"Another day, another ethical problem for U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami." "Rep. Rivera faces even more ethical troubles".
"Republicans in Washington and Miami are growing increasingly anxious about the ongoing state investigation into U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, with some urging him to explain his finances while others are already talking of potential GOP successors to replace him."
House Republicans have said privately they're frustrated with the drumbeat of media attention surrounding the freshman lawmaker. This week, House Speaker John Boehner was confronted with a question about Rivera at a Capitol Hill news conference, while a prominent Republican attorney in Miami called for Rivera to fully explain himself or "step down.""Rep. Rivera has GOP fretting".
In a letter to the Miami Herald, Thomas Spencer, who is active in Miami-Dade and state Republican politics, said Rivera needs to "fully and completely, without delay or obfuscation, disgorge and fully explain every single relevant fact and document — or he needs to step down."
"WATCH: 5-Year-Old Brings Loaded Gun To Florida School".
"The Legislature's point man on immigration this week retreated substantially from an Arizona-style proposal, raising the possibility that law enforcement officers could only check a person's immigrant status if he or she is being investigated for criminal wrongdoing." "State lawmaker dials down rhetoric on immigration bill". See also "Snyder inching away from imitating Arizona-style immigration law".
Scott slow to get to work
"Gov. Rick Scott late Friday froze four contracts worth $235 million for SunRail, Central Florida's planned commuter train. The contracts cover $39 million to be spent on cab cars, $17 million for diesel locomotives and $168 million owed to Archer Western for design and construction of the rail line slated to link downtown Orlando with Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties."
The contracts are considered "critical" by the state Department of Transportation, which is charged with getting the $1.2 billion project up and running."Gov. Rick Scott puts freeze on spending $235 million for SunRail". See also "Despite D.C. sales pitch, Gov. Rick Scott remains cautious about high-speed rail in Florida" and "Gov. Rick Scott puts SunRail on full stop".
SunRail supporters had hoped to begin construction by spring, but that date could be in doubt, depending on the length of Scott's review.
Scott's action surprised advocates of the commuter train.
Heather Allebaugh, a spokesman for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, said city officials did not know of the hold until told by a reporter.
While Ricky sleeps
"Eight global consortiums have expressed interest in building and operating the proposed 84-mile line connecting Tampa and Orlando. One of the leading contenders, Florida Mobility Partners, is headed by Talgo, a Spanish-headquartered train operator that is expanding operations in America." "Talgo in Race for Florida High-Speed Train".
A few dollars more
"State Farm wants to raise property rates by 28 percent".
See you in Havana
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "If lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott are looking for an easy way to make Florida more attractive to academic research and business, they can start by repealing the state's limits on travel to Cuba. In a pique of political pandering to Florida's most extreme anti-Castro elements, the Legislature in 2006 passed a law barring academics at Florida's public colleges and universities from going to the island nation, even if they use private funds." "Time to lift state ban on Cuba travel".
Big of them
"Hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s uproar over Senate Bill 6, legislators sought input from teachers Friday during a workshop meeting of the Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee." "Senators Hear Teacher Worries Over Education Reform".
Bits and Pieces
Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces". See also "Weekly Roundup: Guess Who's (Not) Coming to Dinner?".
"A day after announcing his committee assignments, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio named conservative stalwart Cesar Conda, a veteran of Beltway politics and policy, as his chief of staff." "Marco Rubio Names Veteran Conservative Cesar Conda as Chief of Staff".
Tell a lie enough times ...
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Despite reports that indicate Florida's extremely friendly to business, Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders continue to accuse the Department of Community Affairs of making the state inhospitable to those who want to work here." "Beware DCA's demise".
Ricky the "appeaser"
Aaron Deslatte: "Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature are going to dig deep into the state's diminished revenues to scrape together a way to appease businesses this year."
Whether that takes the form of mitigating skyrocketing unemployment taxes employers pay or cutting the corporate income tax remains to be seen."Scott, lawmakers seeking money for business".
It could very well be both.
"A hypocritical one at that"
"A new piece of legislation filed Tuesday by state Rep. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, aims to amend current fertilizer management statues in Florida, a move that environmenalists say is yet another effort at environmental deregulation, and a hypocritical one at that." "New state law would halt tough local fertilizer statutes".
He washes that lawsuit right outa his hair
"Senate president won't join House in fight against Fair Districts".
"Rational Floridians know better"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "As the nation still reels from the Tucson shootings and Tampa Bay mourns the deaths of St. Petersburg police officers, now is the moment for sober reflection on the need for serious, reasonable, intellectually honest dialogue about sensible gun control policy."
There are powerful voices across the country calling for that conversation, even as most of Washington remains silent. Yet in Florida, state Sen. Greg Evers has shamelessly seized upon this moment of grief to declare the response to gun violence should be more guns on the street. Rational Floridians know better."Florida should pursue more gun control, not less".
Evers, R-Baker, has proposed ill-conceived bills that would inexplicably ban physicians from asking patients about weapons in the home and allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to openly display a gun in public, including at such locales as university campuses.
Haley Barbour yawner
"Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour in Naples: GOP focus on policy will win in 2012".
Haridopolos "dumber than a sack of carp"
Daniel Ruth writes that "Within Republican circles, Mike Fasano already was regarded as a cross between the bumptious brother-in-law from hell who burps at the dinner table and the puckered Cotton Mather."
Fasano chairs the Florida Senate's Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations, which earlier this month held a hearing on the new courthouse's extravagances ..."Fasano insists Haridopolos told him to lay off the courthouse debacle and leave those nice men, Hawkes and Thomas, alone to luxuriate in their sedan chairs."
During the hearing Fasano hauled two of the court's judges, Paul Hawkes and Brad Thomas, before the panel, where both jurists indulged in a bit of "Hummana, hummana, hummana" mea culpas as they claimed to be real sorry about their roles in building themselves Tallahassee's Trump Tower of Torts.
It probably doesn't look good to have a big shot Senate president attempting to interfere with a committee investigation into how $48 million in public money was spent to buy lavish digs for a bunch of politically juiced judges.Much more here: "Wait for fallout on Taj sit-down".
If Haridopolos thought he could browbeat Fasano into laying off on an issue that has brought him more positive headlines than a Girl Scout cookie drive, well then the Senate president has to be dumber than a sack of carp.
Sensitive to allegations he might be trying to muzzle Fasano, Haridopolos quickly unleashed a flurry of official tut-tuts, harrumphs and for good measure a woeful sigh or two, insisting that any hint he was meddling in the chairman's investigation into the Monticello of Mandamus couldn't be further from the truth.
The Senate president explained he was under the impression Fasano, who can probably look forward to his next pivotal legislative assignment as the chairman of the Select Committee on Buggy Whips, Chamber Pots and Slide Rules, had completed his work on the investigation into the Parthenon of Proffers.
Let them fly to the French Riviera ...
"State budget could temporarily close seven area state parks".
Logrolling in our time
"A plan to privatize certification for people who work with abused and neglected children could save Florida money, but the only private organization eligible to do the work also contributed money to the lawmakers pushing the idea." "Privatization bill sponsors received campaign cash from likely beneficiary".
How blue was that ribbon?
"A blue ribbon health care panel on Thursday recommended spending almost $1 billion in Medicaid payments to Florida's hospitals but it also recommended that the state cut-off enhanced funding to primary care programs meant to keep people out of the facilities."
The Low Income Pool Council recommendations -- which are guidelines for the Legislature to consider when allocating Medicaid funds to hospitals -- are due to the Legislature by Feb. 2. Just hours after the hospital-dominated board finalized its recommendations, there was criticism from the Legislature."Hospital council wants to cut off additional money to primary care programs".
The group's recommendations do contain funding for primary care programs -- about $56 million in all. But the recommendations don't include funding for an additional $35 million on top of that which was contained in last year's budget. Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said the additional $35 million the Legislature targeted to enhanced primary care programs in the budget last year was championed by now Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island.
"I would hope all those who are making policy or who are making recommendations would hear the priorities of the Senate president which are shared by the Senate," Gaetz said. "I would encourage the LIP Council to adjust its hearing aid so they can better understand the priorities which the Legislature embraced to provide a greater emphasis on primary care."
You break it ... you bought it
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "The governor won election largely on his pledge to generate 700,000 jobs across the state. It will be on this promise, more than any other issue, that Florida voters suffering through high unemployment and foreclosure rates will judge his tenure in four years. As such, Gov. Scott should have command of the executive branch's economic development efforts." "Governor should have command of executive branch's economic development efforts".
Thank you, Mr. Obama
"Billion-dollar fund will help struggling Florida homeowners". See also "Billion-dollar fund to aid struggling Fla. homeowners".
"After two years of radical cuts"
The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Florida Forever serves more purposes than providing money for huge tracts of critical watersheds. After two years of radical cuts, it's time to reinvest in Florida to ensure its natural beauty is preserved for future generations. Gov. Rick Scott should make that priority clear to lawmakers when he presents his proposed budget next month." "Florida Forever needs Scott’s backing".
Good work, Ricky
"Enterprise Florida Inc. owes former president John A. Adams Jr. at least $132,000 after he was fired Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott." "Fired Enterprise Florida president owed $132,000 in severance pay".
Some call it "justice"
"The Florida Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from 75 mostly poor African-American property owners of polluted land in Port St. Joe whose fight became linked to the 'Taj Mahal' building scandal."
In 2003, the landowners in the Millview community sued the St. Joe Co., saying its defunct paper mill had dumped toxic waste on their property, and a year later they got a judge to combine their complaints into a single class-action lawsuit. ..."Supreme Court turns down request from Millview families suing St. Joe Co.".
After St. Joe filed its appeal — but not disclosed at the time — the 1st District Court proposed building a new courthouse in a St. Joe development called Southwood, on land acquired from St. Joe, and appeals court Judge Paul Hawkes purchased a half-million-dollar home in Southwood.
A three-judge panel of the court, including Hawkes, heard St. Joe's appeal and overturned the crucial ruling that the trial judge had made in favor of the Millview residents.
The Millview side didn't find out about the court's land dealings with St. Joe until five years later, when the St. Petersburg Times published stories about the opulent new courthouse since dubbed the Taj Mahal. In that time, not a single one of the Millview lawsuits has gone to trial.
"Self-interested politicians should stand aside"
"Rick Scott, who won the governor's office with 49 percent of the vote, is denying the will of the 63 percent of voters who in November passed the Fair Districts constitutional amendments to curtail the incumbent protection program known as gerrymandering."
Mr. Scott should immediately abandon this power play, which brings back stinging memories of when Sen. Mike Haridopolos last year got legislators to endorse their own constitutional amendment designed to circumvent the intent of Fair Districts. ..."Abuse of power".
A spokesman for the governor says — possibly with a straight face — that withdrawing the state's request for federal clearance of the amendments, which is needed to implement them, is merely part of Mr. Scott's effort to review all new rules and contracts.
But the fate of Amendments 5 and 6 isn't up to the governor. Or Mr. Haridopolos. The people approved them. Self-interested politicians should stand aside.
Steve Otto: "An FCAT for parents".
Entrepreneurs in action
"A Florida man has been slapped with a 10-year prison sentence for promoting a tax avoidance scheme in which people claim they are sovereigns and immune from taxation." "Fla. man gets 10-year prison sentence in tax scam".
"Survey shows almost 5,000 manatees in Fla.".