"The unceremonious dethroning of state Sen. Alex Villalobos as the front-runner for Senate president in 2008 is a reminder that politics is often a game of hardball. Mr. Villalobos' bid to become the first Cuban-American Senate president in Florida history apparently has been derailed by dissension in the ranks among his Republican colleagues. Some senators who had pledged to support Sen. Villalobos' bid have reconsidered and now support Sen. Jeff Atwater of Palm Beach. That's a bitter turn for Sen. Villalobos. It's a disappointment, including for South Florida Cuban Americans. It's also a shame and a pity that the force behind the coup was South Florida's own Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla." "Straight to the point".
"The state's biggest employers would have to spend at least 9 percent of their earnings on health care for their employees, or pay the state the difference to cover workers' care, under a measure Florida lawmakers will consider this year. It's part of a national push by labor unions aimed at drawing attention to what they say is a lack of health coverage for workers from some of the nation's biggest companies." "Bill would require minimum health care spending by big employers".
Mike Thomas (The Good Tribune Co. Boy) Hates Unions
"State revisits pay fight with teachers union".
"It's hard to reckon the damage done over the years by Florida's ban on gay adoption. Passing this legislation is the first step toward making amends, acknowledging that a child's need for a stable, loving home outweighs society's need to pass judgment." "Retreat from cruelty".
"The Florida Student Association began rallying opposition Monday against Gov. Jeb Bush's proposal to increase university tuition by 5 percent at a time when the state is running a budget surplus." "Students protest tuition plan".
"Owners of Florida vacation homes could be required to play a much larger role in ensuring beleaguered Citizens Property Insurance Corp. doesn't go broke after future hurricanes. ... State Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, unveiled a proposed insurance overhaul Monday that would require nonresident homeowners to pay dramatically higher rates and assume more costs for rebuilding after hurricanes than permanent residents." "Legislator Proposes Insurance Overhaul". See also "House GOP: Floridians can't keep bailing out Citizens", "House plan: shift insurance burden" and "Florida homeowner rates could skyrocket under legislation".
She Said It
"Just back from Iraq, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris brought her Senate campaign to an area of the state that's dominated by the military and told small groups that the United States is succeeding in the war and the troops don't want to be brought home yet." "Harris: Soldiers want to finish job in Iraq". See also "Nelson, Harris Hit Panhandle".
State Agents Seal Crosby's Office
"After asking for Crosby's resignation on Friday, Bush told reporters that forthcoming details of the investigation would prove the action warranted. He wouldn't elaborate, but state agents moved that day to seal Crosby's office." "Bush in no rush to name a successor to Crosby".
"Bush made the case Monday for putting Scripps in Boca Raton, as suitors wrapped up last-minute gifts for Palm Beach County Commissioner Addie Greene, a much-sought swing vote. At a meeting today, county commissioners plan to choose from among three alternatives to Mecca Farms: Jupiter/Abacoa (north county), Florida Research Park and Boca Raton (south county)." "Commissioners expected to choose Scripps site today". Here's the scoop:
In what should have been a straightforward analysis of sites for The Scripps Research Institute, Gov. Bush on Monday steered the Palm Beach County Commission toward the site his Republican friends like: Boca Raton."Politics drives governor's push for Scripps at Boca".
"Numbingly shallow and heavy-handed"
The SPT's editorial board agrees that
Florida needs to reward good teaching, but the "e-comp" pay plan ceremoniously announced Friday by Education Commissioner John Winn is numbingly shallow and heavy-handed. From his office in Tallahassee, Winn would look at standardized student test scores and then name which of the state's 180,000 teachers are doing a good job."The FCAT and teacher pay".
This is supposed to entice teachers to come to Florida?
"Bush Aims To Add 'Relevancy' To Schools".
"Didn't bother to inform the public"
"If officials in Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation don't understand anything else, they should understand that the cost of insurance is crucially important to homeowners in this state. The most blatant evidence they haven't grasped that basic point came last week with news the office didn't bother to inform the public it had approved major premium increases of rates paid by Allstate customers." "Allstate's surprise hike".
Common Cause Donors
"Common Cause pledged Monday to release the names of donors who provided $2.6 million to a campaign to change Florida's Constitution. The announcement comes after a growing assault from state Republicans, who oppose the group's effort to take legislative districting out of lawmakers' hands." "Common Cause To Alert Donors, Reveal List". See also "Common Cause Right To Reveal Donors".
"Governor ready in case Cheney comes a-calling".
"A joint commission studying migrant labor in Florida made a wise decision last week to limit the focus of its upcoming legislative effort to four key issues: housing, health care, transportation and safety." "Spending To Improve Migrant Housing".
There's money to be had in O'Town:
Two of the biggest names in the world of political fundraising are slated to hit town soon.Scott Maxwell.
Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to visit March 24 (hopefully sans shotgun) to help raise money for U.S. Rep. Ric Keller's re-election. And U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton comes a few weeks earlier.
Democratic boosters Jim Pugh and Dick Batchelor are among those organizing the Clinton affair, slated for Feb. 24. Pugh said Monday that the event probably will raise money for Clinton's own campaign, while acknowledging many details are yet to be worked out. Said the Winter Park developer: "I just write the checks."
As for Cheney's appearance, the good news for Keller is that it means money in the bank, guaranteeing Keller as much as $7,500 for every "event chair" involved.