"The Florida Supreme Court gave its final blessing to the state’s redistricting maps on Friday, giving the Republican-led Legislature a major victory and hitting the political reset button on political boundaries for the next decade."
In a unanimous decision, the court validated the redrawn 40-member Senate map and rejected opponents’ claims that it violates the new constitutional ban on political gerrymandering."Florida Supreme Court validates redrawn state Senate map". See also "Florida justices affirm Senate redistricting do-over", "Supreme Court upholds Senate redistricting plan" and "New Senate districts OK'd by Florida Supreme Court" ("historically black communities of Daytona Beach will be split between two districts.")
“We conclude that the opponents have failed to demonstrate that the revised Senate plan as a whole or with respect to any individual district violates Florida‘s constitutional requirements,’’ the court said in its 33-page opinion.
It’s unclear if opponents, including the Florida Democratic party, the NAACP and others, would challenge the court’s ruling.
Said Democratic Party of Florida spokeswoman Brannon Jordan in a statement: “While today’s ruling raises serious concerns, we will continue our efforts to hold this Republican-led legislature accountable to the will of the people — something they have consistently ignored throughout this process.”
The ruling now sets the stage for candidates for both the House and Senate to proceed with the districts as drawn. Some candidates used the ruling as their starting gate to launch their campaigns.
Scott's solution? Do nothing
"Scott vetoed a bill that would have allowed the University of Florida and Florida State University to increase tuition by virtually unlimited amounts. ... Had Scott signed HB 7129, universities that met 11 of 14 performance-based benchmarks would have been allowed to ask the Florida Board of Governors for hikes beyond a current 15 percent cap. The criteria included high GPAs of incoming freshmen and a high amount of research activity, for example. Only the University of Florida and Florida State University would have qualified." "Bill to increase tuition at UF, FSU vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott".
Scott strides world stage
"Scott said on Friday that he intends to sign contentious legislation that would ban the state and local governments from hiring companies with business ties to Cuba and Syria."
In throwing his support behind the bill, Scott sided with the nearly-unanimous Legislature. The legislation was authored by Miami-Dade Republicans who argued taxpayer dollars should not fund companies connected to oppressive regimes in Cuba and Syria."Gov. Rick Scott will sign bill banning governments from hiring companies tied to Cuba". See also "" and "".
Influential business interests, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the governments of Florida's top two trading partners, Brazil and Canada, have warned the law would discourage investment from foreign firms. It is unclear which, or how many, companies would be affected by the legislation.
Nominations for fed judge vacancy expected
"Two Palm Beach County judges interviewed for vacancy on federal bench".
Gun nuts stand their ground
"Don’t expect an overhaul of the task force looking at state self-defense laws. Anti-gun proponents are not going to replace those already named to the [other than] diverse panel on the eve of the group’s first meeting." "No Overhaul of Stand Your Ground Task Force Expected on Eve of First Meeting".
Actually, he's not "the GOP vice presidential pick that Democrats fear most"
Those unfamiliar with Jebbie's record blithley say silly things "He's the GOP vice presidential pick that Democrats fear most — a brassy choice who would likely deliver his crucial home state, boost the ticket with Hispanics and Catholics and appeal to both conservatives and independents."
The problem: Jeb Bush apparently doesn't want the job. ..."Why Jeb Bush doesn't want to be vice president".
"It would be a phenomenal ticket," said [his son,] George P. Bush.
See "Jebbie sniffs around VP slot, though he wouldn't help Romney much in Florida".
Scott silent as Florida gets another federal handout
"Announced in February 2010, the program has allocated $7.6 billion to 17 states and the District of Columbia to help homeowners while they look for a better job, or any job at all." "Florida's ‘Hardest-hit’ homeowners are eligible for more aid".
"CEO of State University System is a born-rich state senator"
Randy Schultz: "The CEO of the State University System is a born-rich state senator from phosphate and citrus territory east of Tampa. At least, he's CEO this year. Unless things change, it always will be someone from the Legislature, as it has been for 12 years."
To satisfy his ego, Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, just persuaded Gov. Scott to devalue every degree from a state university and mock Florida's boast of "world-class" higher education. It happened when Gov. Scott signed a bill creating a new university in the senator's Polk County, a university the state needs the way the Secret Service needs a thank-you note from the ladies of Cartagena."Dark side of politics controls Florida's economic future".
Sen. Alexander is a grandson of Ben Hill Griffin, who made enough money in citrus to have the University of Florida football stadium named for him. For the past two years, Sen. Alexander has been budget chairman. Anyone who wanted money had to get his blessing. So when he insisted on a bill that would split the Lakeland branch polytechnic campus from the University of South Florida in Tampa, all of 50 miles away, he got what he wanted. Even every Democrat but one voted with him, and that senator is from Tampa.
William March: "Rubio pursues DREAM, but immigration bill is a risk".
Goin' slow in SW Florida
"Southwest Florida business growth slows".
Rasmussen has Romney ahead in Florida 46-45
"Likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney now runs even with President Obama in the key swing state of Florida."
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Sunshine State finds Romney with 46% of the vote, while Obama earns 45% support. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate, and another three percent (3%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)"Election 2012: Florida President".
The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Florida was conducted on April 25, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Even the Trib gets it
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Scott must not randomly inspect the bodily fluids of state workers to see if anyone has been ingesting illegal drugs, a federal judge has correctly ruled. Evidence indicates so broad a search without suspicion of drug use serves no useful purpose. Scott should not appeal the quashing of his executive order, nor should he try to preserve a state law that takes effect in July that would do essentially the same thing." "Drug test needs purpose".
Battle for White House could hinge Florida registration effort
"In a nondescript store front next to a Pembroke Pines gym, Florida Democrats launched a major offensive this week to boost their ranks despite a Republican law that makes the voter-registration push harder than ever."
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has closely studied the registration-crackdown law for months and devised a step-by-step quality-control process and is ready this weekend to train hundreds of volunteers at its 24 offices throughout the state."President Obama’s campaign launches aggressive Florida voter registration drive to defeat Mitt Romney". Related: "Third-party groups are registering voters — very carefully".
The battle for the White House could literally hinge on the effort in a state where President George W. Bush won his first term in 2000 thanks to a margin of 537 votes in Florida.
But long before Election Day, Democrats will gather in meetings much like the one led Wednesdayby Organizing for America Florida activist Meghan Hardy. Bearing a chipper attitude and a Power Point presentation, Hardy taught about a dozen volunteers the dos and don’ts of voter registration. She gave a six-question quiz at the end.
“When we just register someone to vote, we don’t just register them and then stop,” Hardy said.
“We think about it as the beginning of a conversation that we’re going to be having with voters between now and Election Day.”
Once new voters are registered, the campaign will call and mail them to get them to the polls. As a result of their efforts, Hardy says, voters signed up in 2008 by the campaign were up to 20 percent more likely to vote when compared with voters signed up by other registration groups.
The new voter drive comes not a moment too soon for Democrats.
Since 2008, Democrats have lost 172,000 active voters — a roughly 4 percent decline — while Republicans have quietly launched a modest registration campaign of their own that has increased their ranks by almost 1 percent, or nearly 37,000.
The latest Florida poll shows Republican Mitt Romney ahead of Obama, 47 percent to 45 percent — an inside-the-error-margin lead. Obama won Florida by less than 3 percentage points four years ago. In 2010, Republicans swept the state.
That makes every new voter count all the more heading into November.
Ricky wants another term
Scott thinks he deserves another term:
After Gov. Rick Scott replaced Rod Jones on the Board of Chiropractic Medicine this week, his father Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, who has clashed with Gov. Rick Scott over prison privatization, made it patently clear that he would be willing to campaign for another Republican in 2014."Rick Scott, Insider With Low Numbers, Is a Strong Candidate".
Jones said he expects a primary challenger to arise because of Scott’s low approval ratings.
“If his numbers don’t go any higher, I can’t image he’d run anyway,” Jones speculated.
But Scott has said he loves his job and intends to run. Only a single Democrat has announced plans to challenge the governor. And political experts say that despite the public opinion polling results, his critics shouldn’t be overly optimistic about pushing him back into the business world in two years.
University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith said Scott, by announcing Tuesday that he isn’t concerned about re-election expenses, sent a strong message to challengers in both parties.
"Political and exploitative and ugly"
"Penny Mecklenburg — the deputy's widow and the person largely responsible for the bill's passage — wasn't there."
The ceremonial signing was once meant to honor her husband's memory and her efforts to change a flawed state statute. At least she thought so. Without her knowledge, she said Thursday, the event turned into something much different in recent days."Widow refuses to attend bill signing ceremony for new law named after her husband".
Something political and exploitative and ugly.
The Miami Herald editorial board: "The Everglades, our life-sustaining River of Grass, needs every friend it can get. And it’s getting a real whopper of an advocate in Erik Eikenberg, who was named chief executive of the Everglades Foundation this week." "A voice for the ’Glades".
"State's top court empowers lawmakers to expand gambling anywhere in Florida". See also "Court clears way for PB County slot-machine vote".
"In addition to imposing fines on universities, the bill increases from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony the penalties for those who knowingly fail to report child abuse. In addition, it raises the prison sentence from one year to up to 15 years and increases potential fines from a maximum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000." "Governor signs bill to make everyone responsible for reporting child sex abuse".