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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 8

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U.S. REP. CLIFF STEARNS JOINS BUCHANAN AND RIVERA IN THE "UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE FBI CLUB," BONUS: LT. GOV. JENNIFFER CARROLL ALSO EMBROILED IN SCANDAL

Florida Times-Union: "According to paperwork Jett provided to the Times-Union, he also gave Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll’s name to the FBI. Jett said Carroll, a former Clay County state representative, confirmed the job offer to his political consultant, Matt Justice."

National Journal: "At some point, allegations like these go beyond individual congressmen and affect the wider image of Republicans in Florida, and in Washington. As recently as six years ago, cascading scandals crippled House Republicans' ability to make their electoral case…This is just the latest scandal to envelop a Republican member of Florida's House delegation. Several separate agencies are investigating allegations that Rep. Vern Buchanan laundered money to his campaign accounts, and freshman Rep. David Rivera, who was the subject of ethics questions before he joined Congress, was the target of multiple criminal investigations in his first year in Washington."

ABC News - Lawmaker Denies Trying to Buy Out His Challenger [3/7/12]
Sunshine State News - Cliff Stearns Denies, Denounces James Jett's 'Buyout' Claim [3/7/12]
Miami Herald - Clay Co. clerk: FBI is looking at Rep. Cliff Stearns [3/7/12]
Talking Points Memo - FBI Investigating Cliff Stearns For Bribery, Claims Republican Opponent [3/7/12]
Politico - Cliff Stearns denies deal to get rid of opponent [3/7/12]
The Hill - Rep. Stearns office denies opponent's bribery accusations [3/7/12]
Tampa Times - County clerk accuses Rep. Cliff Stearns of trying to buy him out of race  [3/7/12]

FLORIDA DEMOCRATS CONDEMN GOP'S ASSAULT ON EDUCATION

Florida Democrats and students condemn GOP's assault on education [Public Radio] "Republicans are poised to approve all the things the Democrats don’t want. Like a $300 million dollar cut to the state’s public universities. A 12th state university created under what can only be described as a series of parliamentary and technical maneuvers, and a billion dollar increase to the K-12 system that STILL doesn’t fully reimburse all the cuts public schools took the year before."

VIDEO: Florida Democrats protest education cuts [WCTV] "Kassandra Timothe is a USF senior who oppposes increases in tuition for universities. 'It hurts the students, it hurts our families,' Timothe said. 'Everyone is affected by these tuition hikes.'"

Florida Democrats Bash State Budget Plan for Next Year [Gannett] "They're blasting the Legislature's decision to cut $300 million from the budgets of Florida's 11 state universities. They say that will likely cause double-digit tuition increases for students and force schools to cut services. They say $840 million of new money for K-12 education does not restore the $1.3 billion cut last year."

Democrats say budget shortchanges schools [Miami Herald] "Democrats slammed the proposed budget on Wednesday, saying the spending plan shortchanges Florida's students. 'This budget, which is before the Legislature now, is an assault on education unlike anything we have seen in recent time,' Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said…Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, raised another issue: no construction and maintenance money for traditional public schools. Charter schools are set to receive $55 million."

Democrats blast education cuts using election-year themes [Palm Beach Post] "Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith joined House Democrats in blasting ruling Republicans Wednesday for falling short in dollars for public schools and forcing university students to shoulder an increasingly bigger share of state higher education spending…University spending faces a $300 million reduction in the $70 billion state budget positioned for a final vote Friday. While public school spending is boosted $1 billion in the budget, that still falls short of the $1.3 billion cut from classrooms last year, when per-pupil dollars dropped to their lowest level in six years."

Fla Dems attack GOP legislature for "assault" on education [Tampa Bay Times] "'Rick Scott said he was going to focus on our education system — but sadly he and the Republican legislature seemed to only focus on tearing it down and making education less affordable for Florida’s middle class,' said Smith. 'While the GOP has failed to improve education, they have succeeded at what they do best: prioritizing corporate tax breaks, special interest projects and Tea Party extremism ahead of Florida's families. It’s shameful. It’s wrong. And voters are going to hold them accountable for these faulty priorities that have moved our state in the wrong direction.'"

Democrats say budget hurts education [Tallahassee Democrat] "Democrats Wednesday took aim at a Republican-controlled Legislature's spending priorities, which they said will harm education."

Democrats hit GOP for tearing down education system [Ocala Star Banner] "'While the GOP has failed to improve education, they have succeeded at what they do best: prioritizing corporate tax breaks, special interest projects and tea party extremism ahead of Florida's families,' Smith said. 'It's shameful.'"


GOP ALREADY LIMPING OUT OF FAILED LEGISLATURE

Legislature overreaches, public pays the bill [Tampa Bay Times Editorial] "The definition of insanity, the adage goes, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Yet Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature are at it again, embracing legislation that ignores constitutional limits on their authority, forcing costly taxpayer-financed litigation and resorting to name-calling and threats to the judiciary when the courts rule against them."

Florida Senate leader struggles to keep GOP 'soldiers' in lock-step [Palm Beach Post] "So far this session, Democrats and Republicans have joined forces to kill a prison privatization plan important to Scott, blocked a controversial abortion bill from getting to the floor for a vote, and transformed a property insurance measure to force people out of state-owned Citizens in, but in a way that its sponsor said gutted the bill."

Politifact: Rick Scott statement on pensions "False" [Politifact] "In his response to the judge’s ruling, though, Scott’s warning was stark, saying 'I want to make sure we fix the plan so individuals can actually rely on it. Because today, you can't rely on that plan, it's not funded.' That sounds really bad to people who are relying on state benefits. The truth is, it's one of the better funded pension plans in the country. If all public employees retired tomorrow, they still get 87.5 percent of what they were owed. We rate his statement False."

MARCO RUBIO REAFFIRMS OPPOSITION TO DREAM ACT, OUT OF STEP WITH HISPANICS

Marco Rubio Maintains Opposition to DREAM Act after Meeting with Student [Fox News Latino] "'It’s not clear to me what the senator means,' Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, an expert on immigration policy at New York University, said in a telephone interview. 'This is not rocket science, there aren’t too many factors here at work. Either you’re going to pursue a DREAM Act-like solution, or you’re going to pursue comprehensive immigration reform or you’re going to let the status quo win the day.' The DREAM Act is a consensus issue for Latinos. Ninety percent of likely Latino voters support the proposal."

South Florida teen becomes face of Dream Act [Local 10] "'Just with meeting me, he could see a perfect example of why the Dream Act would be so beneficial for millions of students like me, that we do deserve to go to college,' Daniela Pelaez said."