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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 16

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REDISTRICTING — BAD HEADLINES FOR THE GOP CONTINUE

Florida Senate flubbed it's top priority [Times Union Editorial] "Ignoring the will of the people comes naturally for Florida legislators more given to catering to special interests and ensuring their own re-election than doing what’s best for the state."

The cost of the GOP's failure [Capital News Service] "Taxpayers will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for lawmakers to redraw the senate district map. The map was declared unconstitutional last Friday, so lawmakers have to meet in special session to fix it. As Whitney Ray tells us, if lawmakers would have acted faster, they could have saved taxpayers thousands of dollars."

Reform group urges senators to re-draw district maps in public [Orlando Sentinel] "Groups that backed the Fair Districts reforms and are challenging congressional redistricting plans in court now want the Senate's point-man to re-think his crash-course for re-drawing Senate districts."

A good wrap-up for those playing catch-up: The Senate's multi-dimensional redistricting quandary [Orlando Sentinel] " Since districts have to be of roughly equal population, any changes one might make to, say, Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner's invalidated seat in Orange and Lake counties, have a spillover effect on the surrounding districts.


THE TRUTH HURTS Florida economy a casualty of Republicans' war on middle class [Sun Sentinel Column] "For going on 14 years, the Florida Republican Party has fiddled and belittled the middle class. It isn't an act of God that's destroying the American Dream; it's petty, self-serving, greedy acts of Man, justified by a perversion of capitalism that's the equivalent of economic rape. Relentlessly, a political, ideological mind-set has been robbing generations of their 'pursuit of happiness.'"

2012 session summary: Education [Florida Current] "Lawmakers agreed to that plan early on, but could not find the money to make up for the $1.3 billion cut to schools last year. Meanwhile, the state's universities face a new round of about $300 million in cuts, which lawmakers said are one-time reductions they could offset with their cash balances."


THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT: CBS STINGS WEBSTER AND MICA, STEARNS SPEWS TEA, AND MORE

CBS STINGS! Yes, Key Largo is a wonderful place to meet lobbyists this time of year [CBS] "The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. -- an exclusive seaside resort and home to 54 holes of championship golf and a private marina full of luxury yachts. That's where we caught up with a select group of Republican freshmen, engaged in business as usual. But they didn't come alone. They invited big campaign donors and lobbyists to join them - for a price. And we secretly sent our cameras along for a unique inside look at their first joint fundraiser, where special interests got the kind of access ordinary Americans can only dream of: on the golf course; over drinks at the resort bar; at a private beach lagoon."

FL REPUBLICANS IN ATTENDANCE: ADAMS AND WEBSTER

YES, THAT'S THE HEADLINE: Birther Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns Also Wants to Sell National Parks (And is Accused of Bribery) [Miami News Times] "​We weren't all that familiar with U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns -- a gray-haired motel magnate from Ocala -- until Tuesday, when he tried to revive the long-exploded birther movement by questioning President Obama's birth certificate at a town hall meeting. Well, that must have been one hell of a town hall, because more video from the same meeting is now blowing up the left-leaning blogosphere -- this time of Stearns suggesting that the U.S. should make some fast cash by selling off a few national parks. How much for the Everglades, Cliff?"

VIDEO: STEARNS -- "WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE NATIONAL PARKS"  [ThinkProgress] "Rep. Cliff Steans (R-FL), a birther, one of the leaders of the Solyndra witch hunt and defender of subsidies to Big Oil companies, told constituents at a town hall meeting Belleview, Florida, on February 25 that 'we don’t need any more national parks in this country' and that we need to 'actually sell off some of our national parks'"

Video raises question: Is Stearns rethinking 'birther' issue? [Gainesville Sun] "Yet it wasn’t that long ago when the veteran lawmaker accepted that Obama was born in Hawaii in August 1961, as the birth certificate and local newspaper announcements from Honolulu papers indicate."

Targeting Rep. Vern Buchanan, Democrats Seek to Turn CD 16 From Red to Blue [Sunshine State News] "This year's Democratic challenger, Keith Fitzgerald, sees an opening in the 16th Congressional District that includes the reliable GOP enclaves of Sarasota and Bradenton.With strong backing from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the former state representative will 'offer a stark contrast,' said Fitzgerald campaign spokesman Adam Scott."

Rep. John Mica money comes from outside Florida [Politico] "The money Rep. John Mica has raised from his constituents wouldn’t even cover his tabs at the posh Capitol Hill restaurant Acqua Al 2 — and that could be symptomatic of a gone-Washington problem for the House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman as he tries to fend off fellow Floridian Sandy Adams in a Republican primary."


PASSING THE BUCK ON HEALTHCARE Gov. Scott Veto Urged for Medicaid Bill [Ledger] "Calling it 'a backdoor tax hike,' Florida's counties are urging the governor to veto a bill that could cost the local governments nearly $300 million during the next five years."

Counties push back on GOP's attempts to pass the buck [St.PetersBlog] "The Florida Association of Counties on Thursday urged Gov. Rick Scott to veto a measure that would require local governments to pay for Medicaid in cases in which they claim they shouldn’t have to pay because of accounting and billing errors."


OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Florida Plantiff in healthcare law challenge broke from healthcare bills  [Los Angeles Times Editorial] "What do you call it when someone who is suing to overturn the healthcare reform law files for bankruptcy, listing $4,500 in unpaid medical bills?"

Justice Department steps in to ensure voting rights [Tampa Bay Times editorial] "The effort by states controlled by Republicans to make it harder for minorities to vote is hitting some appropriate speed bumps."

King Scott? GOP gives Gov. more power [Times/Herald] "Rich, the Senate minority leader, questioned why legislators continue to make an exception for Scott's pet agency even as other departments went through another round of budget cuts.'I don't care what anybody says,' Rich said. 'They're giving him more power, and I don't think it's called for.'"

Florida Supreme Court to Hear Tuition Dispute [AP] "The justices unanimously said they would hear an appeal from a lower court decision that says the Legislature rather than Board of Governors has that authority."