FLORIDA POLITICS
Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary

 

UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.

 

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The Blog for Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rubio's next flip-flop

    "The Florida senator leaves the door a crack to reversing his planned retirement from the Senate after one term." "Rubio: 'Unlikely' I'll run for reelection."

    Adam C Smith: "A second Senate term for Marco Rubio?" "Marco Rubio: I'd 'maybe' run for re-election if my friend wasn't." See also "GOP Leadership Urges Rubio Run Again for Senate" and "".

    Meanwhile, "Trump Wants Rubio to Stay in the Senate."


    No Fun

    "The contentious campaigning in the 2016 election has laid waste to durable traditions as Florida and the nation show that allegiance to political parties may be over." "There’s no fun these days in Florida’s political parties."


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

    "Canova: close to $2m raised against Wasserman Schultz – State police raid DeBary City Hall – Libertarian conference kicks off in Orlando."

    However, "Crossroads' President and CEO Steven Law had this to say about the organization's rare decision to endorse in a contested primary: 'Congresswoman and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has played a critical role over the past several years in the massive Republican gains we have achieved at the state level, in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate.'" "American Crossroads Endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz."


    "A little more real"

    "Raquel Regalado on Friday submitted her resignation from the Miami-Dade school board, paving the way for her run for county mayor." "Race for Miami-Dade mayor gets a little more real: Regalado resigns school board seat."


    "Democrats eyeing big gains in the Florida House"

    "Democrats have been an afterthought in the Florida House in the recent past as Republicans' numbers have grown to supermajority status in the 120-member chamber."

    But along with presidential election cycles comes hope for Democrats looking to boost their numbers at all levels of government.

    The party’s voters historically have not turned out in large numbers in non-presidential years.

    In 2014, for instance, Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties had voter turnout of just 44.8 percent, which helped sink Democrat Charlie Crist's gubernatorial campaign. In 2012, those counties had a collective average turnout of 68 percent.

    Those higher numbers, and the fact that Republicans are raising money at a slower clip than past years, have Democrats eyeing big gains in the Florida House, while the GOP will play defense in many hotly contested races

    "Democrats eye House pickups across the state."


    Judge orders partisan races for constitutional officers

    "Orange County candidates for sheriff, tax collector and the four other constitutional offices would be identified on this year's ballot as Democrat, Republican or another party affiliation if a judge's ruling holds." "Judge's ruling nixes nonpartisan elections."


    Lopez-Cantera on the dole

    "The lieutenant governor, who has a nearly $125,000 annual salary, is given no formal responsibilities in the state constitution — which has always left the post as one of the more obscure in state government once campaign season is over." "Lopez-Cantera's official state calendar shrinks as campaign's grows."



The Blog for Thursday, May 26, 2016

"State politicians have been ignoring the will of the people to help workers"

    "Local control is a bedrock principle of conservative thought. But it’s become apparent that when local decision-making is inconvenient for them, Republican state officials do not hesitate to squash it."
    It’s ironic at best, hypocritical at worst.
    "Take Florida, where state politicians have been ignoring the will of the people to help workers for more than a decade."
    After cities across Florida raised wages for city contractors, the Legislature in 2003 passed a law that prevented local jurisdictions from passing their own minimum wage laws for private-sector workers.

    The next year, an overwhelming majority of voters approved a constitutional amendment that reserved cities’ rights to raise private-sector minimum wages.

    Politicians in Tallahassee responded by amending the 2003 law to make it even harder for cities to take care of their own.

    Undeterred, local elected officials all over the state have attempted to help their residents.

    Several counties have issued wage-theft ordinances, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has expanded access to paid leave and raised the minimum wage for city employees.

    In Miami Beach, Mayor Philip Levine has proposed to extend the living wage ordinance that already applies to city contractors to all private-sector employees. It’s a simple measure that would help low-wage workers share in the prosperity of the tourism industry that thrives because of their work.

    It remains to be seen whether state lawmakers will continue to stymie cities’ efforts to make life easier for working families by defending a law that on its face conflicts with the state Constitution.

    "Labor Secretary: Florida is bigfooting local efforts to raise minimum wage."


    Will Jeb get "burst of energy"?

    "Trump: Jeb will get 'burst of energy' and endorse me." See also "Trump: Jeb Bush Will Come Around."


    "A full day of Florida Weird"

    "Why Trump fired aide after Florida clash – Democrats’ Debbie drama -- Protestor uses ‘fart machine’ at scandal-plagued Broward Health – A full day of Florida Weird." "Florida Playbook."


    "Florida Supreme Court will be the best show in town"

    "For legal junkies, the Florida Supreme Court will be the best show in town during a three-day period in June. Justices are poised to hear arguments on a series of high-profile issues, including gambling, the death penalty, guns and medical malpractice, according to a schedule released Wednesday." "Supreme Court Ready to Wade into Major Cases."


    Planned Parenthood alleges harassment

    "Attorneys for Planned Parenthood this week switched gears in their push to have the state pick up the costs of legal fees that accrued while defending abortion clinics against allegations that they provided illegal second trimester abortions."

    Instead of arguing that Planned Parenthood is entitled to attorney's fees because it was the prevailing party in the legal dispute and that the complaints weren't legally sufficient, attorneys now are arguing that the state participated in the proceedings for an improper purpose, including harassment.
    "Planned Parenthood switches legal gears as it seeks attorney’s fees."


    "Florida elections may be a bloodbath"

    "Florida elections may be a bloodbath. Hallelujah!"


    Money for nuthin' . . .

    "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush left his education foundation behind when he decided to run for president, but now that his 2016 presidential ambitions are behind him, he’s stepped back into his role as chairman for the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExelinEd)." "Jeb Bush Returns to Education Foundation."



The Blog for Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Florida 0-for-171 years"

    John Romano: "When it comes to national elections, America is obsessed with Florida's demographics, intrigued with Florida's potential fundraising and desperate for Florida's voters."
    As for our actual politicians, America will pass.
    "Again."
    The former governor who was supposed to be the front-runner and had an abundance of cash, if not charm, dropped out of the presidential race months ago. The handsome, young senator who was supposed to be the future face of the Republican Party couldn't even outlast the smarmy Texan the rest of the Senate hates.

    And now it's looking like our senior senator is probably not on the short list of VP candidates because the Democrats can't risk losing a Senate seat. Or so they say. And our current governor has no chance no matter how much he stalks Donald Trump.

    So, if you're scoring at home, that would make Florida 0-for-171 years.

    Since becoming a bona fide state, Florida has yet to put one of its elected politicians in the White House as either a president or vice president.

    Despite our best efforts to keep our crazy close to the vest, it appears America is on to us.

    "Romano: Vice President Scott? Vice President Crist? Thanks for nothing, America."


    Lie down with dogs

    "Jolly on backing Trump: ‘I don’t know if I will get there by November’."."


    Green cards for sale

    "Foreigners who invest in soccer stadium could get green cards."


    Lie down with dogs (Part 2)

    Marc Caputo: "U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff referred to President Obama as an 'animal' during a recent Florida Republican meeting, prompting opponents from both parties to call on him to apologize." "Rivals condemn Senate candidate for calling Obama an ‘animal’."


    "Congressional Races Look Competitive"

    "The Florida congressional district is set to radically change after the November elections. Between redistricting, some unexpected retirements and four representatives running for the U.S. Senate, almost half of the Sunshine State’s 27 congressional seats are in play in the primaries or the general election. With that many seats up for grabs, Florida can expect some differences in how it's represented starting in 2017." "Florida Congressional Races Look Competitive After Redistricting, Retirements."


    Corporate giant shifts its security burden onto taxpayers

    "When it comes to calling the cops, Walmart is such an outlier compared with its competitors that experts criticized the corporate giant for shifting too much of its security burden onto taxpayers. Several local law enforcement officers also emphasized that all the hours spent at Walmart cut into how often they can patrol other neighborhoods and prevent other crimes." "Police are called to Walmart more than anywhere else; you foot the bill."


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

    Marc Caputo: "Rubio’s media-mocking tweetstorm – Trump’s new pollster – Cuban immigrant wave increases – Florida reports tourism record -- Will Racist McShootface return?" "Florida Playbook."

    More Caputo: "Grayson says NYT ‘full of [expletive] but errs himself – Beruff calls Obama an ‘animal’ – Venezuela in crisis – State passes up $250m for foreclosure help – Florida wildlife gone wild." "Florida Playbook."

    "Grayson’s own campaign corrects him on claim that Times is ‘full of shit’."


    Establishment goes after Grayson

    "For the second time in a week, Alan Grayson got into a heated public argument about the ethics investigation into his hedge fund and other activities." "Grayson gets into heated TV interview about ethics investigation."


    Cream rises . . .

    "Don Gaetz floated for University of West Florida presidency."



The Blog for Saturday, May 14, 2016

It could be worse, we could be seeing his "Palm Beach persona"

    "Palm Beachers and other locals say they have long recognized the two Donald Trump personas that presidential campaign watchers expect more of the country to soon get to meet." "Two Donald Trump personas emerge in Palm Beach."


    Picketers to hit Disney Sunday Morning

    "The Reedy Creek Fire Fighters Association Local 2117, which represents emergency workers serving Walt Disney World, plans to picket Sunday morning in and around the Springs' parking garages."

    It will be the first time in decades the union has demonstrated on Disney property.
    "Contract negotiations have stalled with Reedy Creek, the Disney-controlled government agency that employs firefighters and paramedics serving the resort. The two sides reached an impasse in negotiations last year. Firefighters and paramedics have been working without a contract for almost a year and a half. The two sides disagree about pay and insurance."
    "Here we are asking for peanuts, and Reedy Creek spent millions of millions of dollars on these parking garages, and they won't even work with me on a contract," [Union president Tim Stromsnes said]
    "Firefighters' union plans demonstration at Disney."


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

    Marc Caputo: "SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION -- John Miller for veep? — The Sunshine State of play — B’DAY: Howard Wolfson, Tom Donilon." "Florida Playbook."


    That Killing Thing

    The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Florida Supreme Court should change death sentences to life in prison."


    "Big Bucks in April"

    "Florida Senate hopefuls were busy raising big bucks for their campaigns during the month of April. Sunshine State News took a look at what the candidates in some of the state’s most hotly-contested Senate seats raised last month." "Florida Senate Contenders Raise Big Bucks in April."


    GOP Latino leader steps in it

    "Rosario Marin, a GOP Latino leader who was the 41st U.S. treasurer, unloaded on Donald Trump Friday by repeatedly telling an Orlando TV station that her fellow Republican is a 'little orange man' she and other Hispanics can’t vote for." "GOP Latino leader blasts Trump as ‘little orange man’."


    The lucky sperm club: "Son of Miami lobbyist gets break"

    "Son of Miami lobbyist gets break, is sentenced to only 30 months in prison for Molly dealing."


    "A remarkable rise"

    "Patrick Murphy burst from obscurity in 2012 by winning a bitter showdown with tea party Rep. Allen West. Now 33, the South Florida resident is strongly positioned to jump to the Senate, a remarkable rise that has national Democrats optimistic of regaining a majority."

    Behind him stands one major asset. His father.

    Thomas P. Murphy Jr. has built homes for Oprah Winfrey and Dan Marino, dozens of hotels and resorts, and he has constructed a path for his son in the most fundamental way: money.

    The elder Murphy has given more than $1 million to super PACs supporting his son's campaigns and used donations to help create allies in Florida and Washington. His Coastal Construction Group has been the source for more than $180,000 given directly to the candidate's House and Senate campaigns.

    "But the family advantage has provoked criticism from Democrats and Republicans who cast him as a rich kid and a hypocrite because he laments the influence of money in politics while benefiting from his father's largess."
    A Republican, Tom Murphy has long been politically active and has given money to Charlie Crist, Alex Sink, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. (Patrick Murphy also donated to Romney and was a registered Republican until shortly before launching his first campaign.) . . .

    Democratic rival Alan Grayson, an outspoken liberal congressman from Orlando, has mocked Murphy for relying on "Daddy's PAC." Grayson also points out that Murphy is a stockholder in Coastal Construction. Just after he won the 2012 election, his father gave him stock worth up to $5 million.

    "The financial muscle behind Patrick Murphy's Senate bid: his father."


    Never mind the primary

    "For the second time this spring, Vice President Joe Biden is campaigning for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy in Florida. But this time, it’ll be on the turf of Murphy’s Democratic opponent — in Orlando." "VP Joe Biden to campaign in Florida for candidate in enemy territory."


    "But are there any left?"

    "More than three decades after it was first captured in South Florida, a tiny wasp has been identified as a new species, but are there any left?" "New Keys wasp found, but is it already too late?"


    "New revelations about major Murphy donor"

    Nancy Smith: "As Vice President Joe Biden, who authored the Violence Against Women Act, promotes Patrick Murphy at a private fundraiser Thursday morning, troubling new revelations about a major Murphy donor convicted of domestic assault are making headlines. In a story this same morning under the headline, "GOP Wants Senate Dem Candidate to Donate $100K," the Hill reports:"

    A leading Florida Democratic Senate candidate has donated more than $16,000 in campaign cash to domestic violence groups after receiving contributions from a longtime friend who pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife."
    "But that's not all of the money Al-Rashid spent to get Patrick Murphy elected -- he also gave $100,000 to a pro-Murphy Super PAC in 2012 that ran an ad depicting cartoon violence against women:"
    "[Senate Leadership Fund spokesman Ian] Prior notes that American Sunrise, the super-PAC Al-Rashid funded, ran a controversial ad that showed a cartoon version of Murphy’s then-opponent, Allen West, wearing boxing gloves and repeatedly punching women in the face to illustrate how he was hurting them with his votes on healthcare and other policies."

    The report also reveals that Murphy took seven months to return Al-Rashid's last maxed-out donation, which was received after Murphy knew about his criminal acts. - See more at: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/now-patrick-murphy-under-fire-domestic-violence-linked-campaign-cash#sthash.tRFTwbdw.dpuf

    "Now Patrick Murphy Under Fire For Domestic Violence-Linked Campaign Cash."


    And we don't want you to be our Senator

    "Rubio: I do not want to be Trump's vice president."



The Blog for Monday, May 09, 2016

Scott's Job Claims "Mostly False"

    "Florida Gov. Rick Scott is not on board with the minimum wage increase in the sunny, oceanside state — of California."
    As Scott toured the West Coast for the second time attempting to attract businesses, Enterprise Florida (the state's public-private economic development arm) ran radio ads in San Francisco and Los Angeles attacking California's $15 wage and trumpeting Florida's superior job prospects.
    "The ad is comparing California's projected employment with Florida's past performance — an apples-to-oranges comparison."
    It also distorts what the 700,000 jobs-lost figure actually refers to. Even with the wage hike, California is expected to gain more jobs than Florida over the next decade, albeit not as many as without it. Furthermore, all the economists we spoke with cautioned against pinning a figure to the minimum wage hike's impact on employment in California.
    PolitiFact Florida: Florida agency's misleading attack on California's minimum wage hike."

    Carl Hiaasen: "Florida’s governor, leader of a low-wage, low-skill state, tried to poach corporations in California. Once they stopped snickering, they gave Scott an earful, telling him, not so politely, to go home." "Gov. Scott went to California, dreaming."


    Marco's "political rehabilitation"

    "What does a former presidential candidate do after a crushing home-state loss?" "The political rehabilitation of Marco Rubio."


    Jeb! huffs

    "Jeb Bush won’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton."


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

    Marc Caputo: "Rubio-Cruz spat’s 2020 feel – Forget pledge, Jeb’s ‘Never Trump’ – Orange County’s terrible ‘teacher appreciation week’ – Oil prospecting near the Glades? – Gator hunter gets hunted by gator." "Florida Playbook."


    "Trump loses Florida, he loses the election"

    "Political campaigns tend to be about hope, fear, self-interest, frustration and, occasionally, inspiration. Ultimately, though, campaigns are about math, and the presidential electoral math has been consistent for decades: If the Republican nominee loses Florida, he loses the election." "Can Donald Trump win Florida? Yes, but he probably won't."

    Meanwhile, "Dennis Ross Takes Trump's Side Over Paul Ryan."


    Minimum wage increase would prompt legal fight

    "Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wants to increase minimum wage citywide. This could prompt a legal fight. The state of Florida sets the wage level and prohibits municipalities from doing so." "A fight to give Beach workers a raise."


    Contracting-out-blues

    "The information was mistakenly included in a file sent to an outside contractor." "Palm Beach County teachers' Social Security numbers accidentally shared."


    Say, who?

    "GOP candidates for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat chase name recognition."


    "Buckhorn's gubernatorial chances aren't great"

    "Florida Insider Poll numbers on Bob Buckhorn's gubernatorial chances aren't great."



The Blog for Saturday, April 30, 2016

Broward GOPer a real class act

    "Broward Republican leader says when Trump debates Clinton 'she's going to go down like Monica Lewinsky'."


    Bondi's latest excuse

    "Democrats have scolded Bondi for not doing more to help the case against Trump University, since she has joined lawsuits brought by other states, including actions against the Affordable Care Act and a ruling allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a cleanup plan for Chesapeake Bay."

    "Florida's Attorney General has not hesitated to join losing, transparently partisan lawsuits around the country because she felt it was the best way to score political points,'' said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Max Steele on Friday. "But when Donald Trump defrauded Floridians with his sham Trump University, Bondi shrugged off the complaints and did nothing except collect a $25,000 check from none other than the Donald Trump Foundation."
    "Trump campaign aides said the political donation made by his charity — an apparent violation of tax laws governing nonprofits — was a mistake, according to the Washington Post."
    When asked whether Bondi planned to give back the $25,000 donation or give it to charity, Ray referred a reporter to Bondi campaign aides, who did not return an email.
    "Bondi: Trump U. complaints came before I took office."


    Jeb! struggles for relevancy

    "Jeb Bush says Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz made a “smart move” in choosing Carly Fiorina as his running mate. Bush, a former contender for the GOP nomination, said Thursday that front-runner Donald Trump is 'not a serious person,' especially on foreign policy matters."


    Reshaping Florida’s congressional delegation

    "Redistricting, retirements and runs for higher office will reshape Florida’s congressional delegation in a big way in 2016 – sapping some of its Capitol clout and possibly sending more Democrats from the state to Washington." "Florida congressional turnover highest in U.S.; GOP still to dominate."


    Scott sends "shock wave through legal circles"

    "In a move that critics claim smacks of an attempt to pack the court, Florida Gov. Rick Scott this week announced plans to appoint someone to replace a judge leaving the Palm Beach County bench even though the county’s elections supervisor said state law calls for the replacement to be elected by voters."

    Attorney Gregg Lerman, who had already announced plans to run for the seat, vowed to file a lawsuit if Scott won’t back down from his plans to appoint a judge to replace longtime County Court Judge Laura Johnson, who is resigning to seek a seat on the circuit court bench.

    “I think the governor is trying to steal the electoral process from the voters of Palm Beach County,” Lerman said. “He would like a more conservative bench than currently exists.” . . .

    The disagreement is rooted in different interpretations of the provision of the Florida Constitution that gives the governor the power to fill judicial vacancies and the state’s resign-to-run law.

    Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said the resign-to-run law is clear. Because Johnson’s term isn’t scheduled to end until January 2021, she had to submit a letter of resignation to the governor before she would be allowed to formally file papers to run for circuit judge.

    Under the law, her letter had to be sent 10 days before the start of the weeklong qualifying period for judicial elections, which is Monday. And she had to resign by the date she would take office if she’s elected as circuit judge, Jan. 3.

    Once Johnson resigned, Bucher said, the county court post was an open seat. Lerman, longtime county Magistrate Thomas Baker and attorney Lisa Grossman then announced their intentions to run for it in the August election.

    Then this week Scott sent a letter to the local Judicial Nominating Commission, asking it to solicit applications from lawyers who may be interested in Johnson’s job. The commission only nominates in cases where the governor is appointing a judge.

    Asked about Scott’s intention to appoint, the Florida Division of Elections cited only the provision in the Constitution defining the governor’s power to appoint judges.

    The letter sent a shock wave through legal circles. Some called it a power-grab. Others complained the dual interpretations of election law was just confusing.

    "Scott plan to replace judge with appointment decried as court packing."


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

    Marc Caputo: "Rubio issues ZIKA WARNING -- Broward GOP chair goes there – Orange-less County – Flori-duh Men of Tinder, illustrated" "Florida Playbook."


    "Latino voters in Florida will be a top priority"

    "As Hillary Clinton increasingly turns her attention to a general election against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, her campaign and fellow Democrats have begun in earnest to bolster staff and campaign organizations in key battleground states."

    In Virginia, Ohio and Florida -- the three biggest swing states in the last election -- the Clinton campaign is teaming up with state and national Democratic organizations to build voter files, organize thousands of volunteers, register tens of thousands of voters and raise the funds necessary to compete against a Republican opponent. . . .

    In Florida, Democrats have been registering voters at a rate of 2,000 to 3,000 a month this year, slightly exceeding the registration rate during the same period in 2008. . . .

    In Florida . . . GOP registration has increased by 100,000 voters this year -- although much of that is attributed to primary enthusiasm and not the organizational efforts of the party. There and in North Carolina, Republican registration exceeds that of Democrats, said RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney. All told, across seven battleground states, party officials have taken credit for registering more than 20,000 voters. . . .

    In Florida in 2012, Obama's campaign registered more than 350,000 voters -- four times Obama's victory margin over Mitt Romney on election night, according to Ashley Walker, who ran Obama's reelection efforts in the state that year. . . .

    The [DNC] is also preparing to transfer funds to state parties in Ohio, Florida and Virginia -- $200,000 apiece -- to finance the salaries of field organizers in those states. . . .

    Latino voters in Florida will also be a top priority. According to Clinton's allies, the slate of Republican candidates has given their camp unprecedented "ammunition."

    "I see people with sound trucks in West Tampa diving around with bullhorns saying, 'Is this what you want?'" said Anna Cruz, a longtime Clinton ally who ran her 2008 Florida campaign. "You know, barriers. We've been given so much by these candidates to motivate Hispanic voters."

    "Clinton and Democratic leaders turn their focus to November swing states."



The Blog for Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lobbyists, gift bans and free trips

    Gary Fineout reminds us that, "right before she was elected to a second term into office, a series of stories by the New York Times detailed the practice of law firms who were skilled at developing contacts and relationships with the top lawyers of various states - including Attorney General Pam Bondi."

    "These firms helped out corporate clients whose businesses had been targeted by some states, but not others."

    One of the stories also pointed out that Bondi allowed a lawyer from one of the firms to recuperate from surgery at Bondi's house
    "Now 16 months later the matter has come to a quiet close - at least as it concerns Florida's ethics laws."
    The Florida Commission on Ethics voted last week there was no probable cause to conclude that the now-defunct law firm Dickstein Shapiro - or one the lawyers who used to work at the firm, Bernard Nash - had broken the state's ethics laws.
    Fineout describes "several interesting highlights" from the investigation here: "Bondi's silence amid questions about lobbying, the gift ban and free trips."


    "Developers target panther land"

    "Any hope that South Florida's endangered panthers will eventually spread hundreds of miles north to as far as the Orlando area and beyond may hinge on a proposal for immense development near Naples."

    A growth plan by nine Collier County landowners encompasses 152,124 acres, an area that spans important panther territory and is nearly as big as some counties in the state. . . .

    The land belongs to prominent sugar, citrus and cattle enterprises, including a ranch owned by Aliese Priddy. In 2012, Gov. Rick Scott appointed her as a member of the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    "South Florida developers target panther land."


    Red tape

    "Police investigate a fatal industrial accident."


    DWS "wrong on payday loans"

    "Florida's congressional delegation is in rare bipartisan support on an issue. Unfortunately, it's the wrong issue. The issue is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's plan to regulate payday loans." "Wasserman Schultz wrong on payday loans."


    "Indian River Lagoon failures"

    "Scorecard shows Indian River Lagoon failures."