Blogs from around the state

Naked Politics Tornado overturns cars, rips fence at Fla. prison

An early-morning tornado that moved through the Florida Panhandle Monday caused damage and minor injuries at Calhoun Correctional Institution in Blountstown, about 50 miles west of Tallahassee.

The Department of Corrections said a prison fence was damaged, a number of cars were overturned by the high winds and two staff members suffered minor injuries. No inmates were hurt and "the facility is secure," prison spokeswoman Jessica Cary said.

Naked Politics What bad publicity? RAGA names Bondi chair

Nevermind all that bad publicity that her ties to the Republican Attorneys General Association has brought her.

Over the weekend, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi doubled down by getting elected the group’s new chair.

Naked Politics In Florida, robo-signed mortgage docs -- legit or not -- are allowing banks to hound borrowers

New York Times business editor Gretchen Morgenson writes today about another dubious honor Florida has earned as its regulators stand on the sidelines: banks hounding homeowners for payments after they accepted faulty mortgage documents on homes that subsequently went into foreclosure.

Naked Politics Judge rejects lottery for medical marijuana growers; orders health department to write new rules

An administrative law judge on Friday ordered the Florida Department of Health to start over and map out a new plan for growing, processing and selling a form of medical marijuana, known as Charlotte's Web.

Naked Politics For new Miami congressman Curbelo, a time to wait as he learns the ropes


Carlos Curbelo is one of about five dozen new freshman to the U.S. House of Representatives, and he won’t take office until January. But as he waits, one of the pivotal issues for his district – immigration reform – is suddenly the biggest story of the week.

Naked Politics Tale of the tail: David Rivera calls cops on mysterious follower


Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera is known in Florida political circles to be a bit... paranoid.

But, as the saying goes, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't watching you.

When Rivera left his home in a Miami suburb on Friday and thought somebody was following him, he turned out to be right. He had a shadow.

Naked Politics Miami-Dade courthouse campaign also supported Democratic PAC


The failed $1.3 million campaign to raise taxes for a new Miami-Dade courthouse included some money that went to support the Democratic Party's effort to elect Charlie Crist governor. 

Naked Politics Carlos Curbelo makes NYT in first week in D.C.

via @nytimes

The New York Times followed a few newly elected members of Congress this week during their freshmen orientation -- including Miami Republican Carlos Curbelo, who is apparently hunting for Washington D.C. roommates.

Naked Politics Travis Hutson makes bid to replace John Thrasher in Senate

In what could be a crowded field to replace John Thrasher, Rep. Travis Hutson announced he had transferred $300,000 from his House account to help him win the Jan. 27 special election of Senate District 6, which covers St. Augustine.

Naked Politics State committee examines Florida's share of the gaming industry

The closing of Dania Casino & Jai-Alai's gaming operation is expected to cost the state an estimated $3 million in tax revenue, a state committee reported on Thursday.

The Revenue Estimating Conference looked at money received from slot machines and Indian gaming in one of its three meetings of the year -- the last gaming forecast meeting was in July.

Naked Politics Taylor's critique of Pafford doesn't add up, Democratic leaders say

Rep. Dwayne Taylor of Daytona Beach continued his campaign this week to unseat Rep.

Naked Politics Miami-Dade residents oppose development on abandoned railroad: 'I don't want Hialeah here, bro'


A town-hall style meeting Wednesday night regarding the fate of an abandoned railroad corridor running through the heart of Miami turned contentious fast as residents and the development company continued to butt heads.

Naked Politics Richter named Senate president pro tempore

State Sen. Garrett Richter will be among the most powerful state lawmakers in 2015 and 2016.

The Naples Republican was named Senate president pro tempore Thursday.

Incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, praised Richter's "contagious energy" and "strong work ethic."

Naked Politics Supreme Court: Redistricting documents should be made public

OS Political Pulse Supreme Court orders redistricting records released

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a political consulting firm must turn over 538 pages of records relating to consultant Pat Bainter's and his firm, Data Targeting's influence when the Florida Legislature drew Congressional district maps in 2012.

OS Political Pulse Demings, Nelson, tasked with retooling Democrats

Fresh off a thorough drumming in the Nov. 4 election, the Florida Democratic Party is asking U.S. Sen.

Naked Politics Transgender discrimination ban prevails in Miami-Dade panel, despite fervent opposition


Raw emotion and invocations of biblical damnation over a proposed ban on discrimination against transgender people dominated on Wednesday what was perhaps the fiercest debate Miami-Dade County Hall has seen this year.

OS Political Pulse Posey, Murphy push through Indian River Lagoon aid

Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey of Rockledge and Democratic U.S. Rep.

Naked Politics Arnold Abbott, the 90-year-old chef to the homeless, may be headed back to court in battle with Fort Lauderdale

Looks like the case of Arnold Abbott, the 90-year-old who ran afoul of Fort Lauderdale’s laws about feeding the homeless, is headed back to Broward court.

Naked Politics Report finds Florida has fifth best business tax climate but TaxWatch says there's a need for reforms

A new national report ranks Florida's business tax climate as fifth best in the nation, but it doesn't reflect the whole picture of the state's tax system, according to Florida TaxWatch.

"In a couple areas, it overstates the quality of Florida's tax structure," Kurt Wenner, vice president of Tax Research for Florida TaxWatch, said. "There's always room for improvement."

Naked Politics Bondi denies trips and lobbyists have influence over her

Ahhh, the first Cabinet meeting after winning re-election.

It should be a time to glory in getting confirmed for another four years, take a deep breath, and relax.

And it was all of that after Wednesday's uneventful Cabinet meeting for Gov. Rick Scott, who looked more relaxed than he has in months, and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

Naked Politics Fact-checking José Díaz-Balart's claim about deportations

As part of his post-election analysis, Telemundo news anchor and MSNBC host José Díaz-Balart argued that the Hispanic vote remains up for grabs going forward because politicians of both parties seem uninterested in addressing Hispanics’ concerns.

OS Political Pulse Club For Growth starts Rubio campaign

The dust from 2014's general election has officially settled. Club For Growth, the conservative political action committee, announced today it is backing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and five other senators for re-election in 2016.

Naked Politics Rep. Jim Boyd to serve as House majority whip

State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, has been named deputy majority leader and whip, Florida House leaders announced Wednesday.

Incoming Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said Boyd had "earned the respect of Republican and Democrat members alike."

Naked Politics Sellers leading choice to be Scott's new chief of staff

After successfully guiding Gov. Rick Scott's re-election victory, campaign manager Melissa Sellers is a leading candidate to be Scott's new chief of staff in a second term, running state government on a day-to-day basis.

Naked Politics Election altered balance of Florida’s school choice debate

The state representatives who lost their seats last week had more in common than their political party.

Three of the six Democrats were classroom teachers who supported the teachers union — and who opposed plans to expand the school voucher program.

Naked Politics Half of Florida 'barely getting by' poverty report shows


Almost half the residents of Florida, including much of the state’s glitzy southern half, are barely getting by, living below the federal poverty level or struggling to pay for food, housing, childcare and other basic needs, according to a United Way study released Tuesday.

OS Political Pulse Thrasher's Senate resignation sets off special-election dominoes

An open state Senate seat and two House seats being vacated in the wake of former state Sen.

Naked Politics Tribune lays off veteran political reporter William March, without warning


Bad news for Florida politics: The Tampa Tribune yesterday afternoon suddenly and apparently without warning laid off its well-respected political writer William March, who had been with Tampa Bay's smaller newspaper since 1984. He began covering state politics in 1994 when a young GOP activist in Miami named Jeb Bush had the gumption to think he could win the GOP nomination for governor against much more experienced candidates.

Naked Politics Report: Florida hospitals could lose billions without Medicaid expansion


Florida legislators’ refusal to expand the eligibility criteria for Medicaid as called for under the Affordable Care Act might cost billions of dollars in lost funding for hospitals that treat many uninsured patients, according to a report released Monday by Florida Legal Services, a nonprofit legal advocate for the poor.