ensuring local governments don’t get in the way of the drilling industry’s plans.

The House passed its fracking bill this week while a similar Senate bill also is progressing.

It doesn’t matter to lawmakers that 64 local governments have passed resolutions opposing fracking, and have good reason to be cautious about the practice in Florida. In the process, a mixture of water, sand and caustic chemicals is pumped deep into the ground to fracture shale rocks and release natural gas.

"A devious fracking bill."

Hasn't Florida had enough FlaGOP "devious plans"? See "Governor Tells Of `Devious Plans' To Undo Class Size Vote"

Welfare For the Rich While Punishing the Poor

"The Future Is Here: Florida Wants Welfare For the Rich While Punishing the Poor."

Raw political courage

"The general counsel for the Florida House released an opinion this week stating that the chairman of the House rules committee, Melbourne Republican Ritch Workman — who moonlights as an Uber driver — would not have any voting conflict when it came to a bill that would bar local regulation of car-hail app companies like Uber." "House lawyer finds ‘no voting conflict’ for Uber driver-legislator."

Legislature's rival spending plans

"Republicans in charge of the Florida House and Senate have drawn up rival spending plans that differ on everything from money for schools to spending on incentives to lure businesses to the state."

The Florida House and Senate on Friday released their official budget proposals for the coming year.

Legislators have until March to reconcile their rival spending plans and pass a budget that covers spending from July 2016 to June 2017. Last year a clash between the House and Senate over health care spending resulted in a deadlock that wasn’t resolved until the middle of summer.

Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli insist they will get their work done on time this year.

"Here are a few highlights of the two budgets as proposed:" "Florida House, Senate air rival budgets."

Don't forget the "unjustly imprisoned"

John Romano: "10-20-Life is being reformed, but let's not forget those unjustly imprisoned by it."

"Legislative assault on transparency"

The Palm Beach Post editors: "Stop the legislative assault on transparency."

An "over-sized say," really?

Scott Maxwell writes, it's time to change Iowa having an "over-sized say in electing the next leader of the U.S."

He argues that,

Iowa's demographics don't even remotely mirror America's. I've seen snowmen less white than The Hawkeye State. We're talking 90 percent. This isn't a state that's reflective of America; it's reflective of the PGA Tour.

Iowa also gets it wrong. Like really wrong.

In 2008, Iowa Republicans declared Mike Huckabee the runaway winner. In the 2012, they chose Rick Santorum. Neither man could get elected chief button-presser in an elevator in most parts of America. But Iowans were ready to put them in the White House.

"Iowa caucuses: Holy corncobs, they're weird."

Which begs the question, if Iowa also "gets it wrong," how is it that they have an "over-sized say in electing the next leader of the U.S."?

And Maxwell's suggestion that Florida be part of the mix - because "we're diverse. We're purple. Heck, we usually end up deciding who wins anyway" - appears to be a joke . . . one hopes.