Blogs from around the state

Naked Politics Support builds for Medicaid expansion in Florida

For the past two years, the Republican-dominated Florida House has turned away federal funds intended to expand healthcare coverage to nearly a million uninsured Floridians.

But there is a growing list of reasons why 2015 may be different.

Chief among them: increased pressure from businesses, which could soon face fines for failing to provide healthcare coverage to employees.

Naked Politics Hosting Miss Universe resulted in higher costs than expected for Florida International University

@MrMikeVasquez

Florida International University will take center stage next Sunday when the school hosts the Miss Universe pageant, an event beamed to a worldwide television audience.

School administrators are banking on the exposure to raise the profile of Miami’s sometimes-overlooked state university. But FIU records and emails show the chance to bathe in the glow of billionaire Donald Trump’s Jan. 25 gala has come with some unexpected costs:

Naked Politics New plan calls for Miami-Dade mayor to take reins on sea rise

@jenstaletovich

Miami-Dade County’s task force on rising seas wants the county mayor to take the reins on the mounting problem and will propose a suite of resolutions before commissioners on Wednesday to address the issue.

Naked Politics Governor's office removed investigator who found prison abuse, then offered to help find new job

Gov. Rick Scott’s office did not stop the Department of Corrections from ousting investigator David Folsom from his job when he was calling attention to the agency’s failure to report widespread abuse by guards, but the governor’s staff was willing to help him find other work. 

Naked Politics Rick Scott loses allies, credibility amid FDLE scandal and RPOF chair vote

Gov. Rick Scott has started losing allies and credibility midway through the first month of his second term.

It all erupted in one politically disastrous week in which Scott:

1. Was publicly accused of being a liar by the former chief of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He says the governor’s campaign last year inappropriately tried to meddle in department business and investigations for political reasons.

Naked Politics Hard feelings? Dale! Rick Scott would rather praise rapper Pitbull than new GOP chair on Twitter

@MarcACaputo

Naked Politics Blaise Ingoglia lays down the law at RPOF

@MarcACaputo

After yesterday's unexpected vote installing Rep. Blaise Ingoglia as Republican Party of Florida chairman, the Florida Senate's election staff moved money and equipment out of RPOF, leading to this edict from Ingoglia: 

Republican Party of Florida Officers, Staff, and Consultants,

Naked Politics Ousted FDLE chief: Rick Scott staff made false claims, tried meddling in investigations

@stevebousquet @mikevansickler

Ousted Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey claims he resisted repeated efforts by Gov. Rick Scott and his top advisers to falsely name someone a target in a criminal case, hire political allies for state jobs and intercede in an outside investigation of a prospective Scott appointee.

Post on Politics Is Florida Gov. Rick Scott a lame duck?

Gov. Rick Scott arrives at Saturday’s Republican Party of Florida chairman vote. He got big applause, but party activists rejected his choice for chairman.

OS Political Pulse Blaise Ingoglia elected chairman of Florida GOP

The Republican Party of Florida has a new chairman.

Naked Politics Florida GOP bucks Rick Scott, chooses Rep. Blaise Ingoglia for chair

@MarcACaputo

The Republican Party of Florida's grassroots bucked Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday by choosing to replace his hand-picked chairwoman with a leader of its own choosing, state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia.

PolitiJax RPOF Chair Dougher loses re-election bid to Rep. Ingoglia

Republican Party of Florida Chairwoman Leslie Dougher had the support of Gov. Rick Scott, the House speaker, the Senate president and numerous party leaders as she campaigned for re-election to a full term.

But it wasn't enough. State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia was elected the party's new chairman today in Orlando, the News Service of Florida reported.

Post on Politics Florida GOP rejects Scott choice, elects Ingoglia chairman

Gov. Rick Scott and former Republican Party of Florida Chairwoman Leslie Dougher talk Friday night before going to a reception for Dougher on the eve of today’s chairman vote.

Post on Politics Will Florida GOP activists support or defy Scott in party chair vote?

Gov. Rick Scott and Republican Party of Florida Chairwoman Leslie Dougher talk Friday night before going to a reception for Dougher on the eve of today’s chairman vote.

Naked Politics Like others in FL, million-dollar Romney donor Mike Fernandez leans Jeb-ward

@MarcACaputo

Billionaire healthcare executive Miguel “Mike” Fernandez was an early support of Mitt Romney’s in 2011– and he was a generous giver, contributing at least $1 million to elect the Republican, hosting a big fundraiser and, he estimates, getting others to contribute as much as $7 million more.

Post on Politics Panel says costs, complexity keeping Floridians from courts

Most poor and middle-income Floridians can’t access courts, panel concludes.

Most low- and middle-income Floridians are being shut out of the civil court system, their basic legal rights lost to dizzying terminology, complicated legal forms and unaffordable lawyers, a panel concluded Friday.

Naked Politics North Miami campaign manager's trial on hold

@DavidOvalle305

Four years after his arrest for allegedly accepting an envelope stuffed with cash, ex-North Miami mayoral campaign manager Ricardo Brutus has yet to go to trial or accept a plea deal.

A Tuesday court date led to yet another delay. Lawyer Larry Handfield, who has defended Brutus for the past two years, hinted a plea deal may be in the works. “There won’t be a trial,” he said.

Naked Politics Bondi pleased Supreme Court will consider gay marriage

After the U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday it would take up four same-sex marriage cases by the end of the term, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a statement of her own, praising the court:

Naked Politics Marco Rubio: Obama's Cuba policies 'skirt the law,' and Congress should hold him accountable

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wants Congress to go after President Obama's Cuba-normalization policies now, while they're still being rolled out, and not after they've already taken effect.

Naked Politics New Miami-Dade commission chairman urges anti-poverty agenda

@PatriciaMazzei @doug_hanks

Vowing to fight for society’s neediest, Jean Monestime was installed as chairman of the Miami-Dade commission on Friday, in an emotional ceremony in which he laid out an agenda built around lifting people out of poverty.

Naked Politics RNC announces 9 Republican presidential debates

From a press release

WASHINGTON – Today, at the Republican National Committee (RNC) Winter Meeting in San Diego, California, the RNC announced that it has sanctioned nine debates from August 2015 through March 1, 2016. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus presented a clear vision for the debate process, including the dates, locations and sponsors.

Post on Politics Florida GOP raises more than $1 million for Scott’s second swearing-in

Gov. Rick Scott’s inaugural festivities covered by many with stake in state government.

Florida Republicans have raised more than $1 million for Gov. Rick Scott’s inauguration earlier this month, with the latest installment of $166,000 in donations reported Friday.

OS Political Pulse Bill would ban kids from tanning beds

TALLAHASSEE  --  Dubbing it the "Preventing Youth Cancer Act," a Democratic lawmaker filed a bill Friday that would bar minors from using tanning beds.

PolitiJax Qualifying closes for Jacksonville elections; many, many races still unsettled

Overshadowed by unpredictable races for mayor and sheriff, qualifying for Jacksonville’s spring elections closed Friday with bids for Duval County’s property appraiser and tax collector decided and a ton of City Council contests unfolding.

Outgoing Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland will become property appraiser in July without a fight, and Michael Corrigan will remain tax collector for another four-year term.

Naked Politics Survey: Most Support Stronger U.S. Ties With Cuba, but few expect Cuba to become more Democratic

From Pew Research Center:

OS Political Pulse Republican Party chair contested

What should be a year for a slam-dunk re-election of the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Leslie Dougher, has drawn competition, including from the Vice Chairman Blaise Ingoglia.

Naked Politics Miami may pay legal bills of senior official investigated over nepotism allegations

@NewsbySmiley

Miami taxpayers may pay the legal expenses of a senior city official accused and cleared of nepotism.

Naked Politics Fact-checking claim by group collecting signatures for solar ballot question in 2016

When it comes to solar, the Sunshine State is, well, in the dark, say advocates.

Post on Politics Rename Old Dixie Highway for Barack Obama, Riviera Beach mayor says

Picture of President Barack Obama with Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters from Masters’ Facebook page.

Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters wants Old Dixie Highway renamed for President Barack Obama.