Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 7, 2013
SCOTT’S HYPOCRISY ABOUNDS
Scott Tells House to Limit Types of Contributions He Benefits From [Tampa Bay Times] "[...]'What we’ve told the House is that when they do that they reduce the importance of the individual who can only write a $500 check so I think they ought to really look at that a lot more closely,' Scott said Wednesday in an interview with the Times/Herald. 'I want to see what they come back with but we’ve got to try to keep as many people involved in the process as we can.' Scott, who spent more than $73 million of his own money to get elected, has collected dozens of five and six digit contributions through his political committee, Let's Get to Work. Three of the contributions in the last year were for $250,000 -- from Florida Power & Light, resort casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and AutoNation Founder Wayne Huizenga."
Editorial: Scott wrong on his role in Florida’s recovery [Palm Beach Post] "Gov. Rick Scott has a story he would like to tell about the state’s economic recovery, but it isn’t the true story...As for those spendthrifts in “Washington, D.C.,” Florida would have been in worse shape after the Great Recession without more than $8 billion from the 2009 federal stimulus. Most of today’s leading Republicans in the Legislature who howled about a federal takeover of health care slurped up that stimulus money to help balance the state budget. If the governor wanted to lecture someone Tuesday, he left out those in his own party. Also, those “hard choices” about debt in 2011 and 2012 actually were simple. The governor and Legislature cut way back on school and university construction and environmental land purchases. Gov. Scott could use a few history lessons."
JACKSONVILLE MAYOR ALVIN BROWN FILES FOR RE-ELECTION
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown files to run for re-election [Florida Times Union] "Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is looking to take his time in office to the next level. Brown filed paperwork this week indicating he’ll seek re-election, kicking off his campaign about two years before he’ll again face voters. Brown, a Democrat, is the second candidate to enter the 2015 mayoral race."
JEB TRIPS OVER HIS OWN POSITIONS IN RUSH FOR THE LIMELIGHT
Is Jeb Rusty/Unprepared For the National Stage? [Tampa Bay Times] "It's one thing to make an off-hand comment that requires backpedalling or clarification on a hot-button issue. It's another to co-author a book on a controversial and then kick off a publicity tour that prompts much of the political world to question not only your position, but your motives. Jeb Bush, who pushed the 2016 presidential door wide open this week, sat for a host of national interviews this week that made him look like a cross between Mitt Romney - flip-flopper - and Rick Perry - having to walk back what he wrote in his own book. The former governor who used to support a pathway to citizenship for unocumented immigrants wrote in Immigration Wars co-authored by Clint Bolick, that instead of citizenship he now supports a pathway to legal residency."
VOTER FRAUD FINALLY FOUND…AND FUNDED BY THE RPOF
The Real GOP Voter Fraud: Employees Admit Forging Voter Registration Forms [MSNBC] "The Florida Department of Law Enforcement revealed Tuesday that two employees of a company hired by the Republican Party of Florida to register voters admitted they committed fraud during the 2012 election season. The two former employees of Strategic Allied Consulting are facing third degree felony charges after admitting that they submitted dozens of forged voter registration applications last fall ahead of the 2012 election. The employees, Rebekah Joy Paul and Christian Davis Price, told investigators they forged forms in order to meet the required number of applications and receive payment. Paul also said that her bosses at Strategic Allied instructed her to not register Democrats."
'NO FACTS, NO LOGIC, NO REALITY' IN WEATHERFORD'S MEDICAID POSITION
Editorial: John Romano: No facts, no logic, no reality in Will Weatherford's Medicaid stance [Tampa Bay Times] "I think Will Weatherford's heart was in the right place. It was his facts, theories, justifications and conclusions that seemed to wander off aimlessly. The state House speaker's rationale for rejecting Medicaid expansion on Tuesday was not just debatable, it was nonsensical. Seriously, what was he trying to say? He provided zero facts. Zero alternatives. Zero acknowledgement that Florida hospitals were on the hook for $2.8 billion in uncompensated care last year. He cited no studies, passed off theories as reality, and failed to offer even a glimmer of hope for a state that has one of the highest ratios of uninsured citizens in the nation. His overriding concern — that government health costs are already out of control — is certainly legitimate and worthy of discussion. But you cannot enter that discussion without conceding the current system is also too costly, inefficient and illogical."
Editorial: On Medicaid, family facts and fantasies [Tampa Bay Times] "Let's get this straight. House Speaker Will Weatherford opposes accepting billions in federal dollars to expand Medicaid and recalls that his family relied on a safety net to pay hospital bills for his brother — and that safety net turned out to be Medicaid. This is hypocritical at best, and Floridians expect more truthfulness and compassion from their elected leaders."
Weatherford's Dad Proven Right That Medicaid Covered Medical Bills [Tampa Bay Times] "[...]Weatherford told House members on Tuesday that he opposed the expansion because it crossed the line of “proper government.” He shared an emotional story about his brother Peter, who died at 20-months in 1995 when he was 15. His medical care was too expensive for his family to afford, but a “safety net” helped out, he said. Weatherford, however, didn’t describe what that safety net was...Asked by reporters on Tuesday if Medicaid paid the bills, Weatherford said that it had not. When told that his father had said they were covered by Medicaid, Weatherford said he would learn more. A day later, Weatherford said his research showed that medical care was paid for by the Medically Needy Program, which does get paid for with Medicaid dollars."
Weatherford Family Got Help From Medically Needy Program [Tampa Tribune] "State House Speaker Will Weatherford, who opposes a federally funded expansion of Medicaid to people just above the federal poverty line, acknowledged today that his own family benefited in the 1990’s from the Medically Needy Program...Weatherford didn’t note that the Medically Needy program is part of Medicaid."
Weatherford’s 'Safety Net' Tale Undergoes Another Change [Palm Beach Post]
Weatherford Says His Family Was Helped by Medicaid, But He's Still Against Expanding It [Florida Times Union]
...BUT WEATHERFORD'S HYPOCRISY COULD COST FLORIDANS
Alternatives to Medicaid Expansion Could Be More Costly [Tampa Bay Times] "With the Florida House presently unwilling to support Medicaid expansion, legislators are finding inspiration from other states as they try to come up with an alternative solution. Much of the focus is on Arkansas, which received preliminary federal approval to use Medicaid expansion dollars to purchase private insurance via health exchanges for 250,000 people. In Indiana, the state wants to adding 300,000 people to its health savings account-based plan instead of Medicaid expansion. Iowa is asking to add an estimated 150,000 people to its low-benefit safety net program instead of Medicaid. Florida is bigger than all three of these states combined. Roughly 900,000 people hang in the balance as the state debates whether or not it will expand Medicaid."
DEMOCRATS INTRODUCE COMMON SENSE UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS BILLS FOR GUN SALES
Sachs files 'universal background check' gun control bill, wants 'discussion' [Tampa Bay Times] "Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach , introduced the “Universal Background Check Act” on Wednesday, filing a gun control bill that requires virtually all sales of firearms to be conducted through licensed dealers. The bill would require non-licensed individuals that want to sell or 'transfer' a gun to do so through a licensed dealer...Critics of the “gun show loophole” say it allows people to buy guns without going through a background screening that flags criminals and the mentally ill. In Sachs’ bill, which is being sponsored in the House by Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, every person who sells or transfers a gun to another person would have to meet the same requirements as licensed dealers, who are governed by strict federal laws."
Poll: Huge support for universal background check on gun buys in key districts [Tampa Bay Times] "With proposals under debate in Washington and Tallahassee to require universal background checks on gun purchases, it's worth looking at recent polling on the issue in several competitive Florida Congressional districts. A Feb. 1 -5 poll (MoE +/- 5%) released by the Mike Bloomberg-affiliated group Mayors Against Illegal Guns shows found that a whopping 92 percent of voters in Congressional District 13, represented by Republican U.S. Rep. CW Bill Young, support expanding background checks to include all gun purchases...Similarly overwhelming majorities were found in Districts 9, represented by Democrat Alan Grayson (88 percent support), District 25 represented by Republican Mario Diaz-Balart (86 percent), and District 27 represented by Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (95 percent)."
INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON STRENGTHENING FL'S ECONOMY & SCHOOLS, GOP PUSH EXTREME SOCIAL AGENDA
'Anti-Sharia' Law is Back [Tampa Bay Times] "A renewed attempt to pass a controversial 'foreign law' bill proposed by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla and Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yahala, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, after more than an hour of sometimes emotional public testimony. The bill, SB 58, bans courts or other legal authorities from using religious or foreign law as a part of a legal decision or contract relating to family law. Florida law would supercede foreign law regarding divorce, alimony, the division of marital assets, child support and child custody. The bill is ready to be heard on the House floor but it has more committee stops in the Senate. Last year, the bill passed the House but died in the Senate. Supporters say the proposal isn’t targeting religious groups, but the bill has been criticized as anti-Sharia, a Koran-based code followed in some Islamic countries, by Islamic groups as well as Jewish organizations and the American Civil Liberties Union."
Sen. Greg Evers' proposed bill seeks to ban all abortions [Pensacola News Journal] "Three Northwest Florida lawmakers are supporting a proposal that would outlaw nearly all abortions in Florida, close abortion clinics and punish those who perform the procedure with life in prison...The bill also urges the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its seminal abortion rights decisions, 1973’s Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey."