"Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner appeared on a Sarasota conservative talk show today, echoing previous comments on the dangers of Sharia in the Sunshine State by saying there is a 'civilizational jihad' underway across the country and in Florida." "Hasner: We are witnessing a ‘civilizational jihad’ in America, Florida".
Scott "quietly" flip-flops on drug testing
"Scott downplayed the impact Thursday of his week-old decision to quietly suspend an order that all state workers undergo drug-testing, saying he remains committed to screening despite an ACLU lawsuit challenging the policy."
The move was a sudden shift in a wide-ranging testing plan Scott unveiled March 22. Instead, only Florida's Department of Corrections, which already conducts drug screening for those in "safety-sensitive" jobs, will proceed with implementing the governor's order to require pre-employment testing for prospective employees and random testing for all its employees."Scott downplays decision to suspend drug testing for most state employees". See also "Scott delays drug testing", "Scott delays drug testing", "Drug testing on hold for most state employees" and "Rick Scott Halts Drug-Testing of Most State Workers -- For Now".
Citing the ACLU's lawsuit, filed May 31 on behalf of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 50,000 state workers or nearly half the state's workforce, Scott sent a memo to agency heads June 10 announcing the revised approach.
But the shift was not made public until Thursday when the ACLU distributed the governor's memo.
The ACLU contends the testing policy is unconstitutional and declared Scott's most recent action a reversal.
Florida's Romney country
"As he continued to campaign and fundraise in the Sunshine State Thursday, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts -- front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination -- announced the support of three Florida congressmen and one of the leading figures in the state Senate. ... Romney won the backing of Ander Crenshaw, Connie Mack and Tom Rooney. He also won the formal endorsement of state Sen. John Thrasher of Jacksonville." "Florida Bandwagon Starts Rolling for GOP Front-runner Mitt Romney". See also "Mitt Romney in Tampa hits Obama's economic policies", "Mitt Romney leads 2012 field, but many Republicans pine for someone else", "Romney: Respected but not revered among Republicans" and "Romney picks up support in Florida". Related: "UPDATE: Mitt Romney in Sarasota for fundraiser".
Enjoy your 3% pay cut
"420 wildfires burn in state". More: "Drought, Raging Fires Begin to Consume Florida Resources". Related: "Home invasion suspect batters Orlando cop".
"Attorney General Pam Bondi said her office will not be investigating the controversy surrounding Gov. Rick Scott's budget signing even in The Villages last month." After several House Democrats
sent a letter to Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater asking them to investigate the event and to see whether any civil liberties had been violated by removing protesters from a public event."Scott's budget signing won't get AG investigation".
Bondi responded: Throughout my nearly two decades in public services, I have been committed to transparency and open government. While I do not take lightly the questions you have raised, Florida law does not empower me to investigate your concerns.
"Fourteen school districts asked to investigate possible FCAT cheating".
That 'splains ever'thing
"A long-simmering contract dispute between the politically-connected owner of a company that prints the state's driver's manual and a state agency will go before a state appeals court on Wednesday. ... Underwood is a prominent political donor and his company has spent plenty of money in the last few years supporting Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott." "Long running contract dispute headed to appeals court".
"The long-term costs Florida inflicts on itself"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "A recent study in the journal Science is a reminder of the long-term costs Florida inflicts on itself by starving its voluntary prekindergarten program." "The high cost of scrimping on pre-K".
Florida's manufactured FRS crisis
"Despite forecasts of looming trouble in government-employee pensions, and a sluggish national economy, managers of the state's investments got an encouraging report Thursday on the Florida Retirement System's investments."
"Panel makes no change in Fla. investment policy despite recent reforms".
Big of her
"Bondi: Online Travel Company Tax Issue Needs to Be Settled". See also "Florida's tax collector may get in the middle of online travel tax fight".
Batista crowd in a dither
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Release democracy funding for Cuba".
Paying the piper
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board whines that, after years of soiling rivers, lakes and streams, the "New EPA water rules would hit Floridians hard". Meanwhile, Floridians enjoy a "3 million gallon spill of raw sewage into the Manatee River."
Privatization "savings could well be a mirage"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board points out that, when it comes to privatization, the "fiscal savings, the carrot Scott and the Legislature chased, could well be a mirage. Research by the Arizona Department of Corrections found that even with a law mandating that private prisons must produce cost savings, private prisons came up short. At best many inmates cost the same as those in state-run facilities, and at worst, inmates in private prisons can cost as much as $1,6000 more annually." "Corrections chief: Private prisons, Whoa Nellie!".
Locals get briefed
FlaDem State Reps. Joseph Abruzzo, 30, of Wellington, Marty Kiar, 33, of Davie; Alan Williams, 36, of Tallahassee; and Dwight Bullard, 34, of Miami. "will be at the White House Friday for several hours of briefings from Obama administration officials and a reception honoring young elected officials from around the United States." "Wellington Rep. Abruzzo gets White House briefings, reception Friday".
"No state bailout"
"Florida's top transportation manager intends to barnstorm the Interstate 4 corridor soon, warning local governments that there will be no state bailout if they run short of money operating the planned SunRail commuter train." "No bailout if SunRail fails, state transportation chief warns".
Bondi claims black Parole Commissioner too sympathetic to "serial rapists and murderers"
"Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Thursday reappointed Tena Pate to the Parole Commission, but rejected another commissioner, Cassandra Jenkins, with the governor and Attorney General Pam Bondi saying Jenkins wasn't committed enough to public safety."
Jenkins, who was the only African-American on the three member commission, was rejected in her bid to remain. Pate's and Jenkins' were two of six names given to the Cabinet by a nominating committee as candidates for the two vacancies created by their failure to gain Senate confirmation. "Scott also implied that Jenkins wasn't committed enough to keeping criminals behind bars when needed."
"It's a public safety issue to me," Bondi said after the meeting, after listing several criminals to whom Jenkins voted to grant parole even though they'd committed serious crimes. "It's a serious public safety issue when it involves serial rapists and murderers."
The commission reviews the cases of prison inmates eligible for parole and release.
When Jenkins was appointed to the commission in October - by an entirely different Cabinet and previous Gov. Charlie Crist - the governor and former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink cited the fact that Jenkins is African American as important in her appointment to the panel - which had been all white. "Pate reappointed, but Jenkins passed over for Parole Commission". See also "Scott and Cabinet, citing "public safety," refuse to reappoint commissioner".
"We will be righting a wrong," Sink said when arguing for Jenkins' appointment. "We haven't had diversity on the parole commission." Sink also noted the problem with having an all-white parole panel deal with a criminal justice system that includes a disproportionately large number of African-Americans. More than half the state's inmates are minorities.
"Finally, Florida's Parole Commission reflects the diversity of this state and those in our criminal justice system," Sink said then.
Scott wants credit for merely "Being There"
Rick ("Chauncey Gardiner") Scott "says he's hopeful Florida's unemployment will keep falling. It's gone down in each of the first four months that the Republican governor has been in office. ... But it was still one of the highest rates in the nation. The national jobless rate for May was 9.1 percent. Florida's April rate, though, was the state's lowest in 19 months." "Florida's May unemployment rate to be released".
"Like something written by Sophocles"
"Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel, who invited U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner to be the keynote speaker for the local party's annual fund-raising dinner last fall, compared the New York Democrat's sexting-induced downfall to something written by Sophocles or Euripides. ... Members of Palm Beach County's congressional delegation expressed relief at Weiner's departure." "Greek tragedy or not, Weiner's resignation a relief for Palm Beach County congressmen".
"He walked out of chambers and never returned"
"On Wednesday, at Hollywood City Commission weekly meeting, Benson’s crumbling relationship with the commission finally collapsed under the weight of sharply worded questions from an, at times, angry Mayor Peter Bober over how the city ended up $10.3 million in the hole and was forced to lay off 31 workers this week."
Bober asked for Benson’s resignation, to which Benson replied, in effect, I’ll think about it and let you know."Once a rising star, Hollywood manager leaves amid a cloud".
He walked out of the chambers and never returned, sending back word through the City Attorney that he was stepping down from his $205,000-a-year position.
"Debbie Wasserman Schultz a gaffe-prone attack dog"?
"In Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Republicans say they see a gaffe-prone attack dog emerging. Democrats say that, a few missteps aside, the Florida congresswoman is growing into her role well, galvanizing fundraising and pumping up the party's liberal base. How well and how quickly Wasserman Schultz adjusts to her new position will be an important factor in President Barack Obama's re-election effort." "Democrats, GOP both happy with new DNC chairwoman".