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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — February 29

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Romney's run to the right already hurting him with Hispanics

Justice Sotomayor and I-4 politics [Tampa Bay Times] "Democrats eyeing Florida's 29 electoral votes already are pouncing on a Romney ad attacking Rick Santorum for voting to confirm Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to a federal appeals court. Florida's exploding population of voters from Puerto Rico could be crucial in November. Sonia Sotomayor was backed by 9 Republican Senators and thus confirmed in a bipartisan fashion.  Mitt Romney’s attack on her was gratuitous and a wink and a nod to the most extreme in his party… 'This isn’t the first time Mitt Romney goes to the extreme at Latinos expense," state Rep. Darren Soto said in a conference call today."

Happening Tonight: FDP Chairman Rod Smith to join Obama Campaign senior strategist David Axelrod at UF student summit [Gainesville Sun] "The event is part of the 'Greater Together' summit tour, meant to mobilize young voters in the 2012 campaign. UF College Democrats President Erin Murphy said students are already registering voters and conducting phone banks for the campaign.

REDISTRICTING

**Happening Now** Florida Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in redistricting case [News Service of Florida] "'The maps passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature represent the partisan gerrymandering and incumbent protection that 63 percent of Floridians overwhelmingly rejected when they passed the Fair Districts amendments.'" Watch the arguments online here.

The editorial of the day: New districts need court's scrutiny [Tampa Bay Times Editorial] "Voters sent a clear message when they approved constitutional amendments to prevent the Legislature from drawing districts designed to protect incumbents or political parties. The Florida Supreme Court hears arguments today on lawmakers' attempt to meet the new standards, and there is a compelling argument that the new maps fall short…Voters changed the rules to make them fairer, and it's up to the justices to ensure the maps meet those new requirements."

LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR

Republicans cutting healthcare and education…but wants tax cuts for corporations [Herald Tribune] "Woodall said the state’s $2 billion budget hole is deep enough without approving additional tax cuts. 'We need revenue,' she said. 'We’re the fourth-largest state — soon to be the third-largest state — and we rank at the bottom for social infrastructure.'”

No crony courts for Florida [Palm Beach Post editorial] "Another year, another terrible bill from the Florida House that would give the governor too much control over the state's court system."

Lawmakers move ahead on tuition bills [News-Press] Measures that would allow the University of Florida and Florida State University to increase tuition by virtually unlimited amounts moved ahead in both chambers of the Legislature on Tuesday, with a trip to the House floor almost certain.

Thank you from Rick Scott [Palm Beach Post] "Scott is pushing legislation that would double the state’s corporate income tax exemption to $50,000, efffectively exempting about three-fourths of the companies that now pay the 5.5 percent levy on earnings. It’ll cost taxpayers about $30 million next year, legislative analysts said."

Other news we thought you should know:

Voting fraud "more rare than death by lighting" [Florida Independent], voting experts have long said that voter fraud is rare. According to the Brennan Center, “claims of voter fraud are frequently used to justify policies that do not solve the alleged wrongs.” In fact, “overly restrictive identification requirements,” the group explains, only address “a sort of voter fraud more rare than death by lightning.”

Jim Greer sues two law firms over RPOF ouster, consulting contract [Tampa Bay Times] "Former GOP Chairman Jim Greer has filed lawsuits against two Tallahassee law firms seeking damages for advice he says he got before he lost his job as head of the state party."