"A daylong hearing sparked tense exchanges between lawmakers Tuesday as a panel struggled with its latest and likely last attempt at drawing new boundaries for Florida's 40 Senate districts."
The Senate Reapportionment Committee is expected to vote Wednesday on a proposed map, positioning it for a full Senate vote, possibly as early as Thursday."The rewritten plan by Reapportionment Chairman Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, was reviewed for the first time Tuesday by the panel. In it, Sachs would likely run against Republican Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale, in a proposed District 32 spanning Palm Beach and Broward counties."
But Tuesday's hearing also exposed bitter rivalries between senators, whose political futures will be shaped by how the final lines fall.
But along with putting Sachs and Bogdanoff together, the rewrite pairs Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, a shift fueling lingering Senate rivalries."Senate redistricting hearing exposes rivalries among Florida senators". See also "Senate panel delays action on redistricting plans".
Gardiner is in line to become Senate president in 2014, and Simmons is a key ally. But Gaetz is viewed as having backed Sens. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and Joe Negron, R-Stuart, in their unsuccessful bid to oust Gardiner from his leadership spot a few weeks ago.
Fallout from the attempted coup seemed to shade some of Tuesday's exchanges. Another Gardiner supporter, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, teamed with Simmons to advance an alternate map that would have helped Gardiner preserve more of his current district.
Arguing against that plan were Thrasher and Negron. Gaetz, though, downplayed the allegiances as being link to the failed Senate coup.
"I don't know of any rivalries over future leadership," Gaetz said.
Must be the unions' fault
"Almost 2 ½ years after opening an investigation into $250 million in bonds issued by Miami, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could soon file civil charges against the city." "Feds consider securities charges against city of Miami after lengthy investigation".
"Computer software glitch for the tabulating"
"In Palm Beach County’s latest voting embarrassment, Wellington decided Tuesday to toss out its tainted March 13 election results while Secretary of State Ken Detzner pledged to find answers and County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher continued to blame a computer software glitch for the tabulating turmoil." "Wellington election debacle has state and county officials and software experts hunting for answers". The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The burden is on Bucher".
One man's "Inspiration"
"Religious leaders sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott today, urging him to veto a bill that would allow school boards to adopt policies allowing 'inspirational messages,' including prayers, to be given during any school event. The bill is currently awaiting Scott’s signature." "Religious leaders urge Scott to veto school prayer bill".
A rush on Rubio's retroactive self-edit
"Sen. Marco Rubio's book is coming out earlier than previously expected."
The jacket begins: "Few politicians have risen to national prominence as quickly as Marco Rubio. At age forty-one he's the subject of widespread interest and speculation. But he has never before told the full story of his unlikely journey, with all the twists and turns that made him an American son." It clarifies one aspect of his story, saying his parents first left Cuba in 1956, before Fidel Castro came to power."Sen. Marco Rubio pushes up release of biography 'An American Son'". Related: "Marco Rubio Raises Profile as Buzz Grows for 2012 and Political Future Beyond".
Pass the pen
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Many of these bills are local pork-barrel projects that Gov. Scott may be inclined to veto anyway, but another category includes bills that set the wrong priorities and policies for Florida."
• Exhibit A is the bill establishing a new state university, Florida Polytechnic."Veto these bills".
• Random drug-testing of state employees is nothing more than an insult to workers who have gone years without a pay raise because of the Legislature’s miscast budget priorities. Mr. Scott quietly approved this one late Monday. What a waste. It’s already headed for a costly court battle and is manifestly unfair. Mr. Scott should have sent it back to legislators and declared that only after they include themselves in the drug-testing scheme would he approve.
• The “pink poodle” bill is a real dog, allowing the artificial coloring of animals as if they were Easter eggs. Some might consider it just one of those harmless pranks lawmakers are prone to engage in to relieve the stress, but it’s actually a form of animal abuse.
• HB 5301 is a more complicated, but equally wrong, bill involving a Medicaid cost-shift to the state’s 67 counties. It puts taxpayers in each county on the hook for what the Florida Association of Counties call the mistakes created when the state implemented a new electronic billing system in 2008. Of course, the biggest amount will fall on South Florida, especially Miami-Dade County. Instead of signing this bill, Gov. Scott should veto it and insist on fixing the flawed state system rather than passing the buck to the counties.
Unfortunately, there’s not enough room to go into the details of all the bad bills,
Scott flops on drug testing
Rick Scott has apparently exhausted his supply of out-of-state law firms to defend unconstitutional legislation: "Anticipating a legal challenge to the new law requiring random drug testing of state employees -- and with a lawsuit against an executive order on the same topic still pending -- Gov. Rick Scott issued a memo to state employees late Tuesday putting off testing until last year's lawsuit is resolved." "Rick Scott Delays Drug Testing Workers until 2011 Case Is Resolved". See also "Gov. Scott tells agencies to hold off on drug tests until lawsuit ruling".
"Sebelius: Florida will have health insurance exchanges".
"Spurred by comments from Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, the Florida Cabinet agreed Tuesday to look at developing a method for tying the salaries of the executive directors and secretaries of state agencies to the size of their departments." "Cabinet to look into salaries of agency heads".
"Veteran GOP operative Roger Stone, the impeccably dressed, Miami-based bad boy of GOP politics lately hanging with the Libertarian party, had been looking at running until a circuit court ruling on the timing of party switches to run for office (a.k.a. the Charlie Crist law). Stone now says he won't run for the Bill Nelson seat, being challenged by Republicans George LeMieux, Connie Mack IV and Mike McCalister." "Stone won't run for Senate".
"An 'epidemic' in Florida"
"The IRS and federal investigators say they've redoubled their efforts to combat tax fraud from identity theft, a crime they call an 'epidemic' in Florida that's spreading nationwide." "Feds: Tax fraud an epidemic in Florida and spreading nationwide".
"President Barack Obama will return to Florida on April 10 for a trio of fundraisers, including one at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood where tickets will start at $250. He also has a $15,000 per person ($20k couple) dinner at the Golden Beach home of Jeremy Alters, and kicks the day off with a lunch ($20k per couple / $50k VIP reception) at the Palm Beach Gardens home of Paula and Hansel Tookes." "Obama to return to Florida".
"Stand your ground" law in cross hairs
"In a surprise meeting with black lawyers and civil activists Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott said the shooting of an unarmed 17-year-old by a neighborhood watch volunteer raised concerns about the state's "stand your ground" law that critics say is letting some get away with murder." "'Stand your ground' self-defense gun law draws protests — and governor advises new look at it".
Loose coalition of parents' groups thwart Bushco scheme
The Tampa Bay Times editorial board writes that "it was a loose coalition of parents' groups statewide that managed to thwart, on a tie vote in the Florida Senate, the so-called parent trigger bill this month. Pushed by former Gov. Jeb Bush and a California group, the bill would have allowed a small cadre of parents to all but decide to turn over a low-performing public school to a for-profit charter school company, even though all taxpayers pay the bills." "Ordinary citizens fuel democracy".