Update - Here's the latest: "Chamber President Embarrasses Himself".
"Central Florida labor leaders said a plan to punish banks that support 'union-busting' legislation will cost financial institutions millions and likely spread to other unions around the state."
At a news conference Thursday, unions representing police, firefighters, teachers and white- and blue-collar workers announced they will pull their money from five banks whose executives are affiliated with the Florida Chamber of Commerce."Unions pull money from Florida Chamber bankers".
The banks — Bank of America, PNC, Regions Bank, SunTrust and Wachovia — are each represented on the Florida Chamber's board of directors. The chamber has pushed legislation now moving through the Florida Legislature that would prohibit state and local governments from collecting union dues through payroll deduction.
Beth Kassab of the Orlando Sentinel - a nonunion Company that is presumably a member in good standing of the Chamber of Commerce - writes that the Chamber is "going after the unions the way politicians clamor after chamber members for campaign checks. Hard. The fight is turning nastier by the day." "Florida Chamber goes hard after unions"*.
Today from the Palm Beach Post editors: "Paycheck Protection Act: More bogus arguments in Tallahassee for a non-problem".
Background from Bill Cotterell: "Unions suffer payback in battle over dues".
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*Ms. Kassab, loyal employee she is, manages to say precisely what her boss man wants her to say, to wit: "Public sector employees should contribute to their retirement funds just as workers in the private sector do." At the same time, Kassab avoids mentioning that Florida's state employees have had no wage increases, and indeed have suffered wage cuts in recent years; and, compared to other states, state employees are both overworked and underpaid. Facts are stubborn things.
Today in Tally
"Today in Tallahassee: Legislature breaks for holiday".
Florida Republicans "ripping apart election laws"
"Florida lawmakers passed a dramatic overhaul of state election law Thursday night, a move that GOP legislators say will bring integrity to the process and one that Democrats counter will disenfranchise voters across the state."
The measure, a major rewrite to the laws that govern the state's elections, passed 79-37. Among other things, the measure (HB 1355) would limit voters' ability to change their address at the polls, change third-party voter registration rules and make it more difficult for citizen groups to put amendments on the ballot."Legislature passes dramatic overhaul of state election law".
It also sets up a committee that will decide when the state's 2012 presidential primary will take place. ...
Democrats blasted the measure, calling it an assault on voters' rights. In particular, they said it would severely limit the likelihood that the votes of college students or military personnel be counted.
The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Time to stop calling the gang running Florida's government conservative. They're busy concocting a liberal dose of new regulations that would serve their fortunes first, and Floridians dead last."
It amounts to their ripping apart election laws that have made it easier for Floridians to vote, and replacing them with laws that could stack the deck — election outcomes — in the Republicans' favor."State Republicans' election reforms all about strengthening the GOP". See also the Saint Pete Times editorial board's "Partisan effort to tilt votes" and "".
- Far less time to vote.
- Far more difficult to vote.
- Far more regulations!
Hasner laff riot
"Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner has formally entered the U.S. Senate race." "Former state House leader Hasner enters race for the U.S. Senate".
tax fee increases
"A bill designed to save Florida businesses and workers millions of dollars in taxes has been amended to keep cash flowing to local governments. House Bill 311 aimed to block cities and counties from expanding their business license taxes to a vast cadre of license-holding employees. Rep. Ken Roberson, R-Port Charlotte, said his measure was in response to a 2010 attorney general's opinion that such taxes could be imposed on individual workers who hold professional licenses." "Compromise Reached on Local Business Tax".
Gentlemen, start your bulldozers!
"House OKs bill cutting state involvement in land use issues".
Florida's "lock and load crowd"
Daniel Ruth: "At the moment the Deadwood Open Carry Act is moving swimmingly through both bodies of the Florida Star Chamber, mostly because lawmakers quake in fear at the prospect of incurring the wrath of the NRA's Marion Hammer, the Thelma AND Louise of the lock and load crowd." "Arizonan amazes with political sense".
Chamber of Commerce AWOL
"A series of bills placing restrictions on abortions were approved by a House committee Wednesday, and unsurprisingly the debate got emotional, with claims and counterclaims being leveled for nearly every provision."
Members of the House Health and Human Services Committee approved three bills by largely partisan votes that collectively bar using state or federal funds for abortions (except in cases of rape, incest, or the endangerment of the health of the mother); require abortion-seekers to undergo ultrasounds; and restrict doctors from performing abortions in the third trimester or after the fetus is viable. ..."Abortion Bills Move Through Florida House Panel".
Rep. Ron Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, claimed that abortions drive 30 percent of Planned Parenthood's income, but Stephanie Kunkel, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist, refuted that charge, saying that 97 percent of its operations nationwide are services other than abortions. She also subtly reminded Republicans that the GOP does not usually mind pushing legislation with a profit motive.
"I'm a little surprised the chamber isn't here opposing this bill," Kunkel said of HB 1397, which restricts abortions after viability, arguing that the bill imposes undue regulations on clinics that provide abortions.
All three bills next head to the House floor.
"House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, ended Thursday's floor session by telling reporters that there has been no progress in budget negotiations, but that he is fairly optimistic the session can end on time in two weeks." "Cannon not ruling out special session".
House Redistricting Committee Kerfuffle
"Kicking off the first meeting of the House Redistricting Committee, Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who chairs the committee, said Wednesday redistricting 'is not supposed to be a political process.'"
That's going to be easier said than done, as there has already been some political sniping over the membership of the committee, before the hectic process of drawing the congressional and legislative boundaries has really begun."Redistricting Gets Off to Awkward Start in House".
When members for the full Redistricting Committee and three subcommittees were announced Tuesday by House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, the legislator named by Democrats to lead them in the process, Rep. Perry Thurston of Plantation, was not on the list. That prompted House Minority Leader Ron Saunders of Key West to send Cannon a memo omitting the Democratic selection for a ranking member on the full Redistricting Committee.
Rubio proposes publicity stunt
"Marking the one-year anniversary of the Gulf oil spill on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio called for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to meet in Pensacola to focus on the region’s recovery." "Marco Rubio Calls for Senate Committee to Meet in Panhandle".
"U.S. Rep. Ron Paul: Cuba embargo propped up Castro".
The Tampa Trib editorial board: "Taking different paths toward balancing the state budget, the Florida House and Senate each hit competing areas of government that have long been the primary beneficiaries of taxpayer money."
The House plan generally slices the education budget, while the Senate takes a saber to health and social services."House health cuts inflict less pain".
Whatever the political reasons for the split, determined special interests are fighting to protect classrooms, universities and teachers. They are vying against constituencies representing hospitals, nursing homes, physicians, the poor and the developmentally disabled. The chambers' conferees in the next few weeks have tough choices to make that will affect all Floridians.
Thank you, President Obama
"Miles of sidewalks coming to traffic-choked Orlando; feds to foot the bill".
"A hail of public mockery"
"Amid a hail of public mockery, Workforce Central Florida abruptly shut down a marketing campaign to distribute 6,000 red capes to job seekers and employers." "Workforce Central Florida Trips on Its Cape".
Garbage in, garbage out
"According to a Viewpoint Florida [a polling firm associated with Republican consultants] survey, likely voters almost universally support a requirement that voters show a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, in order to cast a ballot. Some 87 percent of respondents said they would support a photo ID requirement, compared to just 9 percent who said voters should not be required to show an ID." "Poll: Forida Voters Want Ballot Security".
Ain't it cool
"The South Florida Water Management District uses a loophole in state law to avoid requiring lobbyists to register and disclose who hired them, which officials they seek to influence and how much they are being paid. None of the state’s five water management districts requires special-interest lobbyists to register before they contact board members and staff about big money contracts, environmental permits or other important matters involving public policy." "Loophole in Law Lets Lobbyists Dodge Disclosure at SFWMD".