"Rick Scott has hit a new low in PPP's Florida polling with only 26% of voters now approving of his job performance to 58% who disapprove. His previous worst numbers had come in June when he had a 33% approval rating with 59% unhappy with his performance. ... What's really caused the bottom to drop out for him is that even Republicans are starting to really sour on his leadership. In June Scott had a 63/30 approval spread with them. That's now dropped all the way down to 46/31. Scott is the most unpopular Governor in the country in PPP's polling." "Scott hits a new low".
"If the Democratic, North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling firm has it anywhere close to right ... Charlie Crist running as a Democrat would trounce Scott 55 percent to 22 percent. Alex Sink would beat him 53-37." "Scott's approval hits new low in poll: 26 percent". See also "Poll: Scott the most unpopular governor in America".
"PPP was one of the few polling shops ... that forecast last year’s gubernatorial election results somewhat accurately. That caveat delivered, it is a Democratic poll." "PPP: Scott’s popularity hits a new low".
Scott’s 'attempt to subpoena ACLU records rejected
"The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida announced that a judge has denied Gov. Rick Scott’s 'attempt to subpoena records from the ACLU of Florida and subject ACLU officials to depositions in the ongoing legal challenge to Scott’s order requiring illegal, suspicionless drug testing of state employees.'" "Judge denies Scott’s requests for ACLU records in drug testing challenge (Corrected)". See also "Court shoots down Scott attempt to subpoena ACLU".
Funny how that works
"Scott, who was criticized for pushing school funding cuts a few months ago, is asking for a billion dollars more for education to come during an election year." "Scott calls for $1 billion boost in education spending in proposed budget".
George, Craig, who?
"While most voters continue to remain focused on the presidential race, two of the Republicans looking to challenge Democrat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012 are taking different paths to gain some attention this week." "GOP Hopefuls George LeMieux and Craig Miller Plug Away in Senate Race".
House's maps would force many incumbents to run against each other
"The Florida House's first attempt at redrawing its districts would force dozens of incumbents to run against each other in Tampa Bay and South Florida next fall. "
Such a scenario could end the careers of many lawmakers. For that reason, even Democrats dismissed the maps as a theatrical first step in a reapportionment fight they say is destined to be decided by the courts.Meanwhile,
But Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, chairman of the House Reapportionment Committee, says the maps show the House's commitment to create compactly drawn districts and maintain the rights of minority voters to elect candidates of their choice without protecting parties or incumbents, as two voter-approved redistricting amendments require. ...
Of five map versions released Tuesday by the House, the one with the most potential incumbent showdowns has 24 such races, including 10 between Republicans, eight between Democrats and six between incumbents of both parties, affecting more than a third of the House membership. The maps are online at myfloridahouse.gov.
The Senate redistricting panel on Tuesday moved a step closer to passing its plans for state Senate and congressional districts, with lawmakers having until Jan. 11 to offer amendments and a final floor vote set for Jan. 17."Proposed Florida House redistricting maps pit incumbents against each other". See also "Florida House proposes several redistricting options" and "Florida House Offers Seven Plans to Redraw Congressional Districts".
The debate exposed intra-party struggles as Senate Democratic leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, could persuade only three of the eight Democrats on the Senate redistricting panel to vote against maps she said were unconstitutional.
If the House can match the Senate timetable, lawmakers hope to complete maps in the first month of the 60-day session and send them to the Florida Supreme Court for review, giving legislators ample time to rework them if the court rejects them.
"Like proposed Senate maps released last week, most of the seven House drafts of 27 congressional districts – an increase of two thanks to the state's 18-percent population growth in the last decade – would add a new east Orlando/Osceola district that could elect a Hispanic Democrat."
All five of the draft districts for the 120-member House would create a Hispanic-majority district in the Kissimmee area and another centered around the Palm Beach County city of Palm Springs. And four of the five plans would draw a district at least 40-percent black around the city of Eatonville."House redistricting maps would add Hispanic seats". See also "Florida House plan gives Palm Beach County Hispanic-oriented district".
Unlike the Senate – which Tuesday advanced single congressional and Senate-district maps unveiled last week -- the House opted to float essentially a buffet menu of options. And while a quick analysis indicated they would make some Republican-leaning seats safer, they'd also likely elect a few more Democrats.
Related: "Senate redistricting map would help Jim Norman".
"Everglades horror story"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Obama administration should enact anti-commerce rule for pythons". "End the Everglades horror story".
Hospital taxing districts
"A preliminary draft report from a state commission studying public hospitals indicates the panel found problems with the hospitals and taxing districts but feels further study is necessary because the issues and districts are so diverse." "State commission says hospital taxing issue needs further study".
"Panic buttons" in Florida Senate offices
"[T]wo months after a new law[*] made it easier to bring concealed guns into the Capitol, the Senate security force has installed special alert buttons on the phone of every senator and staffer. At the touch of a button, an unseen officer in the Senate Sergeant at Arms Office can instantly monitor a conversation in Senate offices and respond if needed." "With Florida Capitol no longer asking gun owners to secure firearms, Senate installs panic buttons". Meanwhile, "Palm Beach commissioners sue over state gun law" and "Palm Beach County fires back at governor and attorney general over gun laws".
- - - - - - - - - -
* Now, "guns are prohibited only in the House and Senate chambers and committee rooms. So Capitol Police no longer ask gun owners to secure their firearms. And they're not alerting the House and Senate sergeants, who are civilian political appointees."
Koch crazy train comes to Florida
"Tarren Bragdon, the president of a new Naples-based right-wing policy group, touted the state’s controversial Medicaid reform plans and Florida’s welfare drug testing law during an event held last week by the American Legislative Exchange Council (known as ALEC)."
Bragdon’s “free market” think tank, the Foundation for Government Accountability, has so far declined to disclose the source of its funding. Bragdon has previously said that ”initial donors who were interested in having [him] here” in Florida were responsible for his move to the state. Bragdon had worked in Maine, where he found significant political power running a similar right-wing think tank."New right-wing think tank touts Medicaid reform and welfare drug testing at ALEC event".
In the few months that the Foundation has been in Naples, one of the group’s pamphlets was included in the state’s defense of a controversial law requiring temporary cash assistance applicants to undergo a drug test before receiving benefits. The law was recently stopped from being implemented; the Foundation’s pamphlet was deemed “not competent expert opinion” by Judge Mary Scriven.
The Foundation has also set its sights on influencing Florida’s 2012 legislative session.
ALEC is a conservative nonprofit made up of state legislators and business leaders that writes model bills and resolutions to help businesses and weaken government programs. The group meets somewhat clandestinely, but much of its legislation has crept into state legislatures all over the country. Florida’s GOP-led Legislature has had a significant presence at the group’s events and has followed through on some ALEC-endorsed strategies to stop implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the state.
ALEC is also known for having deep ties to the Koch brothers — billionaires who have spent millions funding groups that promote free market policies. ALEC has been one of their biggest projects.
Dockery keeps Gub'ner option open
"Knocking down a rumor that she will run for Congress next year, state Sen. Paula Dockery says she has no future aspirations to serve in a legislative branch. But in an interview with Sunshine State News, she didn't rule out another campaign for governor." "Paula Dockery Shuts Congress Door, Keeps 'Executive' Option Open".
"New Florida ProLife Personhood Amendment"
"A group that wants Florida to define life as beginning at the moment of conception has officially launched its “personhood petition.” According to a blog post on the group’s website, the new Florida ProLife Personhood Amendment is based on language by the Family Research Council and American Family Association." "Personhood Florida officially launches new petition".
Jebbites continue to hope
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Republicans are wondering if there are any surprises coming from popular Republicans who aren't in the race, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan." "GOP's road to Tampa is a proving ground". See also "".
Union haters run wild
"Broward Audit Reveals Teachers Union Boss Out of Control". See also "SPECIAL REPORT: Unions protect problem officers".
Rubio's "lucrative book deal"
"Even some of his most enthusiastic supporters in 2010 quietly wondered how Marco Rubio would be able to get by on his $174,000 Senate salary — a big cut from the $437,000 he reported to have earned in 2009 — while dividing living expenses between Washington and Miami. It's easy: lucrative book deal." "Book deal pads Rubio income".
Republican National Convention venues walk-through
"On Tuesday, the city got a taste of the media scrutiny expected during next year's Republican National Convention, as news representatives from across the state, country and world landed in town for a walk-through of the event's two main venues." "Tampa gets taste of media scrutiny for RNC convention".
All in the family
"Rebecca Negron, wife of state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has filed paperwork to run for the District 3 seat on the Martin County School Board. The only question is when she'll run. The District 3 seat isn't open until 2014; however, Laurie Gaylord, who currently holds the seat, has announced she is running for district superintendent of schools against incumbent Nancy Kline in 2012." "Negron, wife of state senator, to seek Martin County School Board seat".
Florida metropolitan area unemployment higher than the national average
"Unemployment rates in all 20 Florida metropolitan areas decreased during the month of October, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released [Tuesday]."
The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment report (.pdf) adds that the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall metropolitan division, with a drop of 2.4 percentage points, “shows the largest rate decline from a year earlier.”"Report: Unemployment rates in Florida metropolitan areas drop".
The Bureau reported Friday that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent, with 120,000 new jobs added in November, while the “the number of unemployed persons, at 13.3 million, was down by 594,000 in November.”
Bureau data released [yesterday] shows that unemployment rates for Florida metropolitan areas were higher than the national average. This includes the four largest employment centers in Florida. ...
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s latest jobs report shows that the state’s unemployment rate fell to 10.3 percent during the month of October. The state’s hospitality industry, which has a strong presence in metropolitan areas like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Kissimmee, has shown high job growth through 2011.
Jay Mehta, a community organizer for UNITE/HERE Local 355 in South Florida, tells The Florida Independent that “there is job growth, we definitely see that, but we get calls from people who see such a stark difference in union wages from non-union wages.”
"For the first time in 20 years, the state has seen a reduction in its debt, Ben Watkins, head of the state Division of Bond Finance, told members of the Florida Cabinet." "Florida's Debt Drops for First Time in Decades".
Clean Water Act violators
"EPA penalizes Clean Water Act violators, including three in Florida".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "For clean water in Florida, depend on judge, not state".
"AIF touts gambling"
"Associated Industries of Florida, flagged by building and construction companies, promoted legislation to bring three destination casinos to the state, but would not comment on whether Genting New World Resorts had asked them to advocate on their behalf." "AIF touts gambling bill". Meanwhile, "Scott says may be "difficult" to get gambling interests on same page".
If Greer ain't guilty, "pay the guy"
"Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Tuesday that if ousted Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer is found not guilty of money laundering and fraud, he should get the $124,000 in severance party leaders negotiated before he stepping down last year. ... In his deposition last month, Haridopolos stated that he was not telling 'the whole story' in 2010 when he told a Miami Herald reporter 'there were no agreements.'" "Senate prez: If ousted GOP chairman is not guilty, pay the guy".
"Dishonest speed-bumps slowing expedited restoration"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "In March, Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet turned back the clock on ex-cons."
Gone is the speedy restoration of felons' rights under former Gov. Charlie Crist. In its place, an unnecessarily punitive — and risky — mandatory five-to-seven-year waiting period."Restore fairness on ex-offenders' rights".
In June, Scott threw ex-felons a bone —signing a bill that let them seek occupational licenses and permits so they could work while they wait. But the unwarranted and dishonest speed-bumps slowing expedited restoration of their civil rights remained a bone of contention.
The state's new hard-line lumped Florida with Kentucky, Virginia and Iowa as the only states that've scrapped simple, automatic paths to restoring felons' rights.
Last month, however, Scott suggested he's willing to revisit the move. His shift came after he met with the state Legislative Black Caucus, during which Rep. Perry Thurston questioned Florida's long waiting period and complex reinstatement process. ...
That's good. And Scott won't have to strain himself. He need only slightly crane his neck to look back to the speedy restoration process under Crist.
As it stands now, a decade may lapse before ex-offenders can cast a ballot, serve on a jury, or seek public office. That is, if felons — daunted by the time-gnawing process — even bother to try.
"End run around Wall Street reforms"
"Some Florida lawmakers want to tweak a rarely used fast-track foreclosure law to shrink the state's court backlog and as an end run around Wall Street reforms that may bar nonjudicial foreclosures." "Plan would speed foreclosures".
SSG twofer: AIF and the Chamber
"The Florida Chamber of Commerce has hired Southern Strategy Group to join its stable of lobbyists. Southern Strategy had been working for Associated Industries Florida." "Chamber ramps up lobbying".
"Schism between reality and the supporters of corporate power"
Dr. Nelson Easterling, Chair of the Florida Center on Fiscal and Economic Policy, and a former senior staff member for the Florida Senate: "The role corporations play in American economics and politics is changing. Unfortunately, the changes are negative and pose serious threats to our society, our security, and our overall standard of living":
"There is clearly a growing schism between reality and the supporters of corporate power. Proponents of corporate power seem to think that the market and corporations are somehow better than real people."Corporations: Masters or Servants?"
"Every corporation is the creation of a government. Every corporation exists only because the people have authorized their representatives to define and delimit their existence. Corporations are, therefore, created to be the servants of the sovereign people, not their masters."
Florida has largest increase in poverty in the nation
"Since the recession began in 2007, Florida has seen the largest increase in poverty in the nation. Three million Floridians, roughly 1 in 6 people, were living below poverty levels in 2010. In 2010, close to 1 in 4 children in the state were living in poverty." "Poverty increases for third straight year in 2010".
How Young became chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
"In 1989, Newt Gingrich was a tough-talking congressman from Georgia eager for power. But he wasn't popular enough to run away with the race for minority whip. In a contest with Ed Madigan of Illinois, Gingrich turned to Rep. C.W. Bill Young. ... Young got him the votes. ... On election night in 1994, the future speaker called Young and thanked him. 'He said, 'We're going to win this thing tonight.' The next day, he said, 'What job do you want?' I said, 'Newt, what I'd really want to do is defense.'" "Past ties of Gingrich, Young".