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 13, 2012

Session in its final month

    "With the Legislature passing the midpoint of its 60-day session last week, lawmakers have made real progress on the biggest issues on their agenda for the year."
    Both chambers have agreed to maps that redraw the state's congressional and legislative districts and have sent them to Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Supreme Court for review — and for legal challenges by Democrats and voting-rights groups who say they're illegally gerrymandered. Still, lawmakers are done for now with one of the two bills they must pass this session.
    "And they're moving right along on the other must-pass legislation: the budget."
    The House has passed a $69.2 billion spending plan that increases dollars for classrooms but cuts funds for hospitals, universities and most other functions of state government. The Senate is on track to pass its version next week, setting the stage for a conference committee to work out differences.
    "Legislature faces host of issues in final month of work". See also "Senate releases $70.8 billion budget". Thomas Tryon: "Bad to worse on mental-health budgets".

    "See where Florida lawmakers stand on major legislation heading into the homestretch of this year's session". "Top 10 issues facing the Florida Legislature".

    "5 things to watch today"

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

    Spats-and-ascot set like Mr. West

    Kingsley Guy: "Because of redistricting, U.S. Rep. Allen West from District 22 will be heading northward to run in a more Republican-friendly District 18. I, for one, will be sorry to see him go."

    Unlike a lot of politicians, West doesn't equivocate or dance around issues. His sharp, conservative views make him an icon of the right. But he's a demon to the left, which castigates him for being a tea party lackey.
    "West's move anything but cowardice".

    Florida soaks up Affordable Care Act cash

    "While Gov. Rick Scott has made news by rejecting several grants funded by the federal health care reform act, a study by an independent nonprofit group finds that Florida organizations have quietly received $119.6 million in reform act funds over the past two years."

    Using federal data, the National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled a report that shows Florida state agencies, universities, hospitals, public clinics — even faith-based private groups such as Tallahassee-based Live the Life Ministries — received funds from the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and 2011 for everything from clinic expansion to abstinence lectures.

    This has happened while Florida has been a leading state in a lawsuit alleging that the Obama administration act is unconstitutional. What's more, NCSL reports Florida is one of three states planning to ask voters next fall to consider a constitutional amendment to declare illegal key provisions of the reform act — a stance that could lead to a state-federal court battle if the amendment were to win approval.
    "While the governor continues to oppose what conservatives call 'Obamacare,'"
    the Obama administration has called the reform act a success in Florida, pointing out that the act saved the state's seniors $141.9 million last year because it decreased the size of the "doughnut hole" for Medicare drug costs. The administration also says the act helped 3,300 uninsured Floridians with serious medical conditions obtain insurance coverage through a high-risk pool called the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.

    In one category, Florida has ranked near the top of reform funds: abstinence counseling to reduce teen pregnancy. Florida has received $2.6 million for the counseling, behind only Texas and New York, according to the NCSL.

    The Department of Health received the abstinence funds, according to a federal website. Other Florida groups received another $8.8 million in other teen pregnancy counseling, with $891,000 of that going to Live the Life Ministries, with a mission of "strengthening marriages and families."
    "Florida gets $119 million in health care reform funds".

    Grimsley is walking a tightrope

    "All of a sudden Denise Grimsley finds herself smack in the middle of a tug-of-war between House and Senate -- maneuvering the budget -- the thing that morphs into the annual showdown to decide which is the stronger chamber. The head of the House budget talks is walking a tightrope. She has a job to do now, but she wants to be accepted as one of the gang and by her potential boss in the Senate next year." "Denise Grimsley's Balancing Act".

    School repair fund is facing a crisis

    "The state fund for school repairs is facing a crisis – and some lawmakers are reluctant to address it." "Fewer dollars flowing into statewide school repairs fund" "Fewer dollars flowing into statewide school repairs fund".

    "When state lawmakers twist themselves into pretzels"

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "When state lawmakers twist themselves into pretzels writing legislation, it often indicates they are trying to circumvent constitutional protections. That is what is happening with SB 98, which is entitled an education bill but that teaches only one thing: how to evade rules that bar prayer in school."

    The legislation that has passed the Senate gives local school boards the discretion to allow student-led "inspirational messages" at student assemblies. But its true purpose is to encourage prayer that reflects the majority's faith at public schools. Beyond appealing to religious conservatives, there is no reason to adopt a measure like this, which undermines religious pluralism and inclusion and violates church-state separation.
    "Keep prayer out of public schools".

    Federal health reject "controversial piece of Florida's Medicaid overhaul"

    "Taking aim at a controversial piece of Florida's Medicaid overhaul, federal health officials this week rejected hitting beneficiaries with $10 monthly premiums and charges for some emergency-room visits."

    Democratic lawmakers and advocates for Medicaid beneficiaries, such as the group Florida CHAIN, blasted the proposals last year when the Republican-controlled Legislature included them in a massive plan to revamp Medicaid.

    Florida CHAIN released a statement Saturday describing the proposals as "too extreme and too dangerous to be given serious consideration.''

    "Congress already allows states to require Medicaid recipients to contribute to their care, but there are limits on what states can charge the poorest because they can afford so little,'' the advocacy group said. "Legislative leaders knew that but were unconcerned, repeatedly insisting that they had provided 'a hundred different reasons' for the federal government to approve their request.''

    While controversial, the proposed charges were a relatively small part of Florida's move to overhaul Medicaid. The key part of the overhaul would eventually shift almost all beneficiaries into managed-care plans --- an idea that remains under federal review.
    "Feds Reject Part of State's Request for Medicaid Change". See also "Feds deny part of Florida Medicaid proposal".

    PolitiFact is confused

    "PolitiFact Florida: Private prisons would chase escaped inmates, but local authorities would take lead".

    Small world

    "If Democrat Lois Frankel and Republican Adam Hasner end up facing each other in the race for a Palm Beach-Broward congressional seat, Hasner can count on the support of Frankel's first campaign manager. Judy Hasner, Adam's mom, ran Frankel's first state House campaign in 1986, then went to work for Frankel as her legislative aide. Adam Hasner was a teenage Republican at the time. " "Frankel's first campaign manager is potential opponent's mother".

    "state food police"

    Nancy Smith asks: "Does the Florida Legislature really want to set itself up as the state food police?" "Food-Ban Bills Take a Bite out of Reason".

    "A political survivor"

    "State Sen. Gary Siplin is a Democrat who cuts deals with Republicans and brings home dollars for his inner-city Orlando district. He’s a political survivor — and has never lost an election." "State Sen. Gary Siplin: political survivor in state capitol".

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