"Scott was urged Tuesday by the Florida Legislative Black Caucus to appoint fewer 'Scott clones' and more African-Americans to judicial openings. Only two of the 36 judges Scott has appointed since January are African-American, a record Rep. Darryl Rouson called 'bleak.'" "Black caucus asks Scott for more minority judges".
Scott's "Goals of 2012 Legislature"
"Rick Scott Looks Ahead to Goals of 2012 Legislature". Related: "House Speaker Cannon's Address to AP's Session Preview".
Scott's former Company moves HQ to Nashville
"The chain of health care clinics started by Gov. Rick Scott is moving some jobs out of Florida, a financial newspaper in Jacksonville reported."
Scott, who has staked his legacy on job creation, said Wednesday it was “disappointing” to learn his former company, Solantic, was moving its corporate headquarters to Nashville."Scott’s former company taking jobs to Tennessee". See also "Gov. Scott's former company moving to Tennessee" and "Scott's former company moving headquarters out of Florida".
strong>Nancy gets her Charlie-hate on
Nancy Smith gets her Charlie-hate on this morning, asking "Is that Charlie Crist's old pal U.S. Sugar Corp. I see over there buying land with taxpayers' money?" "U.S. Sugar Corp. Puts Your Tax Dollars to Work".
"Florida in a hurry to curtail voting rights"
The Palm Beach Post editors: "As if state officials hadn't embarrassed Florida enough with this year's repressive new voting laws, they've brought added derision with their two-faced attempt to manipulate the mandatory federal approval process."
After dawdling for weeks before submitting the laws for U.S. Department of Justice review, Secretary of State Kurt Browning withdrew the four most controversial components with the bogus excuse that he sought "neutral evaluation." He resubmitted them to a federal court in Washington, where, after more delay, he demanded an expedited decision in light of Florida's Jan. 31 presidential primary. ...
"State is two-timing voters". Related: "Fla election law looking at lengthy review".
The three-judge panel scoffed at the state's urgency.
Logrolling Tallahassee style
"Two of the leading Republican candidates looking to challenge Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson -- restaurant executive Craig Miller and businessman and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister -- came to Tallahassee on Wednesday. But it was a third -- U.S. Rep. Connie Mack -- who came away with a major endorsement."
At the AP’s annual legislative planning session in the Capitol, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, announced he is backing Mack to take on Nelson. Haridopolos said he is returning a favor, as Mack had backed him when Haridopolos was in the primary contest."Looking to Knock Bill Nelson off in 2012, GOP Senate Hopefuls Hit Tallahassee".
Thursday Morning Reads
""Today in the Capitol: Press conferences, merit pay and Casey Anthony legislation"". See also "Thursday Morning Reads: ALFs, illegals remark controversy and casinos".
37/26 negative/positive split for Scott
"Massachusetts-based Suffolk University released more poll results from their October survey, finding that Gov. Rick Scott's performance still isn't garnering a lot of support among voters. The poll, which surveyed of 800 Florida registered voters was conducted October 26-30. It found that Scott's job performance was rated "negative and damaging" by 37 percent of the voters and "positive and productive by 26 percent." "Poll: A Scott-Sink race today would be a head heat".
"The Republican majority in Tallahassee is showing little leadership"
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Once again, Florida state government is facing a major budget deficit — as much as $2 billion next year."
And once again, the Republican majority in Tallahassee — Senate President Mike Haridopolos especially — is showing little leadership in solving the fiscal crisis. "No leadership on shortfall".
Just what we need ... "more businessmen making decisions"
"U.S. Senate candidate Craig Miller says Washington needs more businessmen making decisions instead of career politicians. " "GOP Senate candidates say politicians have failed".
New discrimination bills
"Florida lawmakers have crafted a slew of new bills that would outlaw hiring discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, whether someone is unemployed and whether an applicant has a criminal history." "Legislators roll out bills to end employment discrimination".
Putnam and Bondi oppose EPA pollution standards
"Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi and a slew of industry representatives filed their opposition to EPA-mandated water pollution standards for the state. Arguing that 'federal intervention was and remains unnecessary,' they ask the court to invalidate the January 2009 determination that required that the standards be implemented." "Bondi, Putnam, affected industries join together to fight EPA water rules". Related: "Department of Agriculture outlines objections to EPA clean water rules".
Big of him
"Scott's jobs czar said Tuesday that he supports a quicker release of information about the secret tax incentive deals the state gives some of the largest companies in the world." "Gov. Rick Scott's jobs czar: Divulge details of tax incentive deals after deed is done".
"Condo sales picking up across Florida"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Sales of condominiums are picking up across Florida and that could be a sign that the worst of the residential real estate crash is behind us." "Condo sales may herald upturn in market".
"U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio could provide the juice needed for a Republican presidential candidate to win Florida, according to a new poll by Suffolk University. But the advantage dissolves if President Barack Obama adds Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to his Democratic ticket." "Poll: Marco Rubio veep could deliver Florida for Republicans". See also "Poll: Marco Rubio boosts GOP ticket in Florida".
Fla-bagger - Muslim kerfuffle
"Controversy over an on-again, off-again speaking invitation to a Muslim group has spiced a tea party convention set for this weekend in Daytona Beach."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations complained to convention planners when it learned that Pam Geller, a prolific critic of radical Islam, was on the speaker list. One of the organizers then proffered an invitation to give CAIR equal time.
"Tea Party, Muslims Clash Before Daytona Beach Convention".
"We accepted only after guaranteeing we would receive (the) same treatment and respect as other speakers and that 'Muslim-bashing would not be tolerated,'" said Hassan Shibly, Tampa executive director of CAIR Florida.
But amid continued jousting over the program and the ground rules, simmering suspicions boiled over, with Geller threatening to pull out.
Pam Dahl, the chief convention organizer and head of the Tri-County Tea Party, told Sunshine State News on Wednesday that Geller is in and CAIR is off the agenda.
Nelson takes on new voting laws
"Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., reiterated his request for a congressional investigation into Florida’s controversial new voting laws on the Senate floor today."
In a letter sent to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Nelson asked him to consider “conducting investigative field hearings” to see if the new voting laws were “an orchestrated effort to disenfranchise voters” in a manner that is possibly illegal.
"Nelson wants congressional hearing on state’s new voting rules".
In the letter, Nelson spoke of a recent case involving New Smyrna Beach High School civics teacher Jill Cicciarelli.
In a press release, Nelson wrote that “when [Cicciarelli] organized a drive at the start of this school year to get her students pre-registered to vote, she ran afoul of Florida’s new law. Cicciarelli hadn’t registered with the state before beginning the drive and didn’t submit the students’ registration forms to the elections office within 48 hours. Under the law, voter registration activities such as hers could result in hefty fines.”
Nelson also mentioned the involvement of a conservative group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (known as ALEC) in the prevalence of these voting laws around the country.
The NASCAR state
"Make NASCAR the official sport of Florida? State senator wants to".
School prayer bill
"The Anti-Defamation League expressed disappointment with yesterday’s vote by the Florida Senate Pre K-12 Education Committee 'in favor of an amended version of a divisive and constitutionally defective statewide school prayer bill.'" "Anti-Defamation League speaks out against state Senate school prayer bill".
Court revenues falling sharply
"Lawmakers on Tuesday mulled suggestions from the judicial branch for stabilizing the oft-depleted budgets of courts and county clerks."
Since July 1, the state court system has needed nearly $100 million in loans to pay for operations because court filing fees and fines aren't covering court operations. County clerks say they need $36 million to get through March.
"Filing fees, fines alone cannot cover court system costs, judges tell lawmakers".
But in a report, a work group of a dozen judges and clerks said fees and fines alone were never intended to cover the entire system and asked lawmakers to direct general revenue dollars — money largely generated through state sales tax collections — to help pay for parts of the judicial system.
Members of the Senate Budget Committee praised the work group for offering suggestions but did not commit to honoring the recommendations, which included establishing a reserve fund.
Court revenues have fallen sharply below projections as a result of declines in mortgage foreclosure fees.
RNC shakedown of Tampa hotels under discussion
"Organizers of the 2012 Republican National Convention and executives of hotels contracted to house thousands of convention visitors aired their differences ... after convention organizers said they were expected to cut room rates established in year-old contracts. Hotel executives received forms with lower rates to sign and return by Friday. RNC officials also want to increase the fee hotels pay to help cover convention expenses from $30 per room to 10 percent of each guest's hotel bill. Organizers say some rates, approved by previous Republican staffers, are too high for the market during the late summer season." "Hoteliers meet with RNC officials about convention rates and fees".