This does not bode well for those who want the Dem candidates to sit on the sidelines while the GOoPers form a circular firing squad: "A memo sent to 'all interested parties' from the Jim Davis campaign Friday accuses Democratic rival Rod Smith of making a series of 'false claims' by inflating his campaign contributions in announcements to the press. A spokesman for Smith called the accusations, 'nonsense' and suggested Davis is trying to deflect attention from his own 'fuzzy math' in his plan to increase teacher pay." "Democrat governor hopefuls start sniping".
"The Last Key Staff Members"
March and Epstein write about how "[t]he last key staff members on Katherine Harris' U.S. Senate campaign are expected to leave this weekend, including her political consultant, press spokeswoman and campaign manager." "Harris May Lose More Staff". See also "Harris' key staffers reportedly ready to quit Senate campaign".
Where Was Mel?
After "Karl Rove's Florida Frankenstein" shamelessly exploited the Schindler-Schiavo tragedy for rank political gain, we read this: "the Schindler family, which drew some of Washington's most powerful politicians to its cause a year ago, had only one senator [Sam Brownback] on hand Thursday while launching the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation." That's our Mel, conveniently disappearing, comfortably slipping into his role of "Mr. Cellophane".
This certainly was different, but it kinda works alongside the GOP effort to recruit more minority support: "Capitol news conferences don't usually start with a former NAACP president leading a blue-and-gray squad of Civil War re-enactors in a chorus of 'Dixie,' followed by a Rebel yell." "Rebel sons rally for Confederate tags". See also "Florida group seeks Confederate heritage license tag" and "Sons of Confederate Vets seek Florida tag".
We know that old soldiers never die, but will someone tell this headline writer - "Vets urge state tag with flag of South" - that this is not a veterans group; last I looked. there are no surviving civil war "vets".
Developments in the session from the Tallahassee Democrat; see also the PBP's "Legislature 2006: Developments from day 25, March 31" and the AP's "The day in Tallahassee, Friday, March 31, 2006".
Specific issues: "Homestead-tax caps advance", "Bills Try Different Approaches To Providing Insurance", "Bills seek to limit wine shipping", "Local and state governments square off on taxes, spending", "House pushes property tax reform plan", "Proposal zeroes in on tax disparity", "Developer-exploited tax reform bill languishes in Legislature", "Tax plan may save you cash" "Property-Tax Relief Proposed", "Housing help for teachers" and "Counties could get more judges".
And this apparently is not a joke: "Child-care centers may get ratings".
The OS editorial board think "Jeb!" is being a little "[t]oo devious" with his latest attacks on the class size amendment, arguing that "sooner or later, Gov. Jeb Bush and Republican lawmakers will get the message that voters knew what they were doing four years ago when they approved the caps and wrote them into the state constitution." "Too devious".
More From The "Values" Crowd
"Advocates who work with families to get children insured ask: Instead of cutting KidCare spending to match enrollment, why not try to boost enrollment to match the budget?" "Lawmakers Plan Cuts To KidCare Program". See also "Budget debate includes question of KidCare spending".
The Faith Thing
"Rep. Katherine Harris is forthcoming about religion. Sen. Bill Nelson, whose re-election she is challenging, is publicly reticent. It's clear, though, that religion exerts an unusual influence on both candidates in Florida's U.S. Senate race. Their associations suggest religion is a driving force in their public lives." "Senate Rivals Both Live By Faith".
Man In The Middle
No matter how hard he tries to disappear, Florida's "reactionary ogre" finds himself in the middle of things:
Finding compromise is even more difficult when two of the major Senate players -- McCain and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. -- are both eyeing a run for president in 2008. Frist has proposed a measure more in line with the approach sought by GOP conservatives."Nelson, Martinez: criminalizing illegal immigration not the answer".
Nelson compared McCain and Frist to "two dogs circling around, looking at each other" in the immigration debate. Martinez took up the theme in his own remarks, noting that his attempts to broker a compromise make him feel like "I'm the guy in the middle of that circle."
Let The Sunshine In
In "No more secrecy", the DB N-J editorial board blasts the continual erosion of exemptions to Florida's public record/public meeting laws: "exemptions all have one thing in common: They shut the public out of the public's business. Keeping the sun shining on government should be a priority for Florida lawmakers, and saying no to these bills should be an easy decision.".
"Hopelessly addicted to campaign money"
Bousquet contends that "lawmakers won't face the reality that they are hopelessly addicted to campaign money for their re-elections, political parties and slush funds known as CCEs." "Legislators keep feeding an addiction".
AP: "Citizens insurance plans to ask for increase in rates for condos".
The pressure continues to build on the head of Jebbie's private police force, including this from the RD editorial board: "Bush, while expressing dismay over Mr. Tunnell's e-mails, has nonetheless stood by him in the wake of the disclosures this week. But for such a high-level law enforcement position, the public's confidence is what matters most." "Judgment impaired".
When "state budget writers in the Florida House of Representatives" get involved in Everglades issues, you know that this will not end well for the River of Grass: "Is Florida spending its money wisely on Everglades cleanup? Top state budget writers in the Florida House of Representatives say they aren't certain -- and they want the Legislature to hire experts to help them find out." "Officials ask if 'Glades cleanup cash is wisely spent".
Daniel Ruth ruminates on the GOP convention in Tampa: "Grand Old Idea Just Ignores Simple Reality".
A nice AP piece on Rod Smith, pointing out that Rod "has a folksy charm and an appeal that could win over some Republicans, conservative Democrats and independents who have supported Republican candidates in recent years." "Background and style help Smith in governor's race".
I Am Shocked
"The state's consumer advocate on Friday challenged Florida Power & Light Co.'s request for a $1.7 billion storm surcharge for the last two years' hurricanes, saying the company overstated costs and failed to maintain its poles." "Florida's Public Counsel wants FPL hurricane surcharge slashed".
Kids "In The Hall"
A state senator on Friday retracted comments she made the day before claiming that Democratic senators and trial lawyers offered to steer $10,000 in campaign cash if she voted against repeal of a controversial liability law."Senator retracts allegation about pressure to win vote".
After receiving a call from Senate Democratic Leader Les Miller, State Sen. Larcenia Bullard said she never intended to implicate her Democratic colleagues in the accusation when she described the pressure she was under to vote against the bill.
Bullard repeated her allegation, however, that "trial lawyers" had offered her money, but she refused to say who made the offer or provide any other details to substantiate it.
"I did not say the leadership of the Democratic Party offered me $10,000," Bullard said Friday. "I'm not going back on what I said about the trial lawyers. It was overheard by other people."
Bullard refused to elaborate, except to say the offer was made in the Capitol "in the hall."
Merit Pay Mess
"Whether the Legislature passes its own version or E-Comp survives in its present or modified form, Florida would become the national leader in linking teacher merit pay to test scores." "Lawmakers trying to revamp state's merit pay plan for teachers".
"U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, D-Tampa, will hold a meeting Monday to talk about the U.S. Department of the Interior's plan to expand drilling for oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico." "Davis Seeks Feedback On Drilling Proposal".
"Who does consumer bill really help out?"
"The Florida Department of Corrections is killing two no-bid contracts with a private company, together valued at $84-million, after months of criticism and a scathing audit." "Two no-bid corrections contracts canceled".
The PBP editorial board reminds us that "it was just a year ago that state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, then chairman of the House Education Council, was pushing his misnamed 'academic freedom bill,' claiming that college students were being harassed and discriminated against because of their professors' liberal bias. The bogus legislation failed."
Not surprisingly, Rep. Baxley also was the House sponsor of the legislation to dictate that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube be reinserted. He had claimed that conservative students especially needed protection from rampant abuse of their right to express political or religious views, yet refused to provide even one credible example. He had said that he would wait for this report before refiling his legislation. Clearly, a law is not needed. But the case for true academic freedom cannot rest, because some ideologues never learn."Academic freedom lesson".