"For a second time, e-mails to and from Florida Gov. Rick Scott have been deleted in possible violation of state law."
Scott's team acknowledged in August, months after a Times/Herald request for transition records, that dozens of e-mail accounts had been deleted from a private computer server where the documents were stored.The accidents keep piling up:
Now, Scott's office has confirmed e-mails stored on Scott's iPad were deleted when a Governor's Office staffer in charge of technology tried to print the documents. Both incidents have been described as accidental."E-mails evaporate again". See also "FDLE investigating missing e-mails" and "".
Meanwhile, Scott's office has not fulfilled requests for other public records from the transition, including one for documents that would show whether Scott crafted his legislative agenda with the same type of focus group testing that shaped his $80 million campaign for governor. ...
Violations of public records law carry a maximum $500 fine and more serious penalties, including impeachment, for any official who "knowingly violates" the statutes.
Florida's cities have higher unemployment rates
"Florida’s unemployment rate hit 10.9 percent for August, but 12 out of 20 metropolitan areas had higher unemployment rates, according to the “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” report (.pdf) released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics." "Many Florida cities seeing unemployment rates above statewide average".
"Florida primary mayhem"
"Brushing aside threats from national Republicans, Florida’s GOP is preparing to set its primary election for Jan. 31 – ahead of every state in the nation, including Iowa and New Hampshire. The leapfrog is prompting states traditionally first to vote to consider moving their elections closer to the holiday season and damages the hopes of lesser known candidates who cannot afford to compete in a state as big as Florida so early." "Florida creating primary mayhem".
"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 Republican leaders said the move was necessitated by a rush of states such as Missouri, Michigan and Arizona to hold their elections sooner in the hope of having more sway in the presidential race. ..."Florida moving presidential primary to Jan. 31". See also "GOP presidential primary likely on Jan. 31" and "Florida will likely hold early primary, disrupting nominating process".
But critics say the state is bucking the calendar both national parties agreed last year to follow for the sake of trumpeting its own outsized importance.
"It's just a big game of chicken, and the voters deserve better than this," said Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux.
"The Republicans and the Democrats agreed to a calendar over a year ago. The Republicans here in Florida don't want to follow their own rules."
Stearn’s publicity stunt condemned
"Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., have joined a handful of members of Congress in condemning Rep. Cliff Stearn’s recently launched investigation into Planned Parenthood’s finances and policies." "Members of Congress condemn Stearns’ Planned Parenthood investigation".
"Firearms in parks, buildings and other public places"
"Local officials across Florida are scrambling to repeal gun control ordinances, including bans on firearms in parks, buildings and other public places, before a new state law goes into effect. The new state law requires governments at the local level to follow state gun laws, which are generally less restrictive. The new law is one of 29 that become effective Saturday." "New Fla. gun law has local officials scrambling".
Scott to review agency contracts
"Gov. Rick Scott's office recently resumed reviewing state agency contracts of $1 million or more after a months-long hiatus, according to an internal memo obtained by the Times/Herald."
Scott initiated the process on his Jan. 4 inauguration day with an executive order that also froze agency rulemaking. The part dealing with contract review expired after 90 days."Governor's office again reviewing contracts".
Jerry McDaniel, director of Scott's Office of Policy and Budget, resurrected the process with a Sept. 15 memo to executive agencies that the Times/Herald received through a public records request.
He didn't leave it at contracts. The agencies must also flag requests for proposals, invitations to negotiate and other competitive solicitations on a weekly basis.
Polluters go after Sierra Club
"Free Market Florida, the group that has long decried a set of federally mandated water pollution standards [a/k/a the folks who will benefit from the abandonment of the EPA’s nutrient criteria], has unveiled its latest video, this one aimed at two environmental groups: the Sierra Club and Earthjustice." "Free Market Florida unveils new clip it says ‘unmasks Sierra Club as enemy of American prosperity’".
"Education privatization further and faster than any other state"
"Florida is pursuing education privatization further and faster than any other state, conducting a risky experiment with the education of 2.6 million public school students and the schools that serve them. Florida already is the leader among the states in the number of students in voucher programs and public dollars expended for them. The Florida Legislature went even further in its 2011 session, expanding every alternative to traditional public schools—even while it cut public school funding for the fourth year in a row." "Florida Pursues Risky Experiment Of Education Privatization".
"Massive bonus to managed care plans"
"The Medicaid legislation passed during the 2011 session aims to expand Florida's experimental managed care plan. One of the most controversial issues debated was the question of what standards should be used to regulate HMO profits."
The choice selected by the legislature—called “achieved savings rebate”—delivers a massive bonus to managed care plans and their frequently out-of-state executives and investors, at the expense of the most vulnerable patients and Florida taxpayers."Medicaid Plan Increases HMO Profits".
The option not selected—“medical loss ratio”—would have reduced HMO profits and provided more accountability that has been lacking for Medicaid managed care in Florida.
"Ros-Lehtinen the lone Republican"
"In its latest appeal for donations, the National Organization for Marriage is calling on supporters to fund a new campaign that targets U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, for her recent decision to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act."
The appeal espouses the notion that LGBT rights groups are “desperate to divide the Republican Party,” given Ros-Lehtinen is the lone Republican joining 124 Democrats co-sponsoring the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act."National Organization for Marriage attacks Ros-Lehtinen over same-sex marriage".
"A group of lawmakers warned a Spanish company against drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba, saying the investment would benefit the Castro regime." "Lawmakers warn against oil drilling".
Hasner announces Jax endorsements
"Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner announced Wednesday that three state legislators from the First Coast are backing his bid for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012. Hasner’s team sent out a statement announcing they had the support of Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville; Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville; and Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Orange Park." "GOP Senate Hopeful Adam Hasner Gets Support on the First Coast".
Carroll changes the subject
Out Lt. Gub'ner has had enough of this, so she holds a press conference about this: "Carroll Plugs Florida's Aerospace Potential on D.C. Visit".
Vern not runnin' for U.S. Senate
"U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan will not run for the U.S. Senate. After months of keeping the option of a Senate run open, the Longboat Key Republican has declared that he will not try to run against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, in 2012. He will seek re-election to the 13th District congressional seat." "Vern Buchanan not running for U.S. Senate".
"Push to expand casino gaming"
"An inexorable push to expand casino gaming is gaining momentum in Florida."
Seeking to lure high-rolling "whales" to Las Vegas-style destination-resort casinos in Miami and Broward County, promoters are betting that the 2012 Legislature will go along for the ride."Is Florida Warming to Las Vegas-Style Destination Casino Gambling?".
Amid the state's search for jobs, gamblers are getting a more friendly reception from lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott has said he would support casinos as long as local voters approve.
"Stain on the judiciary"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Paul Hawkes is the arrogant, duplicitous judge on Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee who put construction of a lavish $50 million courthouse for himself and his fellow judges before judicial ethics or integrity. Now, as he answers for his actions before Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission, Hawkes should forfeit his job. Any sanction short of Hawkes' removal from the bench would be too lenient in light of the stain he has left on the judiciary." "Arrogant judge merits no leniency".
"Former Florida Gov. Claude Kirk dies at 85".