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Update: "House Budget Chief David Rivera, a Republican from Miami, was all stiff smiles this morning when prodded about stalled budget negotiations with the Senate." "Updated: House budget chief: 'Stay tuned' in budget logjam".
"Having wrestled with their respective budgets late last week, the House and Senate return Monday to begin what should be intense negotiations over a final product."
The budget conference process was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., but Sunday afternoon, leaders said it would be delayed. The Senate suggested the meeting be scrapped because the two chambers aren't yet in sync on a bottom line. "House and Senate budget negotiations likely to be intense". See also "Clock is ticking as Florida Senate, House begin work today on a budget agreement".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "No more excuses. This year Florida lawmakers must repair past blunders that harm the children of the state's working poor families ...". "Fix KidCare now".
Florida's Panhandle: "Capital of Dumb and Nasty in the United States"?
"It is no secret that, "in the Florida Panhandle, with its stereotype of a Republican bloc-vote of retired military officers, the Christian right and unreconstructed Good Ol' Boys ... there [never is] much of a presidential race ... [in 2000' Bush won the region with roughly 70 percent of the vote] ... The issue's unspoken subtext is whether the region has become a Capital of Dumb and Nasty in the United States." "The Redneck Riviera, where Bush can't lose" (scroll down).
The latest: "Okaloosa's tarnished image" and "To the powerful, like Sansom, go budget spoils" ("a grand jury said that putting billions of dollars into the hands of politically ambitious people is a recipe for cronyism and back-scratching.") See also "Crist's ex-aide won't face ethics investigation for Space Florida job scandal" ("Harris, a Pensacola native, oversaw space and defense projects for the Office of Trade, Tourism and Economic Development, a part of Crist's office.")
More about Okaloosa: "Dee Thompson-Poirrier, director of animal control for Okaloosa County, understands the uneasiness. She said there was a lot of backlash in the community when she investigated the goat case last year in nearby Walton County."
When Thompson-Poirrier pushed to have a rape kit done, she said she heard: "It's just a goat lady, get a grip. A lot of people said you're wasting your money. You're wasting the court's time.""Bestiality bill finds slim support" (scroll down to "Can't we at least agree on this?").
'Splain this to us Charlie. Willya?
"Although state lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist say there's plenty of money to run public schools in the fall, Seminole County school officials say their district may face a $35 million shortfall." "Seminole schools expect hefty budget cuts".
Pigs at the trough
The pigs dispensed with pretenses a long time ago: "Almost $4 million in political contributions washed through the state Capitol since January, far more cash than lawmakers reaped during a similar period last election season, according to new campaign-finance reports." "State lawmakers rake in campaign cash".
That leaves dumb and dumberer
"Former state Rep. Marty Bowen of Haines City says she's dropping out of the 2010 race for state agriculture commissioner, leaving the Republican side of this Cabinet contest a two-man race between U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow and state Sen. Carey Baker of Eustis." "Marty Bowen folds tent in 2010 Ag race".
Florida's polo crowd in a dither
"Reports: Horse death toll up to 21 at Florida polo club".
Billy gets an early start in the race for Governor
"Florida AG's office to be featured on Oprah".
"There are 53 new members of Congress this year. This month, I became the first one of us to pass a bill through the U.S. House of Representatives. It wasn't a bill to rename a post office, or establish a commission. It was a bill to crack down on the extravagant bonuses that American International Group and other government-owned financial institutions have been paying out, wasting taxpayer money." "Alan Grayson: The real deal about bonus pay".
Instead of tea bags ...
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Organizers of last week's 'Tea Party' protests billed them as a bid for participants to 'take back' their country. "
Floridians have another, more practical opportunity to take back their state -- one that doesn't involve tea bags. This one is a statewide campaign to restore some integrity to the now-corrupt system of drawing legislative and congressional districts."Give voters a choice".
Florida lawmakers go through the redistricting process every 10 years, supposedly to adjust the boundary lines to population changes revealed by the census. But the party in control of the Legislature seizes the chance to design districts that serve only to protect its majority.
Theme park blues
"Universal Orlando attendance falls 20 percent".
"It seems simple enough. Elected officials face a large gathering — 1,300 showed up last year - and state their positions on a key issue. Some commissioners, however, cited a county attorney's opinion that such a gathering constitutes a public meeting. Not to be deterred, PEACE agreed to advertise the meeting and record it." "Cowardly commissioners".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board:
the bill would let phone companies raise rates on lots of people who have basic land-line service. Those customers tend to be low-income or elderly, or both. Until now, basic customers, including those who had perhaps one add-on service, such as caller ID, have been protected from a law that allows phone companies to raise rates up to 20 percent a year on customers who subscribe to a larger menu of add-on services."Stop latest phone-rate scam".
Stoopid is ...
"The current system for dealing with mentally ill people who commit crimes is, by all accounts, broken. And expensive:"
It costs Florida taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year."Florida lawmakers weigh overhauling system for mentally ill criminals".
People with schizophrenia or other mental illnesses who get arrested are sent to expensive mental health facilities, where they're stabilized for the sole purpose of appearing in court. Most get released on time served, only to get sick again for lack of medication and treatment. They commit more crimes and the process starts all over.
"Correcting America's dark chapter of torture".
"Chinese drywall watchdog was imprisoned for fraud in 1990s Ponzi scheme".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "For the second consecutive year, Florida lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have banned public employees from 'double dipping,' or collecting both a pension and a paycheck at the same time. Lawmakers have until the end of session on May 1 to change their minds, but that seems unlikely." "Work special: paid twice for one job".
"A proposal that would give Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University a lead role in a new space transportation research-and-development institute got unanimous support from the Florida House." "ERAU-led space project gets House OK".