Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Monday, August 13, 2007

Florida's Newest "Insane" Restriction on Voting

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board on Florida's latest "sly attempt to quietly disenfranchise certain kinds of voters"
    The state of Florida's population has increased markedly since 2004, yet its voter rolls have shrunk. One reason appears to be a 2005 change in state law that has made it harder for voters who move within the state to maintain an active voter registration. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark calls the change "insane."

    When a voter moves and the U.S. Postal Service or another change-of-address service notifies elections officials, the new law bars supervisors from sending an address confirmation card to the voter's new address. They must send all correspondence to the old registration address, and it may not be forwarded. This is a change that creates unnecessary obstacles to voting.

    In the past, elections officials would automatically update the voters' registration and send notice of the change to the new address. Now voters who move are virtually guaranteed not to be told they need to update their voter registration records. It is as though the Legislature was hoping that voters who often move, including renters and low-income people, would have a tougher time exercising their right to vote. ...

    The change in the law may have been nothing more than an inadvertent error, or it may have been a sly attempt to quietly disenfranchise certain kinds of voters.
    "Voting roadblock must go".

    One Can Hope

    "Collier Democratic Party Chairman Chuck Mohlke said members of his party don’t need to dream. He believes Democrats have a good chance of winning House District 101 in the 2008 election. That House district, which spans eastern Collier and part of western Broward County, is held by Rep. Mike Davis, R-Naples. Davis has announced he won’t seek re-election. While praising the job Davis has done, Mohlke argues the breakdown of registered voters gives Democrats a chance when there is no incumbent running." "Democrats believe they have a chance at another Collier victory".

    "Get over it"

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editors:

    Both the Democratic and Republican national parties have issued stern threats to candidates who plan to campaign in Florida before February, and both national organizations say they plan to strip the state of at least some of its delegates if the Legislature holds to its plan of a Jan. 29 primary.

    To which we say: Get over it.
    "Respect the voters".


    "It looks as if the Republican presidential candidates, at least most of them, will be participating in a YouTube debate after all. The forum is now set for Nov. 28 in St. Petersburg." "Republican YouTube Event Moved To Late November".


    "Politics can get ugly, but these folks are `beautiful'".

    FCAT Follies

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "FCAT doesn't make sense in high school grading".

    Puerto Rico

    "A bill filed this month by U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez takes a step toward resolving Puerto Rico's ambiguous political status by mandating a referendum in which one of the choices would be a little-known form of independence called 'free association.' Under the free-association form of government, Puerto Rico would be an independent nation that would relinquish some sovereign powers to the U.S. in exchange for benefits. The specifics of that arrangement would be bilaterally negotiated. Voters also could choose the current commonwealth status, statehood or complete independence." "Senator's bill may chart new path for Puerto Rico".


    "From its title, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sounds like an agency dedicated to, well, the conservation of fish and wildlife. Names, however, can be deceiving." "Crist blows it on his FWC appointments".

    Cash Cow

    "Newly filed lobbyist compensation reports show that State Farm has spent at least $60,000 since May to hire the Fowler White Boggs Banker firm to lobby on its behalf. Fowler White _ whose legislative lobbying corps consists of J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich, Jim Magill and Kim Diagiacomo _ was hired to lobby for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company on May 16. Since the amount listed is the same for both executive and legislative branch reports, it is possible that the amount covers lobbying for both branches of government. The $60,000 figure, however, only covers the second quarter, which ended June 30." "State Farm upped its spending on lobbyists".


    "Attorneys for Jose Padilla, who is accused of being an al-Qaida operative, rested their case Tuesday in Miami without putting on a defense, saying prosecutors had failed to prove their case. Closing arguments are expected to begin today, and the jury could begin deciding the fate of the former 'enemy combatant' and two co-defendants. Here's a quick look at the trial, which began May 14." "Jury to hear final arguments".


    "While buying paper and pencils for the new school year, parents should also remember to check the status of their student's health insurance coverage and consider enrolling in KidCare. Florida KidCare is the state health insurance program for uninsured youth under age 19. Most families pay only $15 to $20 each month, and children with Medicaid are covered for free. Even a child with both parents working may still be eligible for coverage." "Add health insurance to back-to-school lists".

    "The 'L' word is back"

    Pamela Hasterok:

    The "L" word is back.

    You heard me. Almost half of Democrats are reclaiming that once reviled label -- liberal.

    Other strange indicators are popping up, too. Most of the Democratic presidential candidates showed up for the Kos convention in Chicago last week, a gathering of the country's primarily liberal bloggers.

    Meanwhile, the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama skipped out on the once vaunted meeting of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council, a group founded by former President Clinton.

    Not just Democrats are embracing traditional Democratic issues like preserving Social Security, providing a safety net for the poor and civil rights for homosexuals. Many independent voters hold the same values, according to the Pew Research Center.

    What's going on?

    For more than a generation, being tagged a liberal was the fastest way to send a politician's campaign to the trash heap of history. Think of Buddy McKay's loss to Jeb Bush in 1998. Ugly. Think of any local congressional or legislative race in the past 15 years. Very ugly.
    "The return of liberals won't work".

    Stop the Presses

    "Florida's top environmental regulator has upheld a ruling that makes International Paper stop polluting Perdido Bay near Pensacola. Maybe under Gov. Crist, the Department of Environmental Protection actually will protect the environment." "State stops a polluter".

    "Children's Cabinet"

    "It was an unusual act of government to create a 'children's cabinet' to address the health, education and development of our young people in a state known more for its retirees. The vision of Rep. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, this 15-member board will be meeting around Florida six times a year. It can move in a lot of directions, streamlining services and screening state laws and policies to advise governors and legislators how they affect Florida's youngest citizens." "Children's Cabinet".

    Bright Futures

    "From the first lottery dollar spent on college tuition, lawmakers and university presidents have done everything politically possible to tweak the state's popular Bright Futures scholarship." "Campaign to change Bright Futures advances".

    "Court tosses out SOH lawsuit"

    "A victory in court offers a sense of relief, but it's critical Floridians continue to press for equity and fairness in the property tax system. Earlier last week, a Tallahassee circuit court dismissed a legal challenge to Florida's Save Our Homes constitutional amendment. The victory for the popular provision doesn't end the legal fight, since the attorney for three Alabama residents challenging SOH's constitutionality says they will appeal their case all the way to the Supreme Court." "Property Taxes".

    Bill Cotterell

    "State employees have seen budget cuts before, so they know what to expect as Gov. Charlie Crist and the Legislature set to work carving $1 billion-plus out of this year's spending."

    The question on a lot of minds, understandably, is: "Will there be layoffs?"

    The answer is unsatisfying: Nobody knows.
    "State workers get nervous when budgets get cut".

    "Help helpless"

    "The Florida Legislature set aside $3.8 million during the 2007 session for community programs aimed at keeping people with substance-abuse and mental-health problems out of jail. The goal is to make treatment programs more effective and more accessible." "Florida pledges to help helpless".

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