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 06, 2012

Florida GOPers dash Fasano's Congressional ambitions

    "Mike Fasano's ambitions to represent Pasco in Congress appear to be dashed. ... The problem for Fasano? The district includes the home of a well-liked incumbent whose name is political gold around these parts: Gus Bilirakis." "Redrawn congressional boundaries create roadblock for Fasano".

    "Capitol Buzz"

    Today's "Capitol Buzz"

    Here’s what we’re watching on Monday edition’s of the 2012 Legislature:

    • Vice President Joe Biden will visit Florida State University to talk about college affordability at 11 a.m.

    • A controversial charter school bill comes before the Senate Education Committee at 3 p.m. If the bill passes, school districts would have to share their construction and maintenance dollars with charter schools, which currently don’t have the power to levy property taxes for capital projects. School districts and the teachers’ unions are fighting the proposal.
    "Capitol Buzz: Biden visits Tallahassee to talk jobs".

    "Legislators spare themselves"

    The Sarasota Herald Tribune editors: "The Florida House of Representatives is preparing to vote on an austere budget plan that eliminates 4,700 state jobs, raises college tuition and cuts payments to hospitals and nursing homes."

    "We have a balanced budget that funds the state's priorities without increasing fees or taxes," said Rep. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

    One of those priorities must be to guarantee that legislators — as well as the governor, Cabinet members and other top state officials — continue to pay ridiculously low premiums for health insurance.

    Those top officials are among 32,000 state employees who pay $8.34 a month for individual coverage or $30 a month for family coverage.

    That's one-sixth the amount paid by hundreds of thousands of rank-and-file state workers, whose costs are $50 per month for individuals and $180 a month for families. ...

    The rank-and-file workers who pay the higher premiums have also gone without a raise, and also contribute toward their pensions, and they do so with less income than their better-paid bosses and "citizen legislators" with lucrative private-sector jobs.
    "Legislators spare themselves".

    Rubio a leading "warrior" in politically explosive cultural war

    "Rubio, a Catholic, has always opposed abortion, including during his days in the Florida Legislature. In recent weeks, though, he has emerged as one of the leading national warriors in the politically explosive cultural war over what sort of healthcare women have access to."

    His leadership on the issue is set against the backdrop of a national debate: the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity’s decision to end — then restore following an outcry — grants for breast cancer detection to Planned Parenthood.

    Last week alone, Rubio keynoted the annual banquet of the Susan B. Anthony List, a political organization that helps anti-abortion office-seekers get elected, and he introduced the bill that would exempt religious institutions from complying with the contraception requirement. He has previously said he would vote to defund Planned Parenthood, which receives federal money to provide healthcare for poor women and men. The organization provides abortion services, long opposed by conservative groups.

    At this point, Rubio has garnered 20 Republican co-sponsors in the Senate for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. A version of the bill in the Republican-dominated House stands a better chance of passage than in the Democratic-controlled Senate. ...

    Another high-profile Florida politician, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had a far different take on the latest salvo in the cultural war. As a breast cancer survivor, she supported both Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood.

    Last week, “Americans made it clear that they support women having access to vital breast health services, including breast cancer prevention and awareness,’’ Wasserman Schultz said. “This outcome is proof of the power of collective voices coming together to effect change and save women’s lives.’’
    "Rubio inserts himself into battle over Obama's contraception rules".

    Second amendment stoopid

    "Fla. man fatally shot dead during Super Bowl party".

    "GOP Congressmen on the Move"

    Kenric Ward: "New Maps Have GOP Congressmen on the Move".

    "$13 billion in public money potentially at risk"

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "It defies common sense that the nation's fourth-largest state has such a loosely structured system to evaluate and oversee almost $51 billion in contracts for goods and services."

    [S]tate agencies have their own unaccountable hodgepodge of rubrics in place to determine the service to be rendered, negotiate the contract, monitor the delivery of the service and pursue breaches of contracts with vendors. In a random review of 364 contracts worth more than $1 million in 2010-11, Atwater's auditors discovered 26 percent had at least one deficiency, putting some $13 billion in public money potentially at risk. Over the past year, Atwater's office has recovered almost $31 million in settlements from vendors due to faulty contracts.
    "Keep tabs on public's money".


    Nancy Smith "Sierra Club and Other Eco-Hypocrites: Credibility Lost".

    Greasing Haridopolos

    "Millions of dollars in campaign contributions from for-profit prison companies may not be enough this year to push through a prison privatization plan that is a priority of Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders."

    The push to privatize one-fifth of the state corrections facilities along with all inmate health care could net prison companies hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts, and those companies have spent millions in the past year trying to win support for the plan.

    But Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, who made the prison outsourcing one of his top goals, put the bill on hold twice last week because he lacked the votes within his Republican caucus to pass it.

    Research by The Palm Beach Post shows that Boca Raton-based GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, have contributed nearly $2 million to candidates and political parties since Scott's election.

    GEO has contributed at least $475,000 in the past year, including $336,000 to the Republican Party of Florida.

    During the 2010 election cycle, the company contributed at least $880,000 - more than two-thirds of that going to the Republican Party - including $25,000 to defray costs of Scott's inauguration. Just before last year's legislative session kicked off in March, GEO gave $25,000 to a political committee headed by House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park.

    CCA contributed a minimum of $38,500 for the 2012 election cycle and at least $62,000 for the 2010 Florida elections.

    The contributions do not include money given by principals of the corporations or their lobbyists.
    "Asked about the companies' sizable contributions, Haridopolos said unions as well as the prison companies are big donors. And he's correct."
    Labor unions in Florida have contributed more than $1.3 million since 2009 to legislators, the Cabinet and the political parties. That includes about $586,000 from the Florida Police Benevolent Association and $284,000 from the Teamsters. The PBA represented corrections workers until defeated by the Teamsters in the fall.

    But privatization is not the only issue labor unions are fighting in Tallahassee. The unions lost one battle over pensions last year when the legislature ordered all state workers to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to their pensions. The retirement age for firefighters and police officers was raised from 55 to 60 and from 25 years to 30 years of service for full pensions, changes law enforcement unions are fighting to undo.
    "Florida prison privatization push stalls despite big spending".

    Resort-tax revenue flexibility

    "Legislation that would let counties spend their resort-tax revenue on aquariums advanced in Tallahassee last week, without any opposition — at least so far — from a Florida hotel lobby that usually vehemently opposes measures designed to expand the number of approved uses of the tax." "Bill to expand uses for resort tax advances".

    "Not everyone in Tallahassee got the memo"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Two years ago, Floridians voted 63-37 to change the state constitution to stop lawmakers from gerrymandering — drawing congressional and legislative districts with incumbents or parties in mind. Judging from the maps headed for approval this week in the House, not everyone in Tallahassee got the memo." "Districts: A mixture of progress, failure".

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