Sunshine State News Blogs

U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., the chairman of the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, took to the House floor on Monday night to shepherd $341 million in cuts to the IRS included in the Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill. The House is expected to vote on the proposal later this week.
 
Crenshaw pointed to recent problems with the IRS as he looks to gut it.

“In the business world, poor performance does not warrant a pay increase, and the same must hold true for the federal government,” Crenshaw said. “Targeting groups for further scrutiny based on political belief, lost emails, lost hard drives, and agency employees who don’t pay their own taxes – it’s disgraceful. And, until the Internal Revenue Service can demonstrate principled integrity in the handling of taxpayer dollars, it should not be rewarded by receiving additional funding.

“I commend my colleagues who have joined me in taking action to hold the Internal Revenue Service accountable and encourage the full House to do the same this week,” Crenshaw added.

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A group of five state attorneys criticized former Gov. Charlie Crist over comments he made last week saying Florida's 10-20-Life laws needed to be reviewed. 

Crist said the state should review its Stand Your Ground law as well as the 10-20-Life law during the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors' convention in Coral Gables. 

"I'm always open-minded to looking at those kinds of things," Crist said. "When you're faced with new facts, I think you ought to listen."

Crist supported both measures while he was governor. 

“Laws like 10-20-Life give us the ability to keep violent criminals off the streets and are a big reason why Florida is at a 43-year crime low," wrote the attorneys. "In the same week, Gov. Rick Scott vowed continued support for strong sentencing measures, Charlie Crist has reversed his position on 10-20-Life, sending a terrible message to law enforcement and prosecutors who work hard to keep Florida families and visitors safe.”

The state attorneys are listed below:

Phil Archer, 18th Circuit (Brevard and Seminole counties).

Ed Brodsky, 12th Circuit (DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties).

Bruce Colton, 19th Circuit (Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties).

Angela Corey, 4th Circuit (Clay, Duval and Nassau counties). 

Brad King, 5th Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties) 
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U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., continued to call on the Obama administration on Monday to cut off funding to the Palestinian government as tensions continue to rise in the Middle East.

“With so many crises enveloping the Obama administration, why is the State Department so intent on continuing to fund the Hamas-Fatah unity government?” DeSantis asked. “Hamas has long been officially designated as a terrorist organization, yet the administration feebly claims that the unity government is simply a ‘technocratic’ government in which Hamas doesn't exercise "undue" influence -- even though a torrent of terrorist rocket fire is raining down on Israeli civilian population centers. This position is not only at variance with common sense, it is contrary to the public position of 88 out of 100 U.S. senators, not to mention the wishes of the American people.

“Hamas not only engages in terrorism but actually uses its own civilians as human shields. The contrast is stark: whereas Israel is engaging Hamas in order to protect its own people, Hamas is willing to endanger civilians in the Gaza Strip if it means being able to launch more terror attacks and to score more propaganda points,” DeSantis added. “The U.S. taxpayer should not be forced to underwrite Hamas' campaign of terror.”
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Former Gov. Charlie Crist has been bending over backward as he tries to woo over his new party and now he is taking a page from two of the leading Democrats of the first half of the 20th century -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt and longtime Gov. Al Smith, D-N.Y., who was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1928. Despite spending most of his political life as a Republican, Crist is the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in November.

“I'm a happy warrior,” Crist proclaimed on Monday. “I will fight for the people of Florida -- and I'll speak the truth about how Rick Scott has hurt our home, but I'm not going to get in the mud like him. However, he's spent more than $20 million trashing me, you, and the values we share.

“So here's the truth: Scott's thrown all that cash at us because he knows that attacking us is the only way he can avoid answering the tough questions,” Crist continued. “It's time for him to explain why he left $2.4 billion on the table for high-speed rail, or why he's refusing to expand health care for almost 1 million people -- including 41,000 veterans. He owes us an explanation on why he won't take a stand on equal pay for women or on raising the minimum wage.”

Originally taken from a Wordsworth poem, the phrase “happy warrior” became linked with Smith when FDR nominated him for president in the tumultuous 1924 Democratic convention which, after 103 ballots, selected John W. Davis to go up against -- and get run over by -- Calvin Coolidge in the general election. FDR used the phrase again when he nominated Smith in 1928.  

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Rick Scott's campaign announced the "Veterans for Scott" coalition in Largo on Monday. The coalition is comprised of nearly 60 veterans and veteran activists from across the state and will be led by Retired Air Force Brigadier General Chip Diehl and Retired Army Lt. Colonel Chris Hart.

Scott himself was a member of the U.S. Navy, serving as a radar man. He used benefits from the GI Bill to attend college.

“Gov. Scott fought for our military installations and our National Guardsmen through Washington’s gridlock, and was one of the first governors to tackle problems plaguing our VA hospitals," said Chip Diehl, state co-chairman. "By promoting our veterans and offering them opportunities to further their education and careers in the state of Florida, he has earned our trust. We’re confident he will lead us with pride in the years ahead."

"He has done exactly what he said he would do when he asked for our vote," said Chris Hart, state co-chairman. "He has earned our respect, our support and our vote for re-election to serve another term as Florida’s governor. Gov. Scott is making Florida the most veteran- and military-friendly state in the nation. Every day he focuses on expanding our economy and creating more, higher paying jobs for veterans."
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Gov. Rick Scott announced on Monday that Advanced IT Concepts Inc. (AITC) is expanding its headquarters in Seminole County leading to 50 new jobs in the Winter Springs facility over the next five years.

 “AITC’s addition of 50 jobs in Seminole County is great news,” Scott said on Monday. “Now more Floridians will have the opportunity find a job and support their families. Since December 2010, Florida businesses like AITC have created more than 580,000 private-sector jobs. This announcement is further proof that Florida is the best place in the nation to get a job and raise a family.”
 
“We sincerely thank Gov. Scott, his team and Seminole County government for providing the environment, resources and support needed for this significant step,” said Gabriel Ruiz, the president and CEO of ATIC. “The support received by AITC will allow us to focus on growing the company and creating new jobs to better serve our clients.”
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U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, met  Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer at the end of last week. After the meeting, Ros-Lehtinen pledged to continue to support Israel in its fight with Hamas and urged President Barack Obama to do the same.

“These are critical times for Israel, and I reiterated to Ambassador Dermer my firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against ongoing attacks by the terrorist group Hamas,” Ros-Lehtinen said on Friday. “No other country in the world would allow these terrorist attacks to continue without taking action. It is appalling that Abu Mazen would accuse Israel of committing genocide when it is Hamas that is using Palestinian women and children as human shields and when it is Israel that is taking every precaution in its response, out of self-defense, to limit civilian casualties. I call on the international community to unilaterally condemn the gross violation of human rights being committed by Hamas.

“Abu Mazen is not interested in peace or else he would demand that Hamas stop firing rockets targeting innocent civilians in Israel and endangering the lives of Palestinian women and children,” Ros-Lehtinen added. “Abu Mazen's inability to stop these horrid tactics demonstrates that he is either incapable of leading the Palestinian people or that he supports such tactics. Abu Mazen is no partner for peace, and he must completely cut off the unity government with Hamas. The Congress stands firmly in support of Israel as it defends itself and I hope the Obama administration will take a clear stance in defense of our ally, the democratic Jewish state of Israel, at this crucial time.”
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From his perch on the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee, U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., teamed up with U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., to introduce a bill last week to increase opportunities for the private sector to explore and mine asteroids. The two congressmen unveiled the “American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014” on Thursday.

“Asteroids are excellent potential sources of highly valuable resources and minerals,” said Posey. “Our knowledge of asteroids – their number, location, and composition – has been increasing at a tremendous rate and space technology has advanced to the point where the private sector is now able to begin planning such expeditions. Our legislation will help promote private exploration and protect commercial rights as these endeavors move forward and I thank Rep. Kilmer for working with me to help advance this industry.”

“We may be many years away from successfully mining an asteroid, but the research to turn this from science fiction into reality is being done today,” said Kilmer. “Businesses in Washington state and elsewhere are investing in this opportunity, but in order to grow and create more jobs they need greater certainty. That’s why I’m excited to introduce this bill with Rep. Posey so we can help the United States access new supplies of critical rare metals while serving as a launch pad for a growing industry.”
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, turned up the heat on former U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, the leading contender for the Democratic nomination. Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s national radio talk show, Rubio insisted he could beat Clinton in 2016 and criticized her record at the State Department.

"Multiple people can beat her,” Rubio told Hewitt. “Hillary Clinton is not unbeatable.”

The Huffington Post has the details.



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U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., introduced the “Drone Reform Act (DRA)” on Friday, teaming up with prominent members of the liberty movement and leading Democrats to back the bill ensuring all authority on armed drones stays with the Department of Defense (DOD).

“The CIA’s main mission is intelligence collection and analysis,” Yoho said. “It should not be in the business of military strikes. This legislation will bring our armed drone fleet under the jurisdiction of the DOD, where it should be. If our national security requires drone strikes abroad, then one agency should be held accountable to the American people.

“Even our top military officials have been pressing for permission to publicly defend U.S. drone strikes against criticism at home and abroad and against the spread of misinformation from terrorist groups,” Yoho added. “This bill will allow our military personnel to testify before Congress and release details of all strikes. The DRA will make it clear that no other federal agency or department, or any personnel, shall have authority to operate or fire an armed drone except for DOD.”

Yoho has a host of co-sponsors in U.S. Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Rush Holt, D-N.J., Paul Broun, R-Ga., John Conyers, D-Mich., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and Raul Labrador, R-Idaho.
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Al Lewis

Al Lewis

Al Lewis is set to join the South Florida Business Journal as editor in chief on July 14, reports Cision.com.

Lewis was previously a contributing business columnist for The Wall Street Journal Sunday and the Denver Post since August 2010. Before that, he served as a columnist for Dow Jones Newswires from June 2008 to July 2013.

The final installment of his column, "Al's Emporium," will appear July 13 in The Wall Street Journal pages included in the Sunday Denver Post.

Lewis called the move to Florida bittersweet.

"My column has been in The Post, in one form or another, since 2001 and I love the readers. They have emailed me for years -- some complimentary, some insulting, but it's fun to have that discourse," he said. "It's hard to walk away from that. But my career has always been characterized by writing, then editing, then writing. Now it's time for me to be an editor."

South Florida Business Journal is owned by Charlotte, N.C.-based American City Business Journals, which also owns the Denver Business Journal.

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Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., announced on Friday that, with congressional redistricting up in the air, he was ending his bid for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., the man who beat him in 2012. Rivera announced he will run for the Florida House in 2016.

“As you may have already heard, yesterday a Florida court outrageously invalidated the state's congressional district map which had been drawn by the Florida Legislature in 2012,” Rivera announced to supporters. “This decision has created great uncertainty as to the final composition of all of Florida's congressional districts, including CD 26 in South Florida, for which I am a candidate. In essence, liberal activist judges are hijacking the reapportionment process and holding congressional candidates, like myself, hostage until the appeals process concludes at the liberal Democrat-dominated Florida Supreme Court (see Bush v. Gore 2000). As a congressional candidate affected by this decision, I will not be held hostage by Florida's liberal activist judges.

"After consulting with state legislative leaders and reapportionment attorneys, and pending further clarification of this court decision, I have decided to suspend campaigning for CD 26 and will launch my candidacy to the Florida State House of Representatives for the 2016 election cycle. There are just too many issues to solve in Florida -- Common Core, Medicaid, economic development and others -- to sit by and wait for unelected judges to decide the fate of congressional districts. As always, I am humbled and grateful for your support of my candidacy. However, while Florida's liberal activist judges may cast uncertainty by hijacking the congressional reapportionment process, I simply will not allow myself to be one of their hostages.”

With Rivera out, Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo is a strong favorite to win next month’s Republican primary to challenge Garcia.

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After winning two NBA titles and losing two finals in four years for the Miami Heat, LeBron James, the best basketball player in the world, is headed back to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he started his career. James talked to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated who has the details.

With James out of the mix, the Heat now have to pick up the pieces, including determining what they do with free agent Chris Bosh who has been flirting with joining the Houston Rockets.

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Former state Rep. Carl Domino is taking aim at All Aboard Florida (AAF) as he angles for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla. Domino went after Murphy on Friday, trying to link him to AAF.

“Patrick Murphy signed a letter of support for All Aboard Florida (AAF) in October,” Domino insisted on Friday. “And even though he has stated that 100 percent of what he hears in his office from constituents is in opposition to AAF, he still has not withdrawn his support.

“Murphy’s busy writing letters which ‘ask questions’ and posing for photo opportunities to make us think he has taken our concerns to Washington,” Domino added. “I have and will continue to fight against AAF because it’s a bad investment which will adversely impact our quality of life here on the Treasure Coast.  There will be no voice louder than mine fighting to stop wasteful taxpayer-backed loans to All Aboard Florida.”
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reached out across the aisle and teamed up with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to sponsor the “Girls Count Act" on Thursday. The bill would carve out from current foreign aid programs to create birth registries in underdeveloped countries. The senators noted that 51 million children across the globe are not registered at birth, with most of them being girls.

“Young boys and girls of all ages deserve to be properly recognized and identified. Failing to register children at birth leaves them vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, yet millions of children around the world continue to be denied this basic human right,” said Rubio. “While both boys and girls fail to receive proper identification in their countries, it is young women who are disproportionately affected. These young girls deserve to be recognized, and they deserve to be counted.

“A nationally recognized proof of birth system is critical to establishing key documentation for a child, which ultimately ensures that child can go on to fully participate and contribute to society,” added Rubio. “The Girls Count Act will help pave the way for women to benefit from new opportunities previously denied to them, and is a strong step forward in the fight against human trafficking and forced labor.”

“Every day women and girls around the world fight to improve conditions for their families and communities, often in the face of gross injustices,” Shaheen said. “The world needs this generation and future generations of women and girls to be recognized and have the opportunity to thrive. The bipartisan Girls Count Act will safeguard the basic human rights of girls everywhere and help them attain the success they aspire to and deserve.”
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A former Broward County police officer filed an election-law complaint against Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday, alleging that Scott's campaign violated the law by having on-duty police officers at a campaign event in Tampa earlier this week. 

The complaint cites a Florida law which says it's a misdemeanor for public employees to engage in political activity during the workday, except for elected officials like sheriffs. 

"Rick Scott's political campaign facilitated the violation of (law) by soliciting the assistance of on-duty law enforcement officers -- under the false pretense of security -- only to repeatedly feature them as props in the background of campaign events," Joe Marano, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, wrote in the complaint.

The Monday event was held at a business which specializes in police uniforms and accessories and several police officers were present. The complaint alleges the officers were asked to provide security for the events but did not know they were political.  

“They deserve better than to be used by Rick Scott as props in his political campaign,” Marano said. “They deserve nothing less than his utmost respect.”

When asked about the allegations, Scott spokesperson Greg Blair said:

"Gov. Scott is proud to have the support of Florida’s law enforcement community, including the Florida Police Chiefs Association and 40 Florida sheriffs. This is just another sad distraction from Charlie Crist’s numerous ethical problems, including his broken promise to be transparent by releasing tax returns for both himself and his spouse."

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U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said on Thursday that immigration reform is dead for 2014. Diaz-Balart is a vocal proponent of immigration reform. While he praised the help he got from the other side of the isle, the Florida Republican took shots at the Democratic leadership and President Barack Obama, saying they did little to advance the issue.

“From 2009-2010, I had been working with a group of bipartisan colleagues to draft immigration reform legislation. Unfortunately, Democratic leadership refused to consider the bill when they had the majority,” Diaz-Balart said. “During the last year and a half, I have been working nonstop with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to draft legislation that would obtain a majority of the Republicans and a number of the Democrats who are willing to put politics aside and get immigration reform done. In particular, I want to thank Luis Gutierrez for all his help, for his willingness, when necessary, to take on Republicans, Democrats, and the president.

“After lots of work and revisions, we finally drafted legislation that could garner the necessary bipartisan support. We learned our lessons from the 1986 amnesty bill and last year’s Senate bill, and did not repeat their mistakes,” Diaz-Balart said before turning his fire toward Obama. “Due to the extraordinary lack of trust in this president, I worked to ensure that the legislation would independently verify and hold this and future presidents accountable for finally securing the borders. The bill is a common-sense solution to illegal immigration that recognizes we are not going to spend tens of billions of dollars to round up and deport millions of undocumented workers who have been here for many years. My solution would require those who came here illegally to earn legal status, earn their right to remain here, and demonstrate their commitment to the United States. It is an efficient and effective approach that is good for the American economy and fair to the people who came here legally.

 “I am grateful for the cooperation, advice, and trust I received from so many of my colleagues, specifically Speaker Boehner and his staff,” Diaz-Balart continued. “I also want to thank Paul Ryan for his guidance, leadership, and friendship, and countless other House Republicans, like my legislative sister Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for their constructive input on this issue. Despite our best efforts, today I was informed by the Republican leadership that they have no intention to bring this bill to the floor this year. It is disappointing and highly unfortunate, because we have a unique opportunity to secure the borders, fix our broken immigration system, and strengthen our economy.

“This system is not going to fix itself, and delaying a common-sense solution is only going to make matters worse, as is evident by what is going on today with the crisis on the southern border,” Diaz-Balart insisted. “It is highly irresponsible not to deal with the issue. I know it is difficult, especially when you have a president that failed to build the trust of the American people or the U.S. Congress, and who has done little to enforce current law despite his assertions to the contrary. But we were sent here by the American people precisely to tackle difficult issues and not to take the easy way out. By blocking reform, whether it was when Nancy Pelosi was speaker or now, we are in effect abdicating our duty. Particularly when we have a president that is willing to unilaterally act through executive action, that he himself has said is legally circumspect, will not provide a long-term solution to our immigration system, and I believe could even make it worse.

“I hope that in the near future leadership will reconsider and allow my legislation to come to the floor. I for one am not willing to give up and will continue to work until we can finally fix a broken immigration system that everyone recognizes is dysfunctional,” Diaz-Balart said in conclusion. “I want to make it clear that I am ready to proceed at any time.”

 

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A new poll shows U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., running better in Florida against former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton than two potential Republican presidential candidates from the Sunshine State.

The poll of registered Florida voters from WFLA and Survey USA finds Clinton, the heavy favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, leading Paul within the margin of error. Clinton takes 46 percent while Paul garners 42 percent.

Clinton does much better when matched up against two Florida Republicans in Surevy USA polls from last month. Former Gov. Jeb Bush takes 41 percent but Clinton leads with 47 percent. Clinton routs U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in his home state, taking 53 percent while the Republican pulls 39 percent.

The poll of 849 registered Florida voters was taken from June 30-July 2 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent.
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A new poll from WFLA and Survey USA finds Gov. Rick Scott with a small lead over former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite in next month’s Democratic primary despite having spent most of his political life as a Republican.

Scott takes 45 percent in the poll of likely voters while Crist takes 43 percent. While 7 percent back other candidates, 5 percent remain undecided. A Survey USA poll released on June 24 had Scott with 43 percent and Crist at 42 percent.

The poll of 558 likely Florida voters was taken from June 30-July 2 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent.
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Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre endorsed former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich for governor on Wednesday. After an underwhelming bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, Ferre crossed party lines to endorse Republican Rick Scott in 2010. Rich is an underdog against former Gov. Charlie Crist in next month’s Democratic primary.

“I’m strongly supporting Nan Rich because she is the candidate with a clear vision for Florida’s future that genuinely puts the needs of people first,” Ferre said. “Her unwavering commitment to improving Florida’s public schools, fighting for social justice, and protecting individual rights, clearly demonstrate her character and priorities. She is exactly the kind of person and leader we need as our governor.”

“I am sincerely honored to have Mayor Ferre’s support and endorsement,” Rich said. “His vision and leadership inspired confidence, stimulated investment, and reshaped the face of Miami. As the first Hispanic mayor of a major American city, he also opened the door of opportunity for all who followed. His experience and insight will be a valuable asset to our campaign.”
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Florida TaxWatch showcased airplane manufacturing in the Sunshine State in a report released on Thursday.

"Florida is a great place to do business, and the state's commitment to investing in aircraft manufacturing is ensuring that Florida's economy continues to benefit from this important industry sector," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, on Thursday.

The reports shows the industry is set to boom as aviation continues to grow, leading to high paying jobs. The report finds airplane manufacturers currently located in the state are in good position to grow and shows companies can be lured from other states due to a host of factors, including the elimination of the manufacturing sales tax, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s chief priorities last year.

But Jennifer Linares, a research analyst for Florida TaxWatch, warned this opportunity could be threatened if education does not focus more on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"Expanding the aircraft manufacturing industry helps the state retain STEM talent," said  Linares. "However, the shortage of qualified technical employees could be an impediment to the industry's future growth in Florida."  

 The report can be read here.
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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) unveiled a new ad on Thursday entitled "The Better Governor," and the ad contrasts Gov. Rick Scott with former Gov. Charlie Crist.

The new ad focuses on the two governors’ records in Tallahassee, honing in on the sharp rise in unemployment under Crist.

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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi nabbed the endorsement of the Florida State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police on Thursday. 

The Florida State Lodge FOP pointed to Bondi shutting down pill mills, cracking down on human trafficking and investigating Medicaid fraud as some of the reasons it supports Bondi in her bid for re-election.

In a letter to Bondi, Florida State Lodge FOP President James W. Preston wrote:

“Over the last four years we have been honored as you consistently supported our law enforcement profession. Your attendance at the funerals and memorial services for our fallen heroes means a great deal to those dealing with loss. Your genuine compassion, comfort and empathy during the tragic loss of an officer in the line of duty, for the families and officers, is extremely important as you speak for the state of Florida letting them know the state is there for them."

Bondi said it was an honor to receive the Florida State Lodge FOP's endorsement.

“This is truly an honor to have the endorsement of the more than 20,000 active and retired professional law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect Floridians,” she said. “As Florida’s chief legal officer, and through my Office of Statewide Prosecution, we have collaborated in targeting criminal activities and keeping citizens safe from unscrupulous offenders.”

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According to the state Division of Elections website, state Rep. Travis Hutson -- who represents House District 24 which includes Flagler County and parts of St. Johns and Volusia counties -- filed paperwork this week to seek another term in 2016. The Elkton Republican is running unopposed this year.

Hutson and eight other House incumbents, as well as 12 Senate incumbents, are already planning to run in 2016. Filing the paperwork allows candidates to begin raising money.

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Democratic gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Nan Rich are scheduled to appear this week before a gathering of newspaper editors and executives, but not at the same time.

The Florida Press Association and Florida Society of News Editors will hold a convention Thursday and Friday at The Biltmore in Coral Gables. Crist is scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, while Rich -- who wanted to debate Crist during this event -- will be speaking at 9 a.m. Friday.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is not expected to appear at all.
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Most voters strongly believe the debate about global warming isn't over yet and also disagree with the decision by some major news organizations banning comments from those who don't believe global warming is a problem.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, only 20 percent of likely U.S. voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over, while 63 percent say it's not. Seventeen percent say they aren't sure.

The BBC recently announced a new policy to ban comments from global warming deniers, but the BBC isn't the first organization to do so. The Los Angeles Times has banned comments from those who deny global warming, as well.

Most voters oppose the the decisions of news organizations to ban global warming skeptics. Not even a quarter -- 19 percent -- favor such a ban. Nearly half of voters -- 42 percent -- believe the media make global warming appear to be worse than it actually is, while 22 percent say the media paint an accurate picture of the environmental issue. 

The national survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted July 7-8 by Rasmussen Reports.

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and a possible Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, called upon President Barack Obama on Wednesday to crack down on the Maduro regime in charge of Venezuela. Rubio wrote Obama, asking him to free the assets of Venezuelan leaders and prohibit them from entering the U.S, due to their continued actions against protesters.  

“Three months ago, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution urging you to impose targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, against officials involved in this ongoing repression,” Rubio wrote, before mentioning he had been working with two Democratic senators -- Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Bill Nelson of Florida -- on the matter. “I have been working with Sens. Menendez and Nelson on legislation that would impose such sanctions immediately. I intend to seek Senate passage of this bill in the coming weeks, a version of which the House of Representatives has already passed, to ensure that Congress continues to send a strong message to the Maduro regime.

“I urge you to heed these bipartisan calls from Congress and take action immediately. You already have the ability to begin to make life more difficult for those involved in brutal human rights abuses and corruption,” added Rubio. “By preventing these individuals and their families from traveling to and investing in the United States, you can make clear that those who violate the Venezuelan people's fundamental freedoms will pay a significant price.”
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The Republican Party of Florida filed another ethics complaint against former Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday, this time accusing Crist of "cutting legal corners" by avoiding transparency on his personal finances. 

According to an email, the complaint filed by Sarasota GOP chair Joe Gruters outlines:

(1)  Crist misrepresented his financial interests by not reporting details of assets and liabilities reported by the Miami Herald.

(2)  Crist failed to report the full extent of his relationship with The St. Joe Co. on his financial disclosure.

(3)  Crist failed to include secondary sources of income into Charlie Crist LLC, instead listing it is an asset with no explanation of customers served or the sources of his income into the LLC.

See the complaint below.  

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Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., noted on Wednesday that former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, was calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama and claimed his efforts to remove the president from the White House were gaining momentum. West, who has left the door open to a political comeback in 2016, called for Obama’s impeachment last month.

“Sarah Palin joined tens of thousands of conservatives when she called for the impeachment of Barack Obama,” West emailed supporters on Wednesday. “This movement is far from over ... it's gaining speed!

“Barack Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and of brazenly disregarding the Constitution of the United States,” West added. “And now a huge grassroots movement is under way to expose Obama and hold him accountable.”
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U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, pointed to reports from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and HealthCare.gov which found major flaws with President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

“OIG has reported 2.6 million unresolved inconsistencies in the applications of individuals who signed up for the president's health-care law. This could mean errors in citizenship, income, employment information, or a host of other issues," Bilirakis said on Tuesday. "This is yet another piece of evidence that the ACA was not ready for prime time. Improper subsidy amounts funded by taxpayers may have gone to people that were ineligible. I previously expressed my reservations about the ‘back end’ of HealthCare.gov, which is responsible for processing this kind of information. It’s obvious my misgivings were warranted.”

Bilirakis noted, back in August, he introduced the “No Taxation Without Verification Act” which would have stopped Obama’s health-care law from imposing fees and taxes until it was proven the website was secure and fully operational.

“I introduced legislation nearly a year ago that would have prevented this,” Bilirakis said. “However, the level of irresponsibility when it comes to the implementation of the president's health-care law by this administration continues. They went live with HealthCare.gov knowing full well how far it was from completion – chock full of errors. The administration’s malfeasance toward spending taxpayers’ hard-earned money is outrageous. These OIG reports detail the latest example of one of the many serious problems in the president’s health-care law."
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