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 Thursday, March 09, 2006

Voucher Madness

    "Any child in Florida could be permitted to get a school voucher for pretty much any reason under a sweeping proposed constitutional amendment filed Tuesday by House Speaker-to-be Marco Rubio. Rubio, answering Gov. Jeb Bush's call to rescue the existing voucher programs from a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling, opens the door wide to unlimited vouchers." "Proposal would let all seek vouchers".

    She's Back (Or Rather Never Left)

    Representative B is back in the saddle:

    Proving yet again that her bid for U.S. Senate is one of the most volatile campaigns Florida has seen in years, Rep. Katherine Harris on Wednesday rode a roller coaster of rumors about whether she's dropping out of the race or forging ahead.

    In the morning, the capital was abuzz that Harris was just about to end her campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. By afternoon, the Longboat Key Republican was refusing to talk to reporters on Capitol Hill, but finally called the Associated Press to declare she's in the race to stay.

    Then, some people didn't believe it.
    "Harris race is grist for rumor mill in capital". See also "Harris Still 'Running Hard'". In related news: "Rep. Harris' predecessor didn't 'earmark' for local contributors".


    "In Nader-like fashion, Mr. Sancho battles both corporate and political giants in his passionate quest for the integrity of the election process. His supporters - and there are many - admire his proven expertise and activism. Even some of his opponents in this particular matter concede he's been a fine elections supervisor." "Elections flak". See also "Voting-machine company says no thanks, Leon" ("Sancho says he's not out of options yet").

    Gallagher and "Shady Insurance Firm"

    "Gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher has been linked to the shady insurance firm for almost a decade":

    Last fall, when many Floridians were thinking more about hurricane debris than gubernatorial elections, a series of ads touting Tom Gallagher began airing on conservative talk radio stations around the state. ...

    Around the same time those ads aired, New Times published an investigative report about United Automobile Insurance Co. of North Miami Beach, a privately held company that provides personal injury insurance that's required for all Florida drivers ("The Bad-Hands People," September 15, 2005).

    For years, the company has been the bane of policyholders, medical professionals, and lawyers because of its refusal to pay claims. The cases have left doctors and injured drivers holding the bag — and sometimes falling into insolvency. With litigation the only recourse, thousands of cases now clog South Florida courts. Many have questioned why Gallagher's office, which is in charge of processing complaints against insurance companies, hasn't done more to straighten out this errant insurer.

    The money behind those radio ads offers a compelling explanation.
    "The Friendly Ties of United".


    "You don't need to be conspiracy buff to like a paper trail".

    FCAT Follies

    "Senate Democrats demanded today that the state Department of Education investigate a contractor's use of low-wage, temporary employees to grade the high-stakes Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT." "Democrats want probe of FCAT grading". See also "FCAT graders spark complaints", "Dems demand FCAT probe" and "State to hire temps to grade the FCAT" ("'It's scandalous, demoralizing,' legislator says").

    Session News

    - Today's scheduled activities. "Upcoming Today"

    - "Capitol Roundup".

    - "Panel backs records exemptions for public hospitals".

    - "Bill would increase penalties for those who beat the homeless". See also "Attacking homeless may yield longer jail terms".

    - "Bill would crack down on probation violators". See also "Bill seeks to keep sexual predators in prison for life".

    - "Senate bill mandating generator-ready gas stations advances". See also "Lawmakers change tune on gas-pump generators", "Senate panel's compromise won't force all gas stations to get backup power systems" and "Lawmakers looking for post-hurricane gasoline solution". A SPT editorial on the subject: "Keeping the fuel flowing".

    - "Bill Would Jail Drivers Who Refuse Blood Test".

    - "Florida is two steps closer to creating birth certificates for stillborn babies after lawmakers unanimously approved the 'Missing Angels' bill in two committees Wednesday." "State might create birth certificates for stillborn babies".

    - "Democrats Cool On Tort Reform".

    Soft Money

    "Democratic legislators are demanding an end to the practice of lawmakers forming political committees supported by large checks from special interests and using that money for personal expenses such as meals, travel and cell phones." "Democrats: Spread of soft money must end". See also "Bill would ban cash gifts from shadow groups", "Dems take hard line on soft-money funds" and "Democrats Aim To Wipe Out 'Slush Funds'".

    Widening Scandal

    The most recent privatization scandal is morphing:

    The head of a Senate committee said Wednesday an investigation into allegations that sensitive state employee personnel records were sent overseas for computer processing has mushroomed into a state-federal inquiry.

    Sen. Nancy Argenziano, R-Dunnellon, said the Department of Management Services has called in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Attorney General Charlie Crist's office, the U.S. Department of Justice and Statewide Prosecutor Peter Williams. She said DMS has hired outside auditors to help its inspector general sift through complex transactions involving state personnel records processed for Convergys by GDXdata, a former subcontractor in Denver.
    "Records misstep now federal case".

    Parents Asked To Beg

    "A group of eight local school districts ... will kick off a grass-roots effort to encourage local residents to ask for more school money from their legislators, who will determine the budget during the legislative session that began this week." "School districts urging parents to lobby for more money". See also "School budget crunch" ("the real problem resides in Tallahassee.")

    Florida GOoPers Defy Bushco

    "Just as Republicans in Washington are defying President Bush on a controversial ports deal that involves the Port of Miami-Dade, sentiment is growing among Republicans in the Legislature to give the state the right to block outside companies from taking over port operations. Despite fervent opposition from Florida port officials, a House panel on Wednesday approved a measure that would allow the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to deny access to any port operator or vendor that ''may pose a threat to the security interests'' of the state." "State weighs move to keep ports secure".

    He Said It

    Jupiter Republican Rep. Carl Domino wants someone else to put their money where his mouth is:

    "They're just bleeding us representatives to death," he said.
    "No more free ride at Capitol gatherings".


    The Tampa Trib editorial board:

    It isn't every day that Florida's doctors and trial lawyers find themselves on the same side of an issue, but both the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers and the Florida Medical Association are part of a coalition working to retain the state's no-fault automobile insurance law.

    That's because the law will sunset in October, which would be a disaster for Floridians who have no medical insurance and for medical providers now guaranteed payments for reasonable charges.
    "Legislature Should Re-Enact Florida's No-Fault Insurance Law".

    "Secret negotiations"

    "Secret negotiations to woo a prestigious California research firm to expand near the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg have reached the top level of state government and could include state money for operating expenses, the St. Petersburg Times has learned." "State quietly courts research firm".

    Bay Region Cooperation

    "The Tampa Bay region is trying to speak with a louder voice in the Florida Legislature. Lawmakers representing eight counties - and 25 percent of the Legislature - agreed Wednesday evening to set and reach regional goals." "Bay region seeks more clout".

    Drilling Bill Advances

    "Legislation that would open 3.6 million acres of the central Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling advanced in the Senate today, despite strong objections from a Florida Republican senator who said it fails to protect his state's coast from environmental damage." "Gulf of Mexico drilling bill advances in Senate, despite Florida objections". See also "Senators try to block drilling", "Drilling opponents lose round" and "Wider drilling in gulf clears Senate panel".

    "Manatees deserve status of endangered species"

    "The debate over Florida's endangered manatees should be dominated by science, not semantics and politics." "Just 'threatened'?"

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