Sunshine State News Blogs

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., wrote U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry on Tuesday, backing a temporary travel ban on African nations hit hard by the Ebola virus. Nelson urged the Obama administration to support such a ban. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said a travel ban was not currently on the table

“Considering the changing events and overall magnitude of the situation, it may be time to re-examine the travel issue from the standpoint of visas,” Nelson said on Tuesday.

Nelson wrote Kerry the following:
 
I have reviewed the administration’s comprehensive plan to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus and I support the national-security and public-health efforts in this regard.

It would seem that another means of reducing the chances of exposure to the virus here at home would be to temporarily suspend unnecessary travel to the United States under existing visas and the issuance of new visas for citizens of countries that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies as areas with high rates of infections.

These travel bans could be temporary until the CDC determines the affected areas no longer pose a threat. This would not only help protect Americans here at home, it would also provide additional time for the added steps the administration is implementing to take effect.

Of course, that wouldn’t block travel involving humanitarian assistance, medical personnel or the flow of supplies to areas hard hit by the virus.

While there have been unheeded calls in recent weeks from lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle wanting similar action, I believe it is imperative the administration reconsider temporary, targeted travel restrictions at this time.  I look forward to your response.
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U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., part of the U.S. House leadership in his role as senior deputy majority whip, received the Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Ross was honored for scoring 97 percent on what NAM recognized as “Key Manufacturing Votes.”

“We must continue the fight for our domestic manufacturing sector,” said Ross on Tuesday. “It’s critical to our economy, to our global competitiveness, and to our national security. I am honored to fight for job creation and stability, while continuing to cut back government red tape that forces companies to find cheap labor abroad. By creating jobs and using the manufacturing industry as a platform for new employment, we are establishing solutions to a number of economic issues. It’s a win-win situation.”

“Manufacturers in Florida and throughout the United States are making a comeback, creating jobs, making more products and making them better than ever before,” said Aric Newhouse, NAM’s senior vice president of policy and government relations. “However, manufacturers are often disproportionately impacted by decisions made by policymakers in Washington. The NAM is proud to stand with lawmakers like Rep. Ross who understand what is at stake and seek to implement policies that will foster innovation, growth and competitiveness.”
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Miam- Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, the Republican candidate running against U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., in a close congressional race in South Florida, pointed to reports that Wal-Mart was cutting man hours as more proof that President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law is not working.

“Once again, more examples are surfacing of hard-working families and individuals being hurt by the flaws in Obamacare – from higher premiums and lost coverage to less hours due to the 30-hour work week,” Curbelo said on Tuesday. “While Joe Garcia continues to defend the broken promises of the president’s health-care law, families across South Florida are looking for new leadership that will be honest and effective in protecting Americans from some of its most harmful provisions.”
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Gov. Rick Scott unveiled a new TV ad on Wednesday which hits Democratic rival former Gov. Charlie Crist on ethics issues.

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“Crist is accused of selling judgeships,” the narrator of the ad says before noting that close associates of Crist -- former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer, fundraiser Alan Mendelsohn and Scott Rothstein who donated heavily to Crist before being convicted of fraud -- did prison time.

"Charlie doesn't want you to know the truth,” said Matt Moon, a spokesman for the Scott campaign. “He doesn't want you to know that his top donors and political advisers have gone to jail, including a multimillion-dollar Ponzi schemer who testified under oath that Charlie Crist sold him judges, and a man he made chairman of the Republican Party of Florida who defrauded Floridians. Now Charlie is named in a fraud case for steering $80 million in taxpayer money directly to a now bankrupt company who(sic) was connected to his girlfriend at the time. Charlie Crist is not just a failed governor – he's a corrupt politician.”

The Charlie Crist campaign denounced the ad, saying it was "full of lies and innuendo" and said Tuesday it would be asking TV stations to pull it.
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Former President Bill Clinton gave a shout out to former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate looking to defeat Gov. Rick Scott in Florida. Clinton sent out an email on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Tuesday night which praised Crist and other Democrats across the nation.

“I've been in Kentucky with Alison Lundergan Grimes, in Florida with Charlie Crist, in Iowa with Bruce Braley, in Arkansas with Mark Pryor, and several other states,” Clinton wrote. “These folks are real leaders with great ideas about how to expand the middle class and make sure that every American has a fair shot at success. They do us proud.”
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With the ACLU wanting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to overturn the amendment to Florida's Constitution recognizing only traditional marriage in the Sunshine State, Gov. Rick Scott said he supports his fellow Cabinet member.

“The attorney general is defending Florida’s Constitution, which is her duty,” Scott said on Tuesday. “This is a matter that will be decided by the courts. Whatever the eventual outcome is from the courts, Florida will of course abide with it.”

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear challenges in the federal courts to laws recognizing only traditional marriage. Judges have ruled against the Florida Constitution’s amendment, which was passed by 62 percent of the voters in the 2008 election, but the matter is still working its way through the judicial system.
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Three polls released on Tuesday find former Gov. Charlie Crist ahead of Gov. Rick Scott by narrow margins.

The latest WFLA poll taken by Survey USA shows Republican Scott bouncing back against Democratic rival Crist.

In last week’s WFLA poll, Crist led 46 percent while Scott took 40 percent and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie took 8 percent. In the latest WFLA poll released on Tuesday, Crist drops to 44 percent while Scott moves up to 42 percent and Wyllie falls back to 6 percent.

The poll finds both Crist and Scott are upside down. Only 36 percent of those surveyed see Scott as favorable while 46 percent see him as unfavorable. Crist is also seen as favorable by 36 percent while 44 percent view him as unfavorable.

More can be read about the WFLA poll here.

Earlier on Tuesday, Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a poll taken on behalf of liberal group Center for American Progress showing Crist ahead 45 percent to 43 percent while Wyllie took 8 percent. The PPP poll includes 44 percent Democrats and 39 percent Republicans, but more of the voters they surveyed backed former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., over President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

Also on Tuesday, 0ptimus (yes, that's a number in their name instead of a letter) released a poll showing Crist at 40 percent, Scott with 39 percent and Wyllie moving into double digits with 13 percent.


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Turn out for what?

Rapper Lil Jon has joined forces with the Rock the Vote organization, which aims to get young voters to the poll.

Lil Jon rerecorded his hit song "Turn Down for What" for Rock the Vote. The video features several other well-known celebrities such as Lena Dunham, Natasha Lyonne, Darren Criss and Whoopi Goldberg.

Check it out:
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A TV ad on Tuesday showcased Florida CFO Jeff Atwater's record against fraudsters, including those who stage auto accidents. Atwater ignores his Democratic opponent William Rankin in the new ad.

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"The commercial is yet another way Jeff Atwater is sharing his successful record and positive vision for the next four years," said Brian Hughes, a spokesman for the Atwater campaign, on Tuesday. "As of last week, it can be seen in markets all over the state."

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The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) released a new TV ad on Tuesday hitting Gwen Graham, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., in November. The ad reminds North Florida voters that Graham worked for the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., and then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in the 2004 election cycle. The ad also notes U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has backed Graham financially and tries to tie the Democrat to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.

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“Gwen Graham’s biggest supporters are extreme liberal politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean,” said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, on Tuesday. “We know Gwen Graham won’t side with North Florida in Congress and will continue to push extreme policies like Obamacare. North Florida families need a true leader like Steve Southerland in Washington fighting for them and their way of life.”
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All Aboard Florida’s plans to bring high-speed rail to Florida’s east coast drew fire from medical providers, hospitals and first responders on Tuesday at a media event in Jupiter organized by Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL).

“In a medical emergency, the time it takes to get to a hospital can be the difference between life and death,” said John Couris, the president and CEO of Jupiter Medical Center. “I urge All Aboard Florida to strongly reconsider the current plan for expansion. The Medical Center supports the growth of transportation in the state of Florida. However, I would encourage All Aboard Florida to go about this in a methodical and thoughtful manner, not at the expense of patient safety.”

Couris noted that blocked train crossings will lead to longer ambulance trips.  
 
Elected officials also piled on All Aboard Florida at the event, including U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.

"One of my primary concerns with All Aboard Florida is the risk it poses to public safety -- and that includes the potentially lengthy wait times ambulances and first responders may endure due to increased rail traffic,” Murphy said.

“I firmly believe that the All Aboard Florida project will have a negative impact on our communities’ efforts to address the public safety needs of our residents,” said Tequesta Mayor Abby Brennan. “I have heard from many first responders and they all express the same concerns about how the additional trains will impact police and fire rescue personnel by hindering their ability  to react, respond and render assistance at times when every second counts.”

“As I learned after suffering a stroke earlier this year, nothing should come between a patient and their ability to make it to a hospital,” said state Rep. MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta. “Expanding rail traffic near our hospitals will only create more barriers between first responders and emergency rooms, when every second counts and they are trying to save lives.”

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The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) endorsed Florida CFO Jeff Atwater for another term on Tuesday, praising his record on crime issues including combating insurance fraud.

“In just four years, CFO Atwater has made thousands of insurance fraud arrests and has shut down more than 150 organized crime rings,” said Amy Mercer, the executive director of the FPCA. “He has demonstrated his strong support of Florida’s law enforcement, and we are fortunate to have his leadership and commitment to our state’s safety.”

Atwater faces Democrat William Rankin in November.
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced on Tuesday that his Reclaim America PAC endorsed former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who is running in New Hampshire against U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.. Rubio has garnered buzz as a possible presidential hopeful in 2016, and New Hampshire is home to the first presidential primary.

“I’m proud to announce that Scott Brown is my Reclaim America PAC’s newest endorsement for the United States Senate in 2014,” Rubio wrote supporters on Tuesday. “Scott is running for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire and is under attack by national Democrats with virtually unlimited funds. They are sinking everything they have into this race because it is a must-win for them. But, Scott is the kind of candidate that can win in a tough race like this -- just like he proved in 2010.

“I had the pleasure of working closely with Scott Brown for two years in the Senate and came to trust him and know him as a strong independent thinker,” Rubio added. “Scott’s 35 years of military service in the National Guard gives him unique perspective on the national security challenges America faces in the 21st century and knows what it takes to protect America.”
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Currently chairing the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., continues to garner buzz about a presidential bid in 2016. His schedule this week will only make the buzz grow louder since he will be campaigning in two key primary states: Florida and New Hampshire.

Christie will campaign with Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., in West Palm Beach and Miami on Wednesday.

Scott isn't the only one Christie will be hitting the campaign trail for -- on Friday, he will be in New Hampshire with Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein in Berlin and Lancaster. Christie will also campaign with Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Pa., on Thursday and in Rhode Island for gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung on Friday.
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With buzz continuing about a presidential bid in 2016, former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., now the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, will head to Washington, D.C., next month to host the 2014 National Summit on Education Reform.

“This year marks the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision,” Bush said on Monday. “Yet, the fight for a quality education for all students continues today. Education in America remains a system where far too many students remain stuck in failing schools.

“We need a system driven from the bottom-up by families, a system that is organized around the individual success of each and every student,” Bush added. “We need a system that recognizes and rewards incredible teachers, and ensures they are in classrooms with students who most need their skills. These are some of the most critical challenges in education today, and they are the conversations we will have at our 2014 National Summit on Education Reform.”

Bush will keynote the event which will be held from Nov. 20-21.
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Florida TaxWatch released a report on Tuesday showing how the rising number of elderly prisoners adds to the budget.

"Community safety is the first thing to consider when addressing criminal justice reform, but Florida has options to reduce costs and actually improve public safety," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, on Tuesday. "Florida taxpayers and policymakers must understand the rapidly incurring costs that accompany aging prisoners so that smart policies can be pursued that prevent either ballooning costs or quick fixes to jeopardize the safety and security of Florida citizens."

The report notes by the end of next year, Florida will have almost 25,000 elderly prisoners, each of whom will have around $11,000 in health costs each year. Florida TaxWatch recommended early release for elderly nonviolent criminals who are close to being released or requiring more intense medical care.

"Understanding the future obligations Florida taxpayers will have for the criminal justice system will ensure our policymakers are prepared to budget for corrections costs," Calabro said.

The report can be read here.

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Despite a patient in Miami being diagnosed as negative after being tested for Ebola, Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., issued an update on Monday afternoon about Florida’s efforts against the virus.

“We are glad to hear that the test for the Miami patient was indeed negative for Ebola and we are hopeful that further CDC and Department of Health analysis will back up this preliminary negative result later this week,” Scott said. “While we have no confirmed cases of Ebola in Florida, we are continuing to take every step possible to best protect our citizens and our tourists.”

Scott also noted he was working with Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, on the matter.

“Today, I spoke to Texas Gov. Rick Perry about what their state has learned from responding to the confirmed Ebola patient in Dallas,” Scott said. “We will stay in communication with Texas officials as their response and treatment efforts continue to develop. Florida state agencies also held conference calls with our state’s airport and port leaders today to share information on preparedness steps at each of their facilities. Supporting the preparedness efforts of our airports and our ports means we must have a tremendous partnership between the state, federal officials and local leaders on the ground. We will continue to communicate regularly with these leaders in the days ahead as Florida continues to hope for the best even while we prepare for the worst.”
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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) released a new TV spot on Monday defending Gov. Rick Scott from the attacks of former Gov. Charlie Crist, insisting the Democratic candidate only can offer attacks.

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"After all these attack ads, Charlie Crist wants you to hate me," Scott says in the ad. "I guess that’s all he’s got. The race is not about Charlie or me. It’s about you and your family. Together we’re turning Florida around.

“Without a record to run on, Charlie Crist wants to make voters hate Rick Scott,” said Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the RPOF, on Monday. “But this election isn’t about Rick Scott or Charlie Crist; it’s about the people of Florida. And under Rick Scott, hundreds of thousands of Floridians have new jobs, the tax burden on Florida families is lighter, tourists from all over the world are flocking to this state once again, and our students are given the resources they need to pursue their version of the American dream. This election is a fight for the future of all Floridians and we can’t afford to turn back the clock.”
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Former Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Bob Cortes, the Republican candidate running against state Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, D-Maitland, on Monday.

“Bob Cortes knows that for Florida’s future success, we must have world-class schools,” said Bush. “Bob has shown a commitment to improving the quality of education for all Florida children through strong accountability and more parental choice, elements that are key to improving student learning.”

“I am humbled to have the endorsement and support of Gov. Bush,” said Bob Cortes. “He has been instrumental in transforming Florida’s schools and the lives of many children who otherwise may not have been given a chance. We can never rest until Florida’s schools are rated as the best in the world.”

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a possible Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, wrote Panama President Juan Carlos Varela on Monday, asking him to cancel an invitation to the Summit of the Americas which Panama hosts in 2015.

“The Cuban regime’s record of human rights abuses and violations of international law are not matters open for debate, but undeniable and appalling facts,” Rubio wrote. “Therefore, Cuba’s participation in the Summit of the Americas in Panama will undermine its credibility and have grave consequences for the region’s consensus to promote and defend democratic rule.

“I urge you to avoid this outcome, and instead work with the Cuban people to support their demands for a democratic future for their country,” Rubio added.

Cuba was not included in the last Summit of the Americas which was hosted by Colombia in 2012. Numerous participants, including the nine-member Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) insisted Cuba be included in the next summit.
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The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) announced it was backing Republicans in congressional races across the Sunshine State. In some of the most competitive elections in Florida, AIF endorsed U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., over Democrat Gwen Graham, Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo over U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., and former state Rep. Carl Domino over U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.

“We’re proud to announce our endorsements for U.S. Congress for the 2014 election cycle,” said former U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, the president and CEO of AIF, on Monday. “These candidates all share the same beliefs as AIF in terms of fostering a pro-business environment, where businesses have the opportunity to flourish by limiting government waste and spending, reducing taxes and frivolous regulation, as well as growing private-sector jobs and economic prosperity.”

“Not only is it imperative that we protect and build upon manufacturing and technology jobs, it is vital that we continue to protect and enhance our water, health care and immigration policies to name a few,” added Feeney. “And, we will remain vigilant in our efforts to continue to shine light on these important issues facing Floridians in our nation’s capital.”

“At AIF, our focus on federal issues that affect businesses in our Sunshine State is equally as important as the legislative initiatives we face here at the state level,” said Brewster Bevis, the senior VP of state and federal affairs for AIF. “Electing this slate of candidates will be key for businesses across the nation in ensuring businesses are not stifled, and our Florida businesses are able to continue to grow and build upon the existing workforce.”    

AIF also backed the following Republican members of Congress: Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Ander Crenshaw, Ron DeSantis, Mario Diaz-Balart, David Jolly, Jeff Miller, John Mica, Rich Nugent, Bill Posey, Tom Rooney, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Dennis Ross, Dan Webster and Ted Yoho.
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CNN announced Monday it will be airing a midterm debate between former Gov. Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott taking place on Oct. 21 in Jacksonville.

The hour-long debate will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on CNN as well as WJXT in Jacksonville. 

According to the network, chief Washington correspondent and anchor of "The Lead" Jake Tapper will moderate the debate. WJXT anchor Kent Justice will join as co-moderator.

 
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On Friday, former Gov. Gary Johnson, R-N.M., the Libertarian presidential candidate in 2012, endorsed Bill Wohlsifer, the Libertarian candidate challenging Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in November. Johnson, who took 1 percent of the popular vote in 2012, has left the door open to running again for president in 2016.

“Bill is a fierce proponent for fiscal responsibility, civil liberties and rational public policy,” Johnson said.

Johnson also praised Wohlsifer, an attorney based in Tallahassee, for his record on fighting for medical marijuana.
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New Rasmussen Reports poll data suggests most Americans would be in favor of a temporary flight ban from Ebola-infected countries in Africa, where the death toll from the deadly virus has risen to over 3,000. 

More than half of those surveyed (58 percent) say they'd be in favor of a temporary flight ban of all flights coming from countries where there are confirmed Ebola infections, while 24 percent say they don't think there should be such a ban. Seventeen percent are undecided. 

Most Americans are at least somewhat concerned personally about the threat of the virus, a number which has climbed from 51 percent in mid-September. 

At the end of September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared its first case of Ebola in the United States: an infected man traveling from Liberia to Texas. Contacts of the patient have been quarantined for 21 days to see if they show symptoms of the virus. 

The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Oct. 4-5 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
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U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., is facing a serious challenge from Democrat Gwen Graham in November but his campaign released an internal poll on Monday showing the Republican with the lead.

Southerland’s team unveiled a poll of likely voters from National Research showing Southerland taking 45 percent and Graham garnering 39 percent. Despite the sample containing 50 percent Democrats, 34 percent Republicans and 16 percent of voters from outside the two major parties, the poll shows North Florida voters are not happy with President Barack Obama and his signature health-care law. A majority of those surveyed -- 53 percent -- disapprove of Obama while 42 percent approve of him. The health care law gets the support of only 39 percent of those surveyed while 52 percent oppose it. In recent days, Southerland’s campaign and its allies have pummeled Graham, trying to link her to Obama’s health-care law.

The poll of 400 likely voters was taken from Oct. 1-2 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.
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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi released a new TV ad on Monday, the second one of her campaign. The new spot focuses on Bondi’s efforts to crack down on human trafficking.

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“Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has taken an aggressive approach in efforts to make Florida a zero-tolerance state in human trafficking, forming partnerships with truckers, hoteliers and convenience store owners to identify those who may be involved in human trafficking,” said Pablo Diaz, Bondi’s campaign manager, on Monday. “(Attorney) General Bondi’s work also led to the formation of a 15-member Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, of which she is chair, that is bringing together business leaders, hospital personnel, law enforcement officials, and those in the fields of health, education and social services to combat this issue.”

Bondi faces former DCF Secretary George Sheldon, the Democratic nominee, and Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer, an attorney from Tallahassee, in November’s election.
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Concerned about the rise of Ebola, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., called for restricting travel with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea on Monday.
 
Pointing to warnings issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Buchanan said more needs to be done.

“It makes sense for the government to conduct tighter screening of those trying to enter our country from Ebola-ravaged nations,” Buchanan said.

“We can keep Americans safe and show compassion by continuing to send in medical supplies to help African nations battling the deadly virus,” Buchanan added. “I hope the FAA and other government agencies are reviewing all available options to keep the outbreak from spreading in the United States.”

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These are not exactly halcyon days for the Jacksonville Jaguars as they continue ranking as one of the worst teams in the National Football League (NFL). While there are some intriguing storylines -- including the development of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles -- the Jaguars have started the season 0-5 after finishing 4-12 last year and 2-14 the year before.

One of the few highlights of recent Jaguars seasons has been Jaxson de Ville, one of the best mascots in all of professional sports. From performing dramatic leaps to challenging professional golfers in driving contests, to even being a footnote to the Jags’ first trip to the playoffs in their second season when Morton Anderson of the Atlanta Falcons missed a field goal, Jaxson has always been entertaining in his two decades of service to the team.

Except for Sunday, when the Jags hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers and lost 17-9 (sadly, the closest loss of the season). Jaxson de Ville carried a sign mocking Steelers fans and their “terrible towels.” Who thought it was a good idea for the mascot to carry a sign which claimed “TOWELS CARRY EBOLA,” especially as fears of that disease are rising across the nation?

The story went national, of course. ESPN has some of the details.

It’s one more headache for the Jags and their increasingly frustrated fan base (including your humble blogger). Gus Bradley has gone 4-17 as head coach. Despite a solid outing on Sunday, the defense, which was supposed to be a strength, has been awful this season. GM Dave Caldwell keeps insisting the arrow is up but high-profile free agents haven’t preformed on the offensive line and in the running game which managed to pile up a woeful 56 yards on Sunday. While Bortles is progressing nicely, some of the recent draft picks -- including Luke Joeckel who was the second pick in last year’s draft -- simply aren’t performing up to expectations, while Justin Blackmon -- who looked like a star when he actually played -- has various substance abuse problems keeping him off the field.

And now even the mascot is a problem. The season is barely past the quarter post mark and the Jags are once again irrelevant and something of a punchline.

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Appearing on “Fox and Friends” on Fox News on Friday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said President Barack Obama was standing in the way of economic recovery and noted Democrats are treating him like a liability, not appearing with him on the campaign trail.

“Do you think the president has got a strong case?" Brian Kilmeade of Fox News asked. “After all, unemployment is down, revenue is up. He feels Obamacare is popular. Do you think the president has got a strong case?”

“Well, let me tell you why I know he doesn’t have a strong case,” Rubio answered. “None of these candidates are campaigning with him. If, in fact, his policies were working out so well, they’d all want him to come into their states and campaign with them. And in fact, they either don’t want him to come, or when he comes to their states they all-out avoid him. Why aren’t they campaigning on these things? Why aren’t they bragging about Obamacare in their ads? Instead, they want their campaigns to be about all sorts of other issues.

“Look, here is the bottom line,” Rubio added. “This country is not doing as well as it should be doing. This new century should be an American century. This is a country right now that should be creating millions of jobs. We shouldn’t have to be forcing companies to stay here in this country, and a lot of them are now leaving because of our tax code and so forth. We’re in a position where we are not fulfilling our potential as a nation or as a people. This should also be an American century. This 21st century is an exciting time. We are not taking full advantage of all of the opportunities of this new era, and a lot of that is because of flawed policies of big government that this president and his allies in the Senate have pursued.”
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The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) backed state CFO Jeff Atwater for a second term over Democratic opponent William Rankin.

"CFO Atwater is committed to supporting small-business priorities and ensuring that Florida maintains its pro-small-business climate,” said Bill Herrle, the NFIB’s Florida chapter’s executive director, on Monday.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of NFIB and will remain steadfast in my commitment to fostering an environment where small business can thrive,” Atwater said. “As I like to say, the welcome mat is always out in the Sunshine State.”
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