Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

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.


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The Blog for Monday, July 18, 2011

FlaDems hope new districts reflect registration edge

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "A political tour with a familiar theme came to the News-Journal Center on Tuesday when dozens of state lawmakers listened to about 60 people give input about redistricting."
    The topic is a hot issue with some voters but certainly not all voters. It's a somewhat esoteric subject, but it's as unavoidable as death and taxes. The U.S. Constitution mandates the process in each state. It happens after each decade's census is finished. Redistricting affects the U.S. House of Representatives -- because their 435 seats are apportioned based on population -- and every state legislature.

    In Florida, after the 2012 elections, the voters will be represented by 120 state representatives and 40 state senators. The state also has to draw maps for 27 districts for Florida's apportionment of the U.S. House. That's up from 25 in 2002 -- because the state's population grew.

    Who gets to draw the maps for their own state chambers and for the U.S. House? The Legislature. Gov. Rick Scott must then sign off.

    Complicating this process are the new Fair Districts amendments to the state constitution, which mandate the districts must be as compact and contiguous as possible, using existing district lines or geopolitical boundaries if possible. ...

    Democrats hope that redrawn districts will reflect the edge their party has in statewide voter registration. But registration is but one piece of voter data -- and not a particularly deep or predictive one.
    "Hard to take politics out of redistricting".

    Business groups whine

    "Scott for months has touted his push to grow jobs by taking a machete to thousands of government regulations that limit environmental pollution, safeguard people and police businesses. But despite his campaign pledge to rein in government overreach, Scott has also quietly killed an office lawmakers created in 2008 to do much the same thing:"

    watch out for Florida's 1.9 million small businesses when new regulations could hit them in the wallet.

    Now, business groups and advocates of scaling back regulation say Scott's effort might be less effective in protecting small businesses than the one he abolished last month.
    "His first day on the job, the governor created the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform to scrap some of the 20,000 government rules on the books, which Scott has labeled 'job-killing' mandates on the private sector."
    The effort is being challenged before the Florida Supreme Court, after a Miami-Dade woman, Audubon of Florida and others argued that Scott was usurping the power of the Legislature over state-agency rulemaking. The court could rule later this year on the case.

    So far, the governor's one-person office has found more than 1,100 rules Scott would like to kill during the next year, covering everything from permits to bulldoze wetlands to fire-safety rules for nursing homes and other rules governing the construction of slalom courses and ski jumps.
    "Scott agency less effective than one he axed, critics say".

    Empty suit attacks Obama

    Jeremy Wallace: "As U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has begun to assert himself into the debt-ceiling debate in Washington and ramp up his criticism of the president, talk of him as a potential Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012 has followed."

    Rubio has been aggressive in hitting the talk show circuit over the past week. On Sunday, Rubio was a guest on CBS's Face the Nation. That came days after Rubio made appearances on Sean Hannity's television program on FOX News, on CNN's John King USA, on Rush Limbaugh's radio program, and with The Hugh Hewitt Show on radio. ...

    "The reality of it is, none of these policy prescriptions this president has written has worked," Rubio said during Hannity's show last week. "Every aspect of life in America today is worse than when he took over. Unemployment is higher. Interest rates. Everything is worse. The only thing that's gone down in America over the last two years is the value of your home."
    "Rubio crafting a higher profile".


    "Groundbreaking is today near downtown Orlando".

    Scott, Bondi block voting rights restoration

    "Under the new rules, anyone with a felony conviction must wait at least five to seven years and have no other arrests before applying to have their voting rights restored. The current backlog in applications dates back years and affects at least 100,000 people".

    According to a letter opposing the rule change from the American Civil Liberties Union and several legal defense groups, Florida has become one of only four states to bar ex-felons from voting for life unless they get clemency from the governor. They estimate that at least 13 percent of voting-age African-Americans have lost the right to vote this way.

    Attorney General Pam Bondi pushed for the new rules because she said rights shouldn't be restored automatically and there should be a waiting period. Scott also has routinely denied rights-restoration petitions.
    "Residents campaign to restore ex-felons' voting rights".

    Hawkes to wait at least a week

    "Appellate Judge Paul Hawkes will have to wait at least another week to learn if charges against him for his conduct as the alleged mastermind of a new courthouse in Tallahassee will be dropped." "JQC panel hears Judge Hawkes on Taj Mahal role".

    "FSU all but sold influence in the economics department"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "A faculty review of a controversial donor contract has concluded the obvious: Florida State University jeopardized its academic autonomy and violated some of its own rules when it signed a 2008 deal with the Charles G. Koch Foundation to obtain a mere $1.5 million for the economics department over six years. ... The committee also criticized less publicized provisions in the contract that sought to influence the department's curriculum toward Koch's libertarian philosophy. That often wasn't disclosed clearly to other economics faculty members or students. For example, the contract required the creation of a 'morals and ethics in economic systems' class that would teach the work of Ayn Rand. The class moved through the approval process without clear indication that its creation and its syllabus were donor-prescribed."

    "Incredulously, FSU leaders — including Barron who joined the university after the contract was signed — did not initially acknowledge that the university had all but sold influence in the economics department's operation for a paltry sum. But as more details became public in May, Barron requested the faculty review, and on Friday he ordered various campus leaders to take its recommendations to heart. It's the right direction, even if it took two months to get there." "Making best of bad deal".

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