Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.
For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.
Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.
Previous Articles by Derek Newton:
Fox on Line 1
Stem Cells are Intelligent Design
No Can't Win
Perhaps the Most Important Race
The Nelson Thing
Deep, Dark Secret
Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight
Playing to our Strength
Many in the audience came out to hear from recently elected US Senator Marco Rubio, who was welcomed with a standing ovation.
U.S. Representative Bill Posey [and nationally celebrated birther*], who spoke before Sen. Rubio, had a similar message for the Tea Party supporters.
“It’s moving,” Sebastian resident Polly Houck said of being a part of the Tea Party Rally. She said that there has been a lot happening in her family - medically, that has caused stress. “We don’t want Obamacare.”
The rally ended with the audience singing along with former American Idol contestant Krista Branch, who led them in “God Bless America.”
“We need God back in our country,” Houck said.
"Piles of money corrupt government"
The Saint Pete Times editors write about how "two more examples from Tallahassee and Washington last week that illustrate how piles of money corrupt government and tilt the playing field in favor of special interests with fat checkbooks." "Money talks, public loses".
Aaron Deslatte: "Lawmakers overrode former Gov. Charlie Crist's veto and re-created 'leadership funds.' The war chests let future legislative leaders ask for bigger checks from big donors. What's more, the Senate is considering elevating Florida's $500 campaign contribution limit to $10,000, eradicating one legacy of the late Gov. Lawton Chiles, who pushed to lower fundraising-limits." "Will new "leadership funds" make a bad system any better?"
Media poodles afraid to raise their paws
"No questions from the press after Scott signs teacher pay bill".
Thank you, Mr. Obama
"Florida unemployment drops to 11.5 percent".
Ricky takes credit for merely being there: "Scott Buoyed by Job Numbers, But Admits Too Many Still Out of Work".
Farm workers, students and religious leaders protest deform bills
"Approximately 200 farm workers, students, religious leaders, immigrant advocates and elected officials used a community forum in Florida City Thursday evening to say once again that they wholly reject the current immigration-enforcement bills proposed by Florida legislators." "Florida City immigrant workers denounce racial profiling and deportation".
"Doing the same thing over and over again ..."
... and expecting a different result: "A Florida House panel cleared a modified version of a bill that would require the Department of Children and Families to drug-test people seeking cash assistance, despite staff research that shows a similar program tested between 1999 and 2001 was a failure." "Drug-testing for welfare recipients advances despite program’s past failure".
Empty suit in a dither
"Stearns urges drastic action on federal spending".
Foreclosure mill takes it on the chin
"In its first action against a foreclosure law firm, the Florida Attorney General's office has reached a $2 million settlement with Fort Lauderdale based firm Marshall C. Watson – one of eight so-called foreclosure mills under investigation for handling of home reposessions." "Florida settles with Fort Lauderdale firm over foreclosures".
Dorwoth oils the feet of the AIF
"A Florida House measure that would give the governor and members of the cabinet the authority to repeal rules using a speedier process during their first six months in office is intended to satisfy Tallahassee’s growing appetite for reducing regulations." "Dorworth-backed measure would give Scott greater freedom to roll back regulation".
RPOFers luvin' "bill to raise the limits on contributions"
"A bill to raise the limits on campaign contributions to state candidates has raised the reflexive ire of liberals and the progressive press, but proponents say it promotes free speech and counters shadowy special-interest groups."
"Campaign finance limits that have not kept pace with rising media costs have contributed to the proliferation of third-party advocacy groups -- electioneering communication organizations and 527s that have no limit at all," a campaign consultant told Sunshine State News.
Florida's current $500 cap on direct donations to state candidates is among the lowest in the nation.
Senate Bill 1690, sponsored by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, would raise the threshold to $10,000 for governor, $5,000 for Cabinet offices and $2,500 for legislative candidates.
The measure cleared the Senate Rules Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections by a 7-5 vote this week.
Democrats, and a few Republicans, oppose the bill, claiming it will give well-heeled contributors greater influence in elections. Media reports critiqued the measure, calculating that the value of legal campaign contributions would skyrocket "2,000 percent."
But political observers note that the cost of TV advertising has been soaring for years while contribution caps have stayed static.
"Rick Scott's first bill-signing moves the Scott-O-Meter".
GOPering like it's 2009
"Weekly Roundup: Sansom and Crist in the News - Is This 2009?".
RPOF works to suppress the vote
"Current law restricts locations to elections offices, city halls and libraries. That's too narrow, elections people say, and they don't want elderly voters sweltering under a broiling sun waiting to cast ballots for president next year."
"We support giving more flexibility to the types of locations we can use," said David Stafford, the elections supervisor in Pensacola's Escambia County and legislative affairs director for his colleagues.
Bills have been introduced in both houses to do just that. The bills are sponsored by Democrats, and they were sent to committees chaired by Republicans. As the nine-week session enters Week 4, there is no sign that the early voting bills will be heard.
Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, sponsor of the Senate version, SB 848, also wants to expand weekend early voting from the current eight-hour limit to at least 12 hours.
Rich's bill would allow early voting at a "place of worship, civic center, convention center, community center, county government center, conference center, community college or university."
"We need to make voting as accessible as possible," Rich said. "Only allowing eight hours in the aggregate on the weekend is a problem for working people."
Rich said the magic words: "working people." Early voting is perceived as helping Democrats, and boosting African-American turnout. The early voting turnouts in 2004, 2006 and 2008 bear that out.
Republicans gut voluntary union dues procedure
"In a blow to public employee unions, the Republican-controlled Florida House passed a bill Friday that would ban payroll deductions of dues and require labor organizations to get individual members' OK before using their payments for political purposes." "House votes to end pay deductions for union dues". See also "House passes bill preventing payroll deductions for unions", "Lawmakers vote down union dues deductions, in a move that labor leaders call attack on unions", "House approves bill banning automatic deduction for union dues" ("The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, has one more committee stop before it makes it to the floor.")
Spats and Ascot crowd spilling their cocktails
Kingsley Guy: "in Tallahassee, lawmakers are trying to rein in gold-plated health and retirement benefits for public employees that far exceed those in the private sector." "Fiscal straitjackets needed to curb government spending".
"Alonzo Mourning stops traffic along U.S. 1 to help out".
Mack says "no" ... "field takes shape"
"Connie Mack, who talked about a possible run for Senate in 2012, decided to stay on the sidelines." "Connie Mack will not run for U.S. Senate". See also "Rep. Connie Mack IV won't run for U.S. Senate".
Meanwhile, "As Mack says no, GOP Senate field starts to take shape".
Scott delivers his garbage to Pensacola
"Scott arrived in this Panhandle city Friday night to the catcalls of more than 150 teachers, union members and Democratic activists protesting his policies." "Panhandle crowd greets Gov. Scott with catcalls".
Expect Scott to appoint "someone more radical"
The Saint Pete Times editorial board: "Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith has been around long enough to sense when he’s not wanted. So after Gov. Rick Scott ignored him for months, Smith quietly resigned this week and cleared the way for the governor to appoint new members of the Board of Education who will help select a commissioner more to Scott’s liking. That probably means someone more radical and less receptive to consensus-building. ... When a reformer [sic] embraced by the Bush camp is deemed too meek to be embraced by the Scott administration, that is a sure sign of trouble ahead." "Quiet exit speaks volumes".
Republicans makin' it "easier for polluters to escape punishment"
"Builders of homes, offices, roads and other projects have been allowed to wipe out more wetlands in Florida than in any other state. But now, in the name of sparking job growth, state lawmakers want to make it even easier to develop wetlands and just write a check for the damage."
The 63 pages of CS/HB 991, which passed its latest committee vote Wednesday 14-0, are packed with changes to the state's wetlands, water pollution and development permitting rules.
The bill makes it easier to build roads through wetlands, easier for polluters to escape punishment, easier to open new phosphate mines and harder for regulators to yank a permit from someone who did things wrong.
If it passes, the bill is also going to have "a significant negative fiscal impact" on the state budget, according to a committee staff analysis.
As for how many jobs it will create, "I think next to none," said Charles Lee of Audubon of Florida. The sponsor, Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, was not available for comment.
Bovo resigns to run
"A state lawmaker from Hialeah spoke for the last time on the House floor after resigning to run for the Miami-Dade County Commission." "State lawmaker Bovo resigns to run for Miami-Dade county commission".