"Flanked by two Big Bend sheriffs, state Rep. Charlie Dean announced his candidacy Tuesday for the Florida Senate and picked up the endorsement of the incumbent."
Dean, R-Inverness, said he would not resign from the House before the end of the session unless a special election is called sooner than anticipated. State Sen. Nancy Argenziano, R-Crystal River, still has two years left in her term in District 3, but is expected to be appointed to the Public Service Commission. ..."Argenziano, who did not attend Dean's announcement news conference, said she will vote for him if she gets the PSC appointment." "Rep. Dean announces run for state Senate".
Argenziano, who did not attend Dean's announcement news conference, said she will vote for him if she gets the PSC appointment. ...
State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, and Richard Corcoran, former chief of staff for House Speaker Marco Rubio, are also planning to seek the Senate seat if Argenziano goes to the PSC.
Mark Lunsford, the father of slaying victim Jessica Lunsford, may get in the race for Dean's seat, but he isn't off to a good start, claiming that "he registered as a Democrat inadvertently. He said he considers himself a Republican and would run as a Republican for his local seat in the state House if it opens up this year." "Pick your party". See also "No really, I'm a Republican".
Yet again, "the measure probably won't be as broad as Crist promised during his campaign." "Crist may adjust felon-rights plan".
"Crist is ready to push through a comprehensive plan that seeks to cut down on the time and paperwork that ex-convicts need to get their civil rights restored."
But even Crist acknowledges the proposal is a political compromise that doesn't go far enough."Crist's felon-rights plan ready". See also "Crist set to ask for automatic restoration of felons' rights" and "Bronson undecided but has qualms about restoring felons' rights".
Under a draft of the plan, felons would be divided into three categories upon their release: nonviolent offenders, criminals who haven't committed murder or sex crimes, and those who have committed the more heinous acts.
The nonviolent offenders, who account for 80 percent of the crimes, would be eligible for the swiftest restoration of their rights to vote, sit on a jury or obtain occupational licenses, according to a draft The Miami Herald obtained under the public records act.
Those who remain crime-free for 15 years after they're released are eligible for a speedier restoration, regardless of their past crimes. All groups must pay any restitution and court costs after completing their sentences.
The usual suspects ain't happy: "McCollum's office Tuesday distributed letters from the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the state's Fraternal Order of Police urging a go-slow approach to Crist's restoration proposal, expected to be voted on this week." "Felon-rights plan draws opposition". The St Pete Times editors don't count on the support for the change from "the narrow-minded McCollum, a Republican who resorts to inflaming fears about criminals in our neighborhoods. His pitch to further tweak the current system does not go nearly far enough, and his concerns about repeat criminals who would lose their civil rights again are misguided." "Fairness requires restoring rights". See also "Among Leading Republicans, A Civil Rights War".
The Miami Herald editors: "the American Civil Liberties Union proposes automatic restoration paired with a restitution repayment plan. That makes sense. Admittedly, Gov. Crist has a tough sell on his hands, but he should try this compromise on other Cabinet members." "Wrong to punish after time served".
The Daytona Beach News-Journal editors observe that "there's a risk the reform the Cabinet is considering will be more cosmetic than substantial. Under the plan, murderers and sexual predators would be terminally denied their voting rights, and other ex-felons' restoration of civil rights would hinge on their ability to pay restitution to their victims. That the plan is an improvement on the current practice isn't saying much." "Ex-felons' rights".
Developers and GOPers at it Again
"Conservative House leaders today roll out a complex proposal late in the legislative session that critics worry would strip the Department of Community Affairs of much of its power to regulate growth." "House bill may loosen DCA control over growth issues".
"Real-estate brokers in Central Florida say the Legislature's ongoing effort to overhaul the property-tax system is having its own dampening effect on a housing market already staggering from a glut of inventory." "Tax uncertainty deals new blow to housing sales".
"Upcoming at the Capitol". See also "2007 Legislature roundup".
"A year or two from now, you could be bouncing over more potholes, seeing city buildings screaming for repairs and wondering why fewer police cars are on the roads. If you're living in an apartment or your first house, you're going to be especially perplexed if you see your property taxes climbing even as city services are dwindling. That's a likely scenario throughout Florida if the deep property tax cuts being threatened in Tallahassee become reality, local government officials warn." "Tax reform might hurt hometowns".
"From last place to first in civics?". See also "Graham urges civic duty".
Steve Otto: "Veterans Want Answers About Health Care".
Usurping Local Control
"Under Gov. Bush, state officials had an invitation from Palm Beach County to study the future of the Everglades Agricultural Area."
They accepted before they declined."Protect the Everglades with rock-mining study".
Now, the Legislature appears intent on overriding the county's modest effort to perform a far less ambitious study. Overreacting to a county moratorium on approvals of rock mining, the House will consider a bill that would usurp local control.
... if you can get it: "Departing FAU fundraiser gets $578,000 in severance pay after 1 year on job".
"The bills (HB 1049, SB 426) would prohibit a musical act from performing under the original group's name unless it included at least one member who recorded music with the original group or it identifies itself as a 'tribute' act. The measures would not apply to groups that hold the legal rights to an act's name but don't have any original members." "Bills aim to silence impostors performing as original groups".
Climate Change Workshop
"The workshop was the first of four 'conversations on climate change' planned this year for the state's top officials. It featured impassioned pleas from several top scientists who talked about rising seas and a warming atmosphere, the economic impacts and potential ways the state could affect the outcome." "Florida puts focus on climate outlook". See also "Experts paint grim future with warming" and "Cabinet warned of global warming".
"If global warming continues at the rate of acceleration currently experienced, Palm Beach County could disappear within less than a century, a climate change expert told the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday." "Could global warming wipe out county? Palm Beach County's shape puts it at risk, expert says".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board:
In the first of a series of Cabinet workshops on the issue, scientists told Gov. Charlie Crist and members of the Cabinet on Tuesday that the severity of social and economic consequences will depend on how the Sunshine State anticipates and responds in advance of the worst repercussions of climate change."Anticipation".
Failure will make Florida an exposed straggler, left to react to circumstances beyond its control and spend considerably more in the long run. Coastal communities forced to spend multimillions to erect bigger, stronger sea walls; the loss of some beachfront property; adverse impacts on forests and crops; insurance rates that continue to soar, and refusal by private insurers to insure the most vulnerable areas.
Florida, whose long coastlines, rich agriculture and tourism-based economy make it extraordinarily sensitive to changing weather patterns, is not a leader so far in initiatives related to global warming. California, for example, already has adopted aggressive measures designed to reduce carbon emissions over the next several years.
But can Florida adequately reposition itself to help reduce the worst consequences of this global crisis and adapt to changes that are irreversible?
The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Referendums should be treated like any other political endeavor. Governments don't tell voters whom to choose for city council or state Legislature, and they should not tell voters which issues to support or reject either." "Over the line".
"A group challenging a shorter deadline for submitting citizen-initiative petitions was undecided Tuesday if it would appeal a court ruling upholding the new limit, about six months earlier than the old one." "Appellate court affirms Feb. 1 petition deadline".
"The state may turn over construction and control of the highway to a private company that would recoup its costs through tolls. In turn, the state and drivers get a billion-dollar road project built in a third of the time." "I-595 may become privately operated road with tolls for express lanes".
Workin' Hard for Bushco
"U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez will attend a Republican fundraiser with President Bush tomorrow night at a private home in Los Angeles. It'll be one of his first duties as general chairman of the Republican Party." "Martinez goes to Hollywood".
Why Is This An Issue?
"Last year, after 24 years, six months and 13 days, he was let go. DNA evidence proved he didn't commit the crime. Today Crotzer's married and says he's OK, but freedom hasn't been easy. He works as a custodian for the park's department in St. Petersburg, but wants more for himself and his family. He wants an education. And he wants more than an apology for the years he lost in prison. " "State Owes Innocent Inmates Compensation For Time Served".
Yesterday's News (and Punditry)
- "Turning South Florida into Silicon Valley".
- "Regulate Cable TV At State Level To Accelerate Local Competition".
- "Insurance Profiling Faces Ban".
- "Crist fills three state positions". See also "Disabled's Advocate On Inside Now".
- "Senate slow to act on property taxes". See also "Commission urged to take broad look at Florida's tax structure".
- "Wetlands Bill May Draw Crist Veto".
- "Moldy Logic On Wet, Dry Feet".
- "State Lawmaker Back From Serving In Iraq".
- "Elections need paper trail, Nelson says".
- "Lawmakers may lower local hurdles to new mining". See also "With mining legislation, economy could override ecology".
- "Crist Eyes Solar Panels In Governor's Mansion".