Sunday, July 22, 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
Trump’s Putin fallout: Inside the White House’s tumultuous stretch of walk backs

Trump’s Putin fallout: Inside the White House’s tumultuous stretch of walk backs

WASHINGTON - Executive time began early on Thursday, just after sunrise.Feeling exasperated and feisty as he awoke in the White House residence, President Donald Trump firedoff his grievances on Twitter about how the media had been covering his Helsi...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa Bay and Florida businesses expect tariffs to drive prices up

Tampa Bay and Florida businesses expect tariffs to drive prices up

TAMPA — Tariffs imposed by the Trump administration and other countries are beginning to push up prices and depress demand in spots around the Tampa Bay area and Florida, business executives say."We’ve definitely seen that the tariffs have increased ...
Published: 07/20/18
March column: Is Congressional District 16 more flippable? What about District 15?

March column: Is Congressional District 16 more flippable? What about District 15?

In the wake of good fundraising news for Democrat David Shapiro, who is running against Rep. Vern Buchanan in Congressional District 16, political analysts are upping their odds of Shapiro’s winning. But what about Congressional District 15, where Re...
Published: 07/20/18
Trump says he’d have no problem beating former VP Biden in 2020

Trump says he’d have no problem beating former VP Biden in 2020

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump said in an interview broadcast Thursday that running against Joe Biden in 2020 would be "a dream," claiming that Barack Obama "took him out of the garbage heap" to make him his running mate in 2008.Trump was asked ...
Published: 07/19/18
At St. Pete rally, protesters call Trump’s remarks on Russia ‘treason’

At St. Pete rally, protesters call Trump’s remarks on Russia ‘treason’

ST. PETERSBURG — Linda and Jack Miller braved the humidity at Demens Landing on Wednesday night for a simple reason: "Treason," said Linda Miller, 66. The St. Petersburg couple joined more than 100 protesters toting signs, pins and megaphones...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/19/18
Meet the man who might have brought on the age of ‘downloadable guns’

Meet the man who might have brought on the age of ‘downloadable guns’

During the summer of 2012, Cody Wilson hung around J&J, a car-repair shop run by two "goofy" guys in their late 20s. The Austin warehouse was crowded with engine blocks, car parts and Pelican boxes that never seemed to have been opened, but the 24-ye...
Published: 07/18/18
‘She was like a novelty’: How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles

‘She was like a novelty’: How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles

WASHINGTON - For nearly five years, the young Russian political-science student was an unusual fixture at the most important events of the U.S. conservative movement.Maria Butina, who was indicted this week on charges of being a covert Russian agent,...
Published: 07/18/18
PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit

PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit

President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin made inaccurate statements to the media following their one-on-one talks in Helsinki about election meddling, global terrorism and nuclear nonproliferation.Here’s a rundown of our fact-checks.Trump:...
Published: 07/17/18
Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values

Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values

JOHANNESBURG — Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday took aim at "strongman politics" in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an imp...
Published: 07/17/18
Romano: Excuse me Gov. Scott, but you’re a hypocrite

Romano: Excuse me Gov. Scott, but you’re a hypocrite

Hypocrisy, thy name is Rick Scott.And, yes, I owe Shakespeare an apology.But I think Florida’s governor owes all of us an apology.This isn’t about one man’s opinion, and it isn’t about philosophical differences. This is about a politician who is publ...
Published: 07/17/18