Blogs from around the state

Naked Politics Feds sue for-profit college in Miami for using strippers to recruit students

@MrMikeVasquez

Some Florida for-profit colleges have used highly aggressive techniques to recruit students — including non-stop phone calls, misleading promises and $500 rewards for referrals.

But according to a federal lawsuit, Miami-based FastTrain College added a new wrinkle: hiring strippers as “admissions representatives.”

Naked Politics Court ruling means gay couples could wed as early as Jan. 5 in Florida

@SteveRothaus

Same-sex couples in Florida could begin marrying shortly after the new year, after a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a stay in the state’s gay-marriage ban case will be lifted at the end of the day Jan.5.

Naked Politics FPL parent, NextEra, buys Hawaiian Electric for $4.3 billion

Florida Power & Light's parent company, NextEra Energy, announced Wednesday it has reached a $4.3 billion deal to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries.

The transaction, which is valued at approximately $4.3 billion, includes the assumption of $1.7 billion in HEI debt and excludes HEI's banking subsidiary. 

Naked Politics Medicaid expansion by any other name may fly for Florida lawmakers

A coalition of business interests and private citizens, including some prominent Republicans, unveiled a plan on Wednesday to accept federal dollars to extend publicly funded healthcare coverage to nearly a million Floridians — without calling it “Medicaid expansion,” as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act.

Naked Politics Why Eric Garner's death in New York strengthens the case for cop cameras, even in Miami

@MarcACaputo

If a police officer can avoid charges in the choke-hold death of an unarmed man while on video, how will putting cameras on cops stop law-enforcement from abusing citizens?

It's a reasonable question to ask in light of a New York grand jury's refusal Wednesday to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the homicide of Eric Garner, whose "crime" was apparently selling unlicensed cigarettes. 

Naked Politics Gloria Estefan rips Friends of Miami Marine Stadium

@NewsbySmiley

Weeks after eagerly serving as the celebrity face of a proposed $121 million restoration and redevelopment plan of the Miami Marine Stadium site, Gloria Estefan has blasted the group behind the project.

Naked Politics Florida Senate's new power lineup has a familiar look

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, announced the complete lineup of new Senate committee chairs and members Wednesday, and it has a very familiar look.

Naked Politics Court deals blow to Gov. Scott's drug testing of welfare recipients

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that Gov. Rick Scott's crusade to conduct drug tests on welfare recipients as a condition of their benefits was unconstitutional.

Naked Politics Fact-checking Jeb Bush's claim about tattoos and military

Failing test scores aren't the only problem that has caused the military to reject applicants, says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Another problem is, well, more colorful: tattoos.

Florida Politics White House calls Broward County a `Climate Action Champion'

The White House declared Broward County one of 16 local “Climate Action Champions” on Wednesday because of its commitment to reduce air pollution and prepare for rising seas.

Naked Politics White House, Florida politicians mark anniversary of Alan Gross' Cuban confinement with calls for release

@CAdamsMcClatchy

On the fifth anniversary of U.S. contractor Alan Gross being held captive in Cuba, Florida politicians and the White House called for his release.

Gross was a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development when he was arrested by Cuban authorities on Dec. 3, 2009; they said he had smuggled satellite communications equipment to Cuba as part of pro-democracy programs.

Naked Politics The 'Jeb Bush Doctrine'

@MarcACaputo

The Bush Doctrine is on the verge of making a comeback.

As Jeb Bush weighs a presidential bid, the former Florida governor on Tuesday laid out his foreign policy precepts, which closely mirror that of his brother, former President George W. Bush.

Naked Politics Miami-Dade bans discrimination based on gender identity

@PatriciaMazzei @doug_hanks

Sixteen years after a sharply divided Miami-Dade County Commission banned discrimination based on sexual orientation, a far more united board on Tuesday overwhelmingly extended the ban to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

Naked Politics Former Miami city manager lands top lobbying gig

Former Miami City Manager Tony Crapp Jr. has been named a partner in one of the state's top lobbying firms.

Crapp will be joining Ballard Partners in the company's Miami office, President Brian Ballard announced Tuesday. 

Naked Politics Jeb Bush: "Only because I'm going to be PolitiFacted"

Jeb Bush knows the media is waiting for him to announce his 2016 presidential campaign plans. He also knows PolitiFact Florida is watching him like a hawk, too.

Naked Politics Florida misses out on federal telehealth grants

What's missing from this list of projects that received a combined $10 million in federal grants to support telemedicine and rural health research?

Florida.

Naked Politics Sens. Lee, Flores named to key budget posts

Republican Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon will chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee for the next two years, giving him substantial power over how tax dollars are spent. The appointment was announced Tuesday by Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who also named Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, to chair a newly-created Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy.

Naked Politics Study: Florida one of the 10 least charitable states

Florida is the ninth least charitable state, according to the personal finance site, WalletHub, which analyzed 2014's most and least charitable states.

Naked Politics "In God We Trust" coming to chambers of Miami-Dade commission

@doug_hanks

Sally Heyman was  the lone Miami-Dade commissioner Tuesday to oppose posting "In God We Trust" inside the county chambers. 

Naked Politics Consumers still most annoyed by violators of the Do Not Call List

Violators of the statewide Do No Call List, problems at the gas pump and motor vehicle repair problems were the top three complaints received in November at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The majority of the 2,965 complaints received concerned the pesky calls consumers want to avoid.

OS Political Pulse Scott's transportation chief leaving

TALLAHASSEE -- The parade of agency chiefs jumping ship before Gov. Rick Scott's second term has grown.

Florida Politics Scott's transportation chief leaving

TALLAHASSEE -- The parade of agency chiefs jumping ship before Gov. Rick Scott's second term has grown.

Naked Politics FDOT's Prasad is third state agency head to quit post

Gov. Rick Scott accepted the resignation Tuesday of state transportation secretary Ananth Prasad, whose departure has been expected for weeks. His last day on the job will be Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. The Florida Transportation Commission will convene after the new year to seek applicants for the post.

OS Political Pulse After electoral benching, Florida Democrats say their own is just fine

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Democrats held a conference call Tuesday to try to find the sunny side of an election drubbing that saw the defeat of many of the party’s rising stars.

Florida Politics After electoral benching, Florida Democrats say their own is just fine

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Democrats held a conference call Tuesday to try to find the sunny side of an election drubbing that saw the defeat of many of the party’s rising stars.

Naked Politics Nelson, Demings on Democrats' search for answers

A task force searching for ways to improve the fortunes of the Florida Democratic Party held its first meeting Tuesday. The 45-minute teleconference included about 20 people and was led by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and retired Orlando police chief Val Demings.

Naked Politics FPL wants to get into the gas drilling business -- and add costs to base rate

Florida Power & Light wants to get into the natural gas fracking business and it wants its customers to pay for it.

At a hearing on Monday, the state’s largest utility asked regulators for permission to charge customers up to $750 million a year to form a partnership with an Oklahoma oil and gas company because, it argues, the investment would help FPL stabilize fuel prices and save customers money.

Naked Politics Miami-Dade mayor: I may not leave GOP after all

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez caused a political stir when he said in October he was considering leaving the Republican Party. It would have amounted to a defection from the county's most powerful elected official.

But Gimenez now says he may stay in the GOP and try to make the party more moderate.

Naked Politics Gov. Scott's top investigator quietly releases prison report after months of delay

Florida’s chief inspector general Melinda Miguel on Friday quietly released the findings of an internal affairs investigation involving allegations of misconduct against five inspectors with the Florida Department of Corrections.

Naked Politics Movers & Shakers

Smart move:  Ryan Smart started a new job on Monday as president of 1000 Friends of Florida, the state's advocacy organization for livable communities, working in the group's Tallahassee office.