Blogs from around the state

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.

 

Naked Politics Diaz-Balart: Cuba already backsliding, re-arrested 2 of 53 political prisoners released in Obama deal

@MarcACaputo

When President Obama and Raul Castro announced an effort to normalize ties between the United States and Cuba, the regime announced it would release 53 political prisoners.

But it never said it wouldn't re-arrest any of them.

Naked Politics Miami Commissioner: Use Patriot Act to go after gangsters

@NewsbySmiley

As a wave of shootings spread through inner-city Miami last year, City Commissioner Keon Hardemon took to calling gun-toting gangsters "domestic terrorists."

He says the phrase isn't just a soundbite.

Post on Politics New Rubio book seeks Obama-style connection with voters

Sen. Marco Rubio‘s new book (the second by the first-term Florida senator) has plenty of conservative talking points and the requisite criticisms of President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton and “government-centered, command-and-control liberalism.”

 

Post on Politics Need a lawyer? Panel studies why poor shut out of courts

Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga formed a commission to study court access

A panel organized by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga meets today to examine ways to meet the legal needs of low- and moderate-income Floridians and give them more access to civil courts.

Naked Politics Bondi reverses course, expresses dissatisfaction in Bailey's removal

Attorney General Pam Bondi made it unanimous on Thursday, joining fellow Cabinet members in dissing Gov. Rick Scott’s removal of Gerald Bailey from his perch atop the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Naked Politics Miami-Dade's Bill Johnson may be up for Enterprise Florida post

@doug_hanks

Bill Johnson, Miami-Dade’s longtime port director and current head of water and sewer, may be in the running to take over Florida’s economic-development arm.

Naked Politics That leaves Bondi: Atwater speaks out on Bailey exit

@mikevansickler

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Thursday joined the growing chorus of those disappointed in how Gov. Rick Scott replaced Gerald Bailey, the former Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Naked Politics Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo will deliver Spanish-language GOP response to State of the Union

@PatriciaMazzei

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo has been tapped by the Republican Party to deliver the Spanish-language response to President Obama's State of the Union address later this month.

PolitiJax Hutson, Renuart battle to fill void in State Senate left by John Thrasher

The special election to replace John Thrasher in the Florida Senate will likely come down to which one of the Republican lawmakers vying for the seat makes the most convincing argument to voters he can best fill the void left by Thrasher’s decision become president at Florida State University.

PolitiJax Ed Burr becomes Civic Council chairman

Ed Burr, president and CEO of Jacksonville development company GreenPointe Holdings, was recently elected the 2015 chairman of the Jacksonville Civic Council, a group made up of many of the city's top corporate and civic leaders which often plays an influential role in shaping city policy.

Naked Politics Is Kevin McCarty the next Cabinet-level shake-up?

By Jeff Harrington and Mary Ellen Klas

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has survived sitting on one of the hottest seats in state government for more than a decade. 

Naked Politics National Republicans name Florida state senator 'rising star'

@PatriciaMazzei

The Republican National Committee on Thursday added four politicians to its program highlighting women and minority candidates, and one of them is from Miami.

Naked Politics AFP Florida rolls out legislative agenda

Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group affiliated with the Koch brothers, is pursuing an aggressive agenda in Tallahassee this year.

Among its top priorities: eliminating the corporate income tax, as well as any business-specific tax subsidies and exemptions.

"We want to make taxes fair and we want to end political favoritism," Florida State Director Chris Hudson said Thursday.

Naked Politics Scott admin didn't save records from former employees, but tells court it's not gov's fault

Gov. Rick Scott has sent a warning to his former employees: you’re on your own when it comes to defending yourself in court over lost public records.

In a response to a lawsuit filed in circuit court in Tallahassee accusing the governor of intentionally hiding public documents, the governor’s legal counsel argued that the governor’s office has done its part to turn over the records sought in the lawsuit and, if there are more records to turn over, it’s not their fault.