Teabaggers are dancing in the streets of Tallahassee: "Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered deep cuts Thursday to programs that serve tens of thousands of residents with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities." "Gov. Scott orders immediate cuts to programs for disabled".
Haridopolos and Cannon work the gerrymandering thing
"Florida legislative leaders Mike Haridopolos and Dean Cannon have resubmitted the state's new anti-gerrymandering amendments for federal approval, but in a way that critics say seeks to allow the Legislature to continue drawing districts to benefit Republicans."
The action means the amendments continue to be a political football despite having been approved by 63 percent voter majorities in the November election."Critics: Gerrymandering ploy afoot".
Republicans, including Cannon, the state House speaker, and Haridopolos, state Senate president, oppose the amendments because of the likelihood they'll reduce the Republican majorities in the state House, Senate and congressional delegation.
The amendments would forbid drawing legislative districts designed to benefit either political party or incumbent officeholders.
Before taking effect, the amendments must get federal approval from the U.S. Department of Justice, called "preclearance," to assure they don't undermine minority voting rights under the federal Voting Rights Act.
Gov. Charlie Crist submitted a routine application for that preclearance before leaving office, but Gov. Rick Scott withdrew it just after taking office. That drew accusations that he was trying to frustrate the will of the voters.
On Tuesday, Cannon and Haridopolos submitted a new application, but said in it that the amendments could harm minority voting rights in Florida, depending on how they're interpreted.
If so, Cannon and Haridopolos said, the Department of Justice shouldn't approve them.
Under another interpretation, the two said, the amendments would not harm minority voting rights and could be approved. That interpretation, they said, would allow the Legislature to continue to pack black and Hispanic voters into a few districts, as they have done in the past.
"Politics will top Census"
"Politics will top Census numbers in carving out legislative representation".
"Florida's new performance pay law would put in place a evaluation system that has been questioned nationally." "Does teacher merit pay bill rely on flawed model?".
"The Florida House passed a bill that would dramatically overhaul the Medicaid system, shifting patients into private managed care plans." "House passes massive Medicaid overhaul bill". See also "Florida House passes Medicaid privatization plan".
"Scientists grapple with BP oil spill's cost to bird life".
So much for the "will of the voters"
"State lawmakers are poised to ease class-size requirements. Cash-strapped school districts have asked for the change, though voters rejected the move at the polls last year." "Lawmakers seek ways around class-size rules".
The Confederacy wins one last battle
"A federal district judge in Orlando has sided with the Sons of Confederate Veterans in a legal fight over specialty car-license plates showing the Confederate flag."
U.S. District Judge John Antoon II ruled in favor of the group, which had challenged the constitutionality of state law establishing the license-plate program. "Federal judge rules in favor of Sons of Confederate Veterans in plate dispute". See also "Confederate Group Wins Florida License Plate Skirmish in Federal Court" and "Judge nixes Fla. license plate rules".
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, Florida Division, had argued that the state's "specialty license plate program constitutes a public forum for free speech."
Sore loser keeps up the wingnut fight
"Claims that the Florida Bar has beaten back judicial reforms proposed by House Republicans were denied by House Speaker Dean Cannon's office Wednesday. Reacting Tuesday to an e-mail issued by three Palm Beach County attorneys and a Palm Beach County judge, Cannon spokeswoman Katie Betta said GOP leaders are continuing the push to reform courts and curb the Bar's influence." "Florida Bar Lawyers Claim Victory in Court Reform Fight".
Today in Tally
"Today in Tallahassee: Petition-gatherer crackdown, budget bills".
Pension-pay cut moving in Legislature
"Bill requiring government workers to contribute 3 percent of salaries moves on party lines vote". "House Committee Backs 'Modest' Pension Reform for State Employees". Related: "Senate moving ahead with dramatically different pension proposal".
"Senate Moves $69.8 Billion Budget".
"Who cares about privacy, ethics or millions of wasted dollars?"
Scott Maxwell: "Scott wants to start randomly drug-testing state employees."
This idea has outraged many who say it would be wildly expensive, unnecessary and a clear violation of privacy and the U.S. Constitution."Why fool around? Drug tests for all! Forget rights".
But I say: Bring it on!
Who cares about privacy, ethics or millions of wasted dollars?
If there's some teacher's aide at the Florida School for Deaf and Blind who's smoking wacky tobacky on the weekend, we have a right to know!
Even if she's not smoking, she owes us a blood test. Because you can't expect to live a life of luxury — earning $22,000 for the privilege of helping blind kids learn math — without making sacrifices.
Now, I know that many of these employees do top-notch jobs and offer no indication whatsoever that they're using drugs.
Scott doesn't care. He says: "Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace."
And whatever our governor says goes double for me. In fact, I say: Let's expand it!
At the same time, "Welfare recipients would need to pass drug tests – and pay for them -- before receiving financial assistance under bills traveling in both chambers that backers say will send a tough but needed message to substance abusers who use taxpayer money to feed their addiction instead of their families. ... Critics say subjecting all recipients to drug tests penalizes their families, especially their children, regardless of whether the parents are using. ... In two-parent households, both parents would have to take separate tests, which could run from $10 to $70 a piece." "Drug testing bill for welfare recipients advances in House".
Don't let the door hit you on the derriere
"Scott has replaced his transition director, despite several holes that remain in his administration. ... Mainigi will remain an adviser to Scott but will focus on her corporate law practice at the Williams & Connolly firm in Washington, D.C." "Gov. Rick Scott replaces transition director Enu Mainigi".
Rivera lookin' at a RPOF challenge?
"Anxious to hold onto Florida's 25th Congressional District, Republicans are quietly maneuvering for the seat held by Rep. David Rivera. Rivera, who was elected last year, has been dogged by allegations concerning past financial dealings. A criminal investigation is reportedly under way by the state attorney's office. In the event that Rivera is sidelined -- or even if he isn't -- several big-name Republicans are said to be interested in running in the GOP-leaning district that stretches from Miami-Dade to Collier County. Among the prospective, though unconfirmed, candidates ...." "Will GOP Challenge David Rivera?".
Even the Teabaggers don't like it
"Florida's largest utilities close to controlling everything, squelching competition". "A Renewable Energy Bill That Even the Tea Party Can't Like".
HCR in 11th Circuit
"Florida's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of federal health care reform legislation is one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments for the U.S. Department of Justice's appeal of a Florida judge's ruling that the law is unconstitutional are set for June 8 before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals." "Florida's health care reform lawsuit heats up June 8".
Republican motion in $20 sex case
"Former [Republican] state representative Bob Allen will not get a new trial. Allen, found guilty of agreeing to pay $20 to perform a sexual act on an undercover Titusville police officer in 2007, asked for a new trial this year because he thought his lawyers did not represent him effectively." "No new trial for former representative Bob Allen".
Privatization run amuck
Fred Grimm says the "Grand jury should have named names" ("The statewide grand jury report released last month, with the kind of hyperbolic, angry language usually employed by bloggers and newspaper columnists, cited 'behavior that can best be explained by corruption of our officials by contractors, vendors and their lobbyists.'").
Nuthin' better to do
"With thousands of people from around the world planning to visit Central Florida for the Gay Days festivities in early June, religious conservatives from the Sunshine State are warning families not to visit the Magic Kingdom on the first Saturday of the month." "Social Conservatives Take Aim at Gay Days at Orlando and Disney".
"Birthers" or "doofuses?"
Leonard Pitts, Jr. points out that would-be GOPer candidate for president, "Donald Trump doesn’t like 'birthers.' He calls the word 'unfair' to people who don’t believe President Obama was born in the USA."
Very well, then. If not birthers, how about if we call them “morons?’’ How about ‘‘jackasses,” “imbeciles,” “idiots’’ or “doofuses?”"Donald Trump and the birthers"..
Entrepreneurs in action
"SEC claims Fla. couple ran $30M Ponzi scheme".
Prez primary pissing match
"Florida's insistence on an early presidential primary kicked up a storm Thursday from Republican officials in Iowa and South Carolina who are demanding the national party force the Sunshine State to pull back." "Battle over Florida primary".
"Florida’s insistence on an early presidential primary kicked up a storm Thursday from Republican officials in Iowa and South Carolina who are demanding the national party force the Sunshine State to pull back. If not, GOP leaders in the two states say, Florida should lose the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa." "Iowa, South Carolina outraged over Florida primary". See also "Early Florida GOP primary elicits move-convention threats".
"Scott praises, then cuts"
"Scott praises athletes, then cuts programs".
Where are the jobs, Ricky?
"Teleperformance ASD will cut 860 customer service and technical employees in Boca Raton by May 31, the company notified the state of Florida on Thursday. It is one of the largest layoffs in a decade in Palm Beach County". "Telecom firm to lay off 860 Boca Raton workers". More: "Two Broward insurance companies fold".
What's wrong with Hillsborough?
The Scott crowd has too much time on their hands: "They've called for his removal. They've said he is an idiot, a judicial activist, a traitor, a liberal and, yes, perhaps even a Democrat."
In the explosion of criticism against Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard A. Nielsen after he invoked Islamic law in a case involving a Tampa mosque, the caricature of the judge is absurdly incorrect, friends say."Judge in Islamic law case is no liberal".
"In liberal land Christians praying is offensive, 'sharia' law is good," one blogger wrote.
A former Navy chaplain said on YouTube, "Nielsen empowers Islamic terrorists. … God remove him swiftly as a judge."
Critics might be surprised by a few facts gleaned from friends, colleagues and public records.
Nielsen is a registered Republican and a conservative. Jeb Bush, no bastion of liberal politics, appointed Nielsen to the bench in 2000. Nielsen is one of the most active members of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz. He once removed himself from a case because one of the lawyers was in his Bible study group.
"You might expect a fight in Tallahassee over education, taxes or immigration, but the licensing of commercial interior designers has taken center stage in the state capitol. ... The House panel spent more time Wednesday on this issue than on the $66 billion budget proposal." "The real knock-down, drag-out fight in Florida is over commercial interior design".