Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Friday, September 30, 2011

Florida GOP caught in a three way immigration vortex

    Florida's Republicans are caught in a three way jam on immigration: (1) one faction, including TeaBaggers, wants every employer to E-verify the immigration status of their workers and and also opposes a path to citizenship, and even rejects allowing the children of undocumented workers to pay in state tuition rates; (2) the country clubbers want businesses to be free to exploit undocumented workers without having to verify their immigration status; and (3) GOP strategists don't want to risk losing the Latino vote.

    That being the case, Mary Ellen Klas wonders: "[c]an Florida legislators turn their backs on immigration reform?"
    That is the question hovering over Republicans after Rick Perry's performance in last week's presidential debate and the results of the Florida straw poll, which show that being soft on the issue can imperil Republicans strapped to a primary.

    Florida's tea party activists say they will accept nothing short of requiring every employer to check the immigration status of their workers through the federal E-verify program when legislators convene the regular session in January. But armed with the support of Florida's powerful agriculture and business groups, the same legislative leaders who last year promised Arizona-style immigration reform are now barely offering tentative support for it.

    Senate President Mike Haridopolos said his chamber is ready to revive a Senate bill, which gives police additional enforcement power. But the watered-down measure does not include E-verify and is too weak for many in the tea party.

    Gov. Rick Scott, after requiring state agencies to use E-verify and campaigning for it to be implemented statewide, told the Times/Herald Thursday that his priority is not E-verify but to give law enforcement the ability to check the immigration status of people they stop.
    "Immigration reform gets little traction among Florida GOP lawmakers".

    House to spend tax dollars attacking Fair Districts

    "Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, told reporters yesterday that the House plans to join two members of Florida’s congressional delegation in appealing a judge’s decision to reject a lawsuit that sought to block one of Florida’s Fair Districts amendments from taking effect."
    Cannon has been hit with criticism for the Florida House’s participation in the lawsuit, originally filed by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami. A federal judge threw out that lawsuit three weeks ago.
    "Florida House will continue to fight Fair Districts amendment in court". See also "Florida House to continue fight to overturn congressional Fair Districts amendment" and "".

    Second amendment stoopid

    "West Palm Beat: Mayor revises executive order on guns in city hall… again".

    FRS slow walking Fasano's info request

    "When state Sen. Mike Fasano requested records about a $125 million pension fund investment, the head of the State Board of Administration sent him a three-page invoice for $10,750.13."
    "The cost to the Florida Retirement System (FRS) for satisfying your inquiry using original documents is estimated to exceed $10,000," SBA chief Ash Williams wrote, "and completion of the associated legal process will likely take months."

    Stunned, Fasano fired back with a letter to the SBA trustees: Gov. Rick Scott, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

    "I do not want to accuse anyone of attempting to hide anything… '' wrote Fasano, R-New Port Richey. "However, when a $10,000 bill is sent with a warning that it could take months to supply the information requested, a reasonable person could perceive that perhaps something is in fact being hidden."
    "At issue is the SBA's decision to invest up to $125 million of public pension money in a hedge fund called Starboard Value and Opportunity, a spinoff of Ramius LLC."
    Williams signed off on the investment in early 2010 after exchanging e-mails with Ramius' president, Thomas Strauss. Strauss was a client at Fir Tree Partners, a hedge fund where Williams was a managing director before taking over the SBA in October 2008.

    Williams said the firm was under consideration when he arrived at the SBA and won the deal on merit.
    "Fasano miffed by invoice for records". Related: "A letter from the head of the State Board of Administration to state Sen. Mike Fasano", "The preliminary invoice in response to the public records request" and "The senator's written response to the SBA board of trustees".

    Hialeah lays off nearly 40 percent of the fire department

    "Hialeah’s mayor promises services won’t change despite laying off nearly 40 percent of the fire department. But critics say officials are putting them at risk in favor of political expediency." "In Hialeah, fallout after firefighter layoffs".

    RPOF to finalize Jan 31 primary date today

    "Florida leaders have agreed to move the state's presidential primary to Jan. 31, more than a month ahead of schedule, in order to make sure the nation's largest swing state will go fifth in the nominating pecking order. The move is expected to be formalized Friday by a panel named by Gov. Rick Scott and GOP legislative leaders, and forces the traditional early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to advance their own caucuses and primaries to early or mid-January in order to keep their political pole positions." "Florida moving presidential primary to Jan. 31". See also "GOP starting line inches toward New Year's Day", "Florida's early primary plan draws criticism from South Carolina GOP" and "Dean Cannon Unconcerned About Early Primary Backlash".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The move would put Florida in position to be among the first primaries in the nation, giving it more influence in picking the presidential nominee for the Republican Party. But it also violates the party's scheduling rules, and it will result in a loss of delegates at the national convention next year in Tampa. There is no good answer to this quadrennial quandary, except to say that this elbow-throwing gamesmanship is no way to pick a nominee for president." "Florida's power play". The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Florida a primary player".

    However, Daniel Ruth points out that "will it really matter? Well, considering the cast of Jersey Shore loom as more viable presidential timber than the current Republican field of cranky, delusional, megalomaniacal, huckstering, whiny candidates, the nominating process has lost some of its luster. With crowds cheering over letting uninsured people to go ahead and die, this has not exactly been a Lin-colnesque moment on the hustings."

    Stearns' folly

    "Wasserman Schultz: Planned Parenthood investigation ‘burdensome and politically motivated’".

    Rubio strides world stage

    "Florida Sen. Marco Rubio arrived in Libya on Thursday, joining a small group of lawmakers for meetings with the former rebels who have ended the rule of Col. Moammar Gadhafi." "Sen. Marco Rubio in Libya to meet with opposition movement leaders". See also "Rubio 'cautiously optimistic about Libya's future' after touring Tripoli".

    Impending collapse of utility authority

    "Scott does not plan to intervene in the financial travails of the Glades Utility Authority, leaving the utility and county to find a way out of its impending collapse." "Gov. Scott won't intervene in Glades utility $2M shortfall; leaving county to work on bailout".

    "Florida should avoid a recession"

    "Florida should avoid a recession through the start of 2012, even as some state economies show signs of shrinking, according to a Federal Reserve index." "No Florida recession, Fed index says".

    "Florida courts will run out of money"

    "Chief justice warns Florida courts will run out of money". See also "Florida's courts hammered yet again with budget shortfall".

    Worshipping TaxWatch

    Avoiding the structural deficiencies in Florida's public finance system - exacerbated by 8 years of Jebicide - the Orlando Sentinel editorial board yet again worships at the feet of TaxWatch: "Some sensible ways to shore up budget".

    The first Miami-Dade labor contracts up for a vote go down

    "Miami-Dade’s supervisors and professional employees rejected labor contracts Thursday, the first two of the county’s 10 bargaining units to act on proposed concessions under the county’s lean new budget, which takes effect Saturday. The action of the two groups, who may be the most closely aligned to the administration, could signal trouble ahead from the eight other union groups, including water and sewer workers and police officers." "2 union groups reject Miami-Dade labor contracts".

    Death penalty politics

    The Sarasota Herald Tribune editors: "Death penalty's high price".

    Medicaid deform

    "This is the sixth extension that has been sought by state officials who have been negotiating to get a 3-year extension of a five-county Medicaid pilot program. The negotiations are expected to set the stage for the approval of a statewide Medicaid managed-care program." "State seeks another extension for its Medicaid program".

    Fundraising quarter ends Friday, Nelson challengers scrambling

    "With the third quarter of 2011 ending on Friday, the four leading Republican candidates looking to challenge Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012 scrambled this week to raise funds, hoping for an impressive showing that will help propel them ahead of the pack." "GOP Senate Hopefuls Scramble to Raise Funds to Take on Bill Nelson".

    Obama barely edges Paul in Florida

    "A poll from Public Policy Polling, a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, found that President Barack Obama would have a fight to keep Florida in his column in 2012 as two Republican candidates -- former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas -- were right on his heels in the Sunshine State."

    "Obama led Romney by the skin of his teeth, taking 46 percent against the Republican who was right behind him with 45 percent. Obama led Paul by the same margin, beating the Texas congressman 45 percent to 44 percent." "Ron Paul and Mitt Romney Close in on Obama in Florida". The poll results are here: "Florida close".

    "Rubio auditioning for vice-president?"

    "Is Marco Rubio auditioning for vice-president?"

    Legal giant Dean Cannon disses PBA lawsuit

    "A Leon County judge is mulling a union request to block efforts to privatize prisons in 18 South Florida counties, as the Florida Police Benevolent Association says lawmakers violated the state Constitution in crafting the plan. Meanwhile, Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon called the legislation justified." "Union Lawsuit Over Private Prisons in Judge's Hands". See also "Prison guards challenge privatization of South Florida lockups" and "Judge hears Fla. prison privatization challenge".

    Huntsman keeps hoping

    "Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah garnered the support of three Florida Republicans on Thursday -- state Sen. Rene Garcia of Hialeah, state Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Longwood Mayor Joe Durso. " "GOP 2012 Hopeful Jon Huntsman Gets Backing of Two Florida State Senators".

    Negative effects of gaming

    The TC Palm editors: "Studies show many negative effects on communities when gaming options are close at hand. These include: all sorts of social problems, increases in foreclosures and prostitution, and a loss of jobs in existing businesses and restaurants suddenly forced to compete with casinos." "What price is Florida willing to pay to add destination resort casinos to its already plentiful gaming options?".

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