"One of the most conservative and reckless Legislatures in history"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board:
The 2011 Legislature was one of the most conservative and reckless in modern history, as the veto-proof Republican majority ran roughshod over reasonable policy and treated compromise as a dirty word. In just 60 days, it reversed decades of bipartisan efforts to manage growth, protect consumers, improve public education and encourage voting. This radical agenda does not reflect mainstream Florida, but it is a sobering reminder that elections matter and there are consequences for failing to participate."Led by Senate President Mike Haridopolos of Merritt Island and House Speaker Dean Cannon of Winter Park, "
this Legislature treated public school teachers, college students, lawyers, government workers, union members, voters, women and consumers as enemies. Among the powerful smiling when the legislative session ended Saturday morning: developers, property insurers, health maintenance organizations and polluters."Reckless, radical, wrong".
Not everyone agrees. This from the reliably right wing Sunshine State News: 'With supermajorities in both houses and what Mike Haridopolos initially called the "most conservative' Senate in history, Gov. Rick Scott's smaller-government agenda appeared all but assured. But to use baseball parlance, there were no home runs, a few scratch hits and lots of strikeouts at the Capitol." "Conservatives Swing and Miss During 2011 Legislature".
Session splits RPOFers
"Republican lawmakers split at the end of session".
"SunRail fight switching into high gear"
"The fight over SunRail is switching into high gear as business interests and community activists square off on the controversial project." "Fight Over SunRail Gaining Steam, Gov. Rick Scott Feeling Heat".
Is that "reform" or "deform"?
Here's the headline: "Lawmakers deepened hole for Florida's schools, but also passed major reforms".
Here's the story:
For schools, the annual legislative session left in its wake a $1.1 billion funding cut — and, unlike in years past, a slew of new policy reforms to go with it.Words mean things, particularly the word "reform", as used in the above headline.
Lawmakers slashed spending by an average of $542 per student, a cut of nearly 8 percent, steeper than the Florida House or Senate originally proposed.
And they overhauled how teachers are evaluated, paid and fired; made major changes to benefit privately-run charter and virtual schools; and expanded school voucher programs.
Gaping budget holes have overshadowed ambitious education policies before in the Legislature. But not this year.
Use of words like "reform" to describe what the Legislature just did in the area of education, the headline writer is necessarily making an editorial comment, to wit: what the Legislature did was a "good" thing. Consider:
Definition of REFORMMerriam-Webster.
1a : to put or change into an improved form or condition
b : to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses
2: to put an end to (an evil) by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action
3: to induce or cause to abandon evil ways
"Contemptuous attitude toward voters"
The Tampa Tribune editorial board writes that Republican "State Sen. Mike Bennett displayed a notably contemptuous attitude toward voters while endorsing legislation that will make it more difficult for the poor and young, particularly college students, to vote. The Manatee Republican lamented that the state made it convenient to vote ... All legally registered voters are entitled to vote. It is not up to Bennett or anyone else to determine if American citizens possess the prerequisite 'passion' to participate in the democratic process." "".
"That long-playing labor dispute at the Kravis Center could create a momentary headache for liberal comedian Bill Maher and some questions for Democratic congressional hopeful Lois Frankel from her longtime union allies."
"Bill Maher's a guy that speaks about injustice and hammers it home to everybody about hypocrisy," said Terry McKenzie, a former stagehands union president. "In a perfect world, Bill Maher wouldn't cross a picket line.""Kravis Center-union dispute may make things uncomfortable for comedian Bill Maher, politician Lois Frankel".
Maher's publicist didn't respond to a request for comment Friday.
The stagehands have not gone on strike during the dispute, but have organized "informational pickets" at selected Kravis Center events. They picketed an April 20 roast of former West Palm Beach Mayor Frankel, who's running for the seat of freshman U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation.
"I didn't even see the picket. There may have been people picketing, but people are out with signs all the time," Frankel said. Had she seen the picketers, Frankel said she still would have attended because the event wasn't hers but the Northwest Community Consortium's to raise money for low-income neighborhoods.
It never ends
"Early voting begins Monday in election to pick new Miami-Dade mayor".
"Grayson eyeing a comeback"
"Former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson is no longer a member of Congress, but he’s just as ubiquitous and raucous as ever."
Grayson, who lost his Orlando-area seat in November, is still bomb-throwing, still delivering unapologetically liberal rhetoric that defined his single term in the House and quickly became his trademark – raising speculation that he’s looking to make a comeback. ..."Is Alan Grayson eyeing a comeback?"
The Florida Democrat himself acknowledges that he’s interested in a return engagement – asked whether he’s given the idea of running another campaign, he responded simply: "Yes."
Five years without pay raises
"It was a tough legislative session for state employees."
There will be fewer of them in the fiscal year starting July 1. That date also marks a fifth fiscal year without general pay raises. Those that remain will find their gross pay 3 percent lighter as they start kicking in to the state pension pot. ..."2011 session a tough one for state employees".
Organized workers in state agencies — like hundreds of thousands of teachers, county and municipal workers, police and firefighters statewide — opposed Gov. Rick Scott’s election last year. They staged rallies against his policies on opening day of the session March 8, booed him in the Springtime Tallahassee parade April 2 and have another series of mass protests planned for next Tuesday in major Florida cities.
But Scott, a wealthy health-care executive who made cutting the size and cost of government a centerpiece of his eight-month campaign, got a substantial start on what he wanted to do during his first session. The number of authorized positions in the state budget fell from 126,765 to 122,236. It’s estimated that 1,300 of the 4,529 eliminated positions are currently occupied by people who will lose their jobs.
There are 1,751 Department of Corrections jobs to be privatized in an 18-county region. If they don’t get, or want, jobs with private companies that get contracts to run the institutions, a number of those officers will "bump" down the seniority ladder. That could mean a dismal chain reaction of job changes all over Florida.
Scott "embarks on statewide victory lap"
"Florida Gov. Rick Scott came into his first legislative session with goals as specific as they were bold on tax cuts, spending cuts, state workforce reductions and pension contributions."
He failed to reach his targets, but a powerful Republican Legislature approved portions of each, allowing him now to embark on a statewide victory lap to sign bills in front of TV cameras."With small victories, Gov. Rick Scott calls session a success".
Scott calls the session an unqualified success, which he measures by the undeniable steps lawmakers took toward his broad goals. That self-evaluation, however, departs from his devotion to rigid measurements and acknowledges the give-and-take of a legislative process he criticized from the campaign trail a year ago and learned on the fly once he took office.
"She's No Conservative"
As Kevin Derby puts it, "There are many forms of conservatives out there -- but Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami Shores, is not one of them." "Daphne Campbell Solid on Life, but She's No Conservative".
"Scott has a legal and moral obligation"
The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Rick Scott has a legal and moral obligation to come to the rescue of the state's elderly and mentally ill who have suffered shocking neglect and abuse in the state's assisted living facilities." "Scott should act to protect vulnerable".