"Senate leaders did not include voter registration information or how districts voted in previous elections when they drew their maps, but using data provided by the House redistricting committee, the Times/Herald looked at how the proposed Senate districts performed in the past two elections."
The analysis shows that of the 27 congressional districts, 14 of them strongly favor Republicans and favored both John McCain in the 2008 presidential race and Rick Scott in the 2010 race for governor. Another 10 congressional districts strongly favor Democrats and supported Barack Obama for president and Alex Sink for governor."First redistricting maps tend to favor Republicans". See also "Minority Rule: 'Fair Districts' Don't Help Democrats ... Much".
In the state Senate, the proposed maps strengthen some Republican districts but weaken others. According to the Times/Herald analysis, 24 of the 40 Senate districts are solidly Republican based on performance in the last two elections and 14 are Democratic — up from the current 12 held by Democrats — and another two lean Republican.
You'd never guess that in Florida Democrats "outnumber Republicans by 500,000 registered voters".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Now that the Florida Senate has released its first proposed maps for new state legislative and congressional districts, it’s clear the battle lines have been drawn by the GOP-controlled Legislature in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and where the number of nonaffiliated, independent voters continues to grow. Incumbents somehow mysteriously remain protected in the new proposed districts." "War of the maps begins".
"Scott has done nothing ..."
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "On the campaign trail, Rick Scott, a self-described outsider, claimed he would clean up Tallahassee's corrupt culture. But it's starting to look like the Republican governor is no more interested in ethics reform than any other leader in Florida's state capital. Nearly 11 months into the job, Scott has done nothing to change the balance of power in a town dominated by special interest lobbyists and ever larger sums of campaign finance." "Ethics promises unkept".
Florida's request for medical profit cap waiver doesn't look good
"A federal health agency yesterday denied two states’ requests for waivers of a provision in the health care reform law that requires a profit cap for health insurance companies. Florida is currently waiting for a decision on a similar waiver from the agency." "Feds strike down waiver of health insurance profit cap for two states".
"Casino rivals face off"
"In a debate here Tuesday, state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, who favors an expansion of casino gambling in Florida, put her cards on the table." "Casino rivals face off in Fort Lauderdale".
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer
"Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon has heard the clich hundreds of times during floor debate: 'I'm not a lawyer, but ... '"
So, when asked for his views on a pari-mutuel wagering law during an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, the first words out of Cannon's mouth were "I'm not a lawyer.""Florida House speaker Dean Cannon misspeaks".
Cannon, though, did a quick backtrack.
With a laugh, he said, "Wait a minute, I am a lawyer."
Romney grubs for wingnuts
"Stagnant in the polls and under withering assault for flip-flopping, Republican Mitt Romney campaigned Tuesday in Tampa Bay and South Florida with a simple message: President Barack Obama has failed and he won't." "Mitt Romney stumps in Florida with focus on President Barack Obama". See also "Romney, in Miami-Dade, picks up key South Florida GOP endorsements" and "Three South Florida Republicans Back Mitt Romney's Campaign".
Tilting at windmills
Nancy Smith takes on a nonissue with zest "While it's fashionable to blame Rick Scott for everything bad but cancer, the governor absolutely, positively had nothing to do with a tuition increase at any Florida university." "Rick Scott Did Not -- Repeat, Did Not -- Raise University Tuition".
Rubio embarrasses himself
"Florida Senator Marco Rubio said on Tuesday he will oppose three diplomatic nominees to protest the Obama administration’s "appeasement" policy on Latin America."
“Rather than stand up to tyrants and promote democracy, this administration’s policy toward Latin America has been defined by appeasement, weakness and the alienation of our allies,” said Rubio, a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."Rubio opposes diplomats; cites `appeasement'".
"Proposed map gives Allen West more Dems, Debbie Wasserman Schultz more Republicans". See also "Orange leaders OK new districts that dilute minority voting power".
Bondi to co-host GOP/Fox forum
"Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is going to get a chance to help interview GOP presidential candidates. Bondi, a former Hillsborough County prosecutor, is one of three attorneys general who will join former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for a presidential candidate forum that will be held Saturday at 8 p.m. on Fox News." "Attorney General Bondi will help co-host GOP presidential forum". See also "Pam Bondi and Marco Rubio to Star on National Stage".
Barrel Racing in Florida's future?
"A Leon County Circuit judge won’t stand in the way of a state administrative hearing to determine if Gretna racing, which hopes to eventually offer slot machines, can use barrel racing as its gateway pari-mutuel activity. Judge Kevin Carroll denied the Florida Quarter Horse Track Association’s request to block a planned Florida Division of Administrative Hearings review on Friday by requiring a court trial." "Barrel Racing License Sprinting Toward Administrative Hearing".
Good luck with that
Fabiola Santiago thinks "somebody ought to buy Gov. Rick Scott plane fare and a $40 day-ticket to Art Basel Miami Beach so that the penny-pincher can see what a liberal arts education can earn and buy you." "Art Basel holds lessons for Florida’s governor".
Lawmaker seeks stricter oversight McKay Scholarship funds
"The ranking Democrat on the House K-20 Innovation Subcommittee sent a letter Tuesday to its chair, Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, recommending that schools taking John M. McKay Scholarship funds be subject to stricter oversight and accountability measures." "Lawmaker wants more oversight of disabled student scholarships".
"HB 779 would exempt small solar operations from utility regulation, allowing farmers to sell power to neighboring property owners or a mall owner to sell electricity to retail tenants, supporters say. Bill advocates include Florida Farm Bureau Federation, the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy." "Groups support bill that would brighten horizons for small solar energy providers".
"Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who expressed openness before to an extension of the payroll tax cut, now opposes the idea." "Rubio changes stance".
"The Florida Water Coalition says on its website that it supports 'reasonable' funding for water management districts, managing Florida's water resources at the regional, not state level and that it opposes efforts to privatize Florida's water. Some groups are concerned that state officials have forgotten how important natural resources are to the state's economy, said Preston Robertson of the Florida Wildlife Federation." "Conservation coalition to be announced Wednesday at Florida Capitol".
"Although the headline number was flat, there was a shakeup among the survey's five components. Consumers are less likely to say their finances have improved from a year ago, but more likely to expect they will be better off a year from now. The perception that now is a good time to buy big-ticket items rose 4 points to 75, showing the strongest growth of all the components going into the holiday season." "Infographic: Florida consumer confidence holds level in November".
Hurry up and wait
The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "Rick Scott has been governor less than a year, but he recognizes that the upcoming session of the Florida Legislature will be uniquely challenging due to timing, budget shortfalls and the contentious process of redrawing political boundaries."
Gov. Scott, a former executive in a huge for-profit hospital chain, suggested this week it would be difficult for the Legislature to thoroughly consider new initiatives — such as recommendations that are expected to be made by the Commission on Review of Taxpayer Funded Hospitals — in light of the issues already on the agenda for the 2012 session."Editorial: More time for hospital reforms". Background: "Rick Scott may delay push for public hospital changes".
Agreed: It would difficult, if not impossible — and inadvisable.
GOPers wanted drones at their Tampa convention, really?
"Tampa cuts unmanned drones, some spy cameras from GOP convention".
Florida's rate of uninsured children "well above" the national average
"A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found that Florida led the nation in reducing the number of uninsured children during a three-year period. The state dropped its rate of uninsured children by 4 percentage points from 2008 to 2010, earning it the No. 1 spot in the study’s rankings for changes in uninsured rate. Florida’s rate still remains higher than the national average." "Report: Florida has made the most progress in reducing number of uninsured children" ("From 2008 to 2010 Florida was able to decrease its rate of uninsured children from 16.7 percent to 12.7 percent, the study (.pdf) found. However, that number remains well above the U.S. rate, which is 8 percent.")
"Florida’s HIV/AIDS crisis"
"With World AIDS Day 2011 two days away, there is still an urgent need to strengthen testing, prevention and treatment strategies to decrease the impact of HIV and AIDS in United States." "As World AIDS Day approaches, new numbers show the depth of Florida’s HIV/AIDS crisis".
"State Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston, has filed a bill to 'collect a modest fee from bottled water companies that derive extravagant profits for the privilege of pumping millions of gallons of water daily from Florida’s springs and other water bodies.' Sands’ filing of House Bill 781 comes after public criticism over water bottling giants’ current ability to extract — without charge — water for commercial purposes." "New bill would charge bottled water companies that pump from Florida springs".
The best Mack can do?
"Mack's gameplan is to portray, repeatedly, Nelson as a liberal in "lockstep" with President Barack Obama. 'The only thing I have a problem with is when you have someone like Sen. Nelson who's a liberal and he votes that way in Washington, D.C., and comes back to Florida and tries to paint himself as a moderate.'" "Mack comes out swinging at GOP rivals, Nelson". See also "Mack attacks Nelson as liberal after formally starting Senate campaign on conservative TV show" and "Officially Entering Senate Race, Mack Calls Nelson, Obama 'Lockstep Liberals'".
Time for "vote fraud" chicken littles to put up
"Eleven state legislators have been hit with subpoenas in a federal lawsuit involving four controversial provisions of Florida’s new election law. The subpoenas to six senators and five representatives, all Republicans, were issued on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Florida and the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic voter advocacy group, by their attorney, Daniel O’Connor of the Washington, D.C., firm Bryan Cave LLP."
Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican and House sponsor of the elections bill (HB 1355), got his subpoena by e-mail Tuesday. He has consistently said the law was necessary to reduce chances of voter fraud and improve public confidence in elections."Florida lawmakers subpoenaed in elections lawsuit".