"From the alleged use of racial epithets to charges of back-stabbing and backroom deals, the bad blood in Miami-Dade's Republican legislative delegation spilled out Monday when six lawmakers threw their support to embattled Sen. Alex Villalobos and blamed some of their colleagues for his troubles and their own." "Internal disputes shake unity of GOP"
"Seven Miami-Dade lawmakers emphasized their support Monday for Sen. Alex Villalobos, the Miami Republican who faces a re-election challenge from within his party and whose bid for Senate president in 2008 is endangered by a split among GOP senators. It looks like Villalobos will need all the help he can get, too, because Gov. Jeb Bush appears ready to repay Villalobos for helping to deny him a crucial school voucher bill." " Backing, and Bucking, Villalobos".
"Gov. Jeb Bush hinted this afternoon that he may actively campaign this summer against state Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami, a fellow Republican who was instrumental during this year's legislative session in defeating Bush-backed efforts to preserve private school vouchers and scale back class-size caps." "Bush V. Villalobos?".
And Jebbie's "bristling" again: "When pressed about why he would support Bolanos, who is considered the school board’s most conservative member, Bush bristled. 'I can get involved in any race. It’s a free country. That’s why. I might. I might not,' he said." "It's a Free Country".
"Investigators confiscated the drugs, which treats erectile dysfunction, and Limbaugh was released without being charged. The sheriff's office plans to file a report with the state attorney's office. Miller said it could be a second-degree misdemeanor violation." "Limbaugh detained at Palm Beach airport". See also "Rush Limbaugh halted over Viagra at airport" and "Rush Limbaugh found with Viagra is detained at Palm Beach airport" ("It was not immediately clear whether Monday's incident would affect the agreement with the State Attorney's Office. However, a spokesman for the office said that, generally, a person on drug offender probation is prohibited from possessing narcotics and that Viagra does not fall in that category.")
That Pesky Constitution
"Bush approved the creation of a statewide board on Monday that will approve and monitor charter schools, despite the protests of local school boards who say the new commission is unconstitutional. The Florida School Boards Association and local school boards, including Palm Beach County's, sent letters to Bush urging him to veto the bill, which they say violates the part of the state constitution stating the 'school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district.'" "Law creates board for charter schools". See also "Charter Schools Now To Be Run By New Statewide Commission", "Charter panel seeks more planning for schools" and "State agency will have say on charter school approval" ("A new state commission will take over reviewing and approving charter schools, now done locally.")
The problem with charter schools: "Keeping Tabs On Charter Schools".
What Is Jebbie Hiding?
"Bush on Monday vetoed a bill that would have allowed lawmakers to gain access to secret documents held by executive branch agencies. In his veto letter, Bush wrote that the bill encroaches on the governor's powers and 'weakens the clear lines of separation' of powers between government branches." "Governor's veto halts access to documents".
"A Long History" of Losing
"GOP Senate hopeful Will McBride has hired a new campaign manager. Jack St. Martin, who headed the primary campaign of Bob Beauprez in Colorado for three months before leaving over staff disputes, took the reins of McBride’s campaign last Friday. St. Martin has a long history of working on losing GOP political campaigns going back to 1990 when he was a field representative for Sen. Rudy Boschwitz’s unsuccessful re-election campaign in Minnesota." "McBride's New Manager".
Elections "On Hold"
"A federal judge on Monday put Osceola County elections on hold pending resolution of a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit alleging discrimination. The federal government filed the lawsuit last year to challenge the present system of electing commissioners countywide instead of by districts, alleging the current system dilutes the voting strength of the area's burgeoning Hispanic population." "Judge holds up elections pending federal lawsuit".
"If Congress decides that deeper and deeper tax cuts make little sense at a time of growing national debt, it may be time to consider ending deductions for state income taxes and sales taxes. But it would be shocking to see Congress end this popular decision, which residents of 42 states enjoy. That being the case, there's no reason to deny Floridians their break. Studies indicate that the sales-tax deduction is regressive because few low-income taxpayers itemize. But the sales tax itself hits the poor harder than the rich. The deduction would at least give low-income residents a chance to get some of it back." "Tax cuts: Think Florida".
"Governor signs stun-gun, child enticement bills".
"Over the next two months, Floridians will be getting much closer with the men running for governor as ad campaigns kick into gear, debates are staged, and four men you've probably never met invade your television, radio stations, newspapers and mailboxes." "Governor candidates come to a TV near you".
"No Bigger Shame"
"Florida has no bigger shame than its child welfare system, which over the years has repeatedly failed to protect some number of vulnerable children from abuse and neglect, sometimes with deadly consequences. So it is infuriating to read a state audit which says that outsourcing the child welfare system has cost taxpayers much more than before and that since the system went private, children are being more quickly reunited with their parents and suffering an increased incidence of abuse. Gov. Jeb Bush promised that privatization would make the child protection system better and more efficient, but the audit says the opposite has occurred. Given these results, the governor should be pounding the table and demanding better oversight of our most vulnerable children. However, his office remains silent on the topic, referring questions instead to the Department of Children & Families." "Bush Should Demand Better From Child Welfare System".
"Too Big for Their Britches"
"Last week, BOG chairwoman Carolyn Roberts lectured university presidents not to get too big for their britches."
She told them she didn't want them going off on their own, along with their lobbyists, working the Legislature for whatever they could get for their campuses."Playing at power". But see "Getting Tough on Universities".
This elicited a wry comment from former Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan, president of Florida Atlantic University. He asked Ms. Roberts if presidents would be sent to the "woodshed" if they did too well in securing assets for their institutions.
Oblivious, apparently, to the schoolmarmish nature of her dictate, Ms. Roberts went so far as to appoint a task force to study what kinds of punishments she could use on offending universities that did too well.
Oh, please. Is this really the most important challenge facing the state university system?
"Bush insists he's not worried about his legacy as he prepares to leave office -- that it is not his past, but Florida's future, that occupies his time as his administration winds down. If that is truly the case, Mr. Bush has an unprecedented opportunity to help local governments plan for growth and tackle the transportation problems that plague this state from Pensacola to Miami. A bill on Mr. Bush's desk would give voters the chance to add just $2 a day to the cost of renting a car and use that money to improve Florida's transportation networks for the benefit of residents and visitors. The governor has until Wednesday to decide whether to veto this bill or allow it to become law. Mr. Bush would do well to listen to conservative stalwarts like House Speaker Allan Bense and state Sen. Dan Webster and let voters decide this issue for themselves." "Needed help".
"During the past couple of weeks, newspapers around the state have been peeking in closets and poking through court files, revealing the fact that three of the four main candidates for governor are divorced. Who cares? It's not really anyone else's business. I mean, so what if Republicans Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher both cut short their own 'til-death-do-they-part pledges. It's not like they're out there telling other people how sacred the institution of marriage is. Oh, wait . . ." "Political Potluck".
Pigs At The Trough
"Lobbyists haul in up to $50 million in first quarter".
Nelson Vows Filibuster
"Nelson promises filibuster against drilling bill". See also "Senators threaten to block oil vote" and "Boyd won't back plan".
"Unable to reach agreement on expanding Save Our Homes protections for residents who sell their homes, lawmakers instead have decided to take a good, hard look at the popular yet increasingly controversial program that has kept billions off the tax rolls." "Michael Peltier: Panel works to unravel property tax problem".
"Davis and Smith have been getting under the skin of Bush for months with their constant criticism of his policies. Two weeks ago, Bush lashed out at Davis for sending out an e-mail calling for a discussion on the hurricane insurance crisis the day before Tropical Storm Alberto hit Florida." "Democrats say Gov. Bush handled hurricanes well".
Davis Finance Chair
"Davis Names Berger Finance Chair". See also "Davis names Mitchell Berger finance chair".
Cotterell argues that "the Republicans should have to defend Bush's contracting record. And the Democrats should tell us what they would un-privatize." "Candidates should say what they'll outsource".
"Republican Charlie Crist has an event Tuesday at the Tampa Airport Marriott where he has asked members of his finance committee to bring "a minimum of $5,000 in $500 checks to this intimate fundraising meeting." This is known as bundling, the rounding up of checks from spouses, business partners, in-laws, secretaries, co-workers, and so on. It's a practice Republicans blasted Lawton Chiles for in the '90s when the Democrat finessed his own self-imposed $100 limit, but it has become increasingly common as campaigns become ever more expensive." " Raising a Bundle for Crist".