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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 18, 2013

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RICK SCOTT 'FLUNKED' FIRST LEADERSHIP TEST AS GOVERNOR 

After Flunking Running-mate Test, Rick Scott Gets a Do-Over [Miami Herald] "A first major test of how a candidate might govern: choosing a running mate. Rick Scott flunked that one...But regardless of whom Scott chooses, the Carroll bombshell does nothing to help the governor and his flatlined poll numbers heading into his 2014 reelection campaign."

 

In Florida, a Political Marriage Soured Before a Top Official Stepped Down [New York Times] "[...]As a lawmaker, too, Ms. Carroll was tripped up by ethical lapses or oversights: she received a master’s degree from an online diploma mill; in 2010, she introduced a bill to legalize sweepstakes cafes, despite her work for Allied, later saying an aide had filed the bill without her knowledge; and she overstated her net worth in 2005 by $200 million, eventually amending it to show that her assets totaled $2 million. Last year, a former staff member, who is facing criminal charges, suggested that Ms. Carroll was having an affair with a woman who was her aide. Ms. Carroll, who has been married for 30 years, offended lesbians by saying, 'Black women who look like me don’t have relationships like that.' She later apologized, but critics said it was a major stumble. 'There were red flags in Carroll’s political career dating back more than 10 years ago,' said Dan Krassner, the executive director of the independent ethics watchdog group Integrity Florida."

 

RICK SCOTT ON 'RED ALERT': NEW STUDY SHOWS 2014 FL GOVS RACE ONE OF THE MOST COMPETITIVE IN NATION

A Red Alert Governor [Herald Tribune] "Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s political troubles are obvious even to those outside of Florida. At the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, analysts have declared Scott’s seat one of the nation’s four most competitive races heading into 2014. Florida, Virginia, and Maine are Republican-held seats that the analysts say are in their 'red alert' category - meaning they are very competitive and could switch to Democrats."

 

SCOTT DODGES QUESTIONS IN SENTINEL ED BOARD INTERVIEW 

I Try — and Fail Miserably — to Suss Out Gov. Rick Scott’s Views on Unemployment [Orlando Sentinel Blog] "A while back, I tried to pin down the Governor’s Office on that issue, asking if Scott saw the payments as public assistance or earned benefits. A spokesman responded with an email that entirely ignored the premise of the question...So this week, when the governor was at the Sentinel for an editorial board meeting, I sat in and took another shot at the question......First, he said, 'I don’t know the right definition,'...then he said, 'I never thought about it that way.' Really? You never considered the fundamental nature of the payments when you pushed through an overhaul of the state’s unemployment system? All due respect, but that strikes me as a little odd. The governor was here for about an hour and much of the interview went this way. The ed board did its best to extract actual news from the governor, and he worked mightily to stay on message and say nothing that could get him in trouble. Ultimately, his rhetorical sleeper hold was inescapable, and the ed board tapped out with a few minutes still left on the interview clock."

 

**LEGISLATIVE ALERT: Senate to Vote on Elections Reform TODAY at 1pm.**

 

PALM BEACH POST EDITORIAL: GOP TO BLAME FOR 2012 ELECTIONS DEBACLE, NEW REFORM EFFORTS NOT ENOUGH

Editorial: Good Start — But More to do — on Election Reform [Palm Beach Post] "Florida legislators are working hard to backtrack on their horrendous efforts to repress voters in last year’s election. The stampede is so frenzied that a bill undoing much of the damage inflicted on democracy by Republican legislators cleared the Florida House this month on a 118-1 vote...This hasty retreat is good for Florida, even though it does not go far enough. Last year’s inexcusably long lines during early voting and on Election Day had several causes, but most of them can be traced back to legislators’ malicious tinkering...But they leave untouched another damaging provision from 2011 that requires voters who have recently changed counties without registering with their new elections office to vote on provisional ballots instead of regular ones. The unsupported excuse is that this prevents double-voting. Since elections officials must review each provisional ballot, this flooded county elections offices with hours of extra work last year, slowing down the vote-tallying process. Legislators should repeal this senseless provision too, and further undo the damage they’ve inflicted on Florida voters in these past two years."

 

WHILE WEATHERFORD PLAYS NATIONAL POLITICS OVER MEDICAID EXPANSION...

Weatherford at CPAC: Florida Will Reject Medicaid Expansion [Tampa Bay Times] "[...]Florida Rep. Will Weatherford used a speech Saturday before a large gathering of conservative activists to double down on a promise to reject a federal expansion of Medicaid. 'They're trying to buy us off, one by one, but I am not buying it,' Weatherford said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. 'Florida will not buy it and America should not buy it. We will stand up to their inflexible plan and we'll work on our own solution, one that better reflects the needs and priorities of our state. Here's the bottom line: It's time for the states to take a stand.'"

 

...THOUSANDS OF FLORIDIAN'S LIVES AND JOBS ARE AT RISK

Thurston: Foot-dragging on Medicaid Will Cost State Money and Lives [The Florida Current] "In Florida what is at stake is billions of dollars in federal subsidies that would flow into the health care industry. A Florida Hospital Association study found that the more than $50 billion expected during the first decade of the ACA would support an additional 52,000 jobs in the state. [...]House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston called a news conference Friday to say the House and Senate’s lack of vision and foot-dragging could harm the state’s economy and working Floridians without health insurance. 'We are behind the eight ball in terms of time,' said Thurston, of Fort Lauderdale. 'Any time that we lose we are talking about another year of individuals who need the services are not getting it, and as the study from the New England Journal of Medicine indicated, by expanding coverage we will save the lives of Floridians over and above 5,000 annually.'"

 

Locally, Doctors Fret Over Medicaid Not Expanding in Florida [Gainesville Sun] "No doctor would ever want to turn away a cancer patient. And yet, when the Florida Senate Select Committee on the Affordable Care Act rejected Medicaid expansion last Monday, it essentially killed the measure that Gov. Rick Scott had endorsed — which has some physicians worried. 'I’m particularly worried about a lot of our indigent patients, that we’re just not going to be able to provide care and will have more people falling through the cracks,' said Dr. Thomas George, an oncologist at Shands at the University of Florida."

 

REMEMBERING SEN LARCENIA BULLARD

‘The Biggest Heart in the Senate’ Larcenia Bullard Dies at Age 65 [Palm Beach Post] "[...]Bullard served nearly two decades in the Florida Legislature and left office last year due to term limits. The one-time schoolteacher represented a Senate district that spanned six counties from the Keys north to Palm Beach County. Her son Dwight replaced her last year. Bullard was known for giving long, impassioned floor speeches and a sunny spirit. She, her husband Ed, and her son Dwight all served in the Florida House. Bullard was beloved by both Republican and Democrat leaders and was considered a Senate institution."

 

Former State Sen. Larcenia Bullard Dies [Tampa Bay Times] "Former state Sen. Larcenia Bullard was the rarest of politicians in the state Capitol: She seemed to make everyone happy and had no apparent enemies. Bullard was the lady with the big bear hugs, the woman from Miami who made you feel special. She was funny. Often on purpose. Sometimes not. And she’ll be missed by many in the state Capitol and those she served from Miami to Key West."