"The Monday deadline for lobbyists to file their first compensation reports left many scrambling to complete the forms while others met with attorneys in a last-ditch effort to revive a legal challenge to the new gift ban law." "Lobbyists race to meet donor reporting deadline". See also "Disclosures by lobbyists begin" and "Lobbyists file first disclosure reports".
GOoPers "Bow to Pressure"
"A bill to prevent the public from finding out who has a permit to carry a concealed firearm deserves a quick veto from Gov. Jeb Bush. Lawmakers should have rejected that bill during their recently completed session. Instead, they bowed to pressure from the National Rifle Association." "Shoot down gun bill".
On The Attack
"It didn't take long for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's campaign to launch a salvo at the Republican Party's sudden crowd of candidates who qualified Friday to run for the Senate this year." "Nelson on the attack".
"After a flurry of legislative moves, we are left with this as the hurricane season approaches: Pray." "Storm steps, but no strides".
Jebbie's "Empty Posturing"
"Jeb Bush is indulging in empty posturing. Trying to inject a sense of drama about today's vote by the Florida Cabinet, Bush insists his support for Scripps Florida's move to Jupiter is contingent on Palm Beach County meeting a list of goals. But does anyone truly believe Bush will push the Cabinet to reject, or even delay, the move?" "Florida's Cabinet will vote on Scripps".
Not What They Wanted
Representative B needs a "humongous victory" in the primaries:
"If you're going to beat Harris, you can't do it with all of these candidates in the field," said Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "The more candidates in this race, the easier it is for her to win the nomination. She may not have to try that hard.""Harris alternatives not what worried Republicans wanted".
But Duffy said that if Harris does win the nomination, having a primary still won't make it easier for her to beat Nelson. Polls have shown Harris far behind Nelson in a one-on-one match-up.
Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, said the entry of politically unknown candidates puts pressure on Harris to have "a humongous victory."
"The expectations for her are significantly higher," Gonzales said. "If she doesn't, it just confirms to Harris' detractors that she can't win."
"Fill in the Blanks"
Remember this the next time you see a "W Still the President" decal on a car with a Florida Panther plate:
In an administration not known for respecting science, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now has removed even the pretense. Its decision to let developers write biological recommendations is so brazen as to mock the agency's own existence. If developers get to write their own permits, why waste the time issuing them?"Bulldozing wildlife protection".
One example of this regulatory retreat is the swamplands of southwest Florida, where panthers are nearing extinction and a report earlier this year warned: "There is insufficient habitat in South Florida to sustain a viable panther population.'' The agency is charged with forming a "biological opinion" (BO) for any development that impacts endangered wildlife, but an agency biologist in Vero Beach actually put the following instruction in writing to a developer's consultant:
"To speed things up (due to our heavy workload) we are asking the consultant for each project that adversely affects panthers to prepare a BO based on a template BO that we will send you."
In other words, fill in the blanks and kill as many panthers as you choose. Fish and Wildlife is too busy to bother.
Two critical DECs have taken a hit recently, Orange County ("The Dems, Post-Tim Shea") and now Pinellas County: "Pinellas Democratic Chairwoman Carrie Wadlinger has resigned effective July 15 from leading the DEC in Florida's biggest battleground county.". "Wadlinger Resigns In Pinellas".
The Petition Route
"For most sitting members of Congress, the $10,000 fee is the route they go. But records from the Florida Division of Elections show that nine of the 22 incumbents running for re-election chose to go for the petition process instead. U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fort Pierce, said it’s more trouble and expense to mail out the petition forms he sent out, but said it’s still the way he likes to do it. He said it gives him a chance to tell people he’s running again in a personal way." "Foley Takes The Long Route".
"State utility regulators late Monday approved a plan that would allow Florida Power & Light Co. to collect $1.1 billion from the 4.3 million households and businesses it serves to pay last year's storm costs. The amount also will pay off the remaining expenses of the 2004 storms and create a $200 million reserve for future ones." "FPL to get $1.1 billion for costs of 2005 storms". See also "FPL settles hurricane expenses plan".
On Militarizing The Border
"Florida lawmakers offered mixed opinions Monday about President Bush's plan to dispatch National Guard troops to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico." "Local lawmakers on both sides of fence regarding border patrol".
"The state is set to buy a vast swath of pine and wetland wilderness in the first step toward creating a conservation corridor protecting Tallahassee's drinking water and the beauty of the St. Marks River to the Gulf of Mexico." "State may buy land for park".
"Suggesting that lawmakers in Tallahassee are a group of unruly children, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis said Monday if he is elected governor, legislators will get the "parental supervision" they need. Listening to Davis was his rival for the Democratic nomination, state Sen. Rod Smith of Gainesville — who by implication would be one of those unruly children." "Democratic rivals face off at Forum Club". See also "Smith, Davis see eye-to-eye on most issues, differ in delivery".
"Exemptions dim Sunshine laws"
"When all is said and done, the 2006 Legislature may go down as one of the most unfriendly in decades to the idea that transparency and access are generally good for democracy, not a threat." "'A thousand paper cuts'".
"The Florida Fair Elections Coalition"
"The Florida Fair Elections Coalition, a nonprofit election watchdog group, plans a program called "Is Your Vote Being Counted? -- Ask the Experts," on Saturday at Daytona Beach Community College." "Elections watchdog group to present program".
Let Them Cringe
"Bush today plans to sign a mammoth insurance bill - with provisions that penalize coastal residents, allow automatic rate increases and provide free home inspections - all in an attempt to keep property insurance available in a state that has become a hurricane magnet. But no one, not even the bill's sponsors, seems very happy with how it turned out. And, its authors say, it doesn't do much to prevent Floridians from ending up a year from now right where they started - facing huge deficits at a state-run insurance company." "Sponsors cringe as Bush readies to sign insurance bill". See also "Move along, neighbor" ("The Legislature's attempt at insurance 'reform' looked feeble when the session ended on May 5. After last week, to call the bill 'feeble' is being kind.")
FCAT FolliesJust trust us:
The strangest thing about the lawsuit over temps hired to grade the FCAT is that Democratic senators had to go to court over the governor's wishes to get what Gov. Bush should have been demanding all along. ..."Accountability on FCAT for all but the graders".
Rather than verify that CTB/McGraw-Hill hired qualified people, Gov. Bush and Mr. Winn supported the company's claim that its list of workers and their qualifications is a "trade secret" exempt from Florida's open records laws. In a settlement last week, however, CTB/McGraw-Hill - which is finishing the first year of a three-year, $86 million contract with the state - agreed to release by May 26 the temps' qualifications, but not their names. ...
Bush and Mr. Winn can't be relied on to be properly skeptical about CTB/McGraw-Hill's temps. Politically, they have too much invested in their overuse of the FCAT to take the chance that anything might discredit such overreliance. It's the same fear that has kept them from making voucher schools compete using the same academic standards as public schools.
Predictably, Mr. Winn's office called the lawsuit "a political witch hunt." No, it was an attempt to verify the credentials of people whom Florida has hired to produce reliable results of the test that under current policies matters most in public education. Given those stakes, verifying those credentials is something Mr. Winn should have done himself.
"Reforms To Immigration Policy Could Impact Florida’s Economy".