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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 4, 2013

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FL DEMS MEMO: RICK SCOTT’S STATE OF DENIAL

“Rick Scott is in trouble. After cutting more jobs than he created in Florida in 2012, failing to keep his promise to create 700,000 new jobs and a disastrous election year where the Florida GOP got their teeth kicked in, Gov. Rick Scott is running away from everything he campaigned on to get reelected.” 

Democrats pre-but Rick Scott's State of State speech [Tampa Bay Times] 

  

RUNNING FOR REELECTION, RICK SCOTT ABANDON’S HIS OWN POSITIONS… 'Changed' Scott Readies Outline For State Address [Pensacola News Journal] "Gov. Rick Scott came into office on a conservative wave, promising to change Tallahassee, fight President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and make Florida as business friendly as he could. He shunned the press, announced his first budget at a tea partyrally in a central Florida church and entered his first legislative sessionlike the powerful CEO he was before spending more than $70 million of his own money to win office in 2010. What a difference two years can make."

 

Rick Scott's Relationship with GOP Lawmakers:AWKWARD 

 Scott Needs Lawmakers' Help [Herald Tribune] "Florida Gov. Rick Scott faces a dire political situation and his awkward relationship with the Legislature makes a reboundeven more difficult. As the Florida Legislature prepares to open its annual60-day session Tuesday, Scott needs lawmakers' help more than ever to win some convincing political victories and reset his relationship with a public that has soured on him."

Scott's biggest election hurdle: Winning over his own party [Ocala Star Banner] “Scott’s top-down, CEO approach to politics treats lawmakers more like employees than equals at times...His approval ratings now are so low — as few as one in three Floridians approve of his job — legislators have little motivation to invest their own political capital in a damaged candidate who could hurt their own ambitions.”

  

WILL GOP LEGISLATORS FIX THE VOTING PROBLEMS THEY CREATED?

** ADVISORY ALERT: Sen. Dem Leader Chris Smith to hold 12:30 presser on the 7 things that MUST be in the elections reform bill. **

Lawmakers Facing Big-ticket Decisions In 2013 Session [SunSentinel] "For House and Senate Republican leaders, it's a chance to undo some of the changes in theelection law they wrote in 2011, which cut early voting days in half and was blamed for Election Day lines as long as seven hours at some voting locations in South and Central Florida."

From Ballot Box To Classroom, State Legislators To Tackle Variety of Topics Starting Tuesday [Treasure Coast Palm] “Legislators already have been diagnosing Election Day long lines and hours-long waits at the polls…House and Senate bills already are primed for floor votes on ethics overhauls, a focal area for House and Senate leaders where Florida has been ranked abysmally."

 

…OR WILL THEY JUST PUT A BAND-AID OVER A GAPING WOUND 

No Legislative Push So Far To Crack Down On Election Supervisors [Treasure Coast Palm] "So far, lawmakers tasked with fixing Florida’s elections issues have focused on long lines and wait times, not the administrative and equipment trip-ups that plagued counties like St. Lucie. The Legislature kicks off its two-month lawmaking marathon Tuesday, but there’s still no official push to let the state crack down harder on elections supervisors who bungle their duties."

 

DIVISIONS EMERGE AMONGST SCOTT AND GOP 

Ag Commish Adam Putnam Attacks Gov. Rick Scott’s Medicaid Move, But Has Big-spending Record [Miami Herald] "Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s headline-grabbing criticism of fellow Republican Rick Scott over expanding Medicaid highlighted just how much the governor flip-flopped on government spending and entitlement programs. But Putnam has a more extensive record of supporting expensive entitlements and big-government spending. As amember of Congress from 2001-2011, Putnam voted for budget-busting legislation — including the massive Medicare prescription-drug entitlement program estimated to cost nearly $1 trillion over a decade. Putnam also stuffed the federal budget with hometown-spending and helped override vetoes by President Bush on what the White House called a 'fiscally irresponsible' Medicare bill and a $300 billion farm bill. Now, years later, Putnam called Scott’s call to expand Medicaid as irresponsible, costly and 'naive.'"

 Atwater: Wait To Expand Medicaid, Forgo the Money [Miami Herald] "Jeff Atwater may not be calling everyone's attention to his opposition to Gov. Rick Scott's plan to expand Medicaid in Florida as Adam Putnam has, but the Republican chief financial officer is on the same page. 'This is going to obligate us to either in future years to a legislature that will significantly change the tax code or this takes (awayfrom) education dollars, transportation dollars andeverything else,' Atwater told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board today."

 

Rep. Williams: Lets Stand Up For Hardworking Floridians

Editorial: Alan Williams: State Employees Deserve A Raise [Tallahassee Democrat] "As Florida families and small businesses continue to struggle in our current economy, I remain committed to finding solutions that will help create meaningful jobs and put our neighbors back to work. This is and remains my first priority. Still, the Legislature must also make as a priority the needs of the current workforce, specifically those employed by state government. This is done by affording our state employees a well-deserved increase in pay. Our state employees are the lifeblood of our state, and we have asked them to do more with less. Florida’s state workers deserve our praise and must be recognized for the great work they do for each of us. Our workers must be able to provide for their families, and the time is now for state workers to receive an across-the-board pay increase."

 

MEET THREE OF THE LEGISLATURE’S DEMOCRATIC FRESHMEN

The Freshman 15: South Florida’s Newest Lawmakers [Miami Herald] "Rep. Mark Danish, D-Tampa, said his desire toserve derives from his role as a middle-school science teacher. 'I want to extend that and make a difference. There’s a lengthy priority list,' he said, citing issues from creating a homeowner’s bill of rights to addressing local transportation issues. Another new legislator, Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston, notes that he, and likely other officials whose homes are hundreds of milesfrom Tallahassee, 'feels a little like college freshmen on their first semester away from home.' José Javier Rodríguez, D-Miami, who is serving in hisfirst elected office, said chief issues for South Florida involve Citizens Property Insurance, healthcare and education. 'Property insurance, if not at the top, comes close to the top of the list that brings most of us together.' He also said that he’s been surprised by the expectation of “conformity” in the Legislature. 'Asking tough questions definitely rattles people,' said Rodríguez. 'Often people expect you to play along, which I find shocking, especially for those of us who ran to shake things up a little bit.'"

 

…And a Q&A With Rep. Mark Pafford

Rep.Pafford: From a U.S. Senator’s driver to Florida Dems’ policy driver [Palm Beach Post] "My only goal has been to represent my district the best I can. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be the best I can at being a legislator and taking time to learn an awful lot. So maybe that work ethic can be credited. But I just want to be part of a team of people that want to make Florida better."