New poll shows Scott isn't a popular guy
"You could say Rick Scott's honeymoon is over … but that would suggest he had one in the first place." That's the opening line of the analysis of Gov. Rick Scott's poll numbers by Public Policy Polling, whose survey shows that Scott is one of the least-liked governors in the nation. Overall, 32 percent like his job performance, compared with 55 percent who disapprove. PPP, a firm that often polls for Democrats, says that in a hypothetical matchup, Scott would lose 56-37 to Democrat Alex Sink, whom he bested by the thinnest of margins in November. What does Scott think of his poor poll numbers? "My job is not to become the most popular," he said Tuesday. "This state will be the most likely to succeed."
Senate leader's bill focuses on ethics
The same Florida Senate committee that rapped Senate President Mike Haridopolos for sloppily filling out financial disclosure forms heard a bill that would give future lawmakers more guidance on how to file the documents. The proposal by Haridopolos and the Rules Committee also would make it tougher for legislators to vote if they have a conflict of interest. Under the bill, lawmakers couldn't vote on an issue (the budget and implementing bills excluded) that "inures" to their, their families' or their companies' special financial gain. That language was copied from Sen. Paula Dockery's ethics legislation, though it didn't go as far as the Lakeland senator wants. She wants to bar lawmakers from participating behind the scenes in legislation that could exclusively benefit them, their families or their employers. If Haridopolos' bill passes, a lawmaker would be immune from an investigation and punishment unless it's shown that he or she intentionally filed false disclosure forms.
State colleges are next tenure target
Now that an overhaul of teacher tenure in public schools is a done deal, House Republicans have a new target: tenure in the state college system. On a party-line vote, a House education committee moved forward with its bill ending multi-year contracts for full-time faculty members. Existing contracts would not be affected, but all new faculty members would have a probationary one-year contract. This bill would not affect the state's universities.
Times/Herald staff writers Marc Caputo and Jodie Tillman contributed to this report.