"Democratic senators have used $50,000 raised from corporate interests to pay for meals for themselves and their staff over the past two years, state records show. The money was funneled through the now-defunct Florida Senate Victory political committee, which Democratic senators created as a parallel fund-raising machine to the Florida Democratic Party." "State Democrats dined on corporate money".
In the meantime, the "Democratic and Republican state party chiefs exchanged sarcastic letters Tuesday that questioned whether lawmakers on either side have been following the law in their quest for campaign cash." "Parties bicker over donations".
"Two separate plans to save a school voucher program ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court passed through Senate committees Tuesday. Gov. Jeb Bush's proposed amendment to protect Opportunity Scholarships, which are for students at repeatedly failing public schools, was approved 5-3 by the Senate Education Appropriations Committee but only after its sponsor removed contentious "65 percent solution" language and also broadened its reach to potentially include all children in Florida." "Senate committees move along voucher proposals". See also "Senate panel OKs voucher bill; amendment pending".
"Davis Trying To Raise Profile".
- "Coming up at the Capitol".
- "Legislature Day 43: April 18 developments". See also "Legislative news briefs", "Capitol Digest" and "Capitol Roundup".
- "Pinellas senators stall NRA's voter bill".
- "Wetlands deal preserves local control".
- "Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee considers SB 2012, which includes the proposals to strip judges of the powers cited above. These changes should be removed from the bill, leaving intact judges' ability to help vulnerable Floridians, those suffering from mental disabilities." "Keep judges' powers".
- "Proposal to require career choice by 8th grade faces major, minor doubts".
- "Foreign students plead their case".
- "Panels Approve Antibullying Measures".
- "Bill banning dumping from gambling ships dies".
- "Counties deplore move to let cities trump regulations". See also "Bills Allow Cities To Opt Out Of County Planning Laws".
- "Budget windfall to help cover insurance gap". See also "Tallahassee mulls two plans to deal with Citizens' deficit".
- "Hurricane supply tax break is likely".
- "Lawmakers' proposals show pledge's still in hot seat".
- "Agricultural development proposal advances".
- "Gas station generator bill fails to satisfy senator". See also "Villalobos says gas-pump generator plan a bad deal".
- "Voter-approved class-size caps set to get $1.1 billion infusion".
- From the believe it or not files: "Lawmakers are debating a bill that would prohibit trees from getting in the way of billboards.". "Palms may take a bow for billboard views".
More on the Rasmussen poll: "Poll shows Harris slipping".
Wingnuts Declare Nelson A Liberal
"New Study Offers Look At Nelson’s Senate Votes".
The SPT's editorial board:
Six years ago, the Florida Legislature struck a blow for the working poor by capping the interest allowed on car title loans. Now state Rep. Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, wants to invite the predatory lenders back to the state by increasing the interest they can charge by fourfold - to a maximum of 132 percent over six months."Paternalism or protection?"
Smith, who sometimes champions causes of the under class, makes an odd argument for encouraging the risky loans. "We've got to stop pushing paternalistic views of, "We're not even going to give you this option because we know better than you,' " he said.
So consumer protection is paternalistic to Smith. That would explain why he sponsored a bill (H.B. 1109) that even his hometown police department warned against.
Easy Tax Target
"As a politician, if you're going to push for a new tax, it's safer to try to levy it on people who can't vote for you, making tourists an easy target."
When the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature talks about taxes, it's usually to say how bad they are and to question how much they can be cut."Republican Lawmakers Revved Up About Increase In Rental Car Tax".
But lawmakers from gridlocked Central Florida say the region is being cheated out of transportation dollars, and the search for money for roads has given rise to an oddity: a proposed tax increase with Republican support.
"Little brother could play a role in passing the word to Rumsfeld." "Bush the elder's task: fire Rummy".
All Is Forgiven
"Last year, the confirmation didn't even get to the committee level, because the Senate refused to confirm him. Members cited Levine's aggressive role in the 2003 fight over medical malpractice insurance. While working for Gov. Jeb Bush, Levine sent an e-mail to GOP supporters suggesting opponents be found to run against Republican senators who opposed Bush on the issue." "Health official snubbed last year is nearing confirmation".
I'll Go With Thurman
"Excerpts from state Democrat chairwoman Karen Thurman's response to state GOP chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan". "Thurman V. Jordan". See also " Jordan V. Thurman"
The Bush Economy
"$4 a gallon may only be a year away." "Gas prices back at $3 again".
"A city law requiring abortion protesters to obey a 20-foot buffer zone violates free-speech rights, a federal judge ruled." "Judge: West Palm Beach abortion law violates free speech".
"An 11th-hour change to a long-planned Everglades restoration permit could undo the project's benefits. Before that happens, the South Florida Water Management District can undo the change." "Stay clear on Everglades".
"State Sen. Gary Siplin denied any wrongdoing Tuesday after his arrest last week on charges of using employees on the state payroll in his Senate re-election campaign in 2004." "Legislator Denies Theft Charge Stemming From 2004 Campaign".
Rearranging The Deck Chairs
"Double F schools could change staffs".
The Other Castor
Betty Castor, the 2004 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, recently e-mailed supporters a "mid-session update" chiding the GOP-controlled Legislature for failing to spend more on teacher salaries or fund embryonic stem-cell research and warning people to keep tabs on the proposed constitutional amendment to permit private-school vouchers."Castor chides GOP in e-mail".
Congressional District 11
"Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor, the Democratic frontrunner to succeed Jim Davis in Congressional District 11, reports raising a $207,000 ion the first quarter of the year. That leaves her with about $506,000 in her account - more than twice that of her main rival, Democratic state Sen. Les Miller of Tampa." "Another $207,000 For Castor".
"Thoughtless" Sums It Up
"Many lawmakers promised to make affordable housing a top priority when the legislative session began in March. But now, with less than three weeks left in the session, lawmakers gutted the bill designed to relieve the crisis." "Thoughtless raid" ("Legislators have hijacked dollars that should go to housing").
A Schiavo Thing
"Talk about strange bedfellows. Rightmarch.com, an arch conservative group whose priorities include standing behind Tom DeLay, is helping state Sen. Les Miller, D-Tampa, in his Congressional campaign. The group not only is endorsing Miller, but its political action committee gave his campaign $100." Miller is an innocent man; read why in "Thanking Tom DeLay and Les Miller".
Some surprises, some disapointments in "The Money Chase". See also "Feeney, Keller lead foes in fundraising" and "Foley maintains money edge in House race".
Reverse fundraising: "Rep. Detert: Manager took $94,000". Apparently it is a trend with GOoPers: "Miami senator's ex-aide charged with grand theft" ("David Carcache, a former aide to Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, was charged in February with forging the senator's signature on eight checks and other charges, including five counts of grand theft.")
"A Fla(wed) Party"
In "A Fla(wed) Party", Hotline asks: "Are Dem donors that un-excited about Davis or Smith (and that convinced of Crist's victory) or is the party infrastructure broken?" "Charlie, Tom, And Hillary".