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 Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beer lobbyist to oversee Florida elections

    "Scott on Wednesday named Ken Detzner, a former state official and onetime lobbyist, to be Florida’s secretary of state — a post he briefly held nearly a decade ago under former Gov. Jeb Bush."
    Detzner, 59, will succeed Kurt Browning, who announced this month he was resigning and returning to his home in Pasco County. Browning will oversee the Jan. 31 presidential primary election before making way for Detzner, who was Bush’s interim secretary of state for part of 2003.
    "Detzner’s previous stint at the agency, while brief, was marked by one notable controversy."
    He loyally supported Bush’s controversial proposal to shut down the $10 million state library and donate its large collection of rare historical and obscure documents to a private university, Nova Southeastern in Davie. The plan was scrapped in the face of vehement opposition from library advocates across the state, but Detzner defended the cost-cutting move.

    This time, Detzner takes charge of the agency at a time when four key sections of a new state election law are stuck in the courts and cannot take effect in five counties: Hillsborough, Monroe, Collier, Hardee, and Hendry. The changes affect early voting, voter registration, and provisional ballots, and any voting-law changes in those five counties require federal approval to make sure they don’t discriminate against minority voters.

    Detzner, a Republican, worked for former Attorney General Jim Smith and was a lobbyist for the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, a trade group for the beer industry. He said he was visiting the governor’s office recently on behalf of another client that was interested in holding a “workday” for Scott when he was asked to apply for the job.
    "Gov. Rick Scott picks former state official, lobbyist as next elections chief". See also "With Viva 500, 2012 Election on Horizon, Detzner Anticipates 'Fun' Job" and "".

    Entrepreneurs (Romney and Bain) in action

    "Off a gritty bend in the Miami River, a few miles from a warehouse where he recently touted his job-creation plans, there's a complex of buildings that bear witness to a time when Mitt Romney's private equity firm laid off hundreds of workers, shuttered a profitable factory and made out with hundreds of millions of dollars."

    It started in 1995, when Romney's Bain Capital targeted the company that became Dade Behring, which made blood-testing machines and performed animal research at its Miami campus.

    Bain borrowed heavily to buy the company and closed a factory in Puerto Rico to improve the bottom line. About 400 lost jobs there. Then in 1997, Bain shuttered Dade Behring's Miami operations, costing another 850 jobs and a $30 million payroll in the community.

    Before growing debt consumed the company, Bain executed its exit strategy and made $242 million.
    "In Miami, story of profits and layoffs highlights debate over Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain".

    5 things to watch today in Tally

    "Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee".

    Scott leaves "poor children uninsured and out of luck"

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Rick Scott likes to talk about eliminating government rules for businesses, but when it comes to helping Florida's poorest children enroll in government-funded health insurance, he doesn't mind the red tape."

    This sentiment recently cost Florida millions of dollars in federal bonus money awarded to those states that improved access to low-income children's health programs. Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature appear to have no interest in reducing the bureaucratic hurdles for the families who qualify, which means Florida will continue leaving federal money on the table and leaving poor children uninsured and out of luck. ...

    But a bill in 2010 sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Nan Rich of Weston that would have made these changes did not interest Scott or legislative leaders and there is no indication that this session will be different. ...

    Thousands of low-income children without health insurance won't get the preventive care they need and will likely be forced into expensive emergency rooms for even routine care, the cost of which the entire health care system often has to absorb.
    "Florida spurns aid for children".

    The Sun Sentinel editors: "Last year, only Texas edged out Florida on a health policy reform foundation's score card for the worst uninsured-child rate, posting an abysmal 17.8 percent." "State attitudes hurting kids".

    Amendments to a casino bill

    "In an effort to win support from the gambling-averse House, Rep. Erik Fresen proposed amendments to a casino bill." "House casino bill sponsor proposes changes to reduce gambling options".

    Let them fly to Vegas

    "Scott Lends Support to Closing Internet Cafes".

    "Lynn an icon in political landscape"

    "From Ormond commissioner to state senator, Lynn an icon in political landscape".

    Bill of rights for Floridians receiving professional home healthcare

    "Floridians receiving professional home healthcare could become among the few in the nation with their own bill of rights. Among the guarantees: Appointment times that are honored, disclosure of out-of-pocket costs and high-quality care. But under the proposal being considered by Florida legislators this session, home health agencies would have rights, too, including one likely to spark much debate: Clients would have to accept all qualified assistants in their home “regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation,” according to SB 1370." "Florida law would ban bias by at-home patients".

    Early voting begins

    "Early voting begins Saturday in Orlando area".

    Mack Leads Pack

    "With Many Florida Republicans Undecided, Connie Mack Leads GOP Senate Pack".

    Second amendment stoopid

    Beth Kassab: "Every parent's worst nightmare played out Sunday night inside an Eatonville home. A 7-year-old child picked up a gun that he apparently thought was a toy, pointed it at his 15-year-old cousin and accidentally shot and killed the older boy."

    But this is wild-eyed Florida, which continues to defend a new law designed to stop doctors from asking moms, dads and their kids about guns in their homes.

    It's hard to forget the fury over last year's "Docs vs. Glocks" bill. It initially sought to imprison doctors for up to five years and fine them $5 million for asking patients about guns until it was thankfully watered down before it was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. Even in its less draconian form, this dumbest of dumb laws could lead to doctors losing their medical licenses for asking a patient about firearms.

    We'll never know if a talk with a doctor would have made a difference for Anthony Lane Jr. And we don't know if the adults responsible at his cousin's home where the shooting took place ever received such counseling.

    But the fact is, sometimes doctors like Lisa Cosgrove, a pediatrician in Merritt Island, are the first to talk to parents about gun safety.

    "I ask parents, 'Do you have a lock for your gun?' And if they say no, I ask, 'Would you like one?' and we keep a box of them in the office," said Cosgrove, who is also the president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
    "Teen's accidental shooting proves folly of "Docs vs. Glocks" law".

    Local Term Limits

    "Local Term Limits Measure Advances in House".

    Obama in Orlando

    "President Obama will be at Disney today to announce tourism initiatives". See also "Obama takes trip to Orlando to tout jobs plan". Related: ""Obama, Rick Scott Agree: Speed Up Tourist Visas for Brazilians".".

    Frank Cerabino: Obama visit to Disney? Where pundits' dreams come true

    "Pot Calling the Kettle Polluter"

    Nancy Smith: "Environmentalists can be such hypocrites. Especially the rich ones. Closet flimflammers. Maybe you saw Paul Tudor Jones Tuesday at the Everglades Water Supply Summit."

    Now, I wouldn't exactly call this multi-billionaire a faux philantropist. But I think it's only right that the people of Florida understand that the Everglades Foundation chairman and benefactor at the podium, the one hurling insults at Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam for coddling "polluters," was once slapped with a $2 million fine for destroying wetlands.
    "Paul Tudor Jones: Pot Calling the Kettle Polluter".


    Fred Grimm: "Broward towns try to slither out from under strict ethics rules".

    "Flawed and unacceptable" congressional district boundaries

    The Sarasota Herald Tribune editors: "The congressional district boundaries proposed by the Florida Senate are flawed and unacceptable." "One crazy redistricting plan". See also "Redistricting plan would carve up Sarasota and Manatee".

    Shrinking citizens

    "Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has begun implementing changes approved by its board of governors: It will no longer cover coastal account properties valued at $1 million or more, now requires 10 percent sinkhole deductible, and reduced its maximum personal liability coverage from $300,000 to $100,000." "Citizens attempts to shrink, Gov. Scott applauds".

    Canker war

    "Florida's war against canker ended in 2006, but six years later a battle is still being waged on the international front." "Wary EU sour on Florida citrus imports".

    Rubio has his finger in the wind

    "Members of Florida delegation withdraw support for controversial anti-piracy bills".

    Florida leading race to the bottom

    "State Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise, and Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, have introduced legislation that would set up a Florida health insurance exchange as required by federal law. So far, the GOP-led Legislature and the governor have done little-to-nothing to follow the federal health care reform law’s requirement."

    Senate Bill 1640 and House Bill 1423 would provide the intent to “establish a state-level health benefits exchange by a certain date; providing minimum functions for such exchange; establishing the Florida Health Benefits Exchange Legislative Study Committee to consider and make recommendations regarding the establishment of the exchange; providing that the act is null and void if that part of federal law requiring an exchange is repealed or replaced.”

    Just this week, the government released a report documenting the progress 28 states and the District of Columbia have made in creating their state health insurance exchanges. The study noted that Florida is one of two states that has refused to even use a $1 million federal grant to begin planning for and researching an exchange.
    "Legislators introduce bill to set up health insurance exchange". See also "Feds release report on health insurance exchanges; Florida still behind".

    More on Florida's healthcare front: "Thousands of low-income [Florida] children without health insurance won't get the preventive care they need".

    Auctioning off Florida with no deliberation, cost benefit analysis or public input

    "In a state Senate rules committee hearing [yesterday], groups showed up to voice their opposition to two bills that would make it easier for the state to privatize prisons — and other government agency functions."

    Both committee bills, which moved forward [yesterday], received resounding opposition. The bills were introduced, but have yet to be referred to the appropriate committees.

    A labor group has already called the bills “union busting” efforts and said they would “eliminate any transparency from the process, allowing Legislative leaders to auction off Florida with no deliberation, cost benefit analysis or public input.”

    Senate Bill 7172 would privatize correctional facilities and Senate Bill 7170 would allow the privatization of state functions to go through more secretively.

    According to its summary, Senate Bill 7170 would provide “that certain information relating to the outsourcing or privatization of an agency function that is expressly required by law is not required to be included in the agency’s legislative budget request until after the contract for such functions is executed; providing that procurements for outsourcing or privatizing agency functions that are expressly required by law are exempt from the requirement that they be evaluated for feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency, etc.”
    "Groups denounce new prison privatization bills". See also "Prison privatization effort resurfaces in bills that would exclude public comment".

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The measure would let state agencies conceal their privatizing or outsourcing plans until — and this comes straight out of the bill — 'after the contract for the privatization and outsourcing has been executed.' In other words, after it's a done deal." "Private privatizing".

    Perhaps they're good at what they do?

    "Few Miami teachers dismissed for poor performance".

    Big of them

    "Florida lawmakers: Get tough on ALFs".

    "State pension chief wants to double down"

    "The official managing Florida's $120 billion pension fund wants lawmakers to double the amount of money his agency can set aside for special investments that critics say are harder to value and carry more risk than traditional stocks and securities." "State pension chief wants to double down on investment strategy".

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