The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "If Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning is so sure the state's new election law has no adverse impact on minority voters, why did he abruptly sidestep a U.S. Justice Department review and ask a federal court to rule instead?"
Withdrawing the four most controversial provisions of the law from the department's consideration and redirecting them to a federal court will cost Florida taxpayers and prolong the cloud of uncertainty over the election procedures. Browning must have thought the department was poised to reject the changes. But Florida's new law erects roadblocks to minority voting, and it should fail under the Voting Rights Act no matter who reviews it."Election law deserves no clearance".
The Big Easy
"Florida legislators in New Orleans this week are there on your dime".
GOP exorcist in Tampa
The GOP's favorite exorcist hits Tampa: "In a punchy keynote speech at the GOP's summer meeting, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tore into the president for seeking an increase in the nation's debt ceiling." "Jindal warms up GOP in Tampa".
"Six in the Morning"
Travis Pillow: "Six in the Morning: A six-pack of infobits you might have missed".
"FMA usually works closely with Republicans"
"Under terms of a recently approved House of Delegates resolution, the Florida Medical Association has one month to send a letter asking the federal government to reject waivers the state needs to overhaul the Medicaid program and keep an existing pilot program intact. The FMA usually works closely with the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature." "Powerful doctors group opposes Medicaid managed care overhaul".
Christian Family Coalition blames "anti-American extremists and racists"
"The Christian Family Coalition says 'anti-American extremists and racists' forced the cancellation of an appearance by Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, at an upcoming Wilton Manors Business Association meeting." "Christian Family Coalition: ‘Anti-American extremists and racists’ forced cancellation of West event".
"Funding to non-hospital programs could be jeopardized"
"The federal government has warned it may force Florida to end its low income pool by the end of 2013 as one of the conditions of extending the state's current Medicaid waiver. The Agency for Health Care Administration says it has options if this pot of money is eliminated but funding to non-hospital programs could be jeopardized." "Primary care programs could get cut if feds cut off health care money".
"Philip Twogood on Wednesday became the new coordinator for the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. Twogood had been secretary of the Senate since November 2008. His move is one of several in the last few weeks in the Florida Senate, including the hiring of a new staff director for the Senate Budget Committee." "Secretary of Senate leaves job to take over watchdog agency".
Compromise primary date?
"Compromise primary date in the works?". See also "RNC punts on leapfrogging states".
"Florida the biggest prize in the 2012 election"
"Florida is the biggest prize in the 2012 election, so it's no coincidence that the GOP nominating convention will be in Tampa, Sen. Marco Rubio is being discussed as a possible VP pick and there are Floridians in leadership roles at both national parties." "RNC chair: Florida the granddaddy of them all".
"Scott remains the least-liked governor"
Aaron Deslatte: "The good news for Gov. Rick Scott is there was nowhere to go but up."
And a new Quinnipiac University poll released Friday shows the governor remains unpopular with 52 percent of Florida voters. But his 35 percent job approval figure is an improvement over the university's last survey that found him sitting at 29 percent, and labeled the most unpopular governor in the nation."Poll: Scott's makeover winning over Republicans, men". This from Ricky's cheerleaders: "Rick Scott Improves With Florida Voters".
Voter still don't like his handling of the budget, and on a personal level, Scott remains the least-liked governor out of those the school surveys.
"Adams' hyperpartisan approach threatens to marginalize her"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: Although "U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams of Orlando voted this week for the deal to raise the federal debt ceiling and avert a government default"
More often since going to Washington in January, Adams has been a shrill partisan. Although registered Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats in her district — parts of Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Brevard counties — she has issued a steady stream of statements blasting Democrats and President Obama that read like Tea Party talking points. After the killing of Osama bin Laden, she praised the special forces but made no mention of their commander in chief who ordered the strike."U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams' partisanship cheats constituents".
In a Congress where bipartisan coalitions still matter in moving legislation, Adams' hyperpartisan approach threatens to marginalize herself and her district.
"Backlash [and flip-flops] from lawmakers"
"A proposal by Florida’s largest property insurer to raise sinkhole premium rates by 429 percent across the state is facing a backlash from lawmakers, many of whom voted for a new law that allows the rate hike to take place." "Uproar Over Sinkhole Rate Hike Builds".
Wingnut editors oppose the "majority vote wins" rule
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced yesterday that an agreement has been reached to keep the Federal Aviation Administration funded. Congressional leaders decided to set their egos aside and fund the agency to save jobs. Good for them."
The compromise does not end the underlying cause of this partisan battle – making it easier to unionize airlines for the president's union supporters – but it rightly puts aside that important fight for another day. ..."FAA back to work".
For many years the rules required those seeking to unionize airlines or railroads to find a majority among the likely bargaining unit to accede to a union. The new rules would have required just a majority of those voting to unionize. Thus the showdown. ...
It's true that funding for the FAA had been authorized 20 times outside the budget process in recent years, but that was before the Democrats decided to kowtow to their union supporters and change union voting procedures to benefit their party. In effect, FAA funding, 80 percent of which is spent on air-traffic control and modernization, has been held hostage to unions.
"Vern Buchanan Calls for Transparency in Cutting Government".
"Feds: Ocean sand can restore Miami-Dade beaches".
Sobel takes on Bondi
"After two foreclosure fraud investigators were abruptly dismissed from their posts with the attorney general's office, and a former deputy attorney general left Tallahassee to join a firm under investigation for foreclosure malpractice, a Hollywood state senator has launched a probe into the state's top legal office. Florida Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, sent public records requests to the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday, seeking to understand the relationship between the office and Lender Processing Services, a Jacksonville firm under state investigation for shoddy foreclosure practices." "State senator opens probe of attorney general's office".
Putnam asserts himself
"Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Thursday that the 'Florida Energy Summit' in October will replace the 'Farm to Fuel' summit. The Governor's Energy Office was moved into Putnam's department by the Legislature, fueling speculation among renewable energy supporters that he will champion renewable energy measures." "Putnam begins to assert himself on renewable energy".
Travis Pillow: "Last month, the Florida Police Benevolent Association, a union that represents prison guards and other corrections officers, filed a lawsuit calling for a judge to strike down budget language that would privatize prisons in 18 South Florida counties." "Primary sources: Why prison guards are suing to stop privatization".
While the rest of us were sleeping, firemen ...
... found "two adults and two children dead early today in a house that caught fire in Ocala, according to Marion County Fire Rescue." "Two adults, two children dead after Ocala house fire".
"More to Florida than swooning tea party acolytes"
Daniel Ruth: "It would seem when it comes to understanding the full range of duties associated with the job that Rick Scott entered office knowing less about the details of governor stuff than Wile E. Coyote contemplating some-assembly-required Acme nuclear missile."
Next up, figuring out his own job. This might take a while."Since Scott is going to be around for at least another three years, unless he sells the state to Georgia, as a public service here are a few things the governor probably ought to know about Florida and his job."
What all this suggests is that the body politic last year elected someone to the highest office in the state who had only been a resident since 2003 and had spent precious little time educating himself about Florida and the role of governor before dropping more than $70 million of his own money to buy the title.
There is more to Florida than Naples and swooning tea party acolytes of the Villages, who regard Scott as the Lady Gaga of budget cuts. If Scott thinks high-speed rail is such a lousy idea, he should try driving himself from Orlando to Tampa. Let's throw in some whining tots in the back seat just for fun."Here's a workday Scott should attempt".
Those annoying creatures who show up en masse on leashes held by lobbyists in Tallahassee every year should not be confused with Pomeranians. It's the Florida Legislature, although it is hard to tell the difference. Much as you would like, you can't ignore them. But you can rent them.
"How far millions of Floridians have fallen"
"The number of Florida households getting the federal earned-income tax credit rose between 2007 and 2008 – another indicator of how far down the economic ladder millions of Floridians have fallen since the housing bubble burst."
In a recent report, the Internal Revenue Service says the number of households qualifying for the poverty-preventing tax credit jumped by more than 53,000 in a single year, to just shy of 1.8 million."Poor using tax credit more, bringing $590 million to Tampa".
In the Tampa Bay area, more than 284,000 households in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties qualified for the tax credit in 2008, the most recent year numbers were available. Earned-income recipients amounted to one in five local households that year, a slight increase over 2007.
"Florida trails only Nevada and Arizona"
"The state overall trails only Nevada and Arizona in having the highest rate of 'negative equity' houses, with 46 percent of Florida's mortgaged-housing stock unable to sell for the amount owed. Real-estate values have collapsed more in the state than in most others, driving down prices while driving up foreclosures and short sales." "Orlando rated worst in Florida for share of home mortgages 'under water'".
"A nasty, costly game of chicken"
The Miami Herald editors: "The city of Hollywood and its employee unions are engaging in a nasty, costly game of chicken. In the middle and on line for the biggest hurt are Hollywood taxpayers who have and will pay the tab while their bank accounts and property values dwindle. Their pain will get yet worse unless there’s an agreement by Aug. 12 that would cancel a costly referendum." "Hollywood’s costly game of chicken".
Collins head forced out
"The head of the Collins Center, one of Florida's most well-respected think tanks, is being asked to resign in the face of serious cash-flow troubles and frustration by a board of directors that demanded answers it wasn't getting." "Amid troubled finances, Collins Center moves to force out longtime president".