"The latest Quinnipiac poll of swing states shows Hillary Clinton cruising in Florida and Giuliani's edge shrinking:"
Ds: Clinton 38, Obama 15, Gore 13, Edwards 8, Dk 15."Poll: Obama lagging in FL, Thompson strong". See also "Q-Poll: Florida - Giuliani beats Clinton 48 - 42 percent, compared to a 47 - 42 percent Giuliani lead June 7".
Rs: Giuliani 27, F Thompson 21, McCain 13, Gingrich 7, Romney 6, DK 18.
"Crist vetoed a priority of the Florida Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday night, killing legislation that would have made it more difficult to get citizen initiatives on the ballot. The measure, SB 900, would have required groups collecting signatures of more than 600,000 registered voters needed for a ballot initiative to submit signatures to elections officials within 30 days -- down from the current four years." "Initiatives won't get tougher under Crist". See also "Veto thwarts attempt to limit ballot initiatives" and "Crist Kills Chamber Ballot Push", "Crist Kills Chamber Ballot Push" and "Man Of The People—Or At Least, The Citizen Initiative".
"Palm Beach County commissioners voted Tuesday to accept $4.9 million in state money to switch to a paper-based, optical-scan voting system. Still unaccounted-for is $3.36 million in county money to complete the transition from the current touch-screen voting machines." "End of touch-screen voting moves closer in Palm Beach County".
"The GOP trifecta: Dean, Schultz, Kelly" See also "GOP holds Senate, House seats", "Voters pick Republicans to fill state Senate, House seats" and "Dean wins election".
"Crist's $460 million in budget vetoes has led to a Supreme Court challenge, but it's over money he left in the spending plan."
The suit was filed late last week by a group of traffic schools, who along with a powerful legislator, want to cancel a competitor's contract to print the state drivers handbook."Battle over driving handbook heads to Supreme Court".
But the challenge has larger implications in the perennial battle between the governor and the Legislature over the power of the purse strings. ...
Fasano inserted ''proviso'' language in the $72 billion state budget that directs the state to print the handbook without advertisements. He added $1.5 million in another part of the budget to pay for the advertising-free handbook.
"Sen. Bill Nelson on Tuesday blamed a fellow Gulf Coast senator for stalling his proposal to create a commission to study national disaster insurance. But a spokesman for Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama says that's not true." "Nelson Blames Senator For Stalling Insurance Study".
"Crist huddled behind closed doors Wednesday with Florida university presidents and told them he would sign into law legislation that allows three state universities to charge higher tuition than the other eight schools. Crist, who last month described the measure as doomed, has been heavily lobbied by the universities and some of Florida's most influential business leaders to let Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of South Florida enact the tiered tuition system." "Blog: Crist to OK tuition hikes at 3 universities".
"Crist says he is confident that the sweeping property-insurance changes he and lawmakers have made this year -- which have the state shouldering more of the financial risk from hurricanes than ever before -- won't come back to haunt Florida. But members of a powerful commission charged with evaluating Florida's financial health said Tuesday that they want to know far more about the peril now facing the state." "State's storm burden 'a grave concern'". See also "CFO says state can go it alone with hurricane risk".
"Sen. Bill Nelson joined with his Florida colleague, Republican Sen. Mel Martinez, in voting today to resurrect full debate
on the Senate immigration bill. And while Democrat Nelson said his 'inclination' is to ultimately vote for the bill, he left open the possibility he may not. " "Nelson, Martinez Vote To Restart Immigration Reform".
"Disney accused of profiling black teens".
"Crist signed 15 bills into law Tuesday, including a measure that allows Palm Beach County to give a wedge of nearly 2,000 acres of land to Broward County. And he vetoed three measures, including one that would have made it more difficult for petition gatherers to submit signatures to get citizens' initiatives on the ballot and another that would have allowed hunting on the Babcock Ranch Preserve." "Crist's busy day:15 bills now law".
"Tax experts offered one more reason Tuesday why Florida's property tax system is so difficult to fix: By shifting the tax burden to local governments, lawmakers have kept the state tax rate low." "Commission takes a fresh look at the property tax burden Post a comment". See also "Bense urges commission to work quietly on property tax issues" and "Panel may get say on tax plan".
"A far cry"
"Almost six months after Gov. Charlie Crist and the Legislature passed what they called major insurance reforms aimed at reversing skyrocketing homeowners' bills, state regulators concede that rates charged by Florida's biggest insurers are down by 10 percent or less. "
That's a far cry from the 25 percent to 40 percent reductions that were promised."No big break in property insurance". See also "Not much there" ("Property insurers and the Legislature have a credibility problem on rates.") More: "Crist freezes rates for Citizens".
In fact, an Orlando Sentinel review of rates shows, many Central Florida homeowners will actually see a year-over-year increase in their premiums, thanks to enormous rate increases imposed by the industry in late 2006.
"The new website should give homeowners an idea of what different insurers charge for similar policies. But the rates given are countywide averages." "State website sheds light on homeowners policies". See also "Compare rates on the Web". See also "Crist: Home insurance rates haven't fallen as much as hoped" and "Where did insurance cuts go?".
"State's self-defense law could cut both ways".
"In the flurry of confusion as state lawmakers hammered out a property-tax-relief bill, a piece of it -- which could save small businesses money -- got little attention. Now, the plan that legislators say would keep a million small-business owners across the state from paying what's called a tangible-personal-property tax is part of a larger, controversial amendment on homeowner taxes that will get a thumbs up or down by voters in January." "Ballot measure could sink small-business tax break".
"Since 1973, Florida statutes have mandated that agencies and municipalities must rate bidders in certain consulting fields on the basis of their technical and professional expertise -- without regard to price. The statute applies to consultants in several areas, including architecture, engineering, surveying and mapping." "Law excludes price in ranking consultants".
"The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released its crime statistics for 2006 yesterday, and the results are mixed." "What goes up also comes down". See also "Florida murders, gun crimes jumped in 2006".
"Another troubling turn" for Feeney
"The controversy over U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney's 2003 golf junket to Scotland with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff took another troubling turn recently when the congressman created a legal-defense fund. It's not quite what you'd expect from someone who says he didn't do anything wrong and isn't being targeted by investigators."
Mr. Feeney, a three-term Republican from Oviedo, has always insisted he was duped about the trip -- told it would be bankrolled by a think tank instead of Mr. Abramoff, who is now in prison for bribery. But the feds are still asking questions."Feeney's tin cup".
Another Special Session
"The state's no-fault auto insurance law expires Oct. 1 if the Legislature doesn't renew it. In 2006, legislators approved a patch on the law, but Gov. Bush vetoed it. This year, they took no action in either the regular session or the special session on property taxes."
If no-fault expires, thousands of Floridians who now buy personal injury protection (PIP) on their auto policies and lack health insurance will have no coverage if they are injured in an accident. With good reason, the hospitals expect that many of these people will seek treatment in emergency rooms, and they won't be able to pay."Take action on no-fault".
This isn't an election year, so a special session in September wouldn't interfere with elections or summer vacations. It would be a mistake to let no-fault expire.
Update: "Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday he "would be in favor of a special session before Oct. 1" but he 'doesn't know whether he will call one soon ... ." "Crist says there will be a special session on no-fault insurance -- stay tuned".
"Conservation: our ace in the hole"
"For a growing state whose appetite for electricity is expanding more rapidly than its population, there is no silver bullet that will solve every energy problem Florida faces. But there is one step the Sunshine State must take to avoid enormous inconvenience and expense in the 21st century: conservation." "Energy waste".
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek's
mother was among the consultants and lobbyists a Boston developer paid while seeking support for a biotech project that has only cleared a lot in an impoverished neighborhood for a parking garage, according to a newspaper investigation."Lawmaker's mom paid, paper says".
Dennis Stackhouse first proposed building a $250 million biopharmaceutical park in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood four years ago.
As the project stalled, Stackhouse diverted more than $500,000 from a Miami-Dade County poverty agency through double billing and dubious expenses and spent hundreds of thousands more on political insiders, according to a Miami Herald investigation.
Among the insiders was former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, who received at least $40,000, a leased luxury sport utility vehicle and a 2,600-square-foot rent-free office for her foundation, the newspaper reported Monday.
Congressional records show she was paid while her son, who now holds her seat in Congress, sought millions of federal dollars for the project.
"Vice President Cheney could take a lesson from Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who wants to make government more transparent to the public." "Crist Could Show Cheney A Better Way".
The Tampa Trib editors: "Crist should veto an ill-conceived bill that would allow school board members to duck public scrutiny in raising their pay. When they campaign for these part-time positions, candidates often talk about a call to public service. Yet once elected, some seem to place an immediate call to the gravy train." "Veto Automatic Raises". See also "School boards should set own pay".
Daniel Ruth argued yesterday that
if there is any fairness in this insane case of prosecutors gone bonkers, with a little bit of luck and a whole lot of justice, come Sept. 20, it's possible the last tile will drop in Richard Paey's favor.Just read it: "Disabled Man's Justice May Be Served Cold".
Since May 2004, the 48-year-old Paey has been an inmate in the Florida prison system, serving a 25-year term after his conviction on seven counts of drug trafficking, possession and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
And it's all first-degree balderdash.