SHOT: HILARIOUS, MUST WATCH VIDEO The Colbert Report takes on Florida's voter suppression law. "People Who Are Destroying America: Teachers"
Dawn Quarles, a Florida high school teacher, faces voter fraud fines for registering her students to vote. Watch the video here.
CHASER: Federal judge hears arguments in election law case [Tampa Bay Times] "“Voter-registration groups asked a seemingly sympathetic judge Thursday to block a portion of the state's controversial elections revisions passed by the Legislature last year"
FDP CHAIRMAN SMITH: RUBIO'S WAR ON WOMEN "DANGEROUS AND EXTREME…A SHAMEFUL, PARTISAN TACTIC"
Marco Rubio, Rod Smith Spar Over Defeated Birth-Control Measure [Sunshine State News] "Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith countered, calling Blunt's measure 'dangerous and extreme': 'Make no mistake: Senator Rubio, along with Mitt Romney, tried to turn women's health care into a political football in order to advance their own extreme agenda -- a shameful, partisan tactic which threatened the lives of women in our state and across our country,' Smith said. 'This dangerous legislation would have stripped a Florida woman of her ability to make her own decisions about her health care. Rubio's attack on women was rightfully defeated,' Smith said."
Rubio, Nelson split votes on birth control repeal [Miami Herald] "'Marco Rubio championed a dangerous and extreme measure which would have denied women the lifesaving health care they need,' said Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith."
Rubio hit for support of Blunt amendment [Tampa Bay Times] "Democrats attacked Rubio for his support, with the Obama campaign sending out an e-mail last night and today, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said: 'Marco Rubio championed a dangerous and extreme measure which would have denied women the lifesaving health care they need. Make no mistake: Sen. Rubio, along with Mitt Romney, tried to turn women's health care into a political football in order to advance their own extreme agenda — a shameful, partisan tactic which threatened the lives of women in our state and across our country.'"
Rubio And Dems At Odds After Contraception Vote [FLDemocracy] "Democrats in and out of Florida, meanwhile, are seizing on the issue as a larger campaign theme in 2012—framing the amendment as an attack on women’s rights. In a statement following the vote, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith blasted Rubio and Mitt Romney for supporting a 'war on women.'"
POLITICO: Sen. Bill Nelson Wins February following month long GOP intra-party brawl "A scrupulous Miami Herald story diving deep into GOP Rep. Connie Mack’s past debt, divorce, loans and bar fights handed George LeMieux an opening he couldn’t resist in the race to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson (D). To counter his image as Charlie Crist’s right-hand man, the former senator responded with a comparison to possibly the only Charlie with a lower approval rating among GOP voters: Charlie Sheen. A LeMieux web video shows a bobble-headed Mack in handcuffs and clenching a beer. Mack’s campaign slammed LeMieux as 'a joke' and 'pathetic' and claimed the barbs were damaging the party. These are some of the most incendiary charges leveled in any intraparty race in the country — and it’s still five months before primary day. Who Won February: Nelson"
PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ECONOMIC POLICIES ARE WORKING
March arrives with hopeful signs for the economy [Tampa Bay Times column] "The federal stimulus certainly saved or created more jobs in Florida than Scott's tax cuts, trashing of growth management and refusal to embrace health care reform."
President puts focus on energy for tomorrow [South Florida Times] "It’s a strategy that has caught the attention of Palmetto Bay Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, who also stood for several hours for a chance to hear the president. 'I support the office of the president and a change in energy policy,' said Stanczyk, who added that she is working with Pinecrest, Cutler Bay and possibly other cities to create a 'green corridor' in South Miami-Dade. Homes and businesses could be retrofitted to better use alternative energy options through the proposed program. 'We want to support the fact that Obama is going in that direction,' she said."
Recovery Act is adding jobs, boosting the Made in America Label [South Florida Times Guest Column by Rep. Frederica Wilson] "Three years ago, the president signed the Recovery Act. Slowly but surely things have been getting better. Private sector employment and GDP are now rising. Layoffs are back to pre-recession levels. And, in every single one of the last 23 months, American companies have added jobs, totaling 3.7 million and counting."
THE GOP LEGISLATURE — RAISING THE COST OF HEALTH CARE, CUTTING EDUCATION AND RAMMING THROUGH TEA PARTY EXTREMISM. THANKFULLY IT'S ALMOST OVER.
Simply shifting costs is poor medicaid policy [Tampa Bay Times editorial] "Republican leaders, who will spend this weekend negotiating a final plan, say they are controlling costs. They are really just shifting more health care costs onto private patients and local governments. No one wins."
Bigger Medicaid bills may hit county taxpayers [Orlando Sentinel] "Florida lawmakers could push an additional $148 million in added Medicaid costs to county taxpayers next year based on budget plans moving in Tallahassee, and Orange County taxpayers would take one of the harder hits."
Cutting $300 Million [Palm Beach Post] "House and Senate budget negotiators have agreed to cut $300 million from universities this year"
USF spells out impact of state budget cuts [Tampa Tribune] "If spread evenly among the universities, they could mean a 20 percent drop in state funding for USF, Ramil said. Per student funding is already 25 percent less than it was five years ago, he said after a trustees meeting Thursday as about 100 students chanted nearby in protest of expected tuition increases."
Anti-abortion measure passes House, prospects in Senate uncertain [Miami Herald] “Women seeking an abortion would first have to wait 24 hours and new clinics would be physician-owned as part of a sweeping anti-abortion measure passed by the House on Thursday. Passage of HB 277 was unsurprising in the conservative-dominated House, though a handful of lawmakers from both sides broke party lines in the 78-33 vote.”
School prayer bill likely to become law [Orlando Sentinel] “Children across the state may soon have the right to offer organized prayer — or, critics say, political messages or even Satanic verses — at mandatory school events. The Florida House voted 88-27 Thursday to give final approval to a bill that allows school boards to set policies that would allow students to offer ‘inspirational messages’ at school events, including mandatory gatherings such as student assemblies. The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Scott.”