"The Republican-controlled Legislature is turning more conservative than it has been in more than a decade -- an opportunity or challenge for the next governor, no matter who wins."
The biggest cause for the shift is in the Senate, always the brake on the more ideologically driven House. The Senate's contingent of GOP moderates has dwindled, and its next president, Mike Haridopolos, is determined to go right."New Florida governor will face more conservative Legislature".
For years, "the Florida Senate has been the -- let's just say the graveyard for some good ideas from Republicans," said Haridopolos, speaking at a recent GOP "unity" event in Tampa.
"We have a potential alignment of the House and Senate leadership that hasn't happened in probably 15 years or more," incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon told supporters at the same event. "The Senate President and Speaker of the House not only like each other, but they're hard right-wing conservatives."
So is Scott, who, paired with a like-minded Legislature, could fast-track right-wing policies that have languished for years.
"Republicans can't stop indulging in political wrangling"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "It's one thing for Republican legislators to carry on their feud with Gov. Charlie Crist on a party level. It's quite another when the feud hurts thousands of Floridians by denying them hundreds of dollars in promised rebates."
When Gov. Crist quit the Republican Party to run as an independent in the U.S. Senate race, it heated up a low-grade fever of antipathy that had been percolating between the governor and GOP leaders in the state House and Senate. Mr. Crist vetoed some of their pet legislation this year, like SB 6, which he said imposed draconian measures on teachers."Clunker politics".
So they balked at his proposal to put a constitutional amendment banning oil drilling off Florida's coast on the Nov. 4 ballot, mostly, it appeared, out of spite. ...
Thousands of Floridians -- in good faith -- invested in energy-saving technology believing they would get partially repaid by the state government for their efforts. Now these consumers are in limbo because the Republicans running the state can't stop indulging in fruitless political wrangling. Shameful.
The Sun Sentinel editors: "How many politicians does it take to pull off an energy rebate program? Who knows, but when it comes to providing energy rebates, the state of Florida has become a bit of a joke, a punch line for a botched public policy." "Florida's a clunker when it comes to rebate programs".
Second amendment remedies
"Republican candidates for statewide office pledged during the weekend to continue defending the Second Amendment -- and took aim at Democrats who, they said, are working to undermine the right to bear arms." "GOP Candidates Pledge to Defend Right to Bear Arms".
Scott a "Pants on Fire" liar
Bidnessman and would-be-gubner, Rick Scott actually claims that "'the stimulus has not created one private-sector job'". According to PolitiFact, "with thousands of Floridians employed because of stimulus-funded programs — not to mention jobs for a company in which Scott owns stock — we rate his statement Pants on Fire." "PolitiFact: Stimulus created private-sector jobs in Florida, unlike Scott claimed".
Obama on his way
"U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, will get a fat wad of reelection cash and Republican challenger Allen West will get a campaign talking point next month when President Obama comes to South Florida for a Klein fund-raiser." "Bennett on Politics: Obama fund-raiser means cash for Klein, talking point for West". Related: "Ron Klein and Allen West biographies".
Flat tuition rate
"Florida's full-time public university students could soon be paying a flat tuition, no matter how many classes they take, under a plan being considered by the state board." "Florida public universities may adopt flat tuition".
Pulling together as a community
"The ongoing court fight over Volusia County's school impact fees gathered steam this week with a lawsuit filed by the developer of an unfinished adults-only community in DeLand. In a 10-page complaint, the developer and owners of a portion of the Victoria Gardens development are seeking a refund of more than $515,604. The lawsuit relies in part on a 2000 Florida Supreme Court decision that banned collection of fees from the Aberdeen community in Ormond Beach because no one younger than 55 was allowed to live there." "Adult community sues over school fees".
Florida's retirees turn right
"Senior citizens make up one-fourth of the state's electorate, and they usually turn out for midterm elections while younger voters often stay away from the polls."
The tendency of senior citizens this year to turn away from Democrats reflects a generational shift that was apparent two years ago when most voters 65 and older backed Obama's Republican opponent, John McCain. It has been intensified this year by the emergence of the tea party movement, which has attracted an older crowd to its rallies."Worried about national debt, older Florida voters may turn against Democrats in elections".
"UF Considers Eliminating Fall Semester"
"The University of Florida is considering a proposal that would give incoming students the option of taking classes during the spring and summer terms only, bypassing the fall semester, to ease the strain on its crowded facilities." "University Of Florida Considers Eliminating Fall Semester For Some Students".
AFL-CIO goes after Scott
"Continuing to assume the role of one of the most politically aggressive organizations operating on the progressive side of the aisle, the AFL-CIO sent out 2.5 million pieces of campaign mail on Monday targeting Republicans in roughly 50 congressional and gubernatorial races."
But it's some of the specific attacks -- in addition to the sheer size of the campaign -- that stick out for their directness. The AFL-CIO takes Kentucky Republican Rand Paul to task for casually dismissing the death of two Kentucky coal miners. The federation pastes harrowing footage of the 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse, to attack that state's gubernatorial candidate, Tom Emmer, for voting "against funds that may have prevented" that catastrophe. It takes on Florida Gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott by insisting that Florida taxpayers paid for his "fraud-fueled, million-dollar fortune" and it mocks Oregon gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley for moving his residence to Washington during his NBC career to avoid paying higher taxes. "AFL-CIO Goes Big And Aggressive, Sends Out 2.5 Million Mailers".
Coming on the heals of a two-million mailer campaign that the union launched last week, the latest batch underscores the extent to which the AFL-CIO has determined that brass-knuckled politics is the path to victory in a tough electoral climate.
Amendment 4 and "the case of St. Pete Beach"
"As Floridians prepare to vote on Amendment 4 this November, they may have a valid sketch of the measure in real-world application with the case of St. Pete Beach, a name that pops up among arguments from advocates on both sides of the issue." "St. Pete Beach: Face of Amendment 4 in Action?". Related: "Does Amendment 4 Go Too Far?".
"One of the most powerful in the House"
"Rep. Denise Grimsley, R-Lake Placid, was named House Appropriations Committee chairwoman last week by incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, who will take over if Republicans maintain control of the 120-member chamber. ... Here are five questions for the woman who will be one of the most powerful in the House in the coming two years, and her responses." "Five Questions for Rep. Denise Grimsley".
"Forward to the Constitution"?
"The line-up of speakers at Saturday afternoon’s 'Forward to the Constitution' Tea Party rally in St. Augustine read like a who’s-who of Republican candidates in statewide elections." "At rally, North Florida Tea Partiers assert their independence".
DWS under fire
"Wasserman Schultz receives award for support of small business while GOP foe Harrington rips into her record". "Small-Business Issues Shaping Race in CD 20".
What can the next Governor do?
"Not Clear What Next Governor Can Do for Foreclosure Crisis".
The Orlando Sentinel editors question "the golden parachutes offered to those who run nonprofit and public-private institutions. They're often too big, veiled in secrecy and subject to arbitrary changes." "Severance pay for agency executives is too generous for these economic times".