Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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 Monday, February 27, 2012

"Did Florida GOP stack deck"?

    "The state Supreme Court this week will be the first battleground in a courtroom fight over Florida's future political map, which Democrats say has contours drawn to favor Republicans." "Court to decide: Did Florida GOP stack deck in redrawing political lines, or is it just geography?".

    Jeremy Wallace: "When the Florida Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments over the state’s proposed redistricting maps this week, both Manatee and Sarasota counties should be a key part of the conversation. Two groups suing to block the proposed legislative districts are citing the way Sarasota and Manatee counties were handled as proof that the Legislature failed to follow new voter-approved guidelines aimed at stopping gerrymandering." "Sen. Detert's new district heads to courtroom".

    "Bondi's unnecessary moral crusade"

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Attorney General Pam Bondi is dragging Florida into an unnecessary moral crusade."

    By signing on to a multistate federal lawsuit challenging the contraception coverage requirement in the health care reform law, Bondi is choosing the most narrow thinking in the Catholic Church over the rights of Florida women.

    Bondi claims she is standing for religious liberty by asserting that religiously affiliated employers such as hospitals and universities that are engaged in secular work should not have to offer health coverage that includes contraception. But she ignores the liberty of employees at those institutions who should not be subject to religious tenets as a condition of employment.
    "Bondi's needless crusade".

    West rakes in the cash

    "Boosted by conservative fans across the country, South Florida U.S. Rep. Allen West has raised more money for his re-election campaign than any other House candidate this year except for Speaker John Boehner. West, a Republican freshman and tea party favorite from Plantation, raised $5.8 million through Dec. 31, more than $8 for every resident he hopes to represent in a newly drawn district anchored in northern Palm Beach County. Most of that money comes from outside Florida, a sign that his closely watched race has reverberations well beyond his home state." "West's millions rank him No. 2 in U.S. House".

    PIP reform

    "Cannon Expects PIP Reform to be Completed in Regular Session of Legislature".

    West's old district

    "Two Democrats with similar politics but differing styles are vying for their party's nomination in the South Florida congressional district being vacated by Republican Rep. Allen West. As redrawn, CD 22 has turned bluer and West opted this month to head north to the new 18th Congressional District on the Treasure Coast."

    Spoiling for a showdown with the tea party favorite, former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel announced for the seat 10 months ago. Shortly after West bolted, Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs jumped in to challenge Frankel, while a third Democrat, Patrick Murphy, announced he would follow West up to CD 18 and battle him there.

    Republicans hope to hold West's old district with the entry of former U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner.

    Hasner, a former Florida House majority leader from Delray Beach, represented a central core of the district that straddles sections of eastern Palm Beach and Broward counties.
    "In Post-Allen West CD 22: Lois Frankel, Kristin Jacobs Jockey for Race Against Adam Hasner".

    AIDS Assistance Program has longest waiting list

    "Advocates launched a campaign to urge the Florida legislature to secure funding for the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program the same week it was announced that almost 1,100 Floridians who live with HIV are on the drug assistance programs waiting list." "Florida’s AIDS drug program has the longest waiting list in the U.S.".

    immigration policies unimpressive

    "GOP presidential candidates have voiced their support for immigration policies that leave out most Latino voters, who are looking for a common sense solution to the issue, but Democrats are not doing much better, participants in Spanish language Univision news show Al Punto said Sunday." "Spanish language media: GOP presidential candidates move forward with immigration policies despite Latino disapproval".

    "Hired guns" targeted

    "A bill is moving through the Legislature targeting what some lawmakers described as "hired guns" -- expert witnesses testifying in court cases."

    The House's 77-34 vote on HB 243 on Friday was a victory for business groups that have lobbied to place more restrictions on experts, whose testimony can be critical in civil and criminal cases that deal with complex scientific evidence.

    Sponsor Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, said the bill is not aimed at giving an advantage to businesses or any other parties in lawsuits. Supporters said they are trying to ensure that testimony is legitimate, with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton, saying that some witnesses rely on theatrics in front of juries.

    "I'll choose science over theatrics,'' said Gaetz, an attorney.

    But opponents said the new standards would benefit deep-pocketed companies trying to fend off lawsuits filed by injured people. They said the standards would lead to costly and time-consuming hearings.

    Also, they said, the changes could drive up costs for prosecutors who might need expert testimony to get criminal convictions.
    "Legislature Moving to Tighten Expert Witness Standards".

    Occupy Sarasota arrest investigation

    "ACLU investigates Occupy Sarasota arrest in Sarasota".

    "State risks having federal government step in"

    "With the end of this legislative session a mere two weeks away, state lawmakers are no closer to implementing a state health insurance exchange program that is mandated through the Affordable Care Act. And, as the deadline for the mandate looms, the state risks having the federal government step in and create a program in place of the state." "State lawmakers continue to risk federal intervention as they delay creating state exchanges".

    "Unpredictable and simplistic"

    The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Accountability in schools is a good concept, but it is bad in practice when it is unpredictable and simplistic. And that's the problem with the new school grading system the state Board of Education will vote on Tuesday."

    Among the bad ideas:

    • Schools would get an automatic F if they do not have at least 25 percent of their students score as "proficient" in reading on the FCAT 2.0, a tougher version of the old test. A school where students test this poorly on reading certainly has serious problems, but an automatic F does nothing to address them. And by automatically flunking a school, this fails to look at any other subject the school teaches or any programs it has to improve student performance.

    • When the learning gains of the lowest-performing 25 percent of students are measured in reading and math, the state would exclude any students who are testing at grade level — even if they are among this lowest quarter of performers. Schools could effectively be penalized for their own success. If nearly all its students are performing at grade level, the scores of only a handful of low-performing students could drag down that portion of the school's grade.

    • More special education and students who are learning English would be included in the school grading. The federal government wants Florida to deal with evaluating special needs students and those who are still learning English. But the draconian measures before the state board are certainly not what federal officials are seeking.
    "School grading plan should look deeper".

    "Did Florida mess up by holding its primary early?"

    "When Florida trashed the Republican National Committee's calendar by scheduling its primary on Jan. 31 rather than waiting until March, proponents of the maneuver hoped the early contest would give Sunshine State voters a big and potentially decisive say in the GOP nomination process."

    But nearly four weeks later, Florida winner Mitt Romney is still spending money, trading debate barbs and battling for votes in Michigan and Arizona, where primaries are scheduled Tuesday. And the four-candidate fight for the Republican nomination should remain competitive at least through March 6, when 10 states hold primaries on Super Tuesday.

    National polls of Republicans over the last few weeks show Rick Santorum leading Romney. Romney leads in Arizona and has been locked in a tight race with Santorum in Michigan.

    In the biggest Super Tuesday states, Gingrich leads in his home state of Georgia while Santorum tops the field in Ohio.

    The fluidity is good news for Republicans in states that worried about irrelevance a few weeks ago but are now being courted by candidates and saturated with TV ads from campaigns and super PACs.
    "With GOP nomination undecided, did Florida mess up by holding its primary early?".

    Paul's Pants are on Fire

    "There's no doubt gas prices in Florida have been on the rise — but have they really hit $6 a gallon? That was the surprising claim from Ron Paul at the Republican presidential debate in Arizona last week. ... We wouldn't bring a flaming Truth-O-Meter to a filling station, but that's what this one deserves. Pants on Fire!" "PolitiFact Florida: Ron Paul says gas in Florida hit $6 a gallon".

    Florida taxpayers would pay for train crashes

    "A bill awaiting Senate consideration may force Florida taxpayers pay damages for Amtrak accidents even in cases where the rail line is at fault." "Florida taxpayers would pay tab for damages caused by train crashes".

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