"Anti-tax Republicans have blocked a proposal to allow Broward voters to create a special property tax to pay for meals, transportation and other services for the elderly." "State Republicans block tax measure to help elderly".
"Gov. Bush meets with students demanding action in the case of a teen who died at a boot camp." "Sit-in carries on at Capitol". See also "Boot camp beating triggers sit-in at Gov. Bush's office" and "Students protest boot camp death".
"As with so many other dealings between the state and the private sector under Gov. Jeb Bush, we are asked to take that on faith." "Who's grading all-important FCAT? It's a state secret".
Via The Pulse:
The Hotline, providing a daily fix for political junkies everywhere, came out Wednesday with its list of the top 50 seats in the nation that could change hands, ranked by the probability that will happen. There's good news for Democrats in their bid to retake the House: 37are now held by Republicans."Where Are the Real Races?"
Four districts in that "top 50," all held by Republicans, are in Florida:
--Near the top at #6 is Clay Shaw, a 26-year incumbent from Fort Lauderdale facing Democratic St. Sen. Ron Klein. Each side has a ton of money for this race.
--At #36 is Ric Keller of Orlando, who has won his last two races easily. This time he faces Democrat Charlie Stuart.
--There’s a surprise at #39, with Mark Foley of Fort Pierce facing a challenge from Democrat Tim Mahoney. Foley, who has considered a Senate race, has $2.4 million in his account. Mahoney has $302,821.
--Another possible switch at #42 is the district that Republican Katherine Harris is giving up to run for the Senate. Her departure has lured several candidates from both parties.
The Cook Political Report in Washington ranks the Shaw-Klein race as easily the most competitive in the state, and says three others have the potential to be competitive: Keller-Stuart, the Harris district and another open seat where Republican Michael Bilirakis of Tarpon Springs is retiring.
"No Free Lunch: Will Taxpayers Be Handed $1 Billion Tab To Bailout Citizens?"
- "Coming Up at the Capitol".
- "Legislature 2006: Developments from Day 44, April 19". See also "Capitol Digest" and "Legislative news briefs".
- "The sinkhole reform bill includes some good provisions for driving down costs, but shouldn't limit homeowners' ability to sue their insurance company." "Settling sinkhole claims".
- "Lawmakers set to pay $1.1 billion for class size building".
- "If Senate goes along, tax on bar drinks will vanish".
- "Workers could keep guns in cars under bill approved by Senate panel".
- "Committee plots repeal of some citizen initiatives".
- "Senate eyes high-school steroid tests".
- "House considers license discount".
- "'Virtual' schools ready to click in Senate".
- "Lobbyists rally over housing aid".
- "The full House on Wednesday passed its bill that makes peace disturbances at military funerals a first-degree misdemeanor. It comes with a possible $1,000 fine and a year in prison. " "House passes disturbance bill".
- "Lawmakers move to keep autopsy photos confidential".
- "NRA bags 110-6 'shooter voter' win in House". See also "Voter registration bill passes House".
- "Bills would assist affordable housing, but repeal of spending cap unlikely".
- "A key House committee chairman from St. Petersburg sounded the death knell Wednesday for a bill that would allow high-interest car title loans that Florida banned six years ago." "Return of title loans appears squelched". See also "Entitling big debts" ("Florida would be nuts to allow title-loan sharks to again prey on the poor.")
13th Congressional District
"Trippi Touts Schneider's Chances in 13th District".
"After months on the defensive - her Senate campaign battered by staff defections, upside-down poll numbers and financial woes - the Sarasota congresswoman is calling Sen. Bill Nelson a 'liberal.' It's a theme that echoes ex-Sen. Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral, and Gov. Jeb Bush, who won in 1988 and 1998, respectively, by tagging Democrat Buddy MacKay 'liberal' in both races." "Harris drops L-bomb on Sen. Nelson".
"As she tries to rev up her campaign with a North Florida tour, Harris says her opponent is 'all talk and no action.'" "Harris calls Nelson 'an empty suit'". See also "Harris steps up attacks on Nelson" and "Harris raps Nelson's business record during Gainesville walk".
Gotta Love It
"Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami cast the deciding vote Wednesday that effectively killed a reincarnated measure by a Republican rival, Sen. J.D. Alexander of Lake Wales, to make it harder for petition gatherers to get their initiatives to the ballot. Villalobos joined with three Democrats to defeat the proposal on a 4-4 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee -- a vote that disappointed the Florida Chamber and other business lobbyists who say it's too easy for special interests to change the Constitution." " The Senate Power Struggle, Cont.".
"Charter school check: State's getting closer".
Now That's A "A Real Republician"
"A supporter of Rep. Randy Johnson bought billboard space a few blocks from the Capitol for a sign touting the Celebration Republican's bid for chief financial officer. Problem? The ad misspelled Republican -- adding an extra `i.' And it didn't mention Johnson's name. ... The billboard, at a busy Tallahassee intersection, carries a photo of Johnson and calls him 'A Real Republician for Florida's Chief Financial Officer.'" "I Before E Except After C".
"A handful of University of Miami students were on the eighth day of a hunger strike Wednesday in support of campus janitors striking over alleged unfair labor practices, and threatened to continue protesting until the university met their demands for the workers." "Students, janitors continue hunger strike at University of Miami".
"U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks ruled this week that West Palm Beach infringed on the free-speech rights of protesters when it enacted an ordinance creating a buffer zone around an abortion clinic. If West Palm Beach still wants such a law, the city will have to craft a new one that can satisfy the court." "Protect everyone's rights".
"A poorly defined and overused zero-tolerance policy, meant to deter violent crime in Florida public schools, has resulted in thousands of students being funneled into the juvenile detention system for minor offenses, according to a study being released today." "Zero-tolerance policy for schools blasted in report as overreaching".
"Don't hang up on low-income Floridians"
The DB N-J editorial board:
Lawmakers cut a deal three years ago with Florida's big phone companies. The companies could raise basic rates for home service if they cut access charges for long-distance lines, which was supposed to lower residential long-distance charges. More importantly for low-income families, companies promised to increase the number of people eligible for the heavily discounted Lifeline service -- a trifling commitment, given that the state and federal governments pick up most of the tab for Lifeline."Phone flop".
Yet neither promise bore fruit.
"Florida voters may be asked this fall to overhaul the state's Constitution, under a far-reaching proposal that is gaining steam in the Legislature."
Republican legislators backing the effort say it is aimed primarily at eliminating errors and repealing provisions already rejected by the courts. But they also have agreed to remove a handful of constitutional amendments approved by voters and transform them into state laws -- which means they could be altered or repealed by legislators at a later date."Voters could face big question".
House Republicans want to repeal the 2004 amendment that set a minimum wage in Florida, as well as one that declared English the official language of the state. Both the House and Senate versions also would strike from the Constitution three controversial amendments dealing with medical malpractice that voters approved in 2004 as well as an amendment pushed by animal-rights groups that prohibits the confinement of pregnant pigs.
The proposal to edit the Constitution is ready for a vote by the entire House. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved its own version of ''streamlining'' the Constitution. It will take a three-fifths vote in each chamber to put the 150-page rewrite of the Constitution before voters in November.
"So what might the major fields of study be? Each school district will develop its own list. If the goal is to prepare Florida's high school students for the real world - or at least Florida's version of the real world - here are some possibilities ..." "Major problems with school majors".
"Laws can't make people ethical, ex-legislator says"
"Florida is following a trend in Southern legislatures by adopting stricter ethics laws, but that won't guarantee more ethical lawmakers, a national expert said today." "Expert: Values drive actions".
"Florida's crowded universities would lose $283 million in construction money to help ease crowding in public schools, state lawmakers are proposing in Tallahassee." "Budget plan displeases universities". See also "Universities may get less money than thought".
"Immigrant Groups Try For Protest In Tampa".
"Jeb!" In Iraq
"Gov. Bush details recent Iraq trip". See also "Gov. Bush Helps Pitch Iraq Policy".