State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart is moving full steam ahead with Florida Standards, the new education benchmarks based on the Common Core State Standards.
But Common Core opponents aren't giving up the fight.
One group, Florida Parents Against Common Core, plans to protest Sunday afternoon, outside a private fundraising event being held for Gov. Rick Scott on Jupiter Island.
"Our intent is to send a loud and clear message to the governor and leadership," the organizers of the protest wrote in a press release. "We want HB 25 and SB 1316 to be heard in the education committees. Committees will only be meeting for two more weeks and time is of the essence."
HB 25 and SB 1316 seek to prohibit Florida from fully implementing the new standards.
Neither proposal seems to be getting any traction, though the Senate bill by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Pensacola, has picked up two additional co-sponsors: Republican Sens. Alan Hays, of Umatilla, and Lizbeth Benacquisto, of Ft. Myers. …
Could the letter and stamp from Jeb Bush last week be responsible for the increase in GOP ballots cast?
Winner of the week
Jeb Bush. That the David Jolly campaign would spend its scarce resources sending thousands of Pinellas Republicans a letter last week from Jeb Bush — and a stamp — urging them to return mail ballots for Jolly, serves as a reminder of how much influence the former governor wields seven years after leaving office. It's not Gov. Rick Scott or Sen. Marco Rubio all over the TV and mail ads for Jolly.
Loser of the week
Alan Grayson. Suffice it to say any week where you are denying that you physically injured your wife is a very bad one. The Orlando-area Democrat may want to forever stop accusing the GOP of waging a "war on women."
WASHINGTON — In the 33 years before his death, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young spent a total of $6.7 million on his campaigns. The race to succeed him has blown past $12 million. In three months.
The onslaught is fueled not by the candidates but by outside groups that have delivered $9 million in mostly negative ads and contributed to an emerging and dramatic shift in politics:
The death of the local campaign.
Republican David Jolly and Democrat Alex Sink are supporting actors in an arms war that has turned the race into a simplistic, hard-hitting and often misleading referendum. Sink is cast as a liberal puppet in love with Obamacare; Jolly is characterized as a slick lobbyist bent on destroying Social Security and Medicare.
The candidates, like others in competitive races increasingly drawing outside money, have harnessed these themes at the expense of highlighting parochial issues and presenting themselves in a positive light. At once they are helped and hemmed in by independent groups, which have made the contest the most expensive special House election in history. …
More than 600 beltway elites gathered tonight in white tie at the Renaissance Washington for the 129th anniversary dinner of the Gridiron Club and Foundation. Along with skits from the journalists, the closed event featured Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaking for Republicans, Sec. of State John Kerry speaking for the White House and Charlie Crist for Democrats.
The Gridiron Club, which funds college scholarships and journalism organizations, allows no live tweeting of the dinner, let alone TV cameras or recordings. But at least we can give you Charlie Crist's remarks as prepared for delivery: …
An emerging storyline in political journalism is that Sen. Marco Rubio is making a comeback. But the message did not reach hard core conservatives gathered this weekend outside Washington, D.C.
Rubio placed a distant 7th in the annual CPAC straw poll on Saturday, a clear reminder of hits Rubio took for helping write the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill. Last year, as the immigration debate was just beginning, Rubio came in second place.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was first with 31 percent of the vote by registered CPAC attendees, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 11 percent. Dr. Ben Carson received 9 percent, followed by Gov. Chris Christie with 8 percent and former Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Scott Walker both received 7 percent.
Rubio addressed the conference on Thursday and focused on foreign policy, a subject that has helped bring him new attention. He did not mention immigration, but it was on the mind of many conference goers.
A little perspective: CPAC draws a younger, libertarian minded group that elevated Ron Paul and now his son. The straw poll is just that but it's also a window into the difficulty Rubio faced with the base, and may face going forward.
As of Saturday, about 117,000 ballots had been cast in Pinellas County’s special election for Congressional District 13 - more than half of the votes likely to be cast - and Republicans are gaining steam in the closing days. The GOP advantage in votes cast more than doubled over the last week to about 4,500 votes.
For all the talk about an energized, anti-Obama Republican base in this off-year special election, the key to victory on Tuesday — no surprise for a swing district in the swing state of Florida — is swing voters and independents.
Republican David Jolly wins if he can keep Democrat Alex Sink from peeling away too many Republicans and beating him too heavily among the nearly one in five voters registered to neither major party. …
Florida State University's Board of Trustees picked an interim president and named members to an advisory committee to name a successor for Eric Barron, who is leaving next month. Board members said that despite the buzz about Sen. John Thrasher wanting the job, they have an open mind and there is no front runner.
Here is more from Saturday's paper:
Sen. John Thrasher's name is on the tip of many tongues speculating about who will become the next Florida State University president.
But members of the school's Board of Trustees say they'll conduct a careful national search to find the best leader.
Friday, the group met to appoint an interim president who will take over once President Eric Barron leaves for Pennsylvania State University next month. They named 27 people to a search advisory committee, including high-profile political figures and FSU supporters.
Among them is Board of Trustees chairman Allan Bense, a former House speaker who served alongside Thrasher. He insisted there is no front-runner.
"I want to make sure that we get a good pool," Bense said. "And I think if I all of a sudden say I think it's John Smith or whoever, I think that shrinks the pool of applicants." …
Florida’s governor would have new powers to pack the state’s Supreme Court under a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow him to make prospective appointments to the bench even if a vacancy occurs the day the governor is leaving office.
Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince — the court’s liberal wing — will all turn 70 some time during the next governor’s term, and their six-year terms will all end on the same day as the a new governor is inaugurated.
The state constitution is unclear about whether the incoming or outgoing governor should make the appointment when the vacancy occurs on inauguration day. The proposal is designed to put some certainty into the law by giving governors a “prospective appointment” as part of the state’s merit selection system used for appellate courts. …
From the Associated Press: Investigators in Florida are not charging U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson over a domestic incident with his estranged wife.Officials with the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando said Friday that probable cause didn't exist to support the allegation by Grayson's wife that he had pushed her against the front door of their home.
A judge granted Lolita Grayson a restraining order against the Democratic congressman from Orlando earlier this week after she alleged that Grayson pushed her against the front door of their home last Saturday when he stopped by the house.
Grayson's wife, Lolita, filed for divorce in January. On Wednesday, she asked a judge to enter a default judgment, claiming Grayson had failed to respond to her petition in a timely manner.
From Grayson spokeswoman: "Today the Orange County Sheriff’s Department confirmed what we have known all along: Congressman Grayson did nothing wrong. We are relieved that this ridiculous ordeal is over, and that the Congressman can continue to focus on taking care of his family and serving his constituents.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry addressed CPAC today with an energizing speech that had the crowd fired up. About 3:40 into this video, Gov. Perry takes aim at former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, the likely November opponent of his would-be BFF, current Gov. Rick Scott.
"And under Rick Scott, Florida's unemployment rate has dropped for three straight years, when just four years ago, four years ago, his predecessor presided over the loss of more than 800,000 jobs and now that guy wants his job back. And with a record like that, appropriately, he is running this time to seek it as a Democrat."
For the first time since he announced in November that he was running for governor, Charlie Crist’s political committee raised more money in a month than the campaign committee of his opponent, incumbent Rick Scott.
The “Charlie Crist for Governor Committee” raised $827,350 in February, nearly five times the $184,257 raised during the same period by Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work” committee.
Surpassing Scott’s fundraising behemoth is at least an indication that Crist can compete financially.
But it falls far short of providing solid proof that Crist still won’t be blown out in the months to come or at least catch up so he can compete.
Consider the many caveats to February’s numbers. …
MIAMI (AP) - A former law partner of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein was charged Friday with conspiring to violate federal campaign contribution laws involving thousands of dollars donated to the campaigns of John McCain and Charlie Christ.
Court records show the charges were filed against Russell Adler, who was a principal in the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, or RRA. The firm was liquidated after Rothstein's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme was exposed in fall 2009.
Adler is charged with helping orchestrate thousands of dollars in bundled contributions from the firm's employees and attorneys to McCain's 2008 campaign for president with running mate Sarah Palin and Charlie Crist's run for the U.S. Senate. The contributions were illegally reimbursed by the law firm, federal prosecutors said.
There is no indication that McCain or Crist, or their campaigns, knew of the illegal scheme. Adler has consistently denied wrongdoing in the Ponzi scheme, which involved investments in phony legal settlements. Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison sentence for the scheme. …
Lawmakers generally don't much care for being placed on the losing side of annual end-of session lists of winners and losers. But this may be an exception:
The state Capitol’s own “Biggest Loser” competition has begun, hosted by Senate Health Policy Committee Chair Aaron Bean (shown here bravely weighing in on Thursday) and House Health and Human Services Committee Chair Richard Corcoran.
“The ‘Biggest Loser’ competition is a great way to make healthy weight a team sport,'' said State Surgeon General John Armstrong, who's been plugging Healthiest Weight Florida, a public-private collaboration to promote healthy eating and active living.
It's open to all legislators, plus Capitol staff and agency employees. No word on whether we'll be treated to public weigh-ins and scoldings from personal trainers, a la TV's "Biggest Loser.''
As of today, about 113,000 ballots have been cast in Pinellas County's special electon for Congressional District 13, and Republicans have cast 3,756 more ballots than Democrats. We've heard some chatter from Jolly backers about a dramatic surge in Republican mail ballot returns in the closing week of the campaign. Republicans are definitely expanding their lead but not yet by enough to be confident. (Since Feb. 28, Republicans cast 10,121 ballots, Democrats 8,341, and others cast 4,430.
For all the talk about an energized, anti-Obama Republican base in this off-year special election, the key to victory on Tuesday - no surprise for a swing district in the swing state of Florida - once again comes down to swing voters and independents.
Republican David Jolly wins if he can keep Democrat Alex Sink from peeling away too many Republicans and from beating him too heavily among the nearly one in five voters registered to neither major party. …
The House and the Senate would agree on the proposed expansion of the school voucher program, were it not for one sticking point.
Senate President Don Gaetz is insisting that children who receive the private-school scholarships take the statewide assessments or something similar. Gaetz also wants the private schools held accountable for the results.
But House leaders say that kind of testing provision is unnecessary. They point out that scholarship students are already required to take some form of standardized test, though the statewide assessment is not mandated.
This debate goes back to 2008, when Gaetz was sponsoring legislation to expand the voucher program. His original Senate bill would have encouraged participating private schools to have their scholarship students take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests. But the House stripped the language out of its proposal, ultimately forcing the Senate to go along.
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