"The Democratic race for governor is shaping up to be a dog fight. Many political observers thought Democratic front-runner Jim Davis might leave Democratic rival Rod Smith in his dust with strong fundraising this year, but Smith on Wednesday proved surprisingly competitive." "Davis, Smith close in fundraising race".
"State Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua raised more than $600,000 for his bid for governor over the last three months, his campaign announced this afternoon. ... Smith's campaign has raised $1.9 million overall for the race, and it says it has about $1.3 million still in the bank. Davis' campaign has raised nearly $2.3 million overall and says about $1.6 million is still unspent." "$600,000 for Smith". In the meantime, "Davis Raises $630,000". See also "Demos' money race at full tilt", "Another $603,000 For Smith", "Another $630,000 For Davis" and "Davis edges Smith in governor's race fundraising".
Kneejerk Knuckledragger, That's Our Mel
"Those who favor conservative politics will be happy to hear that Florida's junior senator has joined an elite group: Mel Martinez, who is serving his first term, was one of just 12 senators (all Republicans) to earn a perfect score from the American Conservative Union." "Mr. Perfect AND Mr. Right".
Anti-Semites Running Amuck
"The number of Anti-Semitic incidents reported in Florida increased for the fourth consecutive year, while similar reports declined nationally in 2005, according to an annual report released Wednesday." "Anti-Semitic hate crimes in Florida increased again".
Katherine's Experienced "Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme[r]"
"Federal investigators said the new deputy treasurer for the Katherine Harris Senate campaign acknowledged he was part of an illegal campaign contribution scheme in 1995 - similar to two others that have involved Harris." "New Harris Employee Said He Disguised Contributions In '95".
- "Coming up at the Capitol".
- "Legislature 2006: Developments from day 30, April 5". See also "Capitol Digest" and "Legislative news briefs".
- "Citing lapses in seaport security, South Florida Democratic legislators called Wednesday for more money and new strategies to strengthen the state's role in inspecting cargo that passes through Florida's seaports." "S. Floridians seek port funding".
- "Fight to stall ban of eminent domain bleak". See also "Eminent domain bill seeks limits" and "Legislation to limit local condemnation powers set for House vote". The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Bill would restrict localities' condemnation powers".
- "Bense proposes doubling homestead exemption".
- "Smoking audits for bars face repeal".
- "Bill restricts cops' Taser use".
- "A series of bills that would re-enact exemptions to Florida's public records laws for sensitive information including addresses and home telephone numbers of certain government employees were passed Wednesday by the Florida House." "House votes to renew exemptions for public records". See also "House considers open-government exemption" ("A disputed proposal to renew a law that lets businesses keep information they provide government agencies confidential cleared the state House of Representatives on Wednesday.") The PBP complains about it here: "It's the public's business".
- "Bill forces builders to pay for impact on evacuation routes".
Jet-setting "man of moderate means"
GOoPer Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla
who said he is too poor to pay an $8,750 Elections Commission fine nonetheless shared a chartered jet trip to the NCAA men's basketball finals that cost him at least $1,335 over the course of several hours.Here's a way out for the jet-setting "man of moderate means", one of his fellow travellers could pick up the tab and
Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla continues to fight a fine based on his violations of elections laws during his 1999 election.
"I'm a man of moderate means," he said Wednesday. "What I told the Elections Commission was that the penalty they were trying to impose puts an undue burden on me."
On Monday, though, Diaz de la Portilla was among eight legislators who took a Cessna jet to Indianapolis to watch the University of Florida win the national championship.
declare it a gift to his colleague — which he said was still permissible. Under a new law, lobbyists or their clients are no longer allowed to give lawmakers any gifts."State senator fine with NCAA trip".
"The bill by Rep. Richard Glorioso, R-Plant City, requires intensified teaching of American history ... it also requires instruction in the importance of free enterprise and the U.S. economy."
Teaching the importance of the Declaration of Independence would mean "including national sovereignty, natural law, self-evident truth, equality of all persons, limited government, popular sovereignty, and God-given, inalienable rights of life, liberty and property.""Cultural literacy is, like, y'know, awesome".
All right, that does it. All candidates for attorney general can start preparing to defend this thing.
"The history of the United States shall be taught in a factual manner based on genuine history," the bill states. It also requires schools to use teaching materials "that meet the highest standards for professionalism and historic accuracy."
Gay Adoption Lawsuit
"The Department of Children and Families is under fire from children's advocates for allowing foster children to spend the night in a conference room in Tallahassee, but legislative leaders said Wednesday that won't change their minds about allowing gays to adopt." Oh yeah, and this gem from the dynamic, revolutionary Mr. Rubio:
"Some of these kids are the most disadvantaged in the state," said House Majority Leader Marco Rubio of West Miami. "They shouldn't be forced to be part of a social experiment.""Agency woes not helping gay-adoption advocates".
"The Senate's lone immigrant, Florida's Mel Martinez, is at the center of a congressional storm over how far the nation goes in criminalizing or openly welcoming - or keeping in the shadows of the U.S. economy - the nation's 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants. Against waves of dissension within his own party, the Cuba-born Republican has been working behind the scenes, pushing a compromise that could, in effect, offer legal status to more than 6.5 million undocumented immigrants." "Martinez Enters Border Politics".
"Generations of Florida students have begun the school day with an all-American exercise: reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. "
It's not merely routine; it's embedded in state law."Out of place".
But Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, believes that doesn't offer the pledge sufficient protection. He's proposed a constitutional amendment (SJR 534)that would require students to recite the pledge unless they have a parent's written permission not to. Voters would decide on its passage in November.
"About 17,400 Floridians in the state's Medically Needy program were switched Jan. 1 into Part D. Prevously, the Medically Needy program used state and federal money - about 60 percent came from the federal government - to pay some costs for people who have incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but have high bills. Those patients relied on the Medically Needy program to pay their 20 percent 'share of costs.' As Part D beneficiaries, they no longer are eligible for the Medically Needy program." "Spend little, save many".
"House, Senate not on same page when it comes to budgeting" "Legislature set to talk turkeys".
"Insured? Get ready to dig deep to replenish catastrophe fund". See also "Floridians face 10 years of payments to replenish insurance catastrophe fund", "CAT Fund faces $1.35B deficit", "House plan props up state home insurer" and "Senate looks for property insurance fix".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Insurance relief". Mike Thomas adds this: "Wow! The rich may have to pay their fair share".
DNA Testing Bollixed
"The crux of the controversy lies in a paragraph spelling out who is eligible to petition for an examination of DNA evidence. The bill used to allow a person to petition the court for an examination of physical evidence that would 'exonerate that person or mitigate the sentence that person received.' In the revision, everything after or was deleted." "Advocate: Changes in DNA bill 'untenable'". See also "Late changes snag inmate DNA bill".
"The Republican Senate president joins with Democrats in a bid to flush political slush funds." "Lee unveils his soft-money plan". See also "Lee wants quicker disclosure of soft money", "Campaign finance reform unveiled" and "Lee steers campaign reform plan".
But "stiff rules curbing unlimited fund raising by state politicians face a tough fight among lawmakers faced with giving up their own political moneymaking." "Strict fund-raising limits face tough fight".
This From The Party Of "Personal Responsibility"
"In the annals of buck-passing, Anthony Schembri, secretary of Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice, struck a new precedent for shifting blame on Tuesday." "Stop passing the buck".
"Jeb!" - Jobs
"Rapid job growth in Florida and Hillsborough County gives a false illusion of economic stability and strength." "Job Surge Needs Help To Lift Wages".