Sunshine State News Blogs
Putnam, who served in the Republican leadership when he was in Congress, praised the Supreme Court for ruling that business owners can object for religious reasons to being forced to cover birth control due to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.
“A big win for the faith community and religious liberty,” Putnam insisted on Twitter.
“I am disappointed and deeply concerned by the Supreme Court’s decision today in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby,” Wasserman Schultz said on Monday after the 5-4 decision was announced. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have gained access to preventive services without out-of-pocket costs, including birth control. However, this decision takes money out of the pockets of women and their families and allows for-profit employers to deny access to certain health care benefits based on their personal beliefs. Nearly 60 percent of women who use birth control do so for more than just family planning.
“It is no surprise that Republicans have sided against women on this issue as they have consistently opposed a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions,” Wasserman Schultz added. “Republicans have also blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would bring us closer to the promise of equal pay for women. In the wake of this dangerous precedent set by the Supreme Court, Democrats in Congress will continue to fight on the issues of importance to women and their families.”
“The treatment of our veterans has rightly shocked the public, but Congress should resist the temptation to do what it always does in these situations: throw money at the problem,” said Michael Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action, on Monday. “Heritage Action supports Chairman Miller’s call to offset any additional spending and force the VA to justify those requests. There is no doubt Congress must act, but it must do so in a fiscally responsible manner that ensures veterans receive the care they deserve.”
Yoho announced he was backing the “Southwest Border Protection Act” which would allow governors to request up to 10,000 members of the National Guard to protect the border with Mexico and the “National Border and Homeland Security Act” which adds 6,000 extra Border Patrol agents and adds additional security measures to the border. The Florida congressman also is supporting the “Illegal Entry Accountability Act" which cuts off foreign aid to Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador until Congress believes they are helping stem illegal immigration to America. Yoho also signed off on U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa’s, R-Calif., letter calling on Obama to work with Congress in securing the border.
“Poor economic conditions and violence in Central America have existed for many years and thus do not explain the recent surge of immigrants across our southern border,” Yoho said on Friday. “The current crisis along our southern border is a direct result of this administration’s failure to enforce existing law. This lax approach has only encouraged more individuals to come to the United States illegally. It is my duty as a member of Congress to support legislation that will secure our borders and protect our national sovereignty.”
Florida TaxWatch released a study on Monday on how produce shapes the Sunshine State’s economy. Florida is the second largest produce exporter in the nation and produce adds more than $7.5 billion to the state’s economy with more than 47,500 jobs.
"Florida's agriculture industry is vital to diversifying our state's growing economy," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, on Monday. "Fresh produce, such as fruits, vegetables, and juices are a key part of the agriculture industry and enhance our global trade impact."
The report can be read here.
“This week we've demonstrated the massive power we have when we stand together,” West emailed supporters. “Over 100,000 patriotic Americans have signed our petition to impeach Barack Obama.
“This is our moment. We're leading a grassroots revolution to defend our Constitution and take our country back from the liberals who are destroying this great nation piece by piece,” West continued. “Barack Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and brazenly disregarding the Constitution of the United States. I took a lifetime oath to defend this country -– and that includes defending it from Barack Obama.”
Despite losing to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., in 2012, West has remained politically active and has opened the door to a political comeback in 2016.
The poll from conservative magazine Human Events and Gravis Marketing shows 50 percent of those surveyed back Amendment 2 while 37 percent oppose it and 13 percent remain undecided.
A poll from Human Events and Gravis released in April found more opposition to Amendment 2: 46 percent of those surveyed were against it while 45 percent supported it.
The poll of 1,232 Florida voters was taken from June 21-23 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
H/T Saint PetersBlog
The poll finds Bondi ahead of House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, with the Republican garnering 43 percent while the challenger follows with 38 percent. While 16 percent are on the fence, Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer, the Libertarian candidate, picks up 4percent.
Bondi does better when matched up against former DCF Secretary George Sheldon, beating him 43 percent to 35 percent while 16 percent remain undecided. Wohlsiger gets 5 percent in that scenario.
The poll of 1,232 Florida voters was taken from June 21-23 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
H/T Saint PetersBlog
The poll finds Scott ahead with 41 percent followed by Crist with 39 percent. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie takes 6 percent while 15 percent are undecided. In a Gravis poll from March, Crist led Scott by 4 percent.
The poll of 1,232 Florida voters was taken from June 21-23 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
H/T Saint PetersBlog
Russell Adler, third partner in the Fort Lauderdale law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, ground zero for the $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme that destroyed dozens of investors' lives, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in federal prison Friday.
Last week he was disbarred for life.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that Adler, a lifelong Democrat, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate federal election laws and fraud by bundling more than $200,000 worth of donations to John McCain's presidential campaign and then-Gov. Charlie Crist's Senate race in 2008. Both campaigns have said they had no knowledge of any of Rothstein's wrongdoing.
Ponzi scheme mastermind Scott Rothstein asked Adler and other law firm workers to make donations to his chosen campaigns and then illegally reimbursed them by paying them what he called bonuses.
Rothstein, 52, is serving 50 years in federal prison.
Earlier this month, the law firm's middle-named partner, Stuart Rosenfeldt, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud, make illegal political campaign donations and violate civil rights. He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in September.
Authorities say Rothstein used the bundled political donations to "cloak" himself in respectability.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence LaVecchio told the Sun-Sentinel, "Rothstein was able to buy access, he was able to buy influence. He was able to get people like John McCain and Charlie Crist to his house."
“In just the last six years, our society has evolved and moved past the prejudices rooted in our past,” said Crist, who changed political affiliations -- twice -- during that six-year period. “Further, science has uniformly reached the conclusion that heterosexual marriages are just as valued and revered as they have ever been; and children raised by gay and lesbian parents fare just as well as kids raised in straight families.
“Thus, with the arc of history now, in fact, bending toward justice, this issue of marriage equality will almost certainly not even be an issue for the children and grandchildren of this state,” Crist added. “But it is still the duty of those in the present to recognize that the legitimacy of government depends upon its willingness to fairly, transparently, and equitably administer the law. That goal is frustrated by denying an entire class of citizens equality in the institution of marriage simply because of who they are and whom they love.”
Hearings begin in Miami on Pareto v. Ruvin next week.
“By producing more energy at home, we can give middle class families relief from rising fuel costs, allow businesses to create much-needed jobs, and improve our national security by reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil,” Rooney said on Thursday. “Taken together, these bills will create tens of thousands of jobs in the Sunshine State while making it easier for Florida families to fill their gas tanks.”
Rooney called on the Democratic-controlled Senate to join the House in passing these bills.
The Cape Coral Republican was arrested in Tallahassee April 21 for driving under the influence. A police officer noted the smell of alcohol coming from Eagle's car, but Eagle claimed that the smell of alcohol coming from his vehicle was the result of having people who were drunk in his car earlier in the night. He refused to submit to a sobriety test and refused to take a Breathalyzer test after his arrest.
Eagle maintained that he had not been driving under the influence the night of his arrest, but rather insisted he exercised "poor judgment."
Eagle must complete 100 hours of community service in Southwest Florida as part of his reckless driving settlement.
“I am proud to endorse Juan Garcia for U.S. Congress in the 23rd District of Florida,” Weldon said. “As a former congressman myself, I am well aware of our country’s need for politicians who will truly devote themselves to public service, rather than to their own political careers. Juan Garcia is that kind of person.
“Despite his humble background, he has been successful in the military, in ministry, and in business,” Weldon added. “He is a dedicated family man with a wife and children who stand behind him, which is very important to me. Juan is also a recognized leader in the Hispanic community which is a large part of this district. He knows the people, he shares their values, and he will represent them well in Congress. He is ready to fight for their needs and not the special interests of Washington.
“Juan is also a true conservative Republican and has values and beliefs that this nation desperately needs,” Weldon concluded. “He will work hard to get our economy going, to get people back to work, and to fight for the values that made this nation great.”
Weldon ran for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., back in 2012 but lost out to then-U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla. Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), is ranked by most pundits to be safe in November in a solidly Democratic district.
"I am honored to have the chance to serve as a senior deputy whip," said Ross. "Back in 2010, I was brought to Washington to make a change. This is a great opportunity to have a positive impact. I have always worked hard on behalf of Central Floridians to make sure that their voices are heard and that government works better for them. I will continue this effort on behalf of Floridians and all Americans in my added role as senior deputy whip. I am humbled to be recognized as a top leader in my conference and I am excited about this challenge to unify my party and to build consensus so that we can help solve the problems affecting our fellow Americans."
"It is an honor to appoint my colleague Congressman Dennis Ross to the senior deputy whip team," said Scalise. "He brings to the team his invaluable experience and perspective as a small-business owner. I look forward to working with him to unite the Republican conference and move America forward. The senior deputy whip team will ensure that the voices, interests and values of every member are represented at the table. I will work relentlessly with our team to unite our conference and grow the vote. Together we will work to solve our nation's problems for the American people."
Last week, Scott's campaign team released the governor and his wife, Ann's, tax returns for 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Crist campaign did not release the tax returns of the former governor's wife, Carole.
"Charlie is giving Florida families an unprecedented look into his life because they deserve to know their governor is looking out for them," said Crist's campaign manager Omar Khan, who said the campaign plans to keep releasing more of Crist's tax returns.
"[Crist] is calling on Rick Scott to release his returns going back 20 years, as well," Khan said. "Given that Rick Scott hides his assets and has dodged personal accountability his entire career, we suspect he will hide his taxes, just as he has hidden all of the depositions from his days as a corporate raider."
According to Scott's campaign team, Crist's tax returns should come as no surprise considering he has either been in office or has been running for office for the entirety of the time frame of the released tax returns.
"Charlie releasing tax returns he has already released instead of making public the returns for him and his spouse is a joke," said Scott for Florida spokeswoman Jackie Schutz. "What's he hiding? His desperation to distract is just making us more curious.”
“Barack Obama may think he's above the Constitution, but the time has come to hold him accountable,” West emailed supporters on Thursday. “Speaker of the House John Boehner is taking initial steps that I believe will lead to impeachment. Boehner could have an announcement within days on whether the House will file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama.
“Make no mistake – Obama is ignoring the Constitution, our laws, and the system of checks and balances that safeguard this country,” West added. “Barack Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority, which has dangerous implications for our system of government and our freedoms.”
For more on Boehner’s proposal and how a prominent Florida Democrat is pushing back against it, check out Sunshine State News on Friday.
“The president is brazenly attempting to shut down access to a portion of our oceans that’s larger than Florida, Texas, and Alaska combined,” said Southerland. “In response, I introduced common-sense legislation to improve transparency and stop this unprecedented water grab from occurring without the consent of the individual states and their citizens. North and Northwest Florida’s fishermen are already struggling to survive under this president’s overregulation of our oceans, and they deserve to know some in Congress are fighting to stop him from making their jobs even tougher.”
The poll found only 34 percent of American adults with children of elementary or secondary school age favor requiring all schools nationwide to meet the same Common Core education standards, which is an 18-point drop from 52 percent in early November of last year. Nearly half -- 47 percent -- oppose the implementation of the standards.
What's more, more than half of respondents (54 percent) said it's unlikely Common Core will improve student performance.
Common Core has gathered significant opposition over the last year, with several states like Oklahoma and South Carolina, that previously opted into the national standards, taking another path for the future of their students. Florida was among the 45 states to adopt Common Core, but made nearly 100 changes to the standards and rebranded them under a different name, "The Florida Standards."
The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted June 21-22. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
“It is vital that veterans receive the care they need, but it is important to recognize that one size does not fit all when discussing treatments for veterans and the invisible wounds endured from their service to our great nation,” Bilirakis said. “While many veterans may thrive under evidence-based treatment plans, some may not be as responsive to this traditional medical care. As such, we need to provide them with choices and easy access to alternative forms of therapies that work best for them.
“We must find the most effective ways to treat veterans,” Bilirakis added. “The COVER Act will ascertain the viability of alternative treatments, providing a pathway forward that will eventually allow veterans to have a range of options for mental health treatments, such as outdoor sports therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, accelerated resolution therapy, and service dog therapy.”
“These 220 new jobs in Southwest Florida are another example of how our efforts to create an opportunity economy are working. Florida is continuing to add jobs, and this past year alone Comcast has added more than 1,800 jobs,” Scott said. “Comcast Corp. has shown that investing in Florida is good for business, and recently announced Universal Orlando’s addition of 3,500 new jobs in Florida. We must continue to create an environment where companies like Comcast can continue to succeed and where every Floridian who wants a job can get one.”
“There has never been a more exciting time to be part of Comcast as the company is developing breakthrough technologies and introducing new products that are at the forefront of the industry,” said Amy Smith, a regional senior vice president of Comcast Florida. “Comcast continues to make investments in our infrastructure and in our employees as we focus on improving the experience for all of our customers.”
“The increasing cost of energy is hurting American families and standing in the way of job growth,” Yoho said. “Lowering these costs and getting America closer to energy independence is something I will always support. The energy resources we have been blessed with, both offshore and onshore, have been taken off the table due to the restrictions and red tape of the Obama administration’s domestic energy policy and foreign policy. Every law, policy, and regulation of the federal government should be aimed at making America stronger and more competitive. This bill does just that. I owe it to my constituents and the American people to do all I can to lower their energy costs and improve our country’s energy security.”
The bill should pass the Republican-controlled U.S. House but its fate in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate remains uncertain.
The poll found 54 percent of likely voters believe there's too much emphasis on standardized tests in American schools, a number that's jumped 5 points since November. Only 17 percent said there was not enough emphasis on standardized tests in schools.
When it came to whether or not students should be required to take standardized tests, responses were almost evenly mixed. Forty-five percent said students should be required to take the tests, while a slightly lower amount -- 44 percent -- said they should not.
Standardized testing has, over the years, become an increasingly common way for schools to measure their academic successes, but most voters don't see that as the case. More than half of voters (59 percent) believe how students perform on standardized tests shouldn't be a major factor in how well a school is doing. Almost a third -- 26 percent -- said standardized tests should be a major factor in determining how well a school is doing.
The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted June 21-22 by Rasmussen Reports.
“The VA has systemic failures that promote a culture of mediocrity and discourage transparency and accountability, which has resulted in a backlog of veterans’ claims coupled with excessive and outrageous wait times to receive care,” Bilirakis said on Tuesday. “Part of this stems from the VA’s inability to provide timely access to quality care for veterans. Unfortunately, it has taken the preventable deaths of dozens of veterans to spur the VA to change. Changing how VA operates, combined with allowing veterans to receive care outside the VA, should help reduce the backlog and get veterans the access to the care they need.”
Bilirakis is a supporter of the VA allowing more veterans to receive care at non-VA medical facilities.
"The Republican Party of Florida congratulates Congressman-elect Curt Clawson on his well-earned victory tonight," said RPOF Chairman Leslie Dougher. "Congressman-elect Clawson will undoubtedly serve his district with distinction, bringing true conservative values to our nation’s capital."
Curt Clawson, who hails from from Bonita Springs, Fla., will replace former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned from his post after pleading guilty to misdemeanor possession of cocaine.
Clawson will have to run for re-election in November.
“The math in the DOH analysis predicts the potential of 1.25 million recipients receiving pot just through the caregiver system alone, and that assumes the caregivers all stick to the maximum five recipients,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd who leads Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot which opposes the amendment. “There is no way this monster can be managed with the resources DOH plans. I see increased taxes for Floridians so people can smoke marijuana if the public allows Amendment 2 to pass."
Opponents of Amendment 2 also brought out Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, the wife of former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, to speak out against the proposal.
“Amendment 2 sets a dangerous precedent by establishing medications by ballot,” she said on Wednesday. “It will create the largest public health safety concern of modern time.”
"Rick Scott believes in transparency, which is why he and his wife released their tax returns this year and in 2010,” said Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF). “Rick Scott urged Charlie Crist and his spouse to do the same. If Charlie cares about transparency, he’ll release his spouse’s returns.”
Carson, a prominent neurosurgeon who entered the political realm in 2013 when he criticized President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law at the National Prayer Breakfast, has increasingly shown signs of running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. After retiring from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, Carson, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is now based out of West Palm Beach.
On Wednesday, Carson sent out an email on behalf of the NRCC and he came out swinging against President Barack Obama and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the unquestioned favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
“Recent developments surrounding the IRS scandal and other national issues make it quite clear that transparency and honesty are not highly valued by the current administration and its allies,” Carson wrote. “They seem much more interested in political power than with finding solutions to the many problems that threaten to destroy the American dream for our progeny"
Calling for conservatives to support the NRCC and “fight back against Nancy Pelosi’s millions,” Carson also looked ahead to the next presidential election, hoping to “build a firewall against Hillary Clinton when she runs for president in 2016.”
“If Hillary Clinton or someone with similar leftist ideology is elected president in 2016 and has the opportunity to appoint more Supreme Court justices of like mind, America will fundamentally change from the land of freedom and opportunity we know and love," Carson insisted.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) praised Clawson on Tuesday night after the votes came in.
“I would like to personally congratulate Rep.-elect Curt Clawson on his victory tonight,” Walden said. “As the new representative for Florida’s 19th Congressional District, Curt will work tirelessly to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and stop Obamacare from continuing to hurt Florida families. With his common-sense approach and business skills he will also be an invaluable voice in the battle to balance the budget and rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending.
“Floridians have chosen a responsible conservative leader in Curt Clawson, and I look forward to working with him in the Capitol to secure a bright future for Americans across the nation,” Walden added.
"Scott was deposed in a civil case against his former company, Columbia/HCA, who later pleaded guilty to at least 14 corporate felonies including Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and paid a whopping $1.7 billion in criminal fines," reads the email from American Bridge. "Scott was under advisement from his attorney to invoke the Fifth Amendment in his deposition due to those ongoing criminal investigations."
The PAC accused Scott of dodging questions not only in the deposition, but in his re-election campaign as well.
"Whether Rick Scott is under oath or he's on the campaign trail, he just won't answer questions," wrote the PAC. "When it comes to tackling problems, the voters of Florida don't need a governor who pleads the Fifth. They need real answers."
See the ad below: