"Unions face a fierce fight Friday in the Florida House." "Today in Tallahassee: Union fight".
"What critics are calling a union-busting bill is going to a floor vote in the Florida House. The Republican-sponsored bill (HB 1021) would prohibit the automatic payroll deduction of union dues [for those who choose to become union members] from public employees' pay checks. If passed by the House on Friday the measure will move on to the Senate." "Florida House taking up bill to restrict unions".
"Scott signs education bill". See also "Gov. Scott signs Florida teacher pay, tenure bill" and "".
The Saint Pete Times editors note that "the Republican-led Legislature failed to provide any money to carry out the ambitious mission and left significant other flaws that will have to be corrected." "Flawed reform on education".
"The Florida Legislature's budget is taking shape, and the push to make cuts largely on the backs of the poor, sick and public employees is going to take some rhetorical massaging by lawmakers." "Senate schools budget has $678 million less for teachers". Related: "Dean Cannon Changes House Budget Allocations" and "Pension Reforms at Heart of Debate Over Education Funding".
Run on brown paper bags in Tally
"The Florida Legislature voted Thursday to revive so-called 'leadership funds' that will let future legislative leaders dig deep into the pockets of industry groups and lobbyists to spend those dollars more directly on campaigns." "Legislature revives special-interest campaign funds". See also "Lawmakers unleash powerful fundraising tools", "Legislature Overrides Crist, Makes Leadership Funds Bill Law" and "Lawmakers revive political funds that can raise unlimited cash".
Criticism is merited, if exaggerated
The right wing Tampa Trib editors: "Attorney General Pam Bondi and her fellow Cabinet members — all Republicans — have caught a lot of flak for voting to make it harder for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes in state court to have their civil rights restored. The criticism is merited, if exaggerated." "The civil rights of ex-felons".
"A one-time co-defendant of former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom is expected to testify against him in his corruption trial. Bob Richburg is the former president of Northwest Florida State College. He is scheduled to testify Friday." "Former co-defendant will testify against Sansom". See also "Sansom trial: State budget director recommended veto of Destin airport project", "Jerry McDaniel testifies in Sansom trial" and "Crist testifies in Sansom trial".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Vegas-style casinos in Florida? First, let's see the hole card".
From the "values" crowd
"Costs of prepaid college plan going up".
"The Florida Legislature is in session through May 6. The key issues yesterday and what's coming up:" "2011 Legislative summary".
"Rick, what you been smoking?"
Mike Thomas: "Gov. Rick Scott wants to drug-test state employees. After watching him nudge Education Commissioner Eric Smith out the door, I think we should start with the governor. Yo, Rick, what you been smoking?" "By pushing education chief out, Scott sets Florida up to fail".
The Crist era is over
"With the Florida Legislature poised to reject many of his policies and ideas, former Gov. Charlie Crist brushes it off and keeps smiling." "Former Gov. Charlie Crist faces dismantling of legacy with a smile".
"The Florida Legislature voted Thursday to override two more of former Gov. Charlie Crist's vetoes, including a hotly debated bill creating special committees that legislative leaders can use to raise and distribute campaign contributions. ... The Legislature in November overrode eight Crist vetoes during a special session after Republicans won veto-proof majorities in both chambers." "Florida lawmakers override 2 more Crist vetoes".
"Override of Crist veto may also be a warning shot across Gov. Scott’s bow." "Override of Crist veto: GOP displays clout to Scott".
Tax cutting and education gutting
"State legislators in both the House and Senate appear to be close to agreeing on proposed budgets that would cut education spending by more than 6 percent. But, depending on how the numbers are arranged, the budget reductions shrink to between roughly 2 and 4 percent." "Lawmakers factoring pension changes into education cuts".
Fair outa there
"T. Willard Fair, chairman of the state Board of Education, resigned Wednesday over Scott's handling of the resignation of Education Commissioner Eric Smith, who announced Monday that he is stepping down." "Chair's protest resignation jolts Florida education board".
The best the RPOFers can do?
"Rep. Connie Mack Making 'Major Announcement' Tomorrow About Possible Bill Nelson Challenge". See also "Rep. Connie Mack to make announcement on Senate run".
What's Haridopolos' problem with ethics?
"Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos this week pulled an ethics bill that would have cracked down on legislative conflicts of interest." "12 Bills Update: SB 86".
"Guns, courts and book deals"
Scott Maxwell: "Guns, courts and book deals are on readers' minds".
Polluters OK with Ricky
The Tampa Tribune editorial board notes that Ricky Scott "is reluctant to challenge polluters who foul our shores and hurt our economy." "Scott coddles BP".
"Florida's largest private child welfare agency under fire after girl's death".
Ros-Lehtinen's embarrassing flip-flop
"Hillary Clinton has been invited to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Libya next week, and if committee Chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's (R-FL) recent statements are to be believed, she'll face some tough questions as to just why America has taken military action. But it's unclear just what Ros-Lehtinen's own position on Libya is, having apparently shifted between support and opposition for military operations over the last month." "Key House Republican Pulls A Newt On Libya?".
Teabaggers in action
"A hard-hitting tea party ad is calling out Republican state Sen. Thad Altman and Rep. John Tobia -- and generating a bit of notoriety itself."
The radio spot produced by Tea Party in Action blasts the two Space Coast lawmakers for supporting the controversial high-speed rail project and for pushing an added fee on Miami-based Dosal Tobacco Co."Ad Blast at Republicans Blows Back on Tea Party Activist".
Marianne Moran, founder of the West Palm Beach-based Tea Party in Action, said, "The issue advocacy ad speaks for itself -- against ObamaRail and against people saying one thing and doing another."
Though tea parties were widely credited for helping to elect Republican candidates in 2010, Moran vows to take on GOP lawmakers she considers backsliders.
Florida seeks to evade the minimum requirements of Medicaid
The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy: "Despite requests for more flexibility in changing Medicaid, the state already has considerable flexibility. What it doesn’t have -- and shouldn’t -- is the authority to evade the minimum requirements of the federal-state Medicaid partnership." "Seeking Flexibility in Medicaid: Already Bends, No Need to Break".
Ricky wonders "whether public hospitals are needed"
"Scott announced a commission to study whether public hospitals are needed or whether it would be better for healthcare tax dollars to go to all hospitals treating the uninsured." "Scott announces board to study public hospitals". See also "Fate of Central Florida hospital taxes will hinge on Gov. Scott's review of public hospitals".
Students protest education cuts
"Students protested education cuts on the steps of the state Capitol as the Legislature figures out how much money to spend on schools next year." "Students urge Florida lawmakers to protect schools from cuts".
"Conservative ex-diplomat testifies in perjury case".
Checking deregulation madness
"Consumer complaints forced state lawmakers to reduce the number of professions to be deregulated." "Bill scales back deregulation of professions". Related: "Bill would deregulate movers, repair shops, others".
Big of them
"Legislation designed to help ex-convicts get licenses and other government permits they need to hold down jobs won unanimous approval Thursday from the Florida Senate." "Florida Senate passes bill to help felons get jobs".