"Explaining his vision for state government to staff at the Department of Corrections, Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that in order to compete with other states for jobs, Florida, like America’s largest retailer, must offer its services at the cheapest price." "Scott tells Department of Corrections what Florida can learn from Walmart".
"Scott waved off efforts Monday by high-speed-rail supporters to assure him that the $2.7 billion project would not cost Florida taxpayers any money, dismissing them as 'all these hypotheticals.'" "Scott dismisses new high-speed-rail assurances".
"Federal officials on Saturday balked at a scaled-back plan for high-speed rail proposed by U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, giving hope to advocates for an entire Orlando-to-Tampa line, but underscoring the efforts' shaky status." "Plan remains on shaky ground".
See also "Scott being pushed to kill SunRail, too". Related: Howard Troxler's "'The stupidest thing you have ever written in your life'" (background: "The boos are loud, but hardly unanimous").
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Tampa-Orlando connection deserves a chance to work".
Floridians "setting the social-media network aflame"
"Inspired by large protests in Wisconsin, government workers are setting the social-media network aflame with plans for public demonstrations in Florida on March 8." "Social Media Explodes With Florida Teacher Protest Chat".
Pain for Floridians, yet relatively little accomplished
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "U.S. House Republicans brought their narrow agenda into sharper focus early Saturday by voting to slash domestic spending by $61 billion for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year. The House plan would cause significant pain for Floridians and accomplish relatively little in reducing this year’s $1.6 trillion deficit." "GOP plan big on ideology, pain".
"Floridians should brace for potential cutbacks to some of their most cherished government programs — including Head Start and law enforcement — as both parties in Congress grapple over ways to rein in deficit spending." "House budget would slash many popular programs". Thomas Tryon: "Forum on state budget sure to generate heated debate".
Lethal injections lunacy
"For years, Illinois-based Hospira Inc. worried about its drugs being used across the country for lethal injections. So, a company spokesman says, Hospira sent letters to all the states annually — including Florida — stating its opposition to the drugs' use to carry out death sentences."
But the states, including Florida, continued using at least one Hospira product in the three-drug "cocktail" approved for executions."Company urged Florida not to use its drug in execution 'cocktail'".
There was nothing illegal about that, but their continued use of Hospira products to execute inmates ultimately compelled the company last month to announce its decision to stop all production of its trademarked anesthetic, Pentothal. The supplies that states already have on hand are set to expire this year.
"Hospira provides these products because they improve or save lives and markets them solely for use as indicated on the product labeling," wrote Kees Gioenhout, Hospira's vice president of Clinical Research and Development, in a letter sent to Ohio in March. "As such, we do not support the use of any of our products in capital punishment procedures."
"Protests across Florida"
"Critics of Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget reductions and tax cuts plan protests across Florida as legislators convene two weeks from today." "Floridians plan protests around the state".
Another cop killed ... when will the pension talk settle down?
"Crawford, a 25-year-veteran, was pronounced dead at Bayfront Medical Center. He was 46." "St. Petersburg police officer killed in shooting" ("Just last month, two St. Petersburg police officers - Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz and Thomas Baitinger - were killed"). See also "Fla. cop critically wounded in shooting".
Scott's "shameful bow to the nursing home industry"
The Tampa Tribune editors: "In an obvious and shameful bow to the nursing home industry, Gov. Rick Scott has fired the state's long-serving long-term care ombudsman who runs the program charged with overseeing senior living providers around Florida." "Investigate dismissal".
Too much tea
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Killing Florida's prescription-drug database may play well with the tea party, but Gov. Scott and Republican legislators should listen to doctors, pharmacists, police chiefs and sheriffs, who say the database will save lives." "Rethink repeal of drug database: Kentucky sheriff has message for naysayers: 'I'm tired of it'".
Rooney luvin' the pork
"U.S. Rep Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, hopes Pratt & Whitney considers bringing some jobs back to Palm Beach County now that the House has gone along with a Rooney amendment killing an alternate jet engine made by rival General Electric. Hawkish conservative Rooney found himself allied with President Obama and pitted against Speaker John Boehner last week when he successfully pushed to cancel the second engine to save $450 million this year and $3 billion over the next few years." "Rep. Rooney hopes that House's rejection of jet engine bill will lead to more Palm Beach County jobs".
"Medicare is next"
Mike Thomas: "Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee are planning to slash Medicaid, a health-care program for low-income residents. Pay attention, because this is only the beginning. Medicare is next." "Florida has no choice but to cut Medicaid".
Southerland's "political-prestige coups"
"Just six weeks into his first term, the Big Bend congressman has scored a pair of political-prestige coups in defending Republican budget plans on a national stage." "Southerland on national stage".
Knuckle-draggers panting for "Jeb!"
"There is probably a very good reason why, in the goo-goo eyes of so many in the Greek chorus of Republicans chanting and panting for his return to the hustings, Jeb Bush stands as an electoral colossus of the Club for Growth, the Rambo of the Cato Institute, the beefcake boy of the National Review."
Consider the current crop of GOP presidential pretenders positioning themselves for a run against President Barack Obama next year."In field of pygmies, Jeb looks gigantic".
Bits and Pieces
Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".
"Florida ... in Shadow of Wisconsin"
"Florida Union Negotiations Begin in Shadow of Wisconsin Walkout".
"Talk about a missed opportunity"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Some state laws are more equal than others."
Take Senate Bill 2000, essential legislation that established the Correctional Policy Advisory Council to examine Florida's penal policies and devise recommendations to reduce the state's burgeoning incarceration costs."State missing its chance to reform criminal justice".
The Florida Legislature approved the measure and the governor signed the bill into law — last year. Commission members were selected, but the panel has yet to meet. Unfortunately, the commission never received the funds to operate, and now the law establishing it is set to expire on July 1. Talk about a missed opportunity.
In the past 40 years, Florida has seen its prison population spike from 8,793 to around 102,440 today. Since 1988, the Florida Department of Corrections' annual budget has spiraled accordingly, going from $502 million to $2.4 billion. Crime isn't the problem; crime rates have gone down. It's the type of inmates entering the system — a majority of whom have committed non-violent offenses or are in for possessing small amounts of illegal drugs.
Castro has RPOFers scrambling
"Cuba’s plans to drill for oil south of Florida Keys has lawmakers scrambling".
Workers take on "millionaire Tea Party favorite"
"In the latest round between Gov. Rick Scott — the millionaire health care mogul and Tea Party favorite — and state workers, score one for the workers." "Prisons workers put the squeeze on Gov. Scott".
Developer dancing in the streets
"The governor and his business supporters see the DCA as a meddling bureaucracy that slows down worthy building projects, impeding any chance of recovery for the state's comatose real estate market. Yet the agency's supporters counter that one of Florida's most robust real estate booms crashed, not because of DCA's review process but because of overbuilding and inflated real estate prices." "TScott hopes to slash agency others say has minimized sprawl".
Renewable energy jobs
"Proponents say a solar and biomass clean energy industry will bring in-state investment". "Renewable Energy Could Mean Home-Grown Florida Jobs".
"PolitiFact Florida: Michelle Rhee right about per-pupil spending, wrong about student performance".
"Toll-road agency, state squabble over ever-growing loans".
"Bids not death"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Jobs-creating train deal merits bids not death". "Scott’s high-speed imprudence".
Ricky's pill mills
"The governor’s proposal to scrap a state registry to track prescriptions issued by ‘pill mills’ prompted an emotional protest Monday." "‘Oxy Moms’ at Dania Beach rally urge Gov. Rick Scott to keep pill registry".
It was a fine idea at the time ...
"After six years of being able to accept unlimited amounts of campaign cash but not a cup of coffee from lobbyists, two legislators are hoping to loosen the state law that bars lawmakers from receiving gifts from the public."
Sen. Dennis Jones, a Seminole Republican and dean of the upper chamber, and Rep. Jimmy Patronis, a Republican restaurateur from Panama City, have teamed up to weaken the law that was once hailed as one of the toughest legislative gift bans in the country."Legislators want to end ‘destructive’ gift ban".
"All the things her constituents wanted to hear"
"Even hoarse with a cold, Congresswoman Sandy Adams said all the things her constituents wanted to hear -- at least, those inclined to go out on a weeknight and listen to a discussion on debt and federal spending." "Adams talks debt, spending with constituents".
"The Cuba-born Posada spent decades crisscrossing Latin America as a Washington-backed Cold Warrior and is considered the nemesis of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Posada faces charges of perjury, obstruction of justice in a terrorism investigation, and immigration fraud. Prosecutors allege Posada lied while seeking American citizenship during immigration hearings in El Paso, making false statements about how he sneaked into the U.S. in March 2005 and about having a Guatemalan passport under a false name. They also allege he failed to acknowledge planning a series of 1997 hotel bombings in Cuba that killed an Italian tourist." "Judge ruling if trial of ex-CIA agent can continue".
"The Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections mailed absentee ballots last Friday for the March 15 election to consider whether County Mayor Carlos Alvarez should be recalled." "Absentee ballots for recall election sent to voters".