"A measure to crack down on legislative conflicts of interest was stripped without explanation from the agenda of a Senate committee by the office of Senate President Mike Haridopolos."
The decision to stall the bill, which is designed to crackdown on legislative voting conflicts of interest, draws attention to the issue of ethics in a Legislature where lawmakers have run afoul of disclosure laws. Haridopolos, a candidate for U.S. Senate, was recently admonished by his rules chairman for "inadvertently" failing to detail his finances on Constitutionally mandated ethics forms."Haridopolos often goes out of his way to say that all senators’ bills are treated similarly in that they’re each assigned three committee stops — and it’s up to the committee chairmen to put bill on the agenda."
But when the legislation sponsored by Sen. Paula Dockery appeared on the proposed Wednesday agenda for the Government Oversight and Operations Committee, Haridopolos’ office ordered it removed with no explanation."Why did Senate President Mike Haridopolos’ office stall ethics legislation?".
Dockery, a Haridopolos critic from Lakeland, said the decision is bad for taxpayers and raises questions about Haridopolos’ commitment to open government — an issue he has championed for years. ...
Haridopolos’ office declined to comment.
RPOFers out to bust Florida unions
"Public employee unions are one of the last bastions of Democratic money — and power — in a state tightly controlled by Republicans. And this session, GOP lawmakers are seeking to deal those unions a major blow with bills designed to limit their ability to collect and use dues for political purposes." "GOP targets public employee unions".
The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Senate President Mike Haridopolos would have Floridians believe that state government is wallowing in bathtubs filled with cash. " ""Smart cap" a cap with no smarts". More: "Smart cap would not need voters' approval of new taxes".
But it is OK if you plead the fifth 75 times under oath
"Fla. Gov. Scott orders state employee drug testing". See also "Florida Gov. Rick Scott orders random drug testing of state employees".
Related: "Rick Scott's Order for Random Drug Tests Draws ACLU Ire" ("Governor wants tests for state employees and welfare recipients").
"The House K-20 Innovation Subcommittee met Tuesday and forwarded a school choice measure that increases options and flexibility for parents looking to pull their children out of failing schools under the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The measure, HB 1331, would allow parents to remove their children from failing schools and place them into better public schools anywhere in the state, as opposed to ones within the same district or in neighboring ones." "School Choice Expansion Clears House Committee".
"Crist to testify against Sansom"
Update: "Former Gov. Charlie Crist testified today he would have vetoed a $6 million budget item for a Destin airport project, if he had known former House Speaker Ray Sansom had slipped it into the 2007 spending plan on behalf of Panhandle developer Jay Odom." "Update: Crist testifies in Sansom trial".
"Crist to testify against Sansom in corruption trial". See also "Former governor set to testify against Sansom". More: "Testimony in Ray Sansom trial focuses on airport project funding".
Florida Senate: pictures of cows prohibited, sex with them OK
"The Florida Senate is ready to take a stand: Having sex with animals is wrong[*]."
Since 2008, the Senate has tried to make bestiality illegal. But for some reason the Florida House has decided to allow the practice to continue without the threat of punishment."A look ahead at today’s Legislature". See also "Today in Tallahassee: Outlawing sex with animals?".
The legislation was proposed after a suspect accidentally strangled a goat named Meg during intercourse. When Sen. Nan Rich heard of the “disgusting” case, she tried to ban sex with animals, but always had trouble in the House.
The full Senate debates the bill Wednesday, though little will likely be said.
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*As we related back in March of 2008 (scroll down):
"Since 2001, there are about a dozen documented cases in Florida of people sexually assaulting animals."Can't we at least agree on this?"
While that may be disgusting, it's not illegal. Florida is one of about 20 states with no specific law prohibiting sex acts with animals." ...Sen. Nan Rich, Weston Democrat "took up this bill because she believes animal abusers eventually hurt other people ... But Rich has not been [able] to get the bill before a committee. She has asked [Republican] Sen. Paula Dockery, chairwoman of the criminal justice committee, to take it up. Dockery could not be reached for comment." There appears to be "backlash" from a certain part of the State:
A bill introduced this session (SB 744, HB 1227) would make any contact, for the purpose of sexual gratification, with an animal a felony.
Dee Thompson-Poirrier, director of animal control for Okaloosa County, understands the uneasiness. She said there was a lot of backlash in the community when she investigated the goat case last year in nearby Walton County."Bestiality bill finds slim support". Perhaps this tender part of Florida believes animal rape is a personal matter that should be handled within the goat's family, without wasteful government intrusion - after all, panhandlers believe there's already too much government regulation already? And ... hey, maybe goat stuff like that is perceived in the panhandle as part of the maturing process (of goats, that is). ...
When Thompson-Poirrier pushed to have a rape kit done, she said she heard: "It's just a goat lady, get a grip. A lot of people said you're wasting your money. You're wasting the court's time."
The New York Times points out that "in the Florida Panhandle, with its stereotype of a Republican bloc-vote of retired military officers, the Christian right and unreconstructed Good Ol' Boys ... there isn't much of a presidential race ... in 2000' Bush won the region with roughly 70 percent of the vote ... The issue's unspoken subtext is whether the region has become a Capital of Dumb and Nasty in the United States." "The Redneck Riviera, where Bush can't lose".]
It doesn't get much nastier than that.
Palm Beachers like their Giuliani
"Former New York Mayor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani left the door open for a 2012 run tonight, saying he’d think about launching another White House bid if it looks the GOP might otherwise pick a nominee who is 'too right-wing.'" "In Palm Beach, Giuliani talks about 2012, Obama, Palin, Romney, tea parties".
Choice under attack
Update: "House subcommittee passes bill to require an ultrasound before abortion".
"A slew of bills that would limit abortion rights in Florida are being proposed in the Legislature." "Abortion bills pile up in Florida". see also "Bill requiring ultrasound before all abortions advances in Florida House".
"Gov. Rick Scott holds a 'town hall' meeting on Facebook". See also Scott Faces Tough Crowd on Facebook"" and "Fla. Gov. Scott holds Facebook 'town hall'".
Florida for sale, cheap
"Proposal would allow corporate advertising on Fla. license plates".
Of all people ...
... to judge another person's fitness to return to society. Rick Scott, the elected official who recently plead the fifth amendment 75 times under oath, and now sits on Florida's clemency board (which recently restored Florida's Jim Crow era laws regarding civil rights restoration), moans that decisions regarding "Clemency [are the] least fun in job as Fla. governor".
Frankel to take on West
"Outgoing West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel said on Monday she'll attempt to oust freshman U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation." "Outgoing West Palm mayor to challenge US Rep. Allen West".
"Tussle for muscle"
"A property insurance bill being pushed by Gov. Rick Scott and the insurance industry took a hit Tuesday as it moved forward in the Senate, but even its opponents suspect the setback will be temporary. Opponents say a key goal of the bill is to make it harder for property owners to get their claims paid, but Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, was able to block that aspect of the bill on a narrow 7-5 vote by the Senate Budget Committee." "Property insurers tussle for muscle in clash over bill". See also "Bills would raise property insurance rates, make claims harder". Related: "Homeowners Can't Sue Insurers? ‘Bad Faith’ Bill Troubles Some Senators" and "Fasano, Kriseman outraged over bills that deregulate Florida insurance industry".
"Some of the area's biggest corporations are backing a new political institute that will groom future candidates for public office." "Firms back institute that will groom candidates".
Big of him
"Gov. Rick Scott approves $14 million transfer to help courts, but not loan request". The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "Judicial independence in jeopardy".
"Scott’s math skills aren’t convincing Republicans"
"Scott has pitched his 'jobs budget' to lawmakers as an infusion of business savvy into the inefficient world of government spending. But three weeks into the 60-day legislative session, Scott’s math skills aren’t convincing Republican lawmakers, who the governor accused of 'kicking the can' by spending federal stimulus dollars on health care, jobless benefits and classrooms over the past three years." "Lawmakers paying little attention to Gov. Scott’s ‘jobs budget’".
"Florida deportations misguided?"
"Undocumented immigrants in Florida who have no criminal record are more likely to be deported than such individuals in other parts of the country. Half of the 392,000 people deported nationwide in fiscal 2010 were categorized as criminal aliens, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But in Florida, only 5,314 of the 15,345 people deported - 34.6 percent - were labeled criminal aliens. The other 10,031 were noncriminal deportees." "Are Florida deportations misguided? Critics wants a focus on criminals".
Raising tourist tax cap
"A proposal to raise a tourist tax cap to fund renovations at Sun Life Stadium and Miami Beach’s convention center inched forward in the Florida Legislature, but its future remains uncertain." "Bill moves forward to raise tourist tax to renovate S. Fla. venues".
"The driest dry season in 80 years"
"The driest dry season in 80 years prompted water managers today to declare a water shortage throughout South Florida and to impose more stringent watering restrictions. The new restrictions, effective on Saturday, include a two-day-a-week residential watering schedule, rather than the current three-day-a week schedule in Palm Beach County." "Water managers impose more stringent irrigation restrictions in South Florida".
Mayor, manager fight it out at town hall meeting
"Mayor injured during altercation at town meeting".