Blogs from around the state

Naked Politics Gambling may be dead for the session but its short life was lucrative

The debate over gambling may be dead in the Florida Legislature for this session, but it's short life was very lucrative for legislative campaign coffers. 

Naked Politics A tale of two websites: While Sebelius is out of work, Panuccio keeps his job

Two agency directors. Two launches of websites that failed miserably.

On Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned after her five years on the job were marred by the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov, the website set up to enroll American’s in Pres. Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Naked Politics Ana Alliegro denied pre-trial release after prosecutor describes flight to Nicaragua

Ana Alliegro had just surrendered her passport to the FBI and was told by her lawyer that she was facing jail time for her alleged role in a campaign-finance conspiracy tied to former Congressman David Rivera.

Alliegro didn’t stick around.

Naked Politics Union appeals to voters in the Medicaid "coverage gap"

The state healthcare workers' union has a new strategy in its fight to expand Medicaid coverage: reaching out to voters "who've been screwed out of healthcare coverage by their representative's refusal to act."

SEIU Florida will be knocking on doors this weekend in four state House districts.

Florida Politics A Springtime Truism: Campaign cash pours into the Florida Capitol

Naked Politics Charlie Crist to open Broward office Tuesday

Charlie Crist will open his first field office in the state in Broward County Tuesday.

The campaign’s South Florida headquarters will be located at 320 South University Drive, Plantation. Crist is expected to attend the 5 p.m. opening.

Crist has also rented an apartment on Fort Lauderdale beach.

Florida Politics Wasserman Schultz presses lawmakers on minimum wage

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston is pressuring Republicans in Tallahassee as well as Washington to agree to raise the minimum wage -- or at least talk about it.

Florida Politics House passes school-voucher expansion

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida House passed a plan Friday to expand the state's school-voucher program, although it no longer raises the cap on how much tax money could be used to support low-income students in private schools.

Florida Politics Bill that eases sentences in drug cases goes to governor

Possession of seven hydrocodone painkillers without a valid prescription would no send people to state prison for mandatory three-year sentences under a bill given final approval Friday by state representatives.

Florida Politics House votes to ban more abortions

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Legislature is poised to pass sweeping new abortion restrictions redefining the viability of a fetus and prohibiting certain abortions now legal under state law.

Naked Politics Rubio World staff changes: Conda to PAC, Martinez to COS, Reid to deputy

@MarcACaputo

Lots of shifts in Marco Rubio's Senate and campaign offices. Here's the press release:

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today announced staff changes in his Senate office.

Post on Politics In GOP primary to replace cocaine congressman, ‘We need to stop all this negativity’

State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto greets a voter after a Republican congressional debate Wednesday in Fort Myers.

The Buzz The woman who started trauma fees tells her side

As Tallahassee grapples with what to do about trauma center response fees, the woman responsible for starting the process that allowed hospitals to charge the fees speaks up in an op-ed in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times that is already posted online. Connie J. Potter details how she expected hospitals to use the fees and all that she sees is now …

St. Petersburg HD 65 hopeful Chris Sprowls pulls far ahead of the competition in March fundraising

Republican Chris Sprowls pulled far ahead of the competition last month in fundraising numbers for the House District 65 race against incumbent Democrat Rep. Carl “Z” Zimmerman.

The Tarpon Springs Republican added $9,235 in March for a total of $139,666 overall in the race for the seat covering much of north Pinellas County and Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and East Lake.

St. Petersburg Shawn Harrison pulls ahead in March for HD 63, but Mark Danish leads in cash on hand

Former State Rep. Shawn Harrison added nearly $6,000 in March as he works to regain his House District 63.

The Tampa Republican posted $5,950 in donations last month for a total of $77,885.

Harrison faces Democrat incumbent Rep. Mark Danish for the seat covering parts of north Hillsborough County. First elected to the House in 2010, Harrison served only one term, losing to Danish in 2012.

Naked Politics Florida no longer part of controversial national voter data project

For those following the issue of voter fraud nationwide, this fact-check by PunditFact of a claim by Fox News commentator Dick Morris is a must-read.

Morris said that “probably over a million people” voted twice in the 2012 general election nationwide. PunditFact rated that False -- and you can read the full report here.

Naked Politics Truth-O-Meter looks back at Charlie Crist on Dreamers' tuition then and now

In a statewide election year when both parties are courting Florida’s growing Hispanic vote, the Legislature is debating giving in-state college tuition to young illegal immigrants known as "Dreamers."

St. Petersburg Brad Drake raises $16K during March for his return to HD 5

Republican Brad Drake added another $16,170 during March in his bid to return to the Florida House in District 5, giving him a total of $229,005.  

After two terms in the House, Drake stepped aside after redistricting in 2012 to allow Republican Rep. Marti Coley could finish her last term in the seat covering Holmes, Jackson, Walton, Washington counties and part of Bay County.

St. Petersburg Bill Young II posts solid first fundraising report — $51K in March for HD 68 race

Republican Bill Young II posted a solid first fundraising report, having raised approximately $51K in donations during his first full month on the campaign trail in House District 68 race.

Young, son of the former U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, entered the race for much of eastern Pinellas County and parts of Pinellas Park and Saint Petersburg on February 28. He raised $50,990 and spent $3,829, for $47,161 in his war chest.

Naked Politics Guns banned at Broward hurricane shelters

Today the Florida House is expected to vote on a bill that would allow people with clean criminal backgrounds to conceal firearms without a permit during emergencies including hurricane evacuations.

St. Petersburg Curt Clawson accepts two illegal contributions, FEC report shows

If there is one rule about federal campaign fundraising never to be forgotten, it’s that corporate contributions are strictly prohibited.

So why then did congressional candidate Curt Clawson, running the special election in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, accept not one, but two checks from companies?

St. Petersburg Jeff Brandes adds $19,200 in March for SD 22 re-elect

State Senator Jeff Brandes added $19,200 in the first three days of March for his re-election campaign, according to recently released filings with the Florida Division of Elections.

By Florida law, incumbents cannot fundraise while the Legislature is in session, which in 2014 was on March 4.

Naked Politics Weatherford's pension reform showing life, but time is running out

Despite indications of a difficult path ahead, pension reform continued to advance through the Legislature on Thursday, keeping the hopes alive for the man pushing it, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Florida Politics Crist keeps pace with Scott in $$ chase (sort of)

TALLAHASSEE -- The fun with numbers.

Naked Politics Crist to House Democrats: 'We're almost home'

Is Charlie Crist paying too much attention to polls?

For somebody who expects to face an opponent with $100 million, he didn't sound worried about his chances in the governor's race in a Thursday night stump speech to a small but influential group: the House Democratic caucus.

"We're almost there. We're almost home," Crist said. "It's going to be good because I think we're gonna do it. And I think they know it."

Naked Politics Senate plan offers cut in taxes on cable, phone service

As lawmakers haggle over the budget in the final stretch of the session, they’ll be deciding whether cell phones deserve a tax break or TV producers, gym memberships and low income neighborhoods do.

With about $500 million to offer in tax and fee breaks in next year's $75 billion budget, the House and Senate have already agreed on a major chunk: reducing about $395 million in vehicle registration fees.

Naked Politics Scott outraises Crist nearly 3 to 1 for the quarter, but slows down in March

The first quarter fundraising number are out and, judging by the announcements from the leading governor's candidates, everyone is thrilled.

"Find someone to high-five,'' read the campaign from the Charlie Crist campaign as they announced $1.5 million raised in March by the former governor's political committee "Charlie Crist for Florida" and his campaign. The campaign launched in November and it was a record month.

Naked Politics For Miami-Dade voters, the call to citizenship vs. the call of nature

@PatriciaMazzei

For Miami-Dade County voters who have had to wait up to seven hours on Election Day to cast their ballots, there’s an argument over what should take priority: the call to citizenship or the call of nature.

Emails from a deputy elections supervisor and an assistant county attorney say Miami-Dade voters are banned from using restrooms at polling places. But the chief deputy elections supervisor pooh-poohed the notion.

Naked Politics Solar 'uprising' becomes partisan rally for Crist as RPOF stalks

A Capitol rally to encourage solar energy development in Florida became partisan Thursday as organizers used the event to call out incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and announced their support for his election-year rival, former Gov. Charlie Crist. 

Florida Politics Relief for taxpayers now includes Daytona Speedway

TALLAHASSEE – In the quest to provide “broad tax relief” to Floridians, one particular taxpayer has cut to the head of the line: the birthplace of NASCAR .