Thursday, June 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Chasing money in Tallahassee

Money and elections always have been bedfellows in political life. But a scolding email from the next Florida House speaker castigating fellow Republicans for their lackluster fundraising efforts underscores that more is never enough. The recent missive by Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, makes raising money a higher priority than passing legislation, and it exposes the charade of holding committee meetings in Tallahassee to create more opportunities for campaign fundraisers.

It's not as if Republicans are in dire financial straits. As the Tampa Bay Times' Michael Van Sickler reported, between July 1 and Sept. 30 Republican House members hauled in $1.5 million, or $188,000 more than two years ago, a healthy 14 percent increase. But it was not healthy enough for Crisafulli, who is slated to become speaker for the 2015-16 legislative sessions. On average each House member raked in $24,434. What raised Crisafulli's ire was a surge in fundraising among the 38 Democratic House members seeking re-election, going from an average of $4,133 per member two years ago to $9,666, a 134 percent jump. Still, Crisafulli pushed House Republicans to pick up the pace of strong-arming donors and was kind enough to attach a spreadsheet ranking the Republicans by how much money they had raised in the third quarter.

The timing of the unsubtle reminder was not left to chance. It came before a week of committee meetings, when more than a dozen fundraisers were scheduled in Tallahassee. And campaign contribution limits for legislators increased from $500 to $1,000 on Monday, so last week's fundraisers were doubly productive. The Legislature has always been for sale. The price tag has only gotten higher.

There is ample time and opportunity for Florida lawmakers to raise money. Legislators are barred from raising campaign money during the Florida Legislature's regular session that begins in March. The same prohibition should be in force during committee weeks. Taxpayers should not be paying for lawmakers to have an excuse to go to Tallahassee to shake down the lobbyists. And if there were no fundraisers, it's a safe bet there would be fewer committee weeks.

Comments
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBIís handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but itís also suppression

The Supreme Courtís ruling last Monday to allow Ohioís purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they havenít voted, Ohioís purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18