"Florida GOP leader John Thrasher engaged in damage control Thursday when he hosted a conference call with top Republican Party officials to explain why he didn't promptly inform them of a federal subpoena seeking party financial records."
A number of the executive board members said they were miffed that they first learned about the month-old subpoena in Thursday's editions of The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times."State GOP chairman downplays subpoena". See also "GOP chairman addresses subpoena".
Smith has it locked up
"Former lieutenant governor candidate Rod Smith appears to have locked up the votes to become the next chairman of Florida's beleaguered Democratic Party." "Rod Smith gains momentum in bid for state Democratic chairmanship".
Bits and Pieces
Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".
Haridopolos' ethics violations
"Senate President Mike Haridopolos will find out today whether the Florida Commission on Ethics will accept his mea culpa for failing to properly fill out his financial disclosure forms five years in a row and put this episode behind him. " "Fla. ethics committee to weigh Haridopolos' apology".
"The state Ethics Commission is considering a proposed settlement of financial disclosure violations by Senate President Mike Haridopolos. ... The report could include a recommendation to the Senate on a penalty." "Fla. Ethics panel considers Haridopolos settlement".
The "spats-and-ascot set" get what they paid for
"Trial lawyers are getting the bum's rush at the Legislature, where a Republican supermajority -- led in the Senate by right-minded President Mike Haridopolos -- will push aggressively for tort reform next year. The Senate Judiciary Committee expects to pass several business-friendly bills under its new chairwoman, Anitere Flores, R-Miami, who co-sponsored a workers' comp reform bill when she was in the House last session." "GOP Has Trial Lawyers On The Run". See also "First liability bill filed for 2011 session".
Developers laffing all the way to the country club
"The Florida Department of Community Affairs has withdrawn two controversial proposed rule changes because of the Legislature's override of the governor's veto of HB 1565."
"Both proposals faced opposition from industry groups. One proposed change would have established a requirement that local governments demonstrate the need for more development by comparing population growth projections with the amount of development already allowed. ... The other proposed change would implement requirements of 2008's HB 697, an energy bill that required local government growth plans to discourage urban sprawl and include greenhouse gas reduction strategies." "Agency withdraws proposed growth rules because of veto override".
The best he can do?
"Crist dropped fresh hints about his future Thursday, saying he will go home to St. Petersburg when his term ends next month and may join a national group that seeks alternatives to partisanship."
Crist said he plans to go to New York City Dec. 13 for the launch of No Labels, which advocates practical solutions to the nation's problems beyond party labels and has bipartisan support. A Crist friend and supporter, Democrat Nancy Jacobson, is a leader of the new group."Crist headed for role as rainmaker?" See also "Crist: 'A defeat doesn't mean everything went wrong'".
Lamenting the Republican Party's swerve to the right, Crist said: "There's still some reasonable Republicans, like my parents and my wife.''
Crist also said he's in "serious'' talks with trial lawyer John Morgan about joining the high-profile Morgan & Morgan personal injury law firm.
"Then came the fireworks"
"Gov.-elect Rick Scott met with members of Florida's congressional delegation in Washington on Tuesday and heard a litany of concerns: jobs, Medicaid funding, foreclosures and the BP oil spill."
Then came the fireworks."Gov.-elect Rick Scott gets an earful on Washington, D.C., trip". See also "Scott meets with South Florida legislators at Fort Lauderdale hotel".
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, started it, urging Scott not to spend time and energy trying to repeal the new health care law. But Scott, unflappable at the head of the table, said that's exactly what he's going to do, calling the law the biggest "job killer ever in the history of this country."
Sansom gets a job
"A former charter school dean says she was ousted so ex-Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom could be hired. Melanie Newton burst into tears when she told the Northwest Florida Daily News that Okaloosa Academy Charter School had selected her replacement before firing her." "Woman says ex-Fla. speaker's hiring political".
Outsider goes inside
"After his way-outside-the-Beltway shock pick of conservative radio talker Joyce Kaufman for chief of staff didn't work out, Republican U.S. Rep.-elect Allen West announced his top aide will be Jonathan Blyth, a former chief of staff to two House members and a veteran of more than 20 years in Washington." "Rep.-elect Allen West taps Beltway insider Jonathan Blyth for chief of staff".
Klein "defeated but unbowed
"Defeated but unbowed, South Florida Congressman Ron Klein gave a farewell address on the House floor Wednesday evening that claimed progress on health-care and insurance reform. " "Klein cites progress in goodbye speech".
RPOFers demand tax cuts for the wealthy
"Florida Republicans Hammer Dems for Not Extending Bush Tax Cuts". But see: "House Passes Middle Class Tax Cuts".
Medicaid cost kerfuffle
"Forecasts for the cost of Florida’s Medicaid program were set to be agreed upon Thursday, but because of discrepancies between the estimates of two state agencies, they were delayed." "Discrepancies Delay Florida’s Cost Forecast for Medicaid".
"Privatization of public waters"
"As Nestle, the nation’s largest bottler of spring water, begins preliminary testing of potential withdrawal sites along the Wacissa River in Jefferson County, residents in the area are pushing back against the further privatization of public waters." "Nestle draws fire for plans to pump more water from North Florida springs".
"Legislative changes may favor insurers".
Teacher hater at the top of Ricky's list
"Scott announced Thursday that he has formed a transition team of education and community leaders to help him create 'a new education system for a new economy.'"
Topping the list is Michelle Rhee, the controversial former chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools who has become something of a rock star in the world of education reform. Sharply critical of teacher tenure, she butted heads with the teachers union and fired or forced out hundreds of educators and other employees before she resigned recently. ..."Michelle Rhee leads Rick Scott's education team". See also "Scott names controversial school reformer Michelle Rhee to education team".
Other members of the team, dubbed by Scott as his "Champions for Achievement," include Patricia Levesque, executive director of Bush's Foundation For Florida's Future.
"How embarrassing. And predictable"
The Miami Herald editors: "Lawmakers don't usually side with pill traffickers. But that's what the Florida Legislature unwittingly did during its brief, vengeance-fueled special session last month. In the lust to override lame-duck Gov. Charlie Crist's vetoes on a handful of bills, the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature passed a law that requires legislative approval for any new government rules that cost more than $1 million over five years."
"But it turns out the measure had a nasty side effect: It also halted the imposition of new regulations on the state's pill mills, which help feed an illegal pill pipeline. How embarrassing. And predictable." "Tallahassee's pill mills". Meanwhile, "Fla. officials say prescription pill abuse rivals ’80s crack cocaine epidemic".
Haridopolos flip flops
"Republican leaders in Florida have criticized the Obama administration's decision to extend a ban on new oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for the next seven years, saying the moratorium impedes economic growth and keeps the nation dependent on foreign oil."
Yet the same GOP leaders opposing the White House's decision aren't likely to revisit changing state law during the next legislative session to allow drilling in Florida's territorial waters."GOP leaders won't revisit oil drilling issue in state waters".
State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, won't ask fellow lawmakers to reconsider lifting the state ban because Florida is still reeling from the BP disaster, his spokesman David Bishop said.
"Floridians welcome offshore drilling ban".
"The Secretary of Homeland Security urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act as a way to improve immigration enforcement." "U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson heads off hat trouble".