Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Incumbents beware"

    "As the Florida Senate begins its two-week special session to sort out its chamber's redistricting plan revisions, its members learn that the new map could pit incumbents against each other in redrawn districts." "Incumbents beware: Revised Senate districts coming over the weekend". See also "Lawmakers set timetable for new Senate maps", "Florida lawmakers giving redistricting another try", "Round 2 on Senate election maps: Can new election districts avoid bias?" and "Mike Haridopolos: Senate to Focus on Court's Eight Invalid Districts".

    Related: "Lawmakers return for short, costly session".

    Legislature's strutting could jeopardize $700 million project

    Andres Oppenheimer points out that "Brazilian officials are concerned by a Florida Legislature decision earlier this month to prohibit local governments from contracting firms that do business with Cuba, which could prevent Brazil’s Odebrecht company from building a $700 million hotel, office and shopping complex on Miami International Airport’s grounds."

    "The Unfinished"

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Drawing new political boundaries may prove easy compared resolving longstanding issues that repeatedly surfaced only to fall flat in the Legislature. Collecting Internet sales taxes, regulating gambling, banning texting while driving, even ensuring Floridians get the chance to be heard at public meetings — all important matters this Legislature punted to future legislators."

    Take the ongoing controversy over gambling. Opponents defeated a proposal this session to allow up to three destination casinos in South Florida in exchange for better regulation of an already burgeoning gambling industry in the state. But, it's a sure bet the issue will be on the agenda next year — there is too much money behind it.
    "Legislature 2012: The Unfinished".

    "The fate of scores of bills"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The fate of scores of bills passed by the Florida Legislature in this year's session now rests with Gov. Rick Scott. We hope he stops at least seven from becoming law."

    HB 7087 would create $124 million in business tax breaks, and Scott has never met a tax cut he doesn't like. But Florida already is one of the most business-friendly states for taxes. With lawmakers slashing state payments to hospitals and nursing homes to balance the budget, the state can't afford to give up this chunk of revenue.

    HB 1205 would let the state randomly drug test its employees, though there's no evidence for the need. ...

    SB 98 would let students lead prayers at public school events. It'd be a new source of division and distraction in public education, and it's not needed; kids in school can pray on their own any time they want. ...

    HB 7129 would let the University of Florida and Florida State University bust through an already high 15 percent cap on tuition increases and sock it to students as much as the schools think the "market" demands. Scott has said he doesn't like tuition hikes. He should hate this bill.

    SB 1752 would turn a branch campus of the University of South Florida into the state's 12th public university, Florida Polytechnic, piling more costs on a system already reeling from years of state funding cuts. Supporters say the school would turn out more scientists and engineers — a goal of Scott's — but Florida doesn't need to create a separate university and a new bureaucracy to do it.

    HB 5301 would force Florida counties to pay tens of millions of dollars in disputed bills spit out by the state's error-plagued Medicaid billing system. Scott, who preaches government accountability, shouldn't let lawmakers get away with dumping the burden of the state's bad accounting on local taxpayers.
    "Governor's principles dictate a list of vetoes".

    CD 26 could be a barnburner

    "Incumbent Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, appears to have a clear path to November -- but rumblings persist that a primary challenger could emerge, or that a tea party protest candidate could run to Rivera's right in the general election."

    On the Democratic side, state Rep. Luis Garcia has been an announced candidate since July -- but a falling out with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee could bring a primary face-off with former Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas.

    Rivera, a freshman congressman, says he's focusing on his job on Capitol Hill. His campaign released this matter-of-fact statement: "Once the redistricting process has concluded, there will be more than enough time this fall to deal with campaigns and politics." ...

    Sean Foreman, political science professor at Barry University in Miami Lakes, said Rivera has good reason to be confident.

    "I'm not seeing a [Republican] challenge to Rivera. Someone would have to be brave to take him on.

    "For all his flaws, and the cloud of investigation hanging over his head, he's a really good campaigner. He can be ruthless to his opponents. A scorched-earth primary race with an incumbent is not a smart move," Foreman said.

    But Roger Stone, a Republican consultant based in Miami Beach, doesn't rule out the possibility of a primary blood-letting.

    "David Rivera is still likely to face a GOP primary from an untainted challenger," Stone predicted.

    Though no names are officially in play, Eric Von Tausch, of Tea Party Miami, said, "We will encourage a primary challenger or an independent conservative in the fall.

    "Integrity and honesty are important to the tea party, and Rivera's finances are an issue for our members."

    Rivera, who is reportedly under state and federal investigation over a secret $500,000 dog-track payment, maintains he has done nothing wrong.
    "Feuding Democrats and Tea Party Rumblings Spice CD 26 Race".

    So much for budget transparency

    "A public policy group released research today that finds the state of Florida is still falling behind other states in terms of budget transparency, despite recent improvements to the state’s transparency website." "Report: Florida still ‘lagging’ behind other states in budget transparency".

    Bitter fight is brewing over congressional districts

    "As lawmakers meet in the Capitol to reshape state Senate districts thrown out in court, a bitter fight is brewing in a courthouse across the street that could change the shape of new districts for Congress all over Florida."

    A coalition of voters groups and the state Democratic Party is suing to derail the Legislature’s new maps of congressional districts.

    The result of the battle will have statewide ramifications because it will determine the shape of Florida’s 27 congressional districts, including that of Republican Mario Diaz Balart of Miami — which opponents say was drawn especially to improve Republican voting strength.

    The battle could also determine the shape of Democrat Corrine Brown’s district, which now snakes across nine counties near Jacksonville.
    "As legislators fix one redistricting map, trouble brews on congressional plan".

    Legislation brings more lawsuits

    "Lawsuits expected over drug testing and school prayer bills".

    Medicaid deform delay

    "Medicaid Shift Could Face Unexpected Delay". See also "Feds question Florida’s Medicaid privatization plans".

    Stearns driving birther bus

    "A video surfaced this week of Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, questioning the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate during a town hall meeting last month in Florida." "VIDEO: Rep. Cliff Stearns questions legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate".

    Mack leads Nelson in Rasmussen poll

    "A poll from [Republican aligned] Rasmussen Reports unveiled on Wednesday finds Democrat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in jeopardy as he seeks a third term in November."

    The poll of likely voters finds Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack with a solid lead over Nelson despite the incumbent’s four decades on the Florida political stage. Mack takes 43 percent, while Nelson trails with 36 percent, 16 percent remain undecided and 5 percent more back other candidates. A Rasmussen poll released last month found the race between the two a tie, with both candidates taking 41 percent each.

    Nelson does better against two of the other Republican candidates in the race -- but they are narrowing the gap.
    "Bill Nelson Trails Connie Mack and in Close Fights with George LeMieux and Mike McCalister in New Poll".

    Rules? What rules?

    "Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and daughter fined for campaign violations".

    Hurry up and wait

    "Florida legislature keeps victims of government wrongdoing waiting for compensation".

    "Risk of more frequent coastal flooding"

    This ought to get the "property rights" crowd thinking about climate change: "An analysis shows that about half of the nation's 3.7 million people who are at risk of more frequent coastal flooding live in Florida, according to the [New York] Times report. Rising sea levels caused by climate change, Vermont Law School professor John D. Echeverria said, causes private property to convert to public ownership as it becomes prone to flooding or is submerged." "Sea level rise undermines land ownership, professor says, as NY Times reports Florida most vulnerable".

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