"What the governor said . . . ". See "Text of governor's speech". ". . . and what Crist didn't say":
Crist repeated his call for teacher bonuses, a gimmick that would selectively and temporarily benefit some of the state's teachers, but he ignored the elephant in the room by failing to mention the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. ...See also "Crist opens session with optimism", "Former area teacher highlights pay woes" ("The 28-year-old Edgewater resident took a turn in the spotlight Monday during Gov. Charlie Crist's inaugural State of the State address"), "Crist wants cooperation on lengthy list of goals", "Crist: Progress, not politics Post a comment", "Opening day is a fresh start ", "State of the State: Crist Wants Cooperation, Tax Cuts", "Crist sets high goals for legislative session", "Crist sets bipartisan tone", "Can-do Crist sets centrist tone", "Crist Breaks the mold" and "Crist outlines ambitous tax cuts, consumer programs, but how will he pay for them?".
The governor brushed over issues that are of paramount importance to Florida's vast corps of working families. Health insurance remains out of reach for more than 20 percent of Floridians. ...
Meanwhile, the word "poverty" didn't pass the governor's lips, even though nearly 10 percent of Floridians survive on salaries lower than the federal poverty guidelines.
"Lawmakers from both parties praised the Republican's speech, but Democrats fawned over Crist and dubbed him a great "Democratic governor."" "Governor's speech gets raves from Democrats" ("GOP lukewarm to bipartisan State of State message"). See also "A Republican for the Dems". Is Charlie losing it: "Crist Calls Global Warning 'One Of The Most Important Issues'"?
"Crist campaigned as a nonideological candidate who emphasized helping people. On Tuesday, the 50-year-old Republican governor gave a speech that could have been made by a Democrat." "Crist: Let public vote on taxes".
"It really is a new day in Tallahassee when a Republican governor opens his first State of the State address by praising legislators from both parties, pledges to honor public school teachers and fight global warming, and closes by quoting Robert Kennedy." "In true partnership, there's real promise".
"Any doubt about the culture change in Tallahassee since former Gov. Jeb Bush left town was dispelled Tuesday at the opening ceremonies of the 2007 Florida Legislature, a body that promises historic change on property taxes." "Legislative Session Opens With New Boss And Tone".
Crist Voter Gives "Democratic" Response
"State Rep. Bill Heller of St. Petersburg seemed an unlikely pick to deliver the Democratic response to Gov. Charlie Crist's State of the State speech. Heller is a freshman lawmaker, for one, and his disposition is more elder statesman than tooth-bearing partisan. He also voted for Crist." "Heller praises bipartisanship".
On the Agenda
The calendar: "Upcoming at the Capitol". What happened yesterday: "Legislature: Day 1 at a glance", "2007 Legislature roundup" and "2007 Fla. legislative session begins".
"Crist implored legislators to pass his so-called 'Anti-Murder Act' by week's end, and they'll probably comply." "Crist pushing for 'Anti-Murder Act'". See also "Crist's 'anti-murder' bill gets quick first look", "'Anti-murder' bill up for vote", "Senate gets right on 'anti-murder'" and "'Anti-Murder' bill a priority".
"Crist's Anti-Murder Act may be pushed into law during the first week of session, but the political rush appears to have left a few major questions at loose ends." "Cost Of Crist's Murder Act Raises Questions".
"Under mounting pressure from teachers and education groups, House and Senate leaders are moving to open up a year-old teacher bonus program to more instructors and give school districts more flexibility in how they assess instructors." "Legislators tweak teacher bonuses". See also "Performance pay program for teachers wins approval", "House committee approves teacher performance pay bill".
"Just as Jeb Bush was leaving office, some of his biggest fans sought to leave behind a legacy: The Jeb Bush Mitigation Center for Excellence." "A 'Love Note' to Jeb".
"Lowering the Price of Admission"
"If lawmakers want to become known as the people's Legislature, they can start by lowering the price of admission." "Don't retreat on influence industry limits".
"House Speaker Marco Rubio opened the 2007 session with sweeping vision for Florida, urging lawmakers to create a "world-class" education system and make Florida the "silicon valley" for environmental technology." "Rubio: Let's solve problems". See also "Before Crist, Rubio" and "Rubio cites ideas; Pruitt, reality".
Storms in Action
"State Sen. Ronda Storms, a Brandon Republican, has joined forces with a top House Republican, Rep. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, on the bill, which aims to crack down on underage sexual abuse by having health care professionals assume pregnant teens are crime victims." "Legislators want pregnant girls reported". See also "Storms' Bill Treats Pregnancy Of Girls Under 16 As Crime".
"Mayor Pam Iorio sailed to an expected victory, securing another four-year term running Tampa." "Iorio Wins Re-Election". See also "Dingfelder Re-Elected To Serve South Tampa", "Energized Miranda Returns For 5th Term", "Caetano, Margarella In Runoff", "Citywide, Mulhern Upsets Harrison" and "Campaign Isn't Finished For Miller, Redner". Meanwhile, "Commissioner Charged With Campaign Spending Violations".
"With Lake Okeechobee rapidly receding and no rain on the radar, regional water managers said Tuesday they were being forced to install pumps to keep water flowing -- to farms for now and possibly to South Florida's suburbs in the near future." "Plunging lake could bring water cutbacks".
"Elections officials spent part of Tuesday responding to complaints at two polling places. At one, a woman said a poll worker tried to influence her vote. At the other, voters said they arrived at their precinct to discover it had been moved." "Poll Worker Denies Trying To Influence Woman's Decision".
"Ridiculous Gun Bill"
"With all the important issues before lawmakers this session, it's hard to believe that they'd waste one minute revisiting a ridiculous gun bill killed last year over the National Rifle Association's objections." "Danger ahead".
"The job of Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty continues to hang in limbo.
Gov. Charlie Crist to date has said he's not ready to declare whether he wants to keep the insurance commissioner he inherited from Jeb Bush." "Insurance commissioner in limbo".
"So here is Gov. Crist's dilemma."
The bill he presumably champions hides a poison pill for patients and is mainly political cover for its backers, so that they can boast that they “support stem-cell research.” The sponsors believe that the public won't understand the scientifically obscure language employed to disguise their real intent, which is to stifle embryonic stem-cell research in Florida."Charlie Crist's stem-cell dilemma".
With its dedicated biomedical researchers and thousands of patients with incurable afflictions, Florida surely deserves better. This is an issue that cries out for bold for leadership. If Charlie Crist really supports the quest for cures, he should disavow the Flores bill. Your move, Governor.
Party Warfare Out?
"Crist may almost single-handedly begin turning around more than a decade of demoralizing party warfare through simple daily acts of courtesy and a generous acknowledgment of others' contributions to shared causes - such as homeowners' insurance relief developed during the recent special session." "R-e-s-p-e-c-t".
"Florida Senate takes up 2 top crime bills for 2007 session".
"A lawyer and investor is accusing Gov. Charlie Crist of receiving inappropriate campaign contributions — including $11,000, travel on a private jet and the use of sport skyboxes — from boy-band impresario Lou Pearlman while he was under state investigation." "Lawsuit faults Crist, suggesting improper campaign gifts".
"The Department of Financial Services should inspect more homes and give more grants to homeowners to make their houses better withstand hurricane-force winds, a windstorm-mitigation panel told the governor and legislature Tuesday." "Expand 'Safe Home' program, panel says".
Hasner Says No
"Hasner won't run for Congress".
The Palm Beach Post editors: "Soon, Gov. Crist will announce his appointments to the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District. When the governor does, Kevin McCarty's name should not be among them. As The Post reported Tuesday, Mr. McCarty - the board chairman - submitted for board approval last month a resolution supporting the annexation into Broward County of a slice of nearly 2,000 acres on the southern edge of Palm Beach County. The resolution was nearly identical to one e-mailed to Mr. McCarty by Justin Sayfie, a lawyer who represents some of the landholders. The water district board approved the resolution, and Mr. McCarty never disclosed that it came from the landowners. Mr. McCarty told The Post that, to him, it all seemed 'pretty innocuous.'" "Don't reappoint McCarty".
"Florida Democratic leaders discussed the prospect of holding a presidential straw poll at their October convention but did not make a final decision Monday." "Dem straw poll still on the table".
On the Air
"Romney launches Spanish radio ad".
"High school athletes competing in football, baseball and weight lifting would be subject to at least one year of random steroid tests under a bill that won unanimous support from its first House committee Tuesday." "High school steroid testing earns full committee backing".
"Voters in three Flagler County municipalities gave a big thumbs-up to the status quo Tuesday." "Incumbents prevail in Flagler".
" Mayor Jim Naugle acknowledged Tuesday that a recent Sister Cities mailing, which he said he did not explicitly authorize, would be banned under the tougher ethics rules he's advocating and which got partial approval Tuesday night." "Fort Lauderdale mayor says solicitation letter against his own ideals".