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Sunburn for 7/2: A morning read of what's hot in Florida politics

By on July 2, 2012

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

***Today’s Sunburn is brought to you by Florida Poly Vision, Inc.  To learn the facts about Florida’s new university, Florida Polytechnic University, and the growing group of supporters that make up Poly Vision, visit www.floridapolyvision.com, like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FLPolyVision) and follow us on Twitter @FLPolyVision.***

SIMPLE, BUT HIGH PRAISE FOR SUNBURN: “You do a very good job.” — Steve Uhlfelder

FIRST POLL SINCE THURSDAY’S SUPREME COURT RULING — 50% OF FLORIDIANS DISAPPROVE, 39% APPROVE

Florida Democrats support the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act three-to-one. But Florida Republicans oppose almost six-to-one the ruling. When the two groups are proportionally blended, the state of Florida comes down this way: 39% support the ruling, 50% oppose, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WFLA-TV in Tampa.

  • 51% in Florida say they expect the cost of health care to go up as a result of the decision.
  • 47% in Florida say they expect the quality of their health care coverage to get worse as a result of the decision.
  • Moderates say the Supreme Court of the United States has integrity. Conservatives say the Supreme Court lacks integrity.

SurveyUSA interviewed 650 Florida adults on June 28. Of the adults, 539 were following news of the Supreme Court decision and were asked the substantive questions of the survey. 9% of the Floridians interviewed do not currently have health insurance coverage. Among the small number who do not currently have health insurance, there is three-to-one opposition to a court ruling that, in effect, requires them to purchase coverage.

NATIONALLY, SUPPORT FOR HEALTH CARE LAW INCREASES AFTER RULING

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that support for President Obama’s health care law rose to 48% after the Supreme Court’s ruling that it was constitutional, from 43% before the court decision.

MUST-READ REPORT FROM CBS NEWS: JOHN ROBERTS DID, IN FACT, SWITCH HIS VOTE

Chief Justice John Roberts “initially sided with the Supreme Court’s four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law,” CBS News reports.

“Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position… Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy — believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law — led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold.”

>>>ANOTHER MUST-READDomenico Montanaro piece on how Solicitor General Donald Verrilli won over Chief Justice John Roberts with his arguments over the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “About the 15% of Americans who aren’t paying taxes and are feeding from President Obama’s hands, perhaps they will vote for such a tool.” — Sarah Palin, in an interview on Fox News.

ROMNEY MAY HAVE RAISED $100 MILLION IN JUNE

New York Times: “People close to the Romney campaign say it could close its June fund-raising books having collected an additional $100 million, possibly more, a tally that would exceed all expectations and further extend the overall Republican financial advantage in the race.”

CONGRESS APPROVES BP OIL EARMARKS

Florida and other Gulf states will share the bulk any of monies received from BP Oil under the RESTORE act passed by Congress Friday. The bill, which was part of a larger transportation measure, earmarks 80 percent of water pollution fines BP is expected to pay for restoration efforts in Gulf States, which bore the brunt of the damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The company is facing fines of between $5 billion and $21 billion for violating the federal Clean Water Act. Voting against the measure in the House were Republican Reps. Sandy Adams, Bill Posey, Connie Mack, Richard Nugent and Dennis Ross. In the Senate, the Florida delegation split, with Democrat Bill Nelson voting in favor and Republican Marco Rubio voting against. The RESTORE Act was included in a larger transportation bill. Also included in the bill was a continuation of low-interest rates loans for college students. The interest rates on guaranteed student loans were slated to double if no action was taken.

SCOTT NOT SURE HOW FLA. WILL PAY FOR IT, BUT ADMINISTRATION IS STUDYING MEDICAID EXPANSION UNDER OBAMACARE

Officials in Gov. Rick Scott’s office emphasized Friday that the governor hasn’t made a decision on whether Florida should expand the Medicaid program under the federal health care law after the governor said on a morning radio show that if Florida were to do so, he doesn’t know how it would be paid for, reports the News Service of Florida.

“I don’t know how we’re ever going to be able to afford it,” Scott said Friday morning in an interview on WOKV radio in Jacksonville. The Supreme Court ruling on Thursday upholding the federal Affordable Care Act also said states have the right to opt out of any Medicaid expansion required under the law without risking the loss of existing Medicaid dollars. The host, Rich Jones, asked Scott if he would push for Florida to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. Scott replied: “Here’s what you’ve got to look at: I don’t know how we’re ever going to be able to afford it. I mean, look at how tough our budgets are now. My first year I had over a $3 billion budget deficit walking into the fiscal year. Last session I had almost a $2 billion deficit. I mean, Medicaid is the biggest issue we have. Medicaid has been growing at three and a half times our general revenue. We can’t afford it. The federal government cannot just keep raising our taxes.” The law relies in part on states taking on large numbers of new Medicaid patients – though the federal government would pick up the cost at first and 90 percent of the cost down the road. Still, even at having to pay only 10 percent of the cost of new Medicaid patients, several Florida lawmakers said this week that the state may opt out. A spokesman for the governor said, however, that Scott “has been very clear that he hasn’t made a decision yet.” The spokesman, Lane Wright said it is being studied. “He has policy staff and legal staff working on this,” Wright said. “He wants to make sure we fully understand what the decision means for Florida before moving forward.”

JOHN ROMANO COLUMN: SCOTT IS PUTTING POLITICS OVER PEOPLE IN NEED

Rick Scott knows best.

It doesn’t matter what the president says. It doesn’t matter what laws Congress passes. It doesn’t matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules.

Rick Scott knows best.

It doesn’t matter how many millions of Floridians are without health insurance. It doesn’t matter how high your insurance premiums climb. It doesn’t matter that emergency rooms have been turned into standing-room-only free clinics.

Rick Scott still knows best.

Haven’t you figured that out yet?

Florida’s governor is a one-man think tank. He is a walking legal precedent. He is going to tell you what is best for you even if you didn’t bother to ask.

>>>Scott named Loser of the Week in Florida politics by the Tampa Bay Times‘ Adam Smith.

HOW IT’S PLAYING: Rick Scott’s reaction to the ruling is earning him bad ink across the state: Miami Herald editorial – The law of the land; Tampa Bay Times editorial – Gov. Scott putting politics above people in need; Tampa Bay Times editorial – Time for Scott, Bondi to stop stalling; First Coast NewsAdvocates call on Gov. Scott to implement Affordable Care Act; Lakeland Ledger editorial – Affordable Care Act: Time To Heal; Orlando Sentinel editorial – The court has now ruled on health care; Fla. needs to move on; Palm Beach PostHigh court delivers blow to Florida Republican leaders; Sarasota Herald TribuneSupreme Court decision bad for Scott; First Coast NewsAdvocates call on Gov. Scott to implement Affordable Care Act

SCOTT’S NET WORTH DROPPED AGAIN LAST YEAR

Rick Scott says he’s worth less money now than he was just before he entered office. But his financial disclosure report filed late Friday also shows that that the former hospital chain CEO earned nearly $26 million from his investments during his first 12 months as governor, more than double what he earned in 2010.

A spokesman for Scott on Friday could not explain the apparent contradiction. Nor could he explain why the disclosure form did not list the 60 acres and home that the governor purchased last year in Montana.

SCOTT’S COMMITTEE  NABS $10,000 CONTRIBUTION FROM MORGAN & MORGAN

It’s still up in the air whether Charlie Crist will challenge Rick Scott in 2014, but Crist’s employer, law firm Morgan & Morgan is already hedging its bets.

Scott’s fundraising committee, Let’s Get to Work, reported a $10,000 contribution this week from Morgan & Morgan, received during a six-figure swing through Central Florida, according to the Florida Current. Let’s Get to Work raised more than $250,000, with large donations coming from U.S. Sugar Corp. ($100,000), the health plan manager Wellcare ($25,000) and developer Jim Palmer ($25,000). Wellcare recently announced plans to compete for state Medicaid contracts, while Palmer has been a prominent supporter of the Wekiva Parkway.

MACNAMARA OUT, HOLLINGSWORTH IN

Sunday was Steve MacNamara’s last official day as Scott’s chief of staff. MacNamara announced earlier he was resigning, to be replaced, starting this morning by Adam Hollingsworth, a former chief of staff to former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton.

MARCO RUBIO BEGINS BOOK TOUR

A crowd of more than one hundred people — armed with a copy of An American Son: A Memoir –helped United States Senator Marco Rubio begin the Florida leg of his highly-anticipated book tour on Saturday during a visit to First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach.

The book, which went on sale on June 19th, cracked The New York Times top ten best seller list in its first week.

Rubio continues his book tour on Monday.

12 p.m., BJ’s Wholesale Club, 4697 Millenia Plaza Way, Orlando.
3:30 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Lake Sumter Market Square, The Villages.
7:30 p.m., Books-A-Million, 1910 Wells Rd., Orange Park.

RUBIO FACES DILEMMA WITH HIS IMMIGRATION STANCE by William March of the Tampa Tribune

“Rubio has suffered a setback in the highest-profile legislative initiative so far in his brief Senate career, his abortive proposal for an alternative to the DREAM Act,” writes March. “Despite that setback, in which he was essentially outmaneuvered by President Barack Obama, Rubio still can hardly avoid the role of his party’s leader on the immigration issue.”

…(S)eeing both sides of the issue isn’t a terrific qualification in the eyes of some anti-immigration hard-liners.

“He’s trying to move his own party closer to the direction of Latino voters because he understands that’s a crucial demographic for the future of the country,” said Darrell West, an expert on immigrations issues at the Brookings Institution think tank. “He’d like to see the party be more moderate.”

2012 RNC TO OPEN WITH MEDIA, DELEGATE MIXER

The Republican National Convention in Tampa will kick off with an invitation-only, cocktail-style reception for 20,000 that will feature local talent and designs tailored to highlight Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

The Host Committee announced that the Aug. 26 event will mark the first time delegates and the media will be jointly welcomed at a convention.

“The event will be a tremendous opportunity for the media, delegates and other guests to get to know each other and build relationships prior to the start of the convention,” said Ken Jones, Host Committee president and CEO.

REPORT GIVES STATE HIGH MARK ON SOME CHILD WELFARE MEASURES

Florida’s child welfare system is among the best in the country on some measures, according to a report released Friday. The 2012 Right For Kids Rankings scored states in 11 key areas reported to the federal government, and found Florida the only one of the five states with the largest child welfare populations to rank in the top five for achievement. Florida’s child welfare system has been plagued for years by high profile tragedies, including the deaths of several children under the state’s care. Deaths of children in the system wasn’t one of the measurements in the report. The report found, however, that Florida is one of 11 states with a 24-hour response to claims of abuse or neglect; one of 12 states that visit most foster kids monthly; one of nine states that return foster children to their biological families quickly and safely when possible; one of nine states that promote short stays in foster care; and one of 11 states that help find permanent families quickly for many children in foster care. Since January 2011, Florida has reduced the number of children available for adoption from 850 at any given time to 750. Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins pointed to the state’s efforts to move beyond safety and permanency to children’s well-being, which includes focusing on their education and health care. “We in Florida said we need to go above and beyond just the federal measurements,” Wilkins said. “And we’ve created new metrics around educational success, health care and socialization types of activities.” According to the report, Florida has moved up 12 slots in the rankings since the community-based care system was fully implemented statewide in 2006. DCF contracts with 18 nonprofit CBCs to serve as lead agencies responsible for such services as prevention, foster care and adoption. “These rankings are evidence that community-based care works,” said Mike Cusick, CEO of the Florida Coalition for Children, an association of CBCs and service providers. Since privatizing, Florida has reduced the number of children in foster care from 30,000 to less than 20,000.

FLORIDA CITIES LAG IN GROWTH

No Florida city ranked in the Top 25 of a newly released list of cities with the fastest-growing populations since the 2010 Census, according to data gathered by the United States Census Bureau 715 cities/areas with populations of more than 50,000. Tampa ranked highest on the list at 26th, growing 3.1 percent between the April 1, 2010 Census and July 1, 2011. See more details and a map at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

SOUTH FLORIDA’S ECONOMIC REBOUND ABOUT AVERAGE IN LATEST STUDY

South Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession ranks near the middle of the economic comebacks of the nation’s largest 100 metropolitan areas, according to Brookings Institution’s latest quarterly assessment. The recovery of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties is listed at 55th during the three months that end in June. That means 54 other large urban areas are recuperating better this current quarter from the recession that threw millions of Americans out of work.

PERSONNEL NOTE: JUSTICE KENNETH BELL TO CHAIR FLORIDA TAXWATCH’S CENTER FOR SMART JUSTICE

Florida TaxWatch has selected former state Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Bell as chairman of its Center for Smart Justice, a group of state leaders that studies the state corrections system to find ways to reduce costs and improve public safety. After he left the Supreme Court in 2008, he returned to private legal practice in Pensacola with the Clark Partington Hart Larry Bond & Stackhouse law firm.

MORE PERSONNEL NOTES

>>>The Cabinet named Marshall Stranburg as the interim director of the Department of Revenue, replacing Lisa Vickers.

>>>The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this week picked Kenneth Wright to serve as its new chairman for a one-year term.

POLICY NOTES

– Criticisms rise of FAMU’s policy of accepting students who did not qualify for admission, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

– Few Florida school districts plan to enact an “inspirational messages” policy when the law takes effect, the News Service of Florida reports.

– Florida college students see tuition and other costs rising, and a sagging job market awaiting them when they’re done. More from the Fort Myers News-Press.

***Are you tired of getting your ASSETS TAXED OFF? Amendment 4 can help. Join the movement at www.TaxYourAssetsOff.com or check us out on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.*** 

NOTES FROM THE TRAIL

Checking in with Aaron Bean, candidate for SD 4: “Mayor Stan Totman of Baldwin; Vice Mayor Kara Tucker of Neptune Beach; Nassau County Clerk of the Court and Comptroller John Crawford; as well as State Representative Dennis Baxley, former leader of the Christian Coalition of Florida, announced their endorsement of my campaign.”

Checking in with Jeff Brandes, candidate for SD 22: “We had several fundraisers this week hosted by some of my good friends; Rep. Ben Albritton in Polk County, Rep Dana Young & Commissioner Sandra Murman in South Tampa, Rep. Gaetz in Okaloosa County, and Rep. Jose Oliva in Miami-Dade. “

Checking in with Jim Frishe, candidate for SD 22: “I had a great time at the Hillsborough County Lincoln Day dinner this week. Art Wood and the whole HREC team put together a great event featuring Governor Rick Scott & Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.”

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Three more legislative candidates have withdrawn their names from the ballot: Write-in candidates Katherine Barnett and Timothy McCorkle in Senate District 18 and House District 59 respectively, and Democrat Beryl McClary in House District 45.

LEGISLATIVE STAFFER MERRY-GO-ROUND

On: Michael Berry, new legislative assistant to Sen. Lizbeth Benacuisto

Off: Virginia Poe, formerly with Sen. Eleanor Sobel.

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURNSlate looks at the 8 stages of grief in the GOP’s response to the Obamacare decision.

MORE ALOE: Florida Bar Tab, the barfly alter-ego of Associated Press reporter Brendan Farrington, names his 10 favorite watering holes here.

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