Remember all the talk about how Jebbie wasn't a lame duck. Can he get any lamer than this? Some call it Jebbie's "worst legislative defeat in eight years".
On the heels of the the class size "stinging defeat", another body blow to the Bushco agenda. Yesterday, "Bush suffered a stunning defeat after the state Senate killed a proposed constitutional amendment to preserve private school vouchers.". See also "School voucher measure falters" ("dealing a huge blow to one of Gov. Jeb Bush's top education priorities"), "Party-switching votes doom tuition vouchers", "State Senate slaps down Gov. Bush over school voucher proposal" ("Bush suffered his worst legislative defeat in eight years"), "Bush suffers vouchers defeat" ("governor's party splits, handing Democrats and the teachers union a stunning victory") and "Voucher Resolution Fails In Senate" ("Bush and the Republican legislative leadership lost their second major battle in two days").
One casualty of this, the courageous Sen. Alex Villalobos:
Villalobos' positions on both issues were not appreciated by Lee, who said he asked for Villalobos' resignation as majority leader shortly after the Senate adjourned Monday night because he could no longer count on Villalobos to work as "a team player" to pass the Republican agenda."Senate foils governor's voucher plan; majority leader resigns". See also "Cost of votes: loss of top job" ("Lee fires Alex Villalobos as majority leader for failing to toe the party line on the class size amendment and school vouchers.") and "Lee Sacks Villalobos".
And the victorious Villalobos is replaced with a consumate loser: "Late Monday night, Senate President Tom Lee named his replacement for Senate Majority Leader Alex Villalobos: former House Speaker Dan Webster, now a state senator who sponsored the failed voucher amendment." "Senate Majority Leader Webster".
Limbaugh Must Surrender Guns, Submit To Random Tests
As Limbaugh misleads his audience of true believers ("Limbaugh Says He Wasn't Arrested"), we read today that the plea deal requires Limbaugh to submit to random drug testing and to remove his not-yet cold, dead fingers from his weapons, "Limbaugh must submit to drug tests".
Even "onetime top Harris strategist Ed Rollins said he, too, felt there had been a "quid pro quo" in Harris' interaction with Wade and had urged her to hire a lawyer. Rollins supported the view that Harris had not knowingly engaged in wrongdoing but missed obvious signals she was being used." "Harris Dinner Criticized". See also "Watchdog asks Justice to probe Harris deal".
In the meantime, the "Harris' campaign totters" ("'There's great concern about the state of affairs at the Katherine Harris campaign, and most Republican stakeholders in Florida are looking at other alternatives prior to the May 12 deadline,' said Al Cárdenas, immediate past chairman of the state Republican Party, during an interview Monday").
How does that song go, "like a rock": "Harris Drops 26 Points In Polling In Less Than A Year" ("Veteran pollsters have never seen this before.")
"State lawmakers have passed legislation that will give thousands of ex-felons a better shot at regaining their civil rights, including the right to vote. ... a bill requiring county jails to help thousands of inmates apply for their civil rights once they have paid for their crimes." "Ex-felons get help regaining civil rights".
"Loss of workers impacts businesses on bottom line". See also "Thousands march in immigration rally", "A loud, proud response" ("But the demonstration of foreign workers' value had a mild effect in South Florida").
- "Today is Day 57 of the 60-day session of the Florida Legislature".
- "Legislature 2006: Developments from day 56, May 1" See also "Capitol Roundup".
- "Budget crafters produce accord".
- "House, Senate Consider HMO Pilot For Disabled".
- "Insurance bills take spotlight".
- "Surplus no help to some programs".
- "Critics: Energy policy runs out of gas".
- "Boynton man's teen marriage bill fails".
- "House finishes plan for affordable housing help". See also "Affordable-housing plan clears House", "House finishes $634 million affordable-housing proposal" and "".
- "A bill that would have given prosecutors the final word in closing arguments in cases where the defense doesn't present evidence except for the defendant's testimony tentatively was defeated Monday in the Senate." "Senate defeats bill to override 'last word' court rule".
- "Payday may be more pleasant".
- "Legislative leaders agree to raise college tuition".
- "Lawmakers back ending scalping ban".
- "Some Republicans want teacher bonuses in budget".
Spinning The FCAT
The "Jeb!" is an education wizard crowd in the media, are eating up Jebbie's spin on the latest FCAT results (scored by unknown test scorers pursuant to who knows what standards) "".
While "many more third-graders will move on to fourth grade than before" (or you could put it this way: "Fewer third graders fail FCAT reading test"), overlooked in the headlines is the fact that
a higher percentage of seniors won't graduate with regular high school diplomas."3rd-Graders Lift Scores In Reading On FCAT".
The Last Week - A "Demolition Derby"
"Some people compare the last week of Florida's legislative session to a horse race. This year, it's more like a demolition derby -- with at least two anti-voter proposals already consigned to smoking rubble." "Senate split".
Pruitt Goin' Down?
"For Sen. Ken Pruitt, the Florida Senate's 20-20 vote that killed his attempt last week to water down the class-size amendment may have signified far more than the defeat of a particular education proposal. It may have been a preview of ill tidings to come, including the possibility that he might not ascend to the top position in the Senate, according to senators from both parties." "Class-size defeat may affect Senate leadership vote".
DEP Pollution Rules
"]P]roposed water quality standards seem more concerned with cutting costs than saving rivers. The DEP has set the bar far too low in a proposal that would allow industries and municipalities to continue fouling water bodies rather than clean up their operations." "New Rule Would Save Money But Won't Save Polluted Rivers".
No More Gimmicks
"Thank goodness enough state senators had the sense to defeat the latest gimmick to repeal voters' wishes for smaller classes. The new ploy would have added a requirement that 65 percent of school districts' budgets be spent 'in the classroom.' In addition to good sense, six Republican lawmakers showed real political courage. They resisted pressure to do this not only from Gov. Jeb Bush and legislative leaders but also from party bosses. The proposed constitutional amendment failed on a 20-20 vote last week -- 24 votes were needed to put it on the ballot." "More gimmicks".
Lipstick on a Pig
"Legislation to subsidize for-profit colleges with $3 million that should be going to public institutions shows proponents can make any idea sound good in Tallahassee." "Put public colleges first".
"Florida lawmakers, as a class, apparently don't have child-care issues - certainly few are rearing 4-year-olds for whom preschool education or daily care accommodations are anything but smooth sailing. If only all Florida families found those early years of child rearing a breeze." "Unfinished business".
That Explains It
"State lawmakers have been acting weird lately. They're finally talking about spending money on smaller classes. And they've even stopped pushing to extend their own term limits. So what's gotten into the water in Tallahassee? Elections. For the first time in many years, incumbents are nervous, meaning they're having to try something new -- listening to the people who decide whether they stay in office." "This is new . . . and strange".
Mike Thomas: "It's time for us to face reality of cheap labor".
Down With The Ship
"With President George W. Bush's approval ratings in the tank, it's no secret that Republicans nationwide have been a little skittish in talking about him on the campaign trail. But even as Bush's approval ratings dip below 40 percent, Tramm Hudson -- one of the four Republicans running for Congress in the 13th Congressional District -- isn't buying that advice." "Hudson won't abandon Bush".
"[L]awmakers are pushing through legislation that would undercut all this progress by encouraging a fragmented approach to growth management." "Bill Would Fragment Growth Controls".
"The Legislature's black caucus announced Monday that it would file a complaint with the House Rules Committee over Rep. Ralph Arza's alleged use of racial slurs in two languages to describe Miami-Dade's African American schools chief" "Black lawmakers to file complaint against Arza".
A Nuclear Florida
Troxler: "Did you know that a bill about to pass the Florida Legislature makes it easier to approve new nuclear power plants in this state, makes it harder to oppose them, and allows utilities to start billing customers for them in advance?" "There's more to the energy bill than the flip of a switch".
"In a blunt, bite-sized assessment of what's wrong with term limits, state Sen. Bill Posey last week offered this ugly truth: 'If you're a lobbyist, and you've got a lot of money invested in (a lawmaker), you want to keep him around for 12 years instead of eight.' The remarks of Mr. Posey, R-Rockledge, were in the context of whether to ask voters to extend term limits from eight to 12 years. Senators ultimately decided not to put that question before voters in November. Good plan." "Effectively limited".
"Three of the state's best-known lobbyists have asked a federal judge to derail an attempt to take sworn statements from them in the closing hours of the legislative session. Lawyers for Senate President Tom Lee and House Speaker Allen Bense have subpoenaed lobbyists Ron Book, Guy Spearman and Ken Plante to bring all of their financial records and testify Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - the most critical time of a legislative session scheduled to end on Friday." "Lobbyists ask judge to delay depositions".
Addicted To Slush Funds
"The Florida Senate sent a strong message Friday with a unanimous vote to crack down on the slush funds used by legislators to circumvent campaign contribution limits and raise unlimited amounts of money from special interests. Now the state House has until this Friday, the scheduled end of the session, to do the right thing. It should be an easy vote, but the power of money is awfully hard to resist for too many lawmakers who are addicted to it." "House must act to curb slush funds".