Sunday, May 27, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott drops Florida's membership in governors group

WASHINGTON — Governors attending an annual meeting this weekend will take up the theme of "Growing State Economies," an initiative they hope will boost hiring and create jobs in their home states.

But Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has made jobs the centerpiece of his administration, will not be at the gathering.

Florida, along with Texas, Ohio and Idaho, is one of four states whose Republican governors have declined to pay annual membership dues to the National Governors Association. Scott is one of just a handful of U.S. governors not going to the annual meeting — 46 governors from U.S. states and territories will be in attendance.

Scott will be in Washington, though. He and his wife, Ann Scott, will fly in Sunday for what many governors and their spouses consider the highlight of the annual weekend in Washington: a black tie dinner hosted by the president and first lady at the White House. The dinner is not affiliated with the NGA.

Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said that when the governor took office last year, he asked all of his agencies to examine the value of the association memberships being paid for by the state.

"Gov. Scott did the same and determined the NGA membership was not an appropriate expense for the state of Florida at this time," she said.

The amount of the state's NGA membership dues were not disclosed by the NGA or Scott's office. NGA dues range from $22,000 to $176,000, depending on the size of the state.

Instead, Scott chose to be a member of the Republican Governors Association, which relies on corporate donors and in part on donations from hundreds of wealthy conservatives who donate to the group for access to events featuring GOP governors.

Unlike the NGA, strictly a policy-based organization, the RGA's primary mission is to help elect Republicans to governorships throughout the nation. Democrat governors have a similar political arm.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has long been a skeptic of the NGA's value to his state. Texas, which left the organization in 2002, was paying about $135,000 in dues. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, who dropped his state's membership in 2010, decided he would rather not spend an estimated $10,000 on travel.

Even if governors haven't paid their dues, all 55 state and territorial governors technically remain members of the 104-year-old organization. But they're only considered "members of good standing" if their dues are paid up, the organization said Friday.

Kaiser Health News reported last year that the NGA has stopped helping Florida, Ohio, Idaho and Texas implement the new health care law because they dropped their memberships in the organization. All four states are among the 26 states suing to overturn the law.

Comments
Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized Sunday in Maine after he experienced low blood pressure and fatigue, a spokesman said. Just after 2 p.m., Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the 93-year-old Bush, said he was awak...
Updated: 9 hours ago
More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

WASHINGTON — A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a s...
Published: 05/26/18
Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

I may have cracked the code. Found a way to sell doing the right thing. Discovered a method of persuasion in certain matters of fairness, conscience and the greater good.Like giving our fellow Americans a second chance.When morality-based arguments d...
Published: 05/26/18
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Published: 05/24/18
Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

President Donald Trump’s decision to block his Twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that Trump’s effort to silence his critics is not permissible under the U.S. Con...
Published: 05/23/18
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Published: 05/23/18
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18