Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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 Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Session Update

    The The Tallahassee Democrat's "2009 Legislature roundup" for today. More: "Today at the Florida Capitol".

    Drowning the baby

    "As Florida lawmakers inch closer to the conclusion that the only way out of this year's fiscal crisis is to raise new revenues, they're offering a bevy of bills to streamline regulations, dismantle or merge agencies, to send the politically appealing message that they're serious about scaling back government. " "Crisis brings lawmakers chance to deal".

    Brain dead

    "The first stop for a proposal to require a woman view an ultrasound before receiving an abortion cleared its first House committee today." "Abortion ultrasound bill passes first hurdle".

    The campaign continues

    "Four months after the election, President Barack Obama is resurrecting his campaign army in Florida and nationwide to help him sell his $3.5 trillion budget to Congress."

    It's the first call to action by Organizing for America, the Democratic Party initiative to turn the campaign's vast grass-roots network into a year-round support system that registers voters, promotes the administration's policies and lays the groundwork for a second term.

    Known informally as Obama 2.0 because it represents the second phase of the Internet-savvy campaign, the program will test the staying power of a celebrity president long after the bumper stickers start to fade.

    The Democratic Party plans to deploy staffers across the country over the next several weeks, including 35 to 40 people in Florida, the nation's largest swing state. The campaign-in-waiting could set the stage for Florida Democrats in the 2010 election, when a U.S. Senate seat and possibly other statewide offices will be up for grabs.
    "Obama's Florida network mobilized to promote presidential agenda".

    Perhaps King J.D. should get a job

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "the threat to cut state employee's salaries by 5 percent is like imposing a 5-percent tax on them in order to make life easier on ... exactly whom?"

    On the lawmakers themselves who are, to date, unable to summon the courage to even out Florida's inequitable tax structure and be sure everyone pays a little bit for services we all require and enjoy.

    These services are provided, and the laws the Legislature passes carried out, by the staff of the state of Florida — the men and women who are in every line of work protecting, teaching, building and maintaining the functions and infrastructure of government.

    No question there may be more efficiencies to find, and perhaps there are even some divisions where redundant or inept employees are still on the payroll. That is true anywhere, public or private and regardless of hard times.

    But given that the state has cut its staffing in all departments for three years running and, during that time, given no raises whatever to state employees, it is getting increasingly hard to make a case, as some do, for hiring fewer people but better ones and paying them more. ...

    Yet government employees remain a favorite whipping boy of the high and the mighty. Senate budget chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Winter Haven, who has proposed this 5-percent pay cut, is an heir to the Ben Hill Griffin land baron family that has holdings from Central Florida through the Everglades. So perhaps it understandable that he can't comprehend the working lives of state employees.
    "Cutting state pay makes a mockery of job-creation talk".

    "House Minority Leader Franklin Sands, D-Weston, "
    told the labor activists that the Republican leadership of the Legislature did not give state workers any pay raises when times were good — and now wants to cut salaries in an economic crisis. Sands said the GOP tries to make the Democrats look like tax-and-spend liberals for advocating repeal of some tax breaks given to the wealthy in the past eight to 10 years.

    "They try to bait us every day," said Sands. "They made the state what it is today. What we're experiencing right now is the Jeb Bush legacy; you know, he claims he took $18 billion in tax cuts, and that's a really wonderful thing, but the problem is real people didn't benefit from most of that. It went to the really wealthy."
    "State workers' union protests potential pay cuts at Florida capitol".

    Laff riot

    "'Card check' bill advances in Senate".

    No more ... "You're going straight to the Principal"

    "Budget crunched elementary schools could open in central Florida this fall without principals." "No principal proposal for hurting schools".

    Busy bodies

    "The leader of the movement to ban same-sex marriage in Florida now wants to make it harder and more expensive for heterosexual couples to marry — and divorce." "Would $100 marriage-license fee help prevent divorce?".

    "Startling admission"

    "Thousands of students pinning their hopes for a degree on Florida's community colleges could be left without a seat in class next fall because of state budget cuts and mushrooming enrollment."

    The startling admission from state officials comes as more and more people are looking to community colleges for retraining in a tough job market and a growing number of high-school students sign up for dual enrollment.
    "Thousands of students could be shut out of Florida's community colleges".

    Another vacuous PR stunt

    "Navy sailors and others in north Florida are getting a chance to voice their concerns to Gov. Charlie Crist as he holds a town hall meeting at Mayport Naval Station." "Florida governor holds town hall meeting on base".

    "The malfeasance may go deeper"

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Hillsborough Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson's spending of tax dollars is already the focus of an FBI investigation and at least two ongoing audits by state and local officials. But as ... the malfeasance may go deeper." "Expand Buddy Johnson investigation".

    More unfunded, feel good RPOF mandates

    "Ratcheting up the standards for high school graduation, Florida lawmakers Tuesday proposed requiring students to take tougher math and science courses and post higher test scores." "State gets tough on schoolwork".

    But here's the kicker: "GOP Bill Raises Academic Bar, Not Funding".

    Related: "In Tallahassee, a pair of plans are floated".

    What a bargain!

    "Big business scored a victory Tuesday ...".

    The debate focuses on the Supreme Court's ruling in October that lawyers must receive "reasonable fees." The Port Charlotte attorney for an injured nurse was initially awarded $685 after 80 hours of work.
    "Bill to cap attorney fees clears House panel".


    "[W]ith Florida in the midst of its annual Sunshine Week, Gov. Charlie Crist and state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink unveiled an Internet site Tuesday that will allow Floridians to see who is getting state tax dollars -- and how much. ... Information on the site, flgov.com/sunshinespending, will be updated nightly." "New site shows tax spending".


    "Florida state contracts go online".


    "A push to regulate the use of confidential informants cleared an important hurdle on Wednesday, but only after the heart-wrenching pleas of a grieving father left some lawmakers wondering whether 'Rachel's Law' goes far enough." "Updated: Rachel's Law passes Senate committee".

    Will that be cash or charge?

    "The Florida Senate began pushing back Tuesday against the dozens of cash-strapped local governments that have begun charging crash victims for police and firefighter response." "Senator files measure that would ban Florida cities, counties from charging fees in crashes".


    "City to vote on Marlins stadium Thursday".

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