"Gov. Rick 'Let's Get to Work' Scott, who pledged to bring 700,000 jobs to Florida in seven years, is not pleased with the state's most recent unemployment figures showing Florida's unemployment rate at a stagnant 12 percent." "Gov. Scott calls state's stagnant double-digit unemployment 'unacceptable'". See also "Fla. unemployment rate unchanged at 12 percent". See also "Florida Jobless Rate Still 12 Percent in December".
"Rick Scott: In-house lobbyists are OK, after all".
The best he can do?
"Scott has now hired nine agency heads. But he has yet to pick bosses for 16 other departments following a two-month transition and nearly three weeks in office." "Scott names ninth agency head; 16 more to go". See also "Scott names DMS secretary".
"Academics around the country hailed the move last week by President Barack Obama to loosen travel restrictions to Cuba."
But there was no celebrating by scholars at Florida's public universities."Florida scholars left out of Obama's ease on Cuba travel ban".
A 2006 state law prohibits them from using state money or tapping into their budgets for travel to countries considered "terrorist states'' by the federal government, Cuba being one. ...
Margaret Miller, director of the University of South Florida Institute for Research in Art, calls the law an "embarrassment.'' ...
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, who sponsored the bill in 2006 and is a 2012 U.S. Senate candidate, stands by it.
Concrete and panthers don't mix
"Gov. Rick Scott in his campaign blasted the state agency that is charged with preventing sprawl and protecting open spaces, accusing it of 'killing jobs all over the state.'"
His transition advisors – mostly developers and lobbyists – proposed a radical idea: shutter the state Department of Community Affairs, gut Florida's once-heralded growth-management law and "restructure the company" to better attract jobs."Rick Scott's plan to kill 'jobs-killing' anti-sprawl agency could prove tricky".
Meanwhile, "2 panthers found dead in southwest Florida".
"They have a strange way of showing it"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida’s Republican political leaders are fond of saying they want to run government like a business. They have a strange way of showing it. Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon seem to be more concerned about the politics of high-speed rail in Florida than the impact the system could have on the state’s economy and future." "Not time to stall on the tracks".
Bought and paid for
"Gov. Rick Scott, legislative leaders will be boon for business". "AIF Has High Hopes for 2011".
They're only Florida scrub jays and Panthers
"Two national environmental groups on Thursday filed a lawsuit claiming that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had failed to consult with wildlife agencies on regulating pesticides that are harmful to endangered species, including the Florida panther."
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pesticide Action Network, cites the regulation of pesticides that have been important to Florida farmers. A Florida Farm Bureau Federation representative said the lawsuit raises concerns for farmers."Federal lawsuit contends panthers and other Florida species threatened by pesticides".
The pesticides, according to the lawsuit, pose a threat to more than 200 species of endangered and threatened wildlife. They include the panther, the Key Largo woodrat, the Florida scrub jay, the piping plover, the Gulf sturgeon, the frosted flatwoods salamander, the eastern indigo snake and three mussels species found in the Apalachicola and Ochlockonee rivers.
The pesticides include the fumigant methyl bromide, which is used on strawberries, and atrazine, a weed-killer that is important to corn growers in the Midwest and sugar growers near the Everglades.
"Throughout his campaigns, gubernatorial transition and first weeks in office, Scott and his top staff dramatically changed the politician-press ground rules. While insisting he runs an open shop, even signing an executive order continuing the Office of Open Government as one of his first acts, Scott has made it clear he will do it his way." "Scott shakes up politician-press relationship".
"Unions see sharp membership declines again".
Florida for sale
"Floridians could be driving on the Walt Disney Turnpike as they drive by a large picture of Mickey Mouse after the upcoming legislative session. In response to Gov. Rick Scott's request for creative ideas to cut into Florida's now more than $3.6 billion budget gap, Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, this week filed HB 313. The measure would allow advertising space to be sold and displayed on state transportation property." "Want to drive down the Geico or Disney Turnpike?".
Wingnut fights laws that "prevents employers from cheating workers"
"State Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Titusville, filed a bill Tuesday that would 'preempt regulation of wage theft to state, except as otherwise provided by federal law, & supersedes any municipal or county ordinance or other local regulation on such subject.'"
In other words, if passed, this bill would do away with a Miami-Dade ordinance passed in 2010 that prevents employers from cheating workers out of wages they are owed."Proposed Republican law would override local wage protection efforts".
"SB 200 would repeal 2006 law that allows utilities to charge for nuclear projects regardless of whether they are built." "Fasano targets nuclear charges with bill".
"Asked about his 'wish list from Washington' during yesterday’s Twitter “town hall,” Gov. Rick Scott tweeted that he wants the federal government to “stop giving us mandates” and 'reduce our federal taxes.'" "Florida Democrats want more federal cash". See also "Scott's Twitter followers get message: Reduce federal taxes".
What's a fraudster to do?
"Florida spends a higher percentage of its budget on just 3 million Medicaid recipients than England's oft-criticized 'socialized' system expends in serving that country's entire [55 million] population." "Medicaid Makes 'Socialized' Medicine Look Like a Bargain".
Related: "Flawed Medicaid Proposals Would Kill Florida Jobs" (warning to knuckle-draggers, this article has big words).
That's our Bill
"That's what you call a power dinner! Political powerhouse Bill Clinton broke bread at Prime 112 in Miami Beach with on-again, off-again lovebirds Cameron Diaz and Yankee Alex Rodriguez last night in Miami Beach. Later in the evening, Clinton materialized at the nightclub Mansion for the 33rd birthday of NFL receiver Chad Ochocinco." "Bill's excellent SoFla adventure: Clinton dines with A-Rod, parties with Ochocinco".
Steve Bousquet: "Courts have ruled that nothing in Florida's Sunshine Law guarantees citizens the right to be heard at public meetings. The Legislature could change that." "Weighing the public's right to speak".
"Betrayal and Vengeance"
"Buried in the thousands of pages of evidence that state agents gathered as they built a case against ousted Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer are some nuggets: Greer was trying to sell a tell-all book, 'Betrayal and Vengeance,' which included 'intimate knowledge of Governor Crist'." "Prosecution records: Jim Greer was writing a book that promised 'intimate knowledge of Governor Crist'".
Aaron Deslatte: "One certainty in the budget fight that's coming in Tallahassee is that the state's Department of Management Services will never look the same."
Scott has signaled he plans to root out bad deals overseen by DMS. He has already put the state planes managed by DMS up for sale. He has also indicated that public-employee pensions overseen by DMS will get more expensive for workers, particularly for [woefully underpaid] state employees who now don't have to contribute to their retirement funds."State's landlord is in for a housecleaning".
Indeed, hammering DMS is the best way for Scott to publicly flog the "special interests" he vilified during his campaign.
"A lot of people have made money off the government. And it's not things I think government should be doing," Scott said last week, singling out the agency. "We don't need to be spending this money. We don't do a good enough job on how we buy things."
On Friday, Scott named John P. "Jack" Miles, a retired purchasing executive who now lives in Winter Park, as his new DMS secretary.
"A legislative study shows Florida's 59 enterprise zones are attracting relatively few new businesses and jobs to economically distressed areas. ... The state has spent $187 million for various business incentives in the enterprise zones over the past five years". "Fla. enterprise zones attract few businesses".