Florida Politics 2012
Kevin Derby teaches a short course in Florida Politics, 2012 this morning; here's a taste: "A crowded field of Republicans has lined up to take on Florida's Nelson and they have already started to throw elbows at each other". In addition to that,
Florida’s congressional races remain uncertain until the Legislature finishes redistricting, but there are a number of strong challengers already lining up against incumbents. Democrats would love to oust Steve Southerland, Dan Webster, Vern Buchanan, Allen West and David Rivera, while the GOP is looking to knock off the likes of Kathy Castor and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. With two new seats and Mack running for Senate, there are also three open races that could hold interesting primaries.In Tally, "Scott remains down in the polls, but there are signs that this could change in 2012. Scott ran in 2010 promising to combat unemployment and bring new jobs to Florida. He’s had some success as the state unemployment dipped in 2011 and, if this trend continues, he could be better off in the polls at the end of the year. Having waged a bitter primary against then-Attorney General Bill McCollum in 2010, Scott’s polls numbers could also inch up as Republicans who backed his primary rival drift over to back the governor."
The Legislature will have its hands full with redistricting as the congressional and state legislative lines will be redrawn. While Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature, they will be challenged to keep them intact as they are forced to comply with constitutional amendments passed by the voters in 2010 on how they can draw up the maps. No matter how the maps are drawn, redistricting appears likely to be headed to the courts. While few observers expect the Democrats to pick up either the House or the Senate, they have a chance to chip into GOP strength in Tallahassee.Much more here: "Florida Set for Political Spotlight in 2012".
Thomas Tryon yesterday: "The news from Florida in 2012 will be full of surprises — sensational trials that haven't even been placed on judicial dockets, exposes of celebrities who have yet to expose themselves, weird occurrences, unnaturally intense natural disasters and genuinely unexpected events." "This year will be all about elections".
What's wrong with Hillsborough?
"Authorities say celebratory gunfire falling from the sky critically injured a 12-year-old Tampa Bay-area boy. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says the boy's family was sitting outside their Ruskin home around 1 a.m. Sunday and watching fireworks."
Sheriff's office spokesman Larry McKinnon says the boy's mother saw him fall to the ground, bleeding from his nose and eyes. She drove him to a hospital, where doctors determined he had suffered a gunshot wound from a bullet that entered the top of his head."Police: Celebratory gunfire wounds Florida boy, 12".
McKinnon says the boy remains hospitalized in Tampa in critical condition with the bullet still in his head.
Tuesday is the registration deadline for the Jan. 31 primary
"If you think Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul or Mitt Romney is the solution to the nation’s problems, you’ve got to be a registered Republican to express your support in Florida’s primary." "Deadline to vote in state primary looms".
Already "the fourth-largest gambling state in the nation"?
"Supporters of a proposed bill that would allow three massive destination casino resorts in South Florida often argue that gambling is already a big business here -- in fact, one of the largest in the country."
That fourth-largest ranking claim has been repeated multiple times by Bogdanoff, including in a joint editorial with state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, and by other individuals, including former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Diaz-Balart is a lawyer and adviser for the Genting Group, which has purchased the waterfront Miami Herald property with plans to build a mega casino-resort there."Just how big?" Related: "Casino, Gaming Commission Bill Given 'Long Shot' for House Approval".
We wondered if the ranking is true.
As Bogdanoff introduced her casino bill she said: "Florida is considered the fourth-largest gambling state in the nation..." But this isn't as simple as college football rankings. There isn't one universally accepted measure.
Now, Bogdanoff's legislative assistant acknowledges she should have specified tribal gaming. But that said, Bogdanoff's broader point is certainly supported from the majority of research, which suggests that -- if you include the state lottery -- Florida is certainly a big gambling state. No. 4? That's a lot less clear and very much dependent on what you measure and how you measure it.
On balance, we rate this claim Half True.
Bonzo from Bitburg
"With the Florida primary only a month away, House Speaker Dean Cannon says his focus right now is on his final regular legislative session rather than making endorsements."
Nor is he thinking about his own long-term plans once his term expires next year."Cannon Yet to Outline a Post-Legislative Career, Out of the Endorsement Business".
Cannon, R-Winter Park, was among the Florida contingent that quickly jumped behind Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican presidential primary. ...
Born the son of a U.S. Air Force serviceman at the former Bitburg Air Base in Germany, once home to the United States Air Force 36th Fighter Wing, Cannon, who has three children 10 years of age and younger, cannot seek re-election due to term limits.
Romney Florida dreamin'
"Steady in Iowa, Romney Counts on New Hampshire, Florida".
The Miami Herald editorial board writes that "must not neglect our most vulnerable citizens or jewels like the Everglades and Biscayne Bay". "Protecting our treasures".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "A bill offered by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican, would require someone claiming bad faith to notify the insurance company within 60 days of the alleged violation. The company could then address the violation and have a chance to negate the need for litigation."
This may sound reasonable, but a policyholder might not find out for several weeks that the insurance company refused a settlement offer. Lawyers also say it takes time for an individual to find out what has happened and contact an attorney. Then the lawyer needs time to find out whether the facts merit a legal challenge."Tinkering with bad faith puts citizens' rights at risk".
With the 60-day limit, citizens easily could lose the right to legal recourse before they even knew they have been wronged.
The bad faith provision, no doubt, is sometimes abused, driving up insurance companies' costs.
Associated Industries of Florida, which supports the bill, calls the Florida civil justice system unbalanced and says, "One of the most egregious abuses in the system is denying a business and its insurers a reasonable time to settle a liability claim without litigation."
The threat of litigation should not be interminable. But this legislative fix goes too far. The Florida Justice Association, which represents the legal profession, makes the more compelling case: "A policyholder should never face an excess judgment simply because the insurer failed to do the job it was paid premiums to do."
Second amendment stoopid
"Report: Man fired at park ranger after getting parking ticket".
PSC nuke order appealed
"An advocacy group will ask the state Supreme Court to reject a regulatory decision that would allow Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida to collect about $282 million from customers next year for nuclear-power projects. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has notified the state Public Service Commission that it's taking the unusual step of appealing an order that allows the utilities to collect money for work on future or existing nuclear plants. The dispute centers on FPL and Progress billing customers for upfront costs on four planned nuclear reactors that would not start producing electricity for at least another decade -- and, critics say, might never produce electricity." "Advocacy Group to Appeal 'Scam' Energy Rate Increases".
"Born too soon to reap the partisan spoils"
Robert W. McKnight: "Timing is everything. It's no different in politics than in other areas of life." "Treasure Coast could have had another top leader in Florida Legislature, but Rep. R. Dale Patchett, R-Vero Beach, was born too soon".
"Scott administration’s dismantling of the Department of Community Affairs"
"The Scott administration’s dismantling of the Department of Community Affairs has put more power into the hands of local governments – a good thing, argues the governor, for development and growth."
But just how much growth is too much? With the economy still in flux, local governments continue to approve tens of thousands of acres for use as attractive communities – often replete with their own fire stations, grocery stores and in some cases, water parks. The reform of growth management laws has eased the process for state developers, but some say the problems have persisted long before the DCA was shuttered. While some argue that growth is good, many say it’s hindering local environments and community water resources in the long-run."What sprawl costs Northeast Florida".
Dem primary will decide central Florida race?
"A retired prosecutor from the Casey Anthony murder trial has announced that he is running for the state attorney's office in central Florida. ... Jeff Ashton said he would challenge his former boss, Lawson Lamar, to be the Orange-Osceola State Attorney. Lamar has served as state attorney since 1989... Another former prosecutor from Lamar's office, Ryan Williams, also has announced a bid for the state attorney's office. Ashton, Lamar and Williams are all Democrats, and no Republican has announced a candidacy." "Prosecutor in Casey Anthony trial runs for office".
"A nearly $2 billion gap"
Gary Fineout: "Florida lawmakers head into their new session this month confronted by a nearly $2 billion gap. This time around, it is primarily caused by a combination of growing expenses in safety net programs such as Medicaid and a sluggish economic recovery that is expected to keep tax dollars from growing significantly." "Leaders taking knife to budget".
Innocuous Facebook posts could become minefields of litigation
"Public officials might have more to worry about with Facebook than just an embarrassing picture from college resurfacing. Seemingly innocuous posts could become minefields of litigation under Florida's tough public records laws, which require everything on an elected official's or government's page to be carefully catalogued. If elected officials are caught chatting about anything which may come up later for a vote, they could land themselves in legal trouble." "Facebook complicated for public officials".
The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "They may not be household names throughout Tampa Bay. Most of them don't old an elected public office. But these are six influential dealmakers who will have a major impact on public policy and the success of our communities in 2012." "Dealmakers to watch".