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Florida Democratic Party News Clips - April 24, 2013

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PALM BEACH POST: SCOTT'S LEGISLATIVE 'PRIORITIES ADRIFT'

Scott Keeps Calm, Carries on, Despite Priorities Adrift [Palm Beach Post] "Gov. Rick Scott is being challenged by top lawmakers on his pitch for low-income health insurance and the lone issues he’s labeled legislative priorities — tax breaks and teacher pay....Weatherford looms as Scott’s biggest obstacle, refusing to embrace his health insurance plan and allowing the governor’s tax break package to proceed at a glacial pace."

 

WITH $51 BILLION OF FEDERAL FUNDS ON THE LINE, GOP IN GRIDLOCK OVER MEDICAID

Senate, House Still Sparring Over Health Care Decision [Tampa Bay Times] "The Senate budget committee sent two alternatives to Medicaid expansion to the full Senate Tuesday, though it's no clearer if either measure can pass the Legislature. A proposal to accept $51 billion in federal aid to provide private insurance to 1 million Floridians passed unanimously. A second, more modest proposal to use state funding to subsidize coverage for low-income families passed along party lines. Republicans in the Senate, who seem ready to accept federal money, say they voted for both proposals to keep their options open in hopes of working out a last-minute deal with House Republicans, who have proposed rejecting federal assistance."

Fla. House, Senate Not Budging on Medicaid Plans [AP] "Just months ago, expanding health coverage to more than 1 million Floridians seemed an unlikely feat. Then slowly the hurdles fell, first as Republican Gov. Rick Scott announced his support for Medicaid expansion and more recently as business interests, labor advocates and health care providers rallied behind a proposal from a Republican senator that would funnel billions of federal dollars into private insurance. But with less than two weeks left in the session, Republican leaders in the House seem unwilling to accept any money tied to the federal Affordable Care Act."

House and Senate Unwilling to Concede on Medicaid Expansion [Tampa Bay Times] "The full House will discuss its proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion on Thursday and likely vote on Friday. That plan would rely only on state funding to provide basic coverages to low-income Floridians, forgoing an estimated $51 billion in federal funding. The Senate is pushing a different proposal, one that is eligible for federal funding and would insure up to 1 million people. Right now, neither side appears willing to concede to the other."

  

GOP (STILL) FAILING ON EDUCATION 

Parent Trigger Headed to Senate Floor [The Florida Current] "The 'parent trigger' bill cleared its final committee stop Tuesday and now heads to the Senate floor. Opponents speaking at the final public hearing for SB 862 outnumbered supporters by a 3-1 margin, but members of the Senate Appropriations Committee sent it to the floor on a 12-6 vote. 'School board members don’t like it. Teachers don’t like it. And parents don’t like it,' said Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa. 'It appears that most people don’t like it except for a majority of senators.' Most opponents are concerned about the possibility of public schools being turned into charter schools run by for-profit educational management companies...Democrats tried a series of amendments to require a charter school to pay rent if it uses a public school building, forbid petitioners to give anything of value in exchange for a signature, limit a parent to signing a petition for just one option and require a charter school petition to disclose what would be required of a parent if a charter is awarded. Each of the proposed amendments died on voice votes."

Legislature’s Approach on Teacher Raises Lacks Merit [Palm Beach Post Editorial] "Gov. Rick Scott has not been consistent on raises for Florida teachers. He made a $2,500 across-the-board increase one of his two priorities for this legislative session. While that raise would not be tied to a new, mandated evaluation system, he has defended the new evaluations as the proper basis for future raises, even while indicating that the evaluation system will need adjustments to be valid and fair. The Legislature, on the other hand, is being consistent on teacher raises — consistently wrong...Politics might explain some of this mess. Republicans might be challenging Gov. Scott on this issue to get a concession from him on another issue, knowing that he proposed the raises because of his unpopularity among teachers. Or the Legislature could just be acting in a knee-jerk, damagingly ideological way. On education, it’s been moving toward that brand of legislating for years."

 

SO MUCH FOR SMALL GOVERNMENT: GOP INTERFERING WITH LOCAL EFFORTS TO HELP LOW-WAGE WORKERS

Power Grab Hurts Lower-wage Workers [Tampa Bay Times Editorial] "Local control is about to be seriously eroded by Republican legislators who would interfere with efforts by Florida's cities and counties to help low-wage workers. The Senate may vote as early as Thursday to prevent local governments from granting private sector workers paid sick leave, which the House already has approved. Local governments ought to be able to help their residents without interference by state lawmakers doing the Florida Chamber of Commerce's bidding."

 

RUBIO TACKING HARD RIGHT ON IMMIGRATION

Rubio’s Effort to Woo Right on Immigration Reform Continues with Hannity Appearance [Palm Beach Post] "Florida Sen. Marco Rubio‘s attempts to get conservatives to support — or at least not vehemently oppose — immigration reform continued Tuesday night with an appearance on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News show."

Rubio Featured in TV Ad Pitching Hard-line Immigration Enforcement [Tampa Bay Times] "A TV ad featuring Sen. Marco Rubio touting the "toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States" is set to run in Florida and five other states, part of an effort to sell the immigration bill to conservatives. Americans for a Conservative Direction, a 501c4 backed by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, said the ad will run in statewide in Florida plus markets in Texas, Utah, North Carolina, Iowa and Kentucky. It's a seven-figure buy, an official told the Buzz."Florida Democratic Party News Clips - April 24, 2013