When there’s a line of hundreds of people waiting for paella outside the Capitol, you know that it’s Miami-Dade Day. But besides paella, politics was also on the menu.
Armed with research by Dr. David Anderson, an economist at Centre College in Kentucky, representatives from the Midwives Association of Florida were in the Capitol today to highlight their profession and the economic impact more of them could have in the state.
Attorney General Bill McCollum is not exactly the most expressive of politicians, but this morning’s commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week revealed a bit of his emotional side. McCollum was beaming with pride when Lt. Michael Baute of the Attorney General’s Child Predator CyberCrime Unit was honored with a Distinguished Victim Services Award.
As the House session starts to wind down with less than two weeks to go, members who are term-limited have been offering farewell addresses. Speaking today was Rep. J.C. Zapata, R-Miami, who offered a bit more than the usual thanks to fellow House members, staffers and family.
Zapata offered thanks to disgraced former Speaker Ray Sansom, who is now facing criminal charges. Zapata even said he missed Sansom, who resigned early in 2009 as he faced revolt from Republicans in the House.
While he hasn't generated as much press as U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia's Republican rising star, charismatic Marco Rubio has begun to turn heads not only across Florida, but across the nation. And it didn't hurt the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate that House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala endorsed him today. He did so compellingly and with conviction, attacking Rubio's opponent ,Gov. Charlie Crist, for sacrificing principle for ambition.
With the House looking to pull $160 million out of the transportation trust fund to help balance the budget, transportation workers are about to rally at the Capitol to protest this action.
With the Senate’s version not touching those funds, expect to hear support for the Senate budget. The rally begins at 1 p.m.
The House looks set to vote on a plan to reorganize the Florida Department of Health.
Introduced by Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, the legislation reduces the Department of Health’s mission from 13 to seven responsibilities and would require DOH to propose a new organizational structure, including reduction of divisions and bureaus, to the Legislature by November 2010.
With two weeks left in the session, the House added homeless individuals to the Florida hate crime statues on a vote of 80-28.
Sponsored by Rep. Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, proponents of the measure said it was needed because of a wave of violence against the homeless in Florida. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, there were 106 attacks on homeless people due to their living conditions, with 30 of those incidents in Florida.
Business leaders and researchers held an event in the Capitol on Monday to urge the Legislature to create more jobs in the energy industry.
“The state of Florida has an opportunity and it comes only one time,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. Comparing Florida’s opportunity to California’s opportunity with high-tech jobs in Silicon Valley and Detroit’s with automobile manufacturing, she said, “This is our chance.”
Think social conservatives control the House? Think again. Social conservatives opposed to the Seminole gaming pact are few and far between during debate on the issue.
“This is not the right message to teach our youth,” said Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, R-Jacksonville who added Las Vegas-style gambling should stay in Vegas.
The Gideon of this small army has been Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights, who condemned the measure in harsh terms.