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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 11, 2013

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EMBATTLED SCOTT CAN'T 'GET TO WORK' ON HIS AGENDA
Education Proposals Have Gov. Rick Scott Stuck Between a Rock and Republicans [Miami Herald] "Gov. Rick Scott is in a tight spot with teachers...But to stay in their good graces — and possibly win their votes in 2014 — Scott will need to bat down a number of education proposals moving through the Florida Legislature, including the hot-button 'parent trigger' bill and a pitch to increase facilities funding for charter schools. There’s just one problem. Opposing those bills will land Scott in the doghouse with Republicans...What’s a governor with sagging poll numbers to do?"

Senate President Gaetz Shoots Down Gov. Scott’s Across-the-board Raise For Teachers [Orlando Sentinel] "Senate President Don Gaetz served notice on Gov. Rick Scott Friday that his chamber is not looking favorably on Scott’s proposal to give every public-school teacher a $2,500 raise...Gaetz made clear he wants to dole out the pay increases on the basis of merit."

JEB CRACKS UNDER PRESSURE
Jeb Bush Spends Sunday Talking Immigration and Political Reporter 'Crack Addicts' [Tampa Bay Times] "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Sunday likened political reporters to 'crack addicts' and 'heroin addicts' during a tour of morning talk shows that drew repeated questions about the still-distant 2016 presidential election...[A]s Bush wrapped up a conversation with NBC's David Gregory, he likened journalists and their questions about the 2016 campaign to drug addicts."

Jeb Bush's Hedging on Immigration Resonates [Tampa Tribune] "In interviews last week during a book tour widely viewed as a prelude to a 2016 presidential bid, Jeb Bush got tripped up by his own party's vacillation over immigration reform. The incident showed once again the Republican Party's problems in connecting with America's fastest-growing minority. Bush flipped, and then flopped back again, on whether to allow a path to citizenship or just legal residence for illegal immigrants. The difference may seem minor, but experts say it carries deep emotional significance to Hispanics, both voters and immigrants, and involves a fundamental principle of American immigration law. Bush denies he flipped, but regardless, his difficulty communicating a clear position illustrates the party's problems."

FL'S MAJOR BUSINESS GROUPS, ECONOMISTS AGREE: EXPAND MEDICAID
Medicaid Expansion Pits Anecdotes Against Economists' Numbers [Orlando Sentinel] "In total, the economists found, health-care expansion under the Affordable Care Act will cost state and federal taxpayers $60 billion over the next decade. Just the optional portion that Scott has urged lawmakers to enact would cost a total of $54.9 billion -- with only $3.5 billion coming from the state. So, by rejecting the expansion, Florida would essentially be forfeiting $51.4 billion in federal funding."

Florida Chamber Endorses Medicaid Expansion, Kinda [Tampa Bay Times] "Calling the Affordable Care Act a flawed law but ultimately one that is here to stay, the Florida Chamber of Commerce says the state should accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid as long as certain conditions are met...Earlier this week, the state's other high-profile business group, Associated Industries of Florida, also indicated support for expansion. Without using the word 'Medicaid' or mentioning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, lobbyist Slater Bayliss said Florida should leverage available federal funds in order to reduce the number of uninsured and the amount of uncompensated care administered at hospitals."

MORE WRONG PRIORITIES AND EXTREME POLICIES FROM REPUBLICANS
Marco Rubio: I’ll Vote To Shut Down The Government Unless Obamacare Is Completely Defunded [Think Progress] "During an interview on conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s talk radio program Thursday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined fellow Tea Party favorites Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) in demanding that a continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year include provisions to defund Obamacare in its entirety. Over the course of the program, Rubio parroted the usual litany of wild — and widely debunked— conservative hysteria about the dire consequences that Obamacare will have on American businesses and the U.S. health care industry, asserting that he would only vote to avert a government shutdown if Obamacare implementation is halted completely."

Editorial: Arming Teachers Asks for Trouble [Lakeland Ledger] "A school safety bill filed by state Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, would allow school principals to assign teachers or other staff members to carry concealed weapons as a way of protecting schools and students...Arming teachers or others who are trained in gun handling without being trained in fighting off an armed attack — as are well-prepared law-enforcement officers — is asking too much of those who might not realize that they could make crucial errors if put in a threatening position."