AG Bill McCollum embarrassed himself and the State of Florida when he "declared Tuesday there is 'no benefit' to the federal health care legislation supported by the Obama administration and invited attorneys general from around the nation to join him in preparing to challenge the policy on constitutional grounds. 'There is no benefit to this bill,' McCollum said of the pending health care reform. 'I can’t conceive of any.'"
"According to his legal analysis, McCollum said Congress cannot force citizens to purchase health care. It does not have the power to enact such a mandate. In his analysis, McCollum also drew upon precedents to argue that states have the right to sue the federal government to protect their interests."
Dems were quick to respond:
"McCollum showed he is tone deaf to the reality we have nearly four million uninsured Floridians, 800,000 of whom are children," said Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach. "His decision to challenge the constitutionality of the federal health care reform bill that is working its way through the Congress is shortsighted and nothing more than rank demagoguery.""McCollum Pushes Back on 'Forced' Health Care".
How much state paid attorney time has McCollum wasted in "researching" this issue, separate and apart from the time he himself has wasted blathering about the constitutionality of this issue?
RPOFers in action
"More expectant mothers could go without prenatal health care; more children could wind up abused. More seniors could wind up in nursing homes instead of aging peacefully at home."
Those are just some of the bleak prospects that appear in proposals that state Senate and House committees finalized today, in response to the state's $3.2 billion budget hole next fiscal year."Among the proposed cuts:"
Most of those cuts appear in the Senate's budget proposal which, so far, contains about $1 billion less for health care and human services.
• Eliminating prenatal care through Medicaid for pregnant women living between 150 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty line."Health care, human services could be hit hard with cuts". Related: "Healthy Families is worth saving, panel told".
• Halving a home-care program for seniors and eliminating other local services for seniors seeking to avoid institutionalization.
• Completely eliminating Healthy Families.
From the "values" crowd
"Republican legislation that would decouple adoptions from gun ownership gave Democrats a forum Tuesday to lambast the state ban on adoption by gay and lesbian couples."
Republican bills advancing in both houses would prohibit child welfare workers from asking couples who want to adopt children whether they own guns. Sen.Thad Altman of Melbourne, one of the sponsors, said asking people about gun ownership violated their Second Amendment rights."Guns, not gays OK for adoptive parents, GOP lawmakers say". Related: "Fla. Senate, House allow discussion but not vote of proposal to allow gay adoption".
"That's a private matter," Altman said. "A person has a lawful right to own a weapon." ...
Florida is the only state that expressly bans gay men and lesbians from adopting.
What's wrong with Hillsborough?
Steve Otto "Hillsborough County mired in Snoopergate".
"20,000 legal Florida voters were barred from casting ballots in 2000"
"A Florida elections supervisor raised the state's botched 2000 election Tuesday to argue for a controversial bill that would let convicted felons vote in federal elections after their release from prison -- regardless of state law. Ion Sancho, the supervisor of elections in Leon County, told members of a U.S. House judiciary panel that because of a flawed list that sought to identify felons, about 20,000 legal Florida voters were barred from casting ballots in 2000 -- 'a contest decided by a mere 537 votes.'" "Florida joins House debate on voting rights for felons".
Good ole boys
"Boys' club? Parties with free cigars, liquor for movers and shakers draw fire from women leaders". See also "" and "".
"More difficult to graduate"
"A key Senate committee gave its OK Tuesday to a bill that would make it more difficult to graduate high school in Florida, putting more emphasis on high level science and math classes." "Fla. Senate committee approves Race-to-Top increase in graduation standards".
Trial lawyers' "diminished political clout"
"The lobbying arm of the Florida trial lawyers limped into this legislative session, and the group's pain is only getting worse. A handful of measures to change litigation law are making swift progress in the first weeks of session, as advocates capitalize on the Florida Justice Association's diminished political clout." "Trial lawyers find themselves overruled in this legislative session".
"Drilling is really about a much bigger decision"
"Florida's debate over whether to open its narrow strip of waters in the Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling is really about a much bigger decision, according to a report done for the state Legislature."
Lifting the Florida ban on drilling "might weaken the state's position when protesting oil and gas activities in submerged lands under federal jurisdiction," concludes the study, conducted by the Collins Center for Public Policy at the request of Senate President Jeff Atwater."Study: Drilling debate over state’s Gulf waters has wider implications".
Children in prison
The Daytona Beach News Journal editors: "Florida leads the nation in sending children to prison. In a national study of children 14 or younger sent to adult prison for nonhomicidal crimes, three-quarters of the cases were in Florida. In the 2007-08 fiscal year, nearly 3,600 juvenile cases were transferred to adult court, and 443 people under the age of 17 were sent to adult prisons."
In the meantime, "the U.S. Supreme Court is using two Florida cases to determine whether sentencing children to spend the rest of their lives in prison is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual." "Wise to offer juveniles in prison a second chance".
Related: "More than half the states in the nation lowered their prison populations last year — but not Florida, where it continued to rise". "Florida prison population rises as most states show declines, study finds". See also "Florida's inmate population rises".
"Fees are up, but Fla. motor vehicle agency still strapped".
"Just a coincidence"
"If Jeff Atwater's Senate has its way, the higher office he seeks will have unprecedented power over privatized prisons, billions of dollars in purchasing authority and the power to investigate Medicaid and food-stamp fraud."
The bills to expand the post of Florida chief financial officer all come from Senate President Atwater's chamber — but that's just a coincidence, say Atwater and the senators sponsoring the legislation."Florida Senate president shepherds bills affecting CFO post he's seeking".
When you elect RPOFers ...
"Republican leaders in both House and Senate set the table for conservative legislation due to come to a vote when both convene Thursday." "Conservative Agenda on Deck".
'Glades Judge's patience "nearing an end"
"Eighteen months ago, the federal judge overseeing Everglades cleanup progress tentatively endorsed a state bid to buy sugar fields for restoration projects, calling the opportunity to 'buy out the polluters' a logical solution to long-standing problems. Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno made it clear Tuesday that his patience was nearing an end -- both with delays in the controversial land deal and the glacial pace of the cleanup." "Judge shows impatience with Everglades cleanup".
"Sen. Bill Nelson brings The Acreage cancer cluster to federal committee Wednesday".
Public school prayer
"Advocates are stirring for a fight on a long-contentious social issue that suddenly surfaced on the Florida Legislature's agenda: school prayer." "Florida legislators set Wednesday for debate on school prayer".
As Congressman Posey...
... does his Birther thing, his district is getting hammered: "Space program cuts hit Central Florida".
"Alex Sink sets economic goals if elected Florida governor".
"The House wants to overhaul the PSC to make commissioners act like judges and clarify the Legislature's control over policy." "House proposes to overhaul PSC's structure".
This is why "entrepreneurs" love high unemployment
Economics 101 - "Unemployed workers are facing a new reality:"
Their next job likely won't pay as much as their last one."More job seekers are willing to accept pay cuts".
Experts say the longer you're unemployed, the more likely you are to accept a pay cut.
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Speaker sets a thoughtful example on 911 bill".
"Three basic options"
Sunshine News: "Staring down a $3 billion deficit, Florida lawmakers have three basic options:"
* Adopt Gov. Charlie Crist's budget, which contains $2.7 billion in additional spending."Leaner, Not Meaner".
* Raid trust funds and make across-the-board cuts.
* Wring out more efficiencies with targeted spending reductions to build a $1 billion reserve.
Since there is absolutely no appetite for tax increases in this election year, the Crist plan may seem the least onerous option. But, Republican leaders in the Legislature doubt that Crist's numbers will add up.
The Miami Herald editorial board joins the editors bowing down to Saint TaxWatch: "Making ends meet in Tallahassee".
Bright Futures standards
"A Senate budget proposal might lead to more strict standards for the Bright Futures scholarship, which is millions short on funds." "Tougher standards proposed for Bright Futures Scholarship".