"Republican State Attorney General Bill McCollum holds a narrow 40 - 36 percent lead over Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat, in the race for Florida governor, while Floridians' view of President Barack Obama is up from a 45 - 49 percent negative in January to 50 - 45 percent positive today, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today."
Voters say 54 - 40 percent that it's a "bad idea" for McCollum to file a lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul. Voters say 38 - 28 percent, including 41 - 27 percent among independent voters, that it makes them less likely to support his gubernatorial bid ...Brown continues:
Voters approve 51 - 25 percent of the job McCollum is doing as Attorney General and give him a 38 - 18 percent favorability rating, with 41 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion.
Ms. Sink gets a 39 - 26 percent approval rating for her job as CFO and a 22 - 15 percent favorability rating, with 61 percent who don't know enough about her to form an opinion.
"Attorney General Bill McCollum clings to a slim lead over CFO Alex Sink in the governor's race, a lead he has held since last August. He is better known than she and voters grade him somewhat better for the job he is doing. While most would rather be in his shoes, on the up side of a close race, November is a long way off," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Ms. Sink's low voter recognition is a double-edged sword: She has an opportunity to introduce herself to a majority of the electorate, while McCollum has the chance to define her in an unflattering way."McCollum Leads Tight Florida Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds" ("From April 8 - 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,250 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.")
Crist to be called as a witness?
"The planners of the airport project that ended former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom's political career in scandal deliberately concealed the location of the building, according to newly surfaced documents." "Gov. Charlie Crist may testify in Ray Sansom case".
Bill Cotterell: "Just as the state reshuffles some of its contracts with the private prison industry, we get a report that says maybe the whole business is not such a good deal."
"Privatization of prisons, as reflected in state law, is expected to operate at lower costs and produce lower recidivism rates, compared to prisons operated by the state," said the [Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy]. "But with over a decade of experience, there is no good evidence to conclude that Florida is getting the results that it expected and as the law requires, both in terms of cost and rehabilitative impact on offenders.""Report grades Florida's privatized prisons".
Greer an expensive date
"Jim Greer more than doubled the Republican Party of Florida overhead, an analysis shows." "GOP's Jim Greer outspent his predecessor".
McCollumn's healthcare attack backfiring
"Attorney General Bill McCollum's lawsuit against national health care may be costing him politically, as new statewide poll shows the race for governor tightening." "McCollumn's lawsuit against national healthcare hurting him in new poll".
"With lame duck Republican Gov. Charlie Crist weighing an independent bid for the U.S. Senate, Democrats are more convinced than ever that a shadow captain is guiding the ship of state."
Former Gov. Jeb Bush was a driving force behind the controversial merit-pay plan for teachers that Crist vetoed Thursday."Former Gov. Jeb Bush shaping Fla. Session".
But other prized elements of Bush's conservative agenda — corporate tax breaks, a move to water down a class-size mandate, expanded corporate vouchers, property-insurance reforms — still dominate the remaining two weeks of session.
"He's going to get more done this year than he could when he was here," said Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson of Tallahassee. "Jeb Bush and (former aide) Pat Levesque knew more about that merit-pay bill than anyone else up here. There are a lot of angry Republicans now that it's vetoed, but they just don't understand. That's not the way it's supposed to work up here."
House and Senate leaders, betting that conservative Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum will win the governor's office in November, say they will try to pass the merit pay bill again next year.
It's a year that the Bush influence could be stronger than ever.
"Educators, parents and students cheered and then took a collective sigh of relief when Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a bill that would have upended the current system of paying and firing teachers."
While that proposed law dominated daily news coverage, a handful of others that could change the state's education landscape significantly moved forward without nearly the same level of public attention."Teacher pay veto overshadows other Florida education bills".
And those are almost certain to become law -- or, in one case, go to the voters to change existing law.
• Adding more rigorous math and science classes to graduation requirements and replacing high school FCATs in those subjects with end-of-course exams in algebra, geometry and biology.
• Asking voters in November if they approve of changing the 2002 class size amendment, which meets its final deadline for implementation this year. ...
• Expanding the state's voucher program for low-income kids so private schools could eventually collect as much as 80 percent of the per-student money given to public schools by the state.
Run Marco, Run!
"Former House Speaker Marco Rubio hasn't been elected to the U.S. Senate — he hasn't even won the Republican primary — but already his name is being floated as a possible 2012 presidential contender."
One of the latest mentions comes from Richard Land, a national conservative figure and president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention."PolitiFact: Comparison of Marco Rubio, Barack Obama's experience Barely True".
"The longer nobody catches fire, the more space there is for Marco," Land recently told Politico. "It wouldn't be unheard of for a freshman senator from Florida to be the nominee — particularly one who was speaker of the (Florida House).
"He's got more experience than Obama had," Land continued. "There are a lot of Hispanics in this country who would find someone with Marco's ethnic background very appealing. Although I like Sarah (Palin), I think Sarah's got a lot more impediments to a nomination than Marco Rubio does."
"With just a dozen days left before their scheduled adjournment, the House and Senate are finally ready to get to work on negotiating a state budget." "Florida Legislature will soon negotiate state budget". See also: "Florida Legislature will soon negotiate state budget".
"Man bites dog"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "It's as unlikely as a headline that reads: Man bites dog. But here it is: Florida's Legislature has an antibusiness bias. How else, in a state with a 12.3 percent unemployment rate, can you explain a tax policy that ultimately gives a competitive advantage to out-of-state, online retailers over homegrown shops that employ Floridians?" "Make Florida's sales tax fairer".
"Sen. Mitch McConnell endorsed Crist when the governor announced his Senate bid nearly a year ago. But with Marco Rubio's campaign surging and rumors swirling over a possible independent run by Crist, McConnell was more lukewarm in his support in an appearance Sunday on CNN's 'State of the Union.'" "Senate GOP leader more tepid in Crist endorsement".
"Bills letting motorists donate to charities go to governor".
Atwater drinks the tea
"Jeff Atwater is the presiding officer of the Florida Senate, one of the three most powerful politicians of the fourth largest state in the nation." "Powerful Atwater embracing Tea Party".
"Insurance legislation could benefit property insurers -- at the expense of customers, one lawmaker says." "Property insurance revamp could favor insurers, lawmaker says". Related: "Legislation could raise insurance rates, but industry says it is necessary".
The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Florida unemployment reached a new high of 12.3 percent in March, far above the national average of 9.7 percent. Yet state lawmakers could make those numbers worse with a House plan to redirect $466 million in transportation dollars next year to help pay for everything from prisons to schools." "Lawmakers shouldn't cut road spending".
Editors fight for yachtsmen
How many folks would buy a yacht, but for the sales tax? Please. The Sun-Sentinel editorial board are apparently moved by this issue: "Tax cap on yachts makes sense".
"Most of Florida's 2.7 million Medicaid recipients in all 67 counties would be placed in private managed care plans under a pair of bills up for a House vote." "Florida House set to vote on Medicaid overhaul".
PThe Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The Legislature's proposed overhaul of Florida's $18 billion Medicaid program would benefit insurance companies, not patients and taxpayers." "First, show that reform works: Legislature rushing to shift Medicaid to managed care".