The Tampa Bay Times' Dan Ruth dishes up a column on the latest special session in Tallahassee -- the one triggered by a Supreme Court mandate to redraw the state's Congressional districts so as not to favor/disfavor any particular incumbent or party.
It's a dive into what Ruth describes as addled delusions, crybabies, and Lord Voldemort meeting Lance Armstrong. Here's his take:
Here's a simple question to ponder. Suppose you found yourself sitting next to a member of the Florida Legislature in a saloon. Would you feel comfortable leaving your bar change unattended within arm's reach of one of our elected officials if nature suddenly called?...
Throughout his tenure, Gov. Rick Scott has been fonding of taking friendly jabs at Texas as Florida's arch-rival in job creation.
Earlier this month, he took glee in announcing that a Texas company is moving 420 new jobs to Broward County....
Florida added 13,700 private sector jobs in July, the weakest monthly performance so far this year, according to a report released Wednesday.
The estimate from payroll-processing firm ADP indicated Florida is still among the strongest job generators in the country. But it has slumped to third behind Gov. Rick Scott's arch-competitor, Texas. California remains No. 1, adding a robust 27,600 private sector jobs....
So you're a Jeb! enthusiast shopping for a Guaca Bowle? Maybe a BBQ apron or vintage tank from the presidential aspirant?
Jeb Bush's online store has that and more as Katie Mettler of the Tampa Bay Times writes:
We're still trying to figure out whether Jeb Bush's 2016 online campaign store, which was launched Wednesday, is making more of a political statement or a fashion statement....
Undercover officers infiltrated, took over Tampa protest groups before 2012 Republican National Convention08/04/15 Blog
ICYMI: The Tampa Bay Times' Richard Danielson wrote about how undercover officers infiltrated protest groups before the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. The event turned into a largely peaceful, low-key affair.
TAMPA - A lot went into Tampa's trouble-free protests during the 2012 Republican National Convention: Intense planning. Lessons of past conventions. Big spending on extra officers, training and equipment. Even a tropical storm.
And then there's this: An undercover police operation in which officers infiltrated and took leadership roles in the protest groups they were surveilling....
What, me worry?
A hurricane-free decade has left most Floridians with a "relative lack of concern" that they'll face a hurricane this year, according to the latest Mason-Dixon Florida Poll.
In fact, not only does a significant majority say they don't feel vulnerable to storm damage, about one in three Floridians don't plan to evacuate if a Category 1 storm is looming -- even if ordered to do so by emergency officials. ...
07/17/15 Working Life
Don't look now, but Florida is finally posting job numbers in the range of what economists used to call "full employment."
Gov. Rick Scott trumpeted Friday that the state's unemployment rate in June fell two notches to 5.5 percent, a level not seen since early 2008, some six months before Wall Street's epic collapse turned an economic downturn into the Great Recession.
Pinellas County, best-performing among Tampa Bay counties, is even tasting that rarified air of sub-5 percent unemployment with a jobless rate of 4.9 percent. ...
For the last seven years, lobbyists have been pushing for a bill that would eliminate a five-year waiting period for legally residing immigrant children to access healthcare through the Florida KidCare program. A proposal to eliminate the waiting period failed yet again this year, most recently during the special session.
Samantha Schmidt of the Tampa Bay Times profiles Ana Maria Campos, a leukemia victim and one of thousands of legally residing immigrant children in Florida cut off from coverage because of that waiting period....
From Jenny Luna of the Miami Herald:
MIAMI - Despite cutting millions of dollars to aid the state's disabled community, Gov. Rick Scott signed a new law Monday that allows individuals with disabilities to boost their savings from $2,000 to $100,000 without jeopardizing their state and federal benefits.
Scott signed the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act amid students and families of the Marian Center in Miami Gardens, a school for people with disabilities. The law would go into effect by July 1, 2016....
Tampa Bay Times' columnist William March writes about Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern still mulling over whether to run for the District 13 congressional seat. Plus, he tallies up the take from Hillsborough County's Lincoln Day Dinner.
Read more here ...
TAMPA — Head to the nearest park, test your mettle on Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens, or just soak up some rays.
In the seemingly endless stream of lists ranking America's metros, here's one we can actually sit back and enjoy.
Tampa is the fourth-best city in the country for recreation, according to personal finance site WalletHub.
WalletHub said it picked July to release its latest analysis because this is National Park and Recreation Month, and America's biggest cities invested more than $6.4 billion on park and recreation in 2014....
The Tampa Bay Times' Craig Pittman writes about implications of Gov. Rick Scott's veto of $4.5 million toward controversial water-farming projects.
Read more here
The Tampa Bay Times' Tony Marrero writes about pending budget cuts in court clerks' offices statewide. Clerks are blaming the Legislature for failing to make up a deficit in the state trust fund that feeds their budgets.
The executive committee of the Clerks of Court Operations Corporation, the clerks' statewide budgeting arm, is expected to make official the across-the-board cut during a conference call at 4 p.m. Monday....
The Tampa Bay Times' Tony Marrero writes about the fate of one St. Petersburg project -- a top priority of the bay area delegation -- which was left high and dry after a veto by Gov. Rick Scott.
Read more here
In the books it will go down as the board of Citizens Property Insurance unanimously agreeing to seek a 3.2 percent average rate increase for policyholders statewide.
However, as Citizens chief risk officer John Rollins emphasized to board members for the state-run insurer in his rates presentation Wednesday morning, "nobody pays the average."
In fact for most of the state, including Tampa Bay, homeowners will enjoy rate decreases. Throughout the bay area, depending on the county, average rates could fall anywhere from 3.1 percent to 8 percent. ...