"Florida Republican leaders have begun crafting anti-illegal-immigrant legislation modeled after an Arizona law that has incited widespread protests and fueled national and international debate over U.S. immigration policies. Under the proposed bill, police would have broad power under state law to ask suspects for proof of legal residency, said Rep. William Snyder, a Republican from Stuart who plans to introduce the legislation in November."
It has the backing of both leading Republican gubernatorial candidates -- businessman Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum, whose office is helping to draft the bill. ..."An 'Arizona' law in Florida?".
Rep. J.C. Planas, a Republican from Miami, called it an election-year stunt.
Florida's last stand
"Alex Sink delivered a simple message Friday to the heart of Palm Beach County's liberal condo belt: Support her campaign for governor or watch Florida become one of the most conservative states in the country." "Sink warns SoFla Democrats that state could go completely conservative".
Teabagger laff riot
"The alliance of local leaders in the Tea Party movement called the news conference to renounce the newly formed Florida Tea Party as a front group meant to help Democrats. But the leaders of the Florida Tea Party crashed the news conference, which at times degenerated into a circus of shouts, interruptions and threats of assault charges." "Tea partyers clash, accuse each of other of intimidation".
Crist is successfully "threading a needle"
"Charlie Crist is threading a needle — successfully so far — in trying to build a coalition of enough Democratic, Republican and independent supporters to pull off an unprecedented nonpartisan statewide victory."
But as Gov. Crist reaches out more and more to Democratic voters, he's in danger of alienating Republicans he still needs to win the U.S. Senate race."As Crist reaches out to more Democrats, he risks alienating moderate Republicans".
The man who for years touted his conservatism has in recent weeks vetoed an anti-abortion bill; applauded the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, after opposing Sonia Sotomayor when he was a Republican; reversed course and said he supports repealing "don't ask, don't tell"; consistently praised President Barack Obama's response to the BP oil catastrophe; and endorsed a redistricting reform proposal reviled by most Republican leaders in Florida.
Kosmas, Boyd and Grayson vulnerable?
Chris Cillizza, the 'Fix' blogger for the Washington Post, has come out with "his list of 30 U.S. House seats most likely to switch parties this fall -- and three Florida seats are on it. Cillizza has Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, at number 13, followed by Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, at 25 and Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, at 30. Grayson's vulnerability rating actually dropped a bit since Cillizza's prior rankings on May 14, when his was the 9th most vulnerable seat in the nation. Kosmas and Boyd made Cillizza's list for the first time. See the full post on his blog here". "Grayson, Kosmas, Boyd deemed vulnerable".
Here's what Cillizza says, although it is apparent he is overrating the quality of the (potential) RPOFer opposition:
Florida's 2nd (Democratic-controlled): Rep. Allen Boyd has a double-barreled problem: a primary challenge from his ideological left in the form of state Sen. Al Lawson and then a real general election opponent who, according to an internal GOP poll, is already beating Boyd. And, although the Democratic primary isn't until Aug. 24, it's already getting nasty.With all due respect to Cillizza's view from Washington, Grayson is running a helluva ground campaign, and, with the Republican's looking to run a retread, anti-choice, home-schoolin' right winger (Webster), together with a teabagger in the race to sypo noff the wingnut vote, Grayson looks to be favored to win his race.
Florida's 24th (D): Freshman Rep. Suzanne Kosmas' (D) 16-point victory over Tom Feeney (R) in 2008 was a bit deceiving as this central Florida seat is a very competitive one. (John McCain won with by two points in 2008 even as he was losing statewide by three.) Republicans have a a crowded -- and late -- primary but former Ruth's Chris steakhouse CEO Craig Miller looks like the nominee.
Florida's 8th (D): Rep. Alan Grayson's (D-Fla.) string of controversial comments sure look like a potentially potent liability in November. But national Republicans, worried about a tough and wide-open primary here, aren't quite as bullish. Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) recently endorsed former state Sen. Dan Webster in the GOP primary, but national Republicans like businessman Bruce O'Donoghue.
"McCollum bashes White House, rallies GOP faithful in Tampa appearance" "McCollum bashes White House, rallies GOP faithful in Tampa appearance".
Never mind the oil
Aaron Deslatte: "Remember that early-summer drumbeat for a special lawmaking session to pass a constitutional ban on oil drilling?"
Well the clock appears to have expired on that front. Both House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, and Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, have resisted the idea pushed by Gov. Charlie Crist to pass a constitutional amendment banning oil drilling, which state law already outlaws in near-shore Florida waters."Special session on oil drilling a no-go".
"Late FCAT scores set for release Monday".
Running gov'ment like a bidness
First these dopes "spent tens of thousands of dollars, meant to help find people jobs, on feeding and entertaining itself."
Now, "Jobs at the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance continue to vanish as more day-to-day duties are being turned over to a private service provider." "Dozens of workforce alliance employees out of work".
"Tests show BP is on target for mid-August completion of a relief well in the Gulf of Mexico, the best hope of stopping the oil that's been gushing since April, the company said Friday." "BP says Gulf of Mexico relief well on target for completion mid-August".
See also "Town takes center stage in fight over oil policies", "BP's "media star" tries to reassure Florida officials", "Bob Graham promises objective, thorough assessment by oil spill", Oil spill: Panhandle hotels full — but not celebrating, "Pensacola Beach reopens after heavy oil washes ashore", "Vice President Biden To Visit Gulf Region Tuesday", "Little spent on oil spill cleanup technology", "Oil brings anguish, need for counseling, for landlocked fishermen", "Pensacola Beach reopons after heavy oil washes up", "Oil may pose a hazard for humans, too", "Tropical system threatens gusher zone" and "Unclear if tropical depression will hit oiled Gulf".
BP says "jump!"
"Three GOP Congressional candidates in Florida have received campaign money thanks to Joe Barton, the Texas congressman who came under heavy fire this month for apologizing to British Petroleum for the federal government's treatment of the company."
So far, none of the candidates has agreed to calls from Democrats to give the money back. Among the candidates is Dennis Ross, a former state legislator from Lakeland, who refused a Democratic opponent's [Lori Edwards] public call on him this week to give back what she described as "dirty money." ..."Florida candidates will keep money from Texan who apologized to BP".
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney of Tequesta, who is running for re-election, received $1,000 from the fund in December. Allen West of Deerfield Beach, a retired Army lieutenant colonel challenging U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, received $1,000 from the PAC in March. ...
Though many in the GOP have sought distance from Barton, the controversy surrounding him apparently has not dissuaded U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, from holding a fundraiser next week at which Barton is reportedly a featured guest.
McCollum admits committee connection
Steve Bousquet: "McCollum, under fire from Scott's campaign for actively soliciting donations to two political committees working on his behalf, confirmed he has signed required paperwork with the state for elected officials who solicit such funds."
McCollum "hiding behind technicalities and shadow groups"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The question of whether Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is violating state election law comes down to what 'control' means. It should come down to transparency."
Mr. McCollum doesn't want the public to know who is giving millions of dollars to these groups, which have paid for attack ads against Mr. Scott. In a May 25 e-mail disclosed by the St. Petersburg Times, a Philadelphia media producer seeks final approval for one of those ads. Among the e-mail recipients are Mr. McCollum's campaign manager, pollster, consultant and two McCollum media producers. The list also includes Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and the head of Alliance for America's Future. "McCollum's secret campaign: Trailing in the polls, he's skirting election law.".
In a June 10 e-mail obtained by The Tampa Tribune, the wife of Mr. McCollum's campaign manager sends financial wiring instructions to a Miami contributor on behalf of the Florida First Initiative, another 527 airing attack ads against Mr. Scott. The message, which is copied to Mr. McCollum's finance director, says "Bill McCollum asked that I forward this information to you."
Aside from requiring control, the new state law requires candidates for governor and other state offices to acknowledge their role in these shadowy groups if they "directly or indirectly solicit" money. After release of that e-mail, Mr. McCollum cannot deny soliciting on behalf of the 527. His campaign falls back on "control," an iffy defense. ...
Mr. McCollum, the attorney general charged with pursuing violations of election law, is hiding behind technicalities and shadow groups. It's a lousy campaign message from someone who wants to be Florida's next governor.
"SunRail, bullet train on track for 2015".
Thank 'ye, Kendrick
Jac Wilder VerSteeg: "Here's an irony: When U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, voted in 2008 for the $700 billion financial bailout, he might have made it possible for Jeff Greene to afford the campaign that may cost Rep. Meek the Democratic Senate nomination."
Money from the taxpayer-financed bailout went to, among other institutions, big Wall Street banks that owed Mr. Greene hundreds of millions of dollars. If Congress and President Bush hadn't approved the bailout - or, as it's officially known, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) - the banks might not have been able to pay off Mr. Greene."Did Meek bail out Greene? From the public, to the banks, to him.".
Scott's "glaring liability"
"Rick Scott might have a glaring liability in his quest for the governor's mansion: his hair. Or lack thereof." "Is hair a factor in Florida governor's race?".
"A divided state panel on Thursday refused to set aside $2 million towards a Citrus County conservation purchase that had been tucked deep inside the new state budget. Instead the board of the Florida Communities Trust would only agree to set aside a much a smaller amount for the project that had the backing of Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness." "State board balks at budget provision passed by Legislature".
"Florida has joined multistate probe into Google".
"Health care freedom" idiocy
"A campaign effort has been launched to promote Amendment 9, the measure pushed by the GOP-controlled Legislature to block federal health care reform."
The effort to pass the "health care freedom" amendment is starting with just a website and grassroots education efforts. But organizers with Yes on 9 say they hope to get enough money to eventually buy television time and do direct-mail pieces to voters. The campaign will be led initially by Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis and Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, the two primary sponsors of the amendment but a steering committee of business leaders, medical professionals and conservative activists will be announced soon, said Erin VanSickle, a spokeswoman for the group."Campaign launched to promote Amendment 9".
The best he can do?
"McCollum Locks Down Gainesville With Local Party Boss".
DC GOPers undermining Florida budget
"The probability that Florida will see $1 billion in extra federal Medicaid money is growing dimmer with U.S. Senate Republicans blocking the measure from advancing this week and drawing concern from Florida lawmakers who partially built the state budget around the likely delivery of those dollars." "Lack of FMAP Could Spell Disaster for Florida Budget".
I got mine
"High Unemployment isn’t a Big Concern for Conservative Republicans".
Will wingnuts sink "innocence commission"?
"Even before the Florida Supreme Court launches an 'innocence commission,' some advocates are worried about its future."
Reformers with the Innocence Project of Florida urged Chief Justice Peggy Quince, a liberal and the first black woman to hold the post, to create the commission in hopes of identifying the serious flaws in the judicial system that put innocent people on death row."Fate of new 'Innocence Commission' not certain".
But just as the court is set to launch the commission, the chief justice gavel will rotate to Justice Charles Canady, a Republican and a former Congressman noted for his conservatism.
"Outgoing Chief Justice Peggy Quince has been actively consulting with incoming Chief Justice Charles T. Canady about the project. Quince initiated the project, but the Commission's work will occur during the Canady administration which begins July 1," court spokesman Craig Waters said Friday.
"Extraordinary legal fight"
"A battle over proposed redistricting amendments is turning into an extraordinary legal fight between members of Congress, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, Gov. Charlie Crist and even a former governor." "New showdown looming between Crist and Legislature".
"Eric Eikenberg lands job lobbying for Holland & Knight".
Perhaps McCollum "should be running for mayor"
"Florida's gubernatorial wannabes are confronting the worst economic climate in modern history with big plans — but precious few details — on how they would create more jobs."
One of its linchpins is cutting Florida's 5.5 percent corporate income tax rate to 4.5 percent, which would reduce tax collections by $282 million next year."Governor's race: Whose plan for new jobs will work?".
Both Sink and McCollum want to eliminate corporate income taxes altogether for startup companies. Sink's plan would "defer" the taxes for three years while McCollum's would waive them entirely for 10 years.
But neither campaign has assessed the financial hit to state coffers from doing so. And Florida is already the 47th lowest-taxed state per-capita in the country, according to the conservative Tax Foundation.
"We've lost 900,000 jobs and have one of the lowest tax burdens in the country. Making taxes even lower is not in any way a sure-proof way to create new jobs. We're already low," said John Hall, executive director of the progressive Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy.
Another piece of McCollum's jobs plan is freezing property-tax-millage rates for cities and counties for two years, so local governments don't try to balance their budgets by raising taxing rates as property values continue to slide.
After two years, McCollum wants lawmakers to adopt a property-tax cap that would allow taxes to climb only as much as inflationary pressures on consumers and businesses.
But cities and counties criticize that idea. Florida League of Cities lobbyist Rebecca O'Hara says the freeze would hamstring local governments' ability to respond to the Gulf oil disaster.
"If that's the kind of policy someone wants to propose, it sounds like they should be running for mayor," she said.