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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 Friday, June 29, 2012

Scott could "resist" Supreme Court health care ruling

    "The state that launched a two-year legal challenge to the federal health care law isn’t sure what it will do now that the law has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court."
    Attorney General Pam Bondi, who sat in the front row during March oral arguments and became a national face of the lawsuit, said she was “surprised, shocked,” by the ruling.
    "Scott could decide to embrace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act now that Florida’s legal challenge has been rejected."
    But he and Republican lawmakers also could continue to resist, in hopes that Congress or a new president repeals some or all of the law.
    "Scott to review health care ruling impact on Florida". The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board writes: "Unfortunately, some very sore losers want to re-fight the battle. Republicans, some business groups and other foes of the Affordable Care Act decried the court decision -- which the Sarasota County GOP chairman said made him 'sick and angry' -- and vowed to repeal the law. That is precisely what this country does not need. For the sake of all Americans -- those without health insurance and those paying for it -- the nation must move forward with reforms." "Accept the health care law".

    Bondi, crushed by SCOTUS, whines about taxes

    Florida's top lawyer, AG Pam Bondi, who flopped before a Supreme Court dominated by fellow-extremists, "wasted little time criticizing the court for upholding what they view as the White House's imposition on individual freedoms. Attorney General Pam Bondi blamed the Obama administration for a lack of 'political accountability' in disguising the mandates in the Affordable Care Act as not being a $4 billion tax."

    “The president and the supporters of the law were apparently not straight with the American people,” Bondi said from the steps of the Old Capitol following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold the mandates in President Obama’s health care law.
    "Pam Bondi: Obamacare Backers Disguised $4 Billion Tax".

    "A big if"

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Though the court ruled the Medicaid expansion constitutional, justices said that it would be unconstitutional to withhold existing Medicaid funds to those states that don’t expand their Medicaid roll."

    “The threatened loss of over 10 percent of a state’s overall budget,” said the ruling, “is economic dragooning that leaves the states with no real option but to acquiesce in the Medicaid expansion.” That means states can choose not to expand their Medicaid rolls and keep the federal money they get for existing Medicaid programs. Expanding Medicaid is one of the primary methods the law uses to increase the number of insured Americans. “Lower-income Americans may not benefit at all from the Act, depending on the state in which they live,” said Elizabeth Price Foley, a professor at Florida International University College of Law. “Some states will now opt-out of the Medicaid expansion; others will remain in.” It is unclear what Florida will do. State officials have said expanding Medicaid could mean an additional 1.78 million enrollees by 2019 at a cost of $1.6 billion each year. The government would cover the full costs in the first three years, 2014 to 2016. The federal share drops to 90 percent in 2019 and thereafter. The most the state would incur is 10 percent of the new costs. There are 4 million uninsured Floridians and the state has no plan for covering them. Lawmakers should either come up with a plan or expand Medicaid.
    "Affordable Care Act is legal. Now, make it better". Florida may or may not "opt out of the proposed expansion to Medicaid."
    That’s a big if. The law includes a provision that states extend Medicaid coverage to people under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or just under $30,000 a year for a family of four. Such an expansion could eventually cost the state billions.
    "The federal government will initially pick up all the additional costs, but eventually the states would be on the hook for about 10 percent of the tab — and Florida is already strapped for cash in part because of high Medicaid costs." Related: "Supreme Court ruling on health care sets stage for policy, funding decisions".

    SoFla already spends $16B annually on "socialized" medicine

    "Several major South Florida healthcare leaders applauded the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday on the Affordable Care Act because they say it will bring more access to the region’s large number of uninsured and allow for providers to get paid for their care."

    The stakes are huge for the region’s uninsured — 31.8 percent of Miami-Dade residents, 24 percent in Broward and 32 percent in Monroe County, according to 2010 Census data. The national average is 16.3 percent. Among adults from 18 to 64, the potential effect is even greater: 57 percent of Hialeah residents in that age group are uninsured, 50.4 percent in the City of Miami, 48.5 percent in Deerfield Beach. Even in middle-class Kendall, almost one-third — 31.2 percent — of adults aged 18 to 64 now have no coverage. ... Healthcare leaders were braced for the ruling in South Florida, where the large number of uninsured seeking access to healthcare account for $16 billion annually, a larger slice of the region’s revenue than tourism or construction. ... Hospitals, now required to treat the uninsured in emergency rooms even though they rarely get paid for such care ....
    "Healthcare ruling could have big impact on South Florida".

    Holder talks civil rights in Florida

    "Holder told 1,000 LULAC delegates at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, "It's good to be here and not in Washington, D.C., right now. Later Thursday, the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress. In his speech, Holder said that in the past three years, the Justice Department has filed more civil-rights cases than in any previous period in the nation's history." "At Disney, Holder touts record in speech to Hispanic group".

    Laff riot: "Florida will remain at the forefront"

    "Leaders of the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Florida Chamber of Commerce said they will huddle with their members and allies to decide how to proceed."

    However, Bill Herrle, executive director of the NFIB Florida chapter, said his group will continue to advocate for market-based reforms and repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “Florida will remain at the forefront of this issue,” said Herrle. The NFIB was one of the plaintiffs in the case.
    "Business leaders ready to continue the fight". Related: "McCollum: The debate has just begun".

    Losing at every turn, Scott continues attack on state employees

    "More state employee cuts coming in new fiscal year".

    Mini-Mack fights for the right to be uninsured

    "U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., the heavy favorite to win the Republican nomination in the August primary as the GOP determines who will challenge Nelson in November, ripped into his potential Democrat incumbent on Thursday." "After Supreme Court Decision, Bill Nelson and Connie Mack Spar Over Health Care". Meanwhile, "Dems, Nelson reserve $2.8M in Orlando TV ads".

    Wingnuts in a dither

    "As prices drop toward $3 a gallon, one expert predicts the end of sky-high gasoline".

    Bondi flops on national stage

    William March: "The lawsuit was started, and most of the legal heavy lifting done, under Bondi's predecessor — former Attorney General Bill McCollum. McCollum filed the action electronically within minutes after Obama signed the law in March 2010."

    Bondi took over the litigation after taking office in January 2011 and has shepherded it to conclusion as attorney general for Florida, the lead plaintiff among the 26 states suing. Her work included hiring the lead lawyer, Paul Clement of Washington, and signing on the last half-dozen plaintiff states.
    "As a media-savvy spokeswoman for her side, Bondi already has attracted nationwide notice. She hasn't avoided that spotlight."

    When "journalists" think they're lawyers

    Nancy Smith: "Me-First Media Blow a Really Big One This Time". See also "CNN, Fox News jump gun, get health ruling wrong".

    Bid preferences to in-state companies?

    "Should state show bid preference to in-state companies?"

    Siplin v Thompson Senate race produces fireworks

    "One of the closest watched political contests this summer is a fight over a newly drawn minority Florida Senate seat that encompasses much of the political turf of term-limited Orlando Sen. Gary Siplin. Democratic voters will have the option of keeping it in the family. Siplin's wife, Victoria Siplin, has been running to replace her husband for more than a year, and will square off in the Aug. 14 primary against Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, for the newly drawn District 12 seat – a match likely to pit name-recognition against the advantages of incumbency. It has already produced some fireworks." "Siplin v Thompson Senate race could be a war".

    Voter registration suit may be settled

    "The state and the opponents of a suspended voter registration law are moving toward a settlement in a lawsuit over the new rules, both sides said Thursday, even as a group of voters is trying to brush aside the state's legal strategy and pursue an appeal. In a brief scheduling conference Thursday with U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle, who struck down new regulations on third-party voter registration organizations at the end of last month, an attorney for the groups said the two sides were close to striking a deal." "State Working to Settle Voter Registration Suit".

    Rubio embarrasses himself

    "But, But, But …". See also "Rubio: IRS to 'come after' uninsured".

    Gaetz "disappointed"

    "Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, also called the decision “disappointing” and said he remains 'convinced the 2010 law is detrimental to our common goal of affordable quality health-care.'"

    “The court's 110-page opinion is in some ways as complicated as the law itself," Gaetz said. “Like others we will be tweezering through the ruling to fully understand all of the implications for Florida taxpayers, patients, providers and businesses. While this law remains on the books, states will confront many difficult decisions and in an effort to fully understand all of the implications and costly burdens.”
    "Legislature's GOP Leadership Still Looking for an Obamacare Repeal".

    Idiot wind

    "Repealing the Affordable Care Act 'will be our most significant rallying cry for a November victory,' said Al Cardenas, former Florida GOP chairman and now head of the American Conservative Union."

    Rep. Connie Mack IV, challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in November, called the act "a disgustingly large tax increase" and told reporters in a conference call he will stigmatize Nelson as "the deciding vote" for the law, even though Nelson was not among the last of the 60 yes-voting senators to make his decision. "Losing a major battle always tends to galvanize the losing side and focus their attention on righting what they perceive to be a wrong," said retired University of South Florida political scientist Darryl Paulson.
    "Local Republicans see health care as winning issue for November".

    "Deadline looms for growth policies"

    "Florida law requires cities and counties surrounding military bases to submit by Saturday policies addressing the compatibility of surrounding land uses. State planners downplay the fact that many won't meet the deadline. The 20 military installations in Florida have an annual economic impact of $70 billion, according to state officials. Avoiding encroachment helps communities avoid having bases closed by the federal government." "As deadline looms for growth policies, development near military bases worries state officials".

    "A 'rubber stamp' for insurance companies"

    "Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, fought against SB 408 and decried the order as a 'rubber stamp' for insurance companies." "Faced with backlog, regulators fast track property insurance forms".

    "Florida’s high court the target of extreme judicial activism"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "While the U.S. Supreme Court was exercising judicial restraint in its health care ruling, Florida’s high court remains the target of extreme judicial activism. Not by Florida’s justices, but by a conservative group trying to oust three of them."

    The Southeastern Legal Foundation, which is based in Georgia, has filed a lawsuit asking a Leon County circuit court judge to remove three sitting Florida Supreme Court Justices from the ballot. The three — Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince — are up for renewed six-year terms this November under Florida’s system of merit retention. They don’t have opponents running against them, but they must receive a majority of the vote to be retained in office. So the justices face an up or down vote from Florida’s voters, but the Southeastern Legal Foundation instead wants a circuit court judge to toss them off the ballot and take the choice away from Floridians. ... This lawsuit, like a Florida Department of Law Enforcement probe urged by Gov. Scott, are a back-door PR campaign against the justices. Gov. Scott obviously hopes to appoint their replacements.
    "Attempt to remove Fla. justices is worst judicial activism".

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