Florida Democratic Party News Clips - July 29, 2013
MIAMI HERALD: RICK SCOTT'S RESTRICTIVE VOTING POLICIES "A DISGRACE TO DEMOCRACY"
Gov. Scott’s call for unity should start with his own administration [Miami Herald Editorial] "Gov. Rick Scott’s call for a day of prayer last week in pursuit of racial harmony among Floridians outraged/elated/rattled by the George Zimmerman verdict and the vociferous aftermath was a deft touch. Perhaps thousands of people across the state followed his counsel. But many residents, especially those who have gotten the short end of Mr. Scott’s policy stick during his tenure, have a right to question whether his suggestion to pray for harmony was sincere or politics as usual...Perhaps the most blatant instance of Mr. Scott’s willingness to pound a wedge between Floridians lies in the painful memory of last year’s presidential elections. Mr. Scott did his level best to ensure that some, “those people” — be they black, liberal-leaning Hispanic, urban dweller or college student — had to clear a higher hurdle to exercise their right to vote...It was an un-American act of dividing in hopes of conquering. But its only success was in rendering Florida’s vote useless and making the state, once again, look ridiculous, inept. It was a disgrace to democracy."
RICK SCOTT'S FLORIDA: HUGE UPTICK IN D AND F SCHOOLS DESPITE PADDED GRADES
Florida releases padded school grades amid outcry over testing [Tampa Bay Times] "Florida's elementary and middle schools saw unprecedented — yet unsurprising — declines in their state-issued grades released Friday. About 53 percent of schools earned lower grades than a year ago, state education commissioner Tony Bennett announced. Data show that 548 schools were protected from even bigger drops by a "safety net" rule preventing schools from sliding more than one letter grade....353 D's, compared to 212 in 2012. 107 F's, compared to 40 in 2012."
LEADERSHIP FAILURES FROM SCOTT ON EDUCATION LEAD TO INFIGHTING WITHIN FLORIDA GOP
Florida GOP feels conservative backlash over Common Core [Tampa Tribune] "But whether it's due to high-stakes testing fatigue or Scott's nervousness over his re-election prospects, the former governor's sway has taken some big hits lately — the state Board of Education voting recently to inflate school grades for the second year in a row, for instance, and legislators again killing a 'parent-trigger' bill that would enable parents to demand sweeping changes at low-performing schools, including turning them into privately run charter schools. Now state GOP leaders look increasingly anxious about grass roots conservative backlash against the Common Core state standards long championed by Bush and adopted by Florida and 44 other states. Even Bush's old protegee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, is bashing Common Core."
VOTING RIGHTS ADVOCATES TAKE ACTION AS RICK SCOTT RESUMES VOTER PURGE
Voter law ruling stirs action in Florida [Palm Beach Post] "In the month since the U.S. Supreme Court struck a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, state and federal officials and civil rights groups across the country have jumped into the legal void the ruling created. Florida officials last week vowed to immediately restart a purge of voter rolls. In Texas, the Justice Department asked a federal court to use a part of the act left intact to require the state to obtain federal approval before redistricting or putting other voting changes in place...After the judge dismissed the lawsuit Thursday and lifted a hold on the purge, Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s office said Florida would resume it. Democratic U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings of Miramar and Ted Deutch of Boca Raton plus state Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa urged Scott to abandon the purge...'Rather than move forward with a flawed voter purge and make up the law as you go along, it is time to work with leaders throughout Florida to chart out a rational, legal and accountable process for voter registration and voter roll maintenance in our state,' Hastings and Deutch wrote to Scott on Thursday."
MIAMI HERALD: "SCOTT PAID LIP SERVICE" TO EXPANDING HEALTHCARE, "NOW IT'S TIME FOR HIM TO SHOW LEADERSHIP"
Florida’s Medicaid debacle requires special session of the Legislature [Miami Herald Editorial] "It defies logic and common sense for any state to act against the interests of its own residents in this way, particularly in Florida. The state consistently ranks near the bottom in health statistics and has one of the largest medically needy populations in the country, but that apparently counts little in the face of ideological opposition to the healthcare reform law that opponents in Tallahassee scornfully label 'Obamacare.'...Gov. Rick Scott came out in favor of Medicaid expansion after winning federal permission for a special plan to let Floridians obtain insurance through a state-subsidized system. But then Mr. Scott failed to lift a finger to support this action during the legislative session after the House of Representatives under Speaker Will Weatherford signaled that it would reject the idea as a matter of “conservative” principle...Gov. Scott paid lip service to the idea of Medicaid expansion, but he failed to expend any political capital on the effort. Now it’s time for him to show leadership on this issue."
FED: FLORIDA ECONOMY RANKS 39TH IN THE NATION
Florida economic growth trails most states, Fed says [Miami Herald] "Florida’s economy is growing, but at a slower rate than seen by most states, according to an index by the Federal Reserve. The index compiled by the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve shows Florida’s economy up 1.9 percent in June compared to a year ago. That’s down slightly from growth seen during 2012, when the 'Philly Fed' index for Florida was up about 2.2 percent each month. But it’s a big change from the depths of the recession in 2009, when the index would drop about 8 percent each month. Florida’s 1.9 percent growth puts it in the bottom tier of the other states and the District of Columbia, finishing 39th."
RUBIO SERVED A DOSE OF REALITY FROM VETERAN GOP SENATOR
Rubio pushing "dumbest idea I've ever heard" says veteran GOP Senator [Orlando Sentinel] "It's one thing when a member of the opposing party says you're acting like a fool. It's quite another when the comment comes from a veteran statesman within your own ranks. Nonetheless, Florida's freshman Republican Senator Marco Rubio recently took one right between the eyes from veteran GOP Congressman Richard Burr, who described Rubio's and others' repeated efforts to repeal 'Obamacare' as 'the dumbest idea I've ever heard.' For those who missed it, Republicans don't like Obamacare. That's why members of the House have voted to repeal it ... something like 37 times ... without any success. That's why Burr, a GOP senator from N.C., described continued efforts to do so (Rubio recently vowed to pick up the fight) as a monumental waste of time that marginalizes his party in general."