"Lawmakers continue their carnival-style tour of Florida this week, talking to voters about the difficult and controversial task of redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional districts."
But during those redistricting hearings — which include a stop Tuesday in Wesley Chapel — are your elected officials always telling it straight?"Just the facts about redistricting in Florida".
"Education special session needed"
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Politics could get in the way of [a] special session this year, this time on education. But that would be a tragedy for Florida. Unlike last year's session on drilling, which wasn't even needed because Florida already had a statutory ban on offshore drilling, educators and the state's students desperately need help."
Scott and lawmakers actually share much of the responsibility for placing primary and secondary education in Florida in such dire straits. In February, Scott proposed a state budget that cut spending $700 per pupil. To its credit, the Legislature pushed back, managing to pass a budget that trimmed the cut to about $540 per student. ..."Scott should call special session on education".
If Scott's serious about restoring money to education, it's past time he called a special session to do it. And for Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos to work with him to give Florida's districts the money they need
Bense can't say "no"
"Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense is considering entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, after 'very high-profile' Republicans urged him to in the wake of Mike Haridopolos quitting the race." "Ex-Florida House Speaker Allan Bense won't rule out U.S. Senate run".
"GOPers and Dems from Florida show little willingness to compromise"
"Digging in their heels like the rest of Congress, Republicans and Democrats from Florida show little willingness to compromise on tax hikes or benefit cutbacks as the federal government drifts toward a potentially disastrous default." "Florida delegation also digs in on budget talks". Related: "S. Fla. Republican congressmen open to short-term debt deal as time runs down".
Second amendment stoopid
"At issue is a new state law, the first of its kind in the nation, which forbids licensed health care workers from asking patients about gun ownership and gun safety absent compelling reasons. Supporters, including the National Rifle Association, say the law was needed to protect gun owners' privacy and stop doctors from 'harassing' patients on the subject."
The law, which went into effect June 2 when Gov. Rick Scott signed it, has prompted a lawsuit in federal court from three professional groups representing thousands of Florida physicians. They say it unconstitutionally curtails their freedom of speech and interferes with their ability to look after patients' well-being."Legal battle pits part of medical profession against gun-rights advocates".
Meanwhile, "9 wounded in house party shooting in central Fla.".
West's "apocalyptic view of the nation's future"
"U.S. Rep. Allen West stirred up a friendly, conservative crowd with a partisan speech Saturday night, making no reference to his flap this week with fellow Fort Lauderdale-area Congress member Debbie Wasserman Schultz."
West gave a standard conservative stemwinder speech, with an apocalyptic view of the nation's future under President Barack Obama, contending that heavy federal spending is endangering its future."West wows local GOP, doesn't mention Wasserman Schultz exchange".
"America is standing on a precipice with one leg dangling off the edge," because of debt, he said.
His prescription included corporate tax cuts, which he said would being manufacturing jobs back to America, and cutting EPA regulations. Air and water quality regulations, he said, are "penalizing people for trying to grow," he said.
"We all pay a price for nonprofits"
Stephen Goldstein writes that "because of American machismo, only the business sector is lionized for driving the economy and saving the nation. Real men don't lead social service agencies; they head hedge funds — or so the thinking goes. And yet for-profits disproportionately cheat consumers, commit fraud and go bankrupt — too often taking the rest of the economy with them. "
That said, because we depend so heavily upon a vibrant nonprofit sector, hard times compel us to do everything we can to strengthen it — which means taking a hard look at every aspect of how nonprofits do business."Nonprofit scrutiny: More questions must be asked".
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, in 2009, there were nearly 1.6 million nonprofits in the United States, more than 75,000 in Florida. Recently, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of thousands of organizations that had consistently neglected to file 990 forms, clearly a good move. But that action doesn't address the fundamental question: What organizations should be tax-exempt in the first place?
In the reddest part of the state ...
"Government and public educational institutions in Southwest Florida rely more and more on lobbyists as a voice in Tallahassee and to stay up to date on grants and funding in Washington, D.C. Their expertise comes with a hefty price and not all officials think it’s the right way to spend already tight budgets." "Special report: Collier, Lee and FGCU the local biggest spenders on lobbyists". See generally "Special report: Lobbying cost local governments $1.2 billion in past decade".
Will Ring take on Scott in 2014?
Antonio Fins: "All eyes are on the 2012 presidential race. But, in Florida, it's tempting to look past to 2014 and what could shape up as an unusual gubernatorial 're-election' year."
Florida has been very kind to governors seeking re-election. In the past 40 years, the state has rejected just one incumbent wanting four more years. That was in 1992, when Republican Gov. Bob Martinez got bounced by Democrat Lawton Chiles."There is no doubt the No. 1 issue in 2014 will be the economy."
So, 2014 is supposed to be a routine gubernatorial re-election cycle. But maybe not.
Despite having history on his side, Gov. Rick Scott today looks to be on the Bob Martinez track with many voters. He has angered a broad swath of the Sunshine State electorate. His polls are among the lowest ever for a governor and, if he doesn't generate enough jobs to put a meaningful dent in the unemployment rate, he's vulnerable in three years.
If Gov. Scott meets his goal of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, he gets re-elected, regardless of which special-interest group is mad at him right now.Much more here: "Challenge for Scott?: S. Florida senator has chance".
The other obstacle Scott's opposition faces is a candidate. Florida Democrats have never been in such statewide disarray. Other than U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, there are no other Democrats holding statewide offices or with bases beyond their home regions. Let alone name recognition outside their political districts.
So, let me throw out a name — state Sen. Jeremy Ring.
"More than 100 fish wash up dead at Naples Beach".
"So who is Lew, and who is Ed?"
"It was deleted within seconds, but an errant Twitter message Thursday from U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux was around long enough to gain notice. "Remember to touch base with Lew," it read. 'They should be able to do 100k. Thanks, Ed.' So who is Lew, and who is Ed?" "Sure, $100K will do".
Pawlenty, Romney campaign news
"Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign announced Friday it has gotten the endorsement of seven more state representatives: Janet Adkins, Fernandina Beach; Ben Albritton, Wauchula; Frank Artiles, Miami; Jason Brodeur, Sanford; James Grant, Tampa; Ana Rivas Logan, Miami; Jeanette Nunez, Miami. And Mitt Romney has added to his Florida staff: Bertica Cabrera-Morris will serve as a senior adviser to the campaign and Jay Demetree will serve as a Florida finance co-chairman and a member of the national leadership team." "Name dropping".
The rich are different
"Scott is taking a breather this week, escaping the Florida heat (and his poor poll numbers) with the 70-degree days and 50-degree nights in northwest Montana. Where in Montana? The new 60.6-acre property near Troy he bought June 22. Tucked into the Kootenai National Forest, it's just a couple of miles down the Kootenai River from the Big Sky property of his new chief of staff, Steve MacNamara." "At his new digs".