A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
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JEB BUSH PRESENTS A REPUBLICAN CASE FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM IN WSJ OP-ED via contributor Karen Cyphers; read their full op-ed here.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush and co-author Clint Bolick penned an op-ed for Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, making a ‘Republican case for immigration reform’ and suggesting myriad economic and political reasons why the Senate bill is a positive start for conservative goals. Bush and Bolick argue that if Republicans fail to pass comprehensive immigration reform they will leave in place a system that stifles economic growth, promotes illegal immigration, adds to the welfare rolls, and fails to ensure a secure border. To Bush, Republicans share much in common with immigrants: “beliefs in hard work, enterprise, family, education, patriotism, and faith” — but in order for the GOP message to “penetrate the gateway”, Republicans must point the way toward the solution instead of standing in the way of immigration reform. Bush and Bolick suggest that as the House takes up the Senate bill, they can make several improvements, including to add clearer and more objective border security triggers, a stronger E-Verify system, more opportunities for work-based immigration, and stronger civics education requirements for new citizens.
BILIRAKIS PRESSURED ON IMMIGRATION via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times
Organizing for Action is trying to put pressure on Rep. Gus Bilirakis and other Republicans to support immigration reform.
The group rallied outside Bilirakis’ Tarpon Springs office. “The Senate vote was a great step forward; now it’s time to take the fight to the House to make sure they act to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will strengthen the economy and ensure the American Dream for this generation and generations to come,” read a release.
Bilirakis, like many Republicans, says he opposes anything that amounts to “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. In a May interview with the Tampa Bay Times he said, “I’m definitely not for a path to citizenship. It’s breaking the law and we’re rewarding it.” But he said he was open to some reforms.
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CARL DOMINO SAYS HE’S RUNNING AGAINST PATRICK MURPHY via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post
After months of waters-testing, former Republican state Rep. Carl Domino of Jupiter said today he’s definitely running for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional seat held by freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy.
Murphy is a top GOP target because he narrowly defeated Republican Rep. Allen West in 2012 and his district is one of only nine in the U.S. that chose a Democratic House member while voting for Mitt Romney last year.
Domino said he’ll file papers this week. He’ll join announced Republican candidates Ellen Andel (the vice mayor of Juno Beach) and Alan Schlesinger (a former GOP Senate nominee in Connecticut) in what could become a crowded GOP race.
Other Republicans who have shown interest in running include former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery, state Rep. Gayle Harrell, former Tequesta councilmanCalvin Turnquest and Martin County businessman Gary Uber.
DCCC LAUNCHES WEB AD ATTACKING STEVE SOUTHERLAND RE: STUDENT LOANS Watch here
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a new web video highlighting the impact of “Steve Southerland’s failure to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, and how his colleagues’ dysfunction will hurt students and middle class families in Florida and all over the country.” The average college student graduates with $26,000 in student loan debt, and recent reports show that student loan debt may be having a ripple effect on the economy.
SMART READ: GOP COULD PAY PRICE FOR GERRYMANDERING via POLITICO
No one disputes Republicans used the once-a-decade redistricting process to lock in their House majority — almost certainly through 2014 and possibly until the next round of line-drawing in 2020. But the party could pay a steep price for that dominance.
Some top GOP strategists and candidates warn that the ruby red districts the party drew itself into are pushing House Republicans further to the right — narrowing the party’s appeal at a time when some GOP leaders say its future rests on the opposite happening. If you’re looking for a root cause of the recurring drama within the House Republican Conference — from the surprise meltdown on the farm bill to the looming showdown over immigration reform — the increasingly conservative makeup of those districts is a good place to start.
STAT OF THE DAY via Dangerous Meta: The much-criticized 112th Congress — from 2011 to 2012 — was the least productive and least popular Congress on record, according to the available statistics…only 15 legislative items have become law under the current Congress. That’s fewer than the 23 items that became law at this same point in the 112th Congress, which passed a historically low number of bills that were signed into law.
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JOHN MORGAN GOES ON THE RECORD via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union
During a Monday interview, Morgan said it’s “more likely everyday” that Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist runs for governor as a Democrat.
“Both the rank-and-file activists and donors are reaching out to him,” Morgan said. “At the same time their[Democrat’s] bench isn’t there.”
… He also said he’s not worried about Gov. Rick Scott’s early fundraising start. Let’s Get to Work, a committee supporting Scott, has raised $7.6 million since the beginning of the year.
“Rick is an incumbent governor, so people doing business with the state have noo choice but to give,” he said. “But, I think Charlie Crist has $50 million in name id and $50 million in good will before he raises a dollar.”
MIKE HARIDOPOLOS GIVES $25,000 TO RICK SCOTT’S RE-ELECTION COMMITTEE via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union
A federal committee controlled by former Senate President Mike Haridopolo last week gave $15,000 to “Let’s Get to Work,” a committee supporting Gov. Scott’s reelection.
“Friends of Mike H” was set up in Jan. 2011 for Haridopolos’ failed U.S. Senate bid. It still has $1.3 million cash-on-hand. It gave an additional $10,000 to Let’s Get to Work in April.
Scott’s committee, which is operated by lobbyist and consultant John French, has raised $7.6 million since the beginning of the year. Scott is not directly involved with fundraising, and deflects most questions related to politics or his re-election.
The group has spent $627,440 over that time. Half of the money has gone to the firm headed by Tony Fabrizio, Scott’s top political adviser, and Forward Strategies, a Tallahassee fundraising firm headed by Meredith O’Rourke.
PAM BONDI OFFICIALLY FILES FOR RE-ELECTION
Attorney General Pam Bondi said Monday she filed papers to seek re-election in 2014, joining fellow Republican Cabinet members Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam in taking formal steps to run again, reports the News Service of Florida.
“Officially filed for re-elect this morning – looking forward to continuing working hard and serving the people of Florida!” Bondi said in a Twitter message.
Bondi’s move was not a surprise, and it remains unclear who might challenge her from the Democratic Party.
Atwater, the state’s chief financial officer, filed papers in 2011 indicating he would run again; Putnam, the agriculture commissioner, did so in April 2013. Gov. Rick Scott has not taken the formal step, though he has already made clear he will seek another term in 2014. Bondi defeated Democrat Dan Gelber in 2010, receiving nearly 55 percent of the vote.
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WITH EACH VETO, SCOTT MAY BE WRITING OFF VOTERS via Dara Kam of the Palm Beach Post
As the heap of bills awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature thins, each one he approves or vetoes puts his mark on the state as chief executive but also carries potential impact for his 2014 re-election campaign… And Scott’s vetoes, especially, paint a broad and sometimes dizzying landscape as he seeks to appeal to an array of voting groups to maintain his hold on the governor’s mansion. He used his red pen to veto an alimony overhaul that could win him support from women voters and a tuition increase that may endear him to younger voters, two blocs considered crucial for his reelection. His veto of a driver license measure that garnered near-unanimous support from the Legislature could signal Scott’s attempt to boost enthusiasm among tea party activists who helped him to victory three years ago but who were alienated by some of his actions this year.
“I’ve never seen the governor as a person who’s driven by poll numbers or the politics of the day,” said GOP consultant Brian Hughes, a former spokesman for Scott and the Republican Party of Florida. “The governor has the power of a veto for a reason. He’s always brought to the job a core set of principles.”
“There is sort of like this internal conflict between Scott World and Scott. Scott World is trying to get him to be seen as more of a centrist, center-right, more moderate governor. And that’s not a comfortable place for Scott. That’s not where he is,” [Steve] Schale said.
SCOTT WORTH $83.8 MILLION via Aaron Sharockman of the Tampa Bay Times
Scott reported a 2012 net worth of $83.8 million, up slightly from the year prior, according to documents published Monday by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
Scott, a self-made millionaire and former hospital chain CEO, reported a net worth of $83 million in 2011.
He had listed a net worth of more than $218 million when he first ran for governor in 2010, before he pumped $75 million of his own money into his successful campaign.
Scott’s largest individual asset is his $9.2 million waterfront Naples home, records show. He has $72.9 million stored in a blind trust.
SERIOUSLY? “Word on the grapevine is Gov. Rick Scott will pen a book profiling significant Floridians, including hip-hop megastar Flo Rida,” writes the Tampa Bay Times Ernest Hooper. Can’t you see Scott joining Flo Rida on the stage for a spiffy little version of Club Can’t Handle Me?
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EMAIL OF THE DAY: “Are you willing to be a plaintiff in a Florida marriage lawsuit?” from Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith
FLORIDA BRANDED BY HOOTERS? NOT TO FLORIDA TREND
Florida is home of Publix, NASCAR, and Royal Caribbean Cruise — but in a map of brands most closely associated with each US state, Florida gets pegged with Hooters. Hmph. But if you’re interested in knowing what companies actually define the Sunshine State, take a look at Florida Trend’s annual list of the biggest Florida-based companies, released today. The list covers a total of 350 entities, including 150 public companies and 200 private, and offers profiles in 18 select firms.
According to Trend, Florida’s 150 largest public companies increased revenue by 2.5 percent, or $7.1 billion, over the last year. Yet it took revenue of $2.6 million to make this year’s list — $1 million less than the previous year. These 150 public companies reported about 1.3 million employees. Comparatively, the list’s 200 biggest private companies increased revenues by 7.5 percent over last year, or $14.1 billion, to total $206.5 billion. It took these companies $88.5 million in revenues to make this year’s list, an increase of $13.6 million from last year. These 200 private companies employ about 269,000 people, which is about 1 million fewer than the 150 public companies. There are 28 new private companies added to the list this year.
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HOUSE GAMING COMMITTEE RELEASES INITIAL REPORT ON GAMING IN FLORIDA via Nancy Smith of Sunshine State News
The House Select Committee on Gaming Monday evening released the first in a series of reports to study the impact of gaming in Florida. The report was commissioned by both House and Senate Select Committees on Gaming and was conducted by Spectrum Gaming Group, selected through a competitive procurement process in April.
“I look forward to digesting the information in this report and will consider it before any decisions are made about the future of gaming in Florida,” Select Committee on Gaming Chairman Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, said in a press statement. “I look forward to working with Chairman (Garrett) Richter on the issue next fall.”
The first report is focused on an “Assessment of the Florida gaming industry and its economic effects.” The report is available here.
HOW REP. DOUG HOLDER IS SPENDING HIS SUMMER VACATION
State Rep. Doug Holder knows how tough it is to be away from his wife and children during committee weeks and Session — particularly when handling the scope of issues that he took on this year. Holder passed the ban on texting while driving after six years of working to do so, and utilized his role as Chair of Regulatory Affairs to help negotiate reforms to Citizens Property Insurance.
But that’s not all. Holder sponsored four bills in 2013 — 100 percent of which were passed by both chambers and already signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.
Holder returned home the morning after Session, went to dinner as a family, and spent the weekend at the beach and at his son’s baseball games. This summer, Holder is looking forward to “a good, old-fashioned road trip” to visit family in North Carolina and Alabama, and will put some time into getting his golf game “in working order”. He will finish restoring his Ford Bronco that has been a project for the last nine months, and will be rereading classic books that his 8th grade son has on the summer list — Catcher in the Rye, Farewell to Arms, This Side of Paradise, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
That said, Holder non-stop campaigns, meets with constituents, attends community events, and feels that with all the work that must be done in 2014, September 23 may not be soon enough for committee weeks to begin.
LAWYERS FILE LAWSUITS CHALLENGING CHANGES TO MED-MAL LAW via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald
In five separate complaints filed in federal and state court, the lawyers claim that the so-called “ex parte” provisions of SB 1972 is an unconstitutional violation of the state’s privacy laws and also violates the federal privacy protections in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountabilty Act, HIPAA.
The bill, which took effect Monday, allows for lawyers to to learn about a patient’s medical condition by talking to other treating doctors without the patient or his lawyer being present. The legal challenge was coordinated by the Florida Justice Association, the trade association for the state’s trial lawyers.
“With everything that is happening in the federal government right now involving the invasion of privacy of U.S. Citizens by their government, it is appalling to know that in Florida, our Legislature and governor have authorized doctors to divulge their patients’ personal, private medical history to complete strangers,” said Debra Henley, executive director of the Florida Justice Association.
MARIA SACHS RESPONDS DIRECTLY TO CLAIMS SHE DOESN’T LIVE IN DISTRICT
Responding to an ethics complaint filed against her after a local TV station reported that video showed her staying at a longtime family home outside the South Florida district she represents, Senator Maria Sachs responded directly to claims she doesn’t live in her Senate district.
“Of course I live in my district,” Sachs wrote in an email to SaintPetersBlog.
The residency question isn’t new for Sachs. Sen. Jack Latvala raised the issue in April during the confirmation hearing of Florida Elections Commissioner Barbra Stern. Stern’s name, along with that of her mother, Judy Stern, a Broward County lobbyist who is active in South Florida politics, are the deed of a Fort Lauderdale condominium that Sachs lists as her residence.
“”Republicans have spent millions attacking me and those attacks unfortunately did not stop with the election,” said Sachs. “But sadly, the Republicans’ well-funded attacks against me are getting more and more personal, but the people in my district aren’t buying it. And everyone I represent can be certain of this, too: I’m not going to take my eye off what’s important for a single moment. I’m focused on my constituents and their needs.”
SPEAKER: MEDICAID SPECIAL SESSION WOULD BE ‘BIG MISTAKE’ via the News Service of Florida
Reiterating his opposition to expanding Medicaid, House Speaker Will Weatherford said in an interview with a South Florida television station that lawmakers should not meet in a special session on the issue.
“I think it’d be a big mistake to call a special session. We don’t have an agreement on where we want to go,” Weatherford said on “Facing South Florida” with Jim DeFede on WFOR. “At the end of the day, this is a federal government bait-and-switch situation. They want to dangle money in front of us, get us to take it, and then three or four years from now, expect us to pay for it.”
Gov. Rick Scott early this year backed expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. While Senate Republicans did not want to expand Medicaid, they moved forward with an alternative that would have accepted tens of billions of dollars in federal money to enroll low-income people in private health-insurance plans. Both proposals died in the House, which came up with a more limited proposal that Weatherford and other supporters said was a free-market approach. Democrats have continued to say Scott should call a special legislative session to deal with the issue, but the governor has not brought lawmakers back.
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PATRONIS DECIDES AGAINST 2016 RUN via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida
Short-circuiting what could have become a contentious race, state Rep. Jimmy Patronis has scrapped plans to run for a Panhandle Senate seat in 2016.
Patronis, 41, said in a prepared statement Monday that he wants to spend more time with his wife and two young children, along with resuming more responsibilities in running a family restaurant.
“I have a strong desire to continue to serve the people of the Northwest Florida another eight years in the state Senate,” Patronis said. “However, an overwhelming part of me has come to realize it is not what’s best for me and my family at this time in our lives. So I have decided I will no longer be a candidate for state Senate.”
Patronis’ exit is a boost to Rep. Matt Gaetz who wants to replace his father, Senate President Don Gaetz, in Senate District 1, which includes all or parts of six Panhandle counties. Though the seat is not expected to open until 2016, Patronis and Matt Gaetz had already opened campaign accounts for the race — amid signs that the GOP primary could become heated.
FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Matt Gaetz: “Today, we celebrate the service of my friend Rep. Jimmy Patronis. He has decided to withdraw from the campaign for the Florida Senate – but he will remain a key voice for the values of Northwest Florida.”
TWEET, TWEET: @WillWeatherford: @JimmyPatronis is a class act and statesman. Glad he’s on our team for one more year!
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A QUICK QUESTION FOR HD 96 CANDIDATE KRISTIN JACOBS
That’s right, she filed on June 27th — three days before the end of the second-quarter fundraising deadline.
It’s difficult to imagine Jacobs will report much in the way of raising money, so not only will she have to go through the hassle of posting a campaign treasurer’s report, but she will likely post one which shows a big fat doughnut.
I can’t remember another credible legislative candidate filing so close to a quarterly deadline?
Don’t 99% of candidates usually hold off on officially filing until a day or two after the fundraising deadline, just so they don’t show a ‘zero’ in their report?
SEN. KELLI STARGEL ENDORSES BLAISE INGOGLIA FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 35
Blaise Ingoglia announced the addition of State Sen. Kelli Stargel to his list of esteemed supporters. Stargel joins Senators Wilton Simpson and John Legg; Representatives Dennis Baxley, Dan Raulerson, Marti Coley and Jimmie Smith; Hernando County Commissioners Dave Russel, Nick Nicholson and Wayne Dukes; School Board Member John Sweeney; and Tax Collector Sally Daniel in her endorsement of Ingoglia.
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5 QUESTIONS FOR THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA via Kevin Cate of Cate Communications, here, including:
Kevin Cate: How has NSOF impacted traditional outlets covering state government?
David Royse: That’s a good question though probably better directed at those outlets. But I’ll take a shot at what we hope we’re doing. By focusing on some of the day-to-day stuff (what did a chairman say about what is going to happen to a bill, for example) we hope we may be freeing up traditional outlets to do other bigger picture stuff they want to do more of.
APPOINTED: Scott J. Israel to the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.
RADEY THOMAS YON & CLARK IS NOW ... via Kevin Derby of Sunshine State News
Radey Thomas Yon & Clark, Tallahassee-based specialists in regulated industries law, announced a name and brand change Monday.
The firm is now Radey Law Firm. Radley President Travis Miller said the change is to “position the firm for future growth.”
“With the renewed look of the firm and the strength and continuity of our existing team, we are positioned for growth and continued achievement,” he said. “The regulatory and legal landscape in Florida is constantly evolving, and it is more important than ever that we position ourselves to add value to our clients and community.”
A press statement describes the AV-rated firm as having “deep experience and extensive relationships in the complex arena of regulated industries.”
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to young Republican Janine Kiray.