Saturday, April 02, 2016

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

"Bondi is 'a truly wonderful woman'"

"Three years ago, Pam Bondi's office was looking into claims from Floridians who claimed the Trump Institute — a Florida affiliate of Donald Trump's now-infamous-and-shuttered 'Trump University' — had scammed them out of thousands of dollars."

Similar complaints in New York prompted its attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, to file a lawsuit, calling Trump's get-rich seminars a "bait and switch scheme."

Yet in Florida, there was no action. So the Orlando Sentinel made an inquiry, and Bondi's office vowed to look into the matter in a story that ran on Sept. 14, 2013.

Three days later, Trump's charitable foundation cut a check to a committee supporting Bondi's re-election campaign — for $25,000.

Trump's campaign now says Bondi asked for the donation.

It all stinks worse than week-old fish guts.

There may be legitimate debate about whether Trump's program was a scam. (Trump says it's not — and that New York has "the dumbest attorney general in the United States" while Bondi is "a truly wonderful woman.")

"Trump's $25K to A.G. Bondi merits probe."

"Trump Poses a Conundrum for Putnam"

Kevin Derby: "Donald Trump is presenting a major dilemma for Adam Putnam as he gears up to run for governor in 2018."

Unlike Rick Scott and Pam Bondi, Putnam is showing no signs of getting on the Trump bandwagon. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald, Putnam said he would not endorse Trump unless he ends up as the Republican presidential nominee.
"Putnam has plenty of reasons to keep his distance from Trump but there is a major risk here. Trump routed his primary rivals in Florida last month, carrying every one of the Sunshine State’s 67 counties save for Marco Rubio’s Miami Dade home base. Whatever independents and Democrats think of Trump, he has a major following with Florida Republicans."
All of this could spell trouble for Putnam, especially if Trump supporters don’t forgive him for backing their candidate the way Scott and Bondi did.
"Trump Poses a Conundrum for Putnam."

Florida officials show little inclination to accept the U.S. Supreme Court ruling

"U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle wrote that he was compelled to grant summary judgment in a long-standing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s same-sex marriage ban because state officials have shown little inclination to accept the U.S. Supreme Court ruling and its implications." "After Florida officials’ defiance, federal judge affirms gay marriage ban is unconstitutional." More: "Unlike other states, Florida hasn’t seen national outcry over LGBT legislation."

Castor looks to have a clear path (again)

"Mike Prendergast decided to opt out of a rematch with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, Fla., choosing instead to run for a county office and leaving the Democratic congresswoman with a much clearer path to another term." "Kathy Castor’s Re-election Path Clearer After Prendergast Withdraws."

Medical MJ

"Just two years after a push for a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana fell short --- and with another push for pharmacological pot on deck for this year's elections --- a survey indicates the idea might have enough support to get added to the state Constitution when voters head to the polls in November." "Backroom Briefing: A Better Shot for Pot?"

Yoho stands with freeloaders

"Members of the Florida delegation split over the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocking over whether public employees who aren’t union members can opt out of paying union fees" for representation services which unions are required to provide.

Members of the Florida delegation split over the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocking over whether public employees who aren’t union members can opt out of paying union [representational] fees.

“Today was a defeat for an individual’s right to free speech and a victory for union intimidation,” Yoho said. “I was under the impression that the federal government is supposed to protect our personal freedoms. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the question at hand was, do teachers and government employees have to contribute money to cover the cost of collective bargaining, even if they do not agree with their union’s political stance. The Supreme Court’s deadlock today assures that they do.

"Florida Reps Split Over SCOTUS Ruling on Unions."

Yoho is blithley unaware that the case (1) affects only public sector employees, and (2) does not require employees to contribute to "political stances," and (3) no one, even in non-right-to-work [sic] states is ever required to join a union.

Yoho is also apparently unaware that, in Florida private sector employees who work for unionized employers are currently represented for free, and union employees are required to pay for the representation services of these non-members.

What makes this particularly galling is that Florida is an "employment at will" state, meaning that Florida's private sector employees without contracts (who do not have contractual job protections) can be fired or lose benefits so long as the reasons therefore were not prohibited by statute. (E.g., based on race discrimination or whistleblowing.)

For example, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a case where the private sector employee had sued for wrongful dismissal in the following circumstances:

DeMarco was an employee of Publix Super Markets, Inc., working as a laborer at one of their warehouses. His wife, accompanied by their two-year-old child, was shopping at a supermarket owned and operated by Publix when a glass container exploded, causing a piece of glass to enter the eye of the child. The child suffered permanent injuries as a result of the accident. The insurer, acting as an agent of Publix, offered the sum of $200 as full and complete settlement for the injuries sustained by the child. DeMarco rejected the offer and filed suit on behalf of his daughter against Publix and the manufacturer of the container. The vice president in charge of the Miami division of Publix notified DeMarco that he would be fired unless he withdrew the suit. DeMarco refused to withdraw the suit, and his employment was terminated.
DeMarco v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., 384 So. 2d 1253 (1980).

Had Mr. DeMarco been working under a union contract with job protections, he could have filed a grievance and had his case heard by a neutral arbitrator. And, Mr. DeMarco's fellow workers who were union members would have had to pay to represent him for free. This is the current state of the law in "right-to-work" states, and what Mr. Yoho apparently would like to see for all employees.