Thirty-two guards with the Florida Department of Corrections were fired Friday afternoon in what union officials were calling a “Friday night massacre.” All were accused of criminal wrongdoing or misconduct in connection with the deaths of inmates at four state prisons....
Mary Wilkerson is aware there's a governor's race on the November ballot, but "it's not on my radar,'' says the 60-year-old from Jacksonville....
09/20/14 State Roundup
Mary Wilkerson is aware there's a governor's race on the November ballot, but "it's not on my radar,'' says the 60-year-old from Jacksonville.
Wilkerson, a black Democrat and reliable supporter of Barack Obama, is the kind of voter who is pivotal to the candidacy of Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor turned Democrat.
His campaign has put a premium on building a field operation aimed at turning out the vote in key communities and has crafted a careful message of inclusion that aims to avoid the mistakes that imperiled Alex Sink, the Democrat who lost to Gov. Rick Scott four years ago by less than 2 percent of the vote....
09/19/14 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — One of Florida's top Republican political consultants stopped short of accusing the state Supreme Court of lacking "integrity" Friday if it rules that he must disclose emails in a case brought under the state's new anti-gerrymanding laws.
Pat Bainter, whose firm Data Targeting Inc. has battled for two years to keep the documents private in a lengthy legal battle over the state's redistricting maps, argued on Friday that the release of his emails violates his First Amendment right to anonymous political speech....
One of Florida's top Republican political consultants stopped short of accusing the state Supreme Court of lacking "integrity" Friday if it rules that he must disclose emails in a case brought under the state’s new anti-gerrymanding laws.
Pat Bainter, whose firm Data Targeting Inc. has battled for two years to keep the documents private in a lengthy legal battle over the state’s redistricting maps, argued that the release of his emails violates his First Amendment right to anonymous political speech.
But after the justices – who have had access to the documents -- raised doubts about Bainter’s argument that they were trade secrets, he issued a blistering statement.
"Today’s Supreme Court hearing is the culmination of a legal assault and press sensationalism as to whether or not I, a private citizen, have the right to petition my government without fear of a political inquisition into my private matters," he wrote after the oral arguments. "After today's hearing, it is clear to me that, as interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court, Amendments 5 & 6 are unconstitutional because they criminalize political speech based upon its content."...
With his First Amendment challenge pending before the Florida Supreme Court, GOP political consultant Pat Bainter issued a rare statement calling out the court after oral arguments today in which he urged the court to keep secret his emails related to redistricting.
Bainter is now suggesting that the "institutional integrity of the court is at stake" in how they rule.
Here's the statement: ...
And now for the latest gimmick: NextGen Climate has built an an ark, and the Democrat-leaning enviro gorup is trucking it around Florida using a pretty low-efficiency vehicle to bring home the point that Gov. Rick Scott won't talk about, yes, climate change.
The ark made its first stop in Tallahassee on Thursday and is headed to Tampa on Friday. The high-profile visual comes a day after 42 scientists from universities around the state asked the governor and other state leaders to call a Climate & Solutions Summit to bring the issue front and center. Scott met with five scientists last month but wouldn't say whether he has changed his mind from denying that human-induced pollution has caused climate change. He did say he likes solutions. ...
Four years after the state Senate rejected two of former Gov. Charlie Crist's appointees to the Public Service Commission because they had no industry experience, Gov. Rick Scott has appointed state Rep. Jimmy Patronis to the same board, even though he has had no industry experience....
If Florida’s climate scientists have proven anything this summer, it is that they are careful listeners.
After Gov. Rick Scott told them last month that he is “focused on solutions,” 42 scientists from Florida colleges and universities crafted a letter asking the governor and state policy leaders to convene a “Climate Science & Solutions Summit” to be held this fall to come up with an action plan for Florida.
“As scientists, we would like the opportunity to contribute scientific information to a plan which would address what is at stake for our state,’’ the scientists wrote....
09/17/14 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — If Florida's climate scientists have proven anything this summer, it is that they are careful listeners.
After Gov. Rick Scott told them last month that he is "focused on solutions," 42 scientists from Florida colleges and universities crafted a letter asking the governor and state policy leaders to convene a "Climate Science & Solutions Summit" to be held this fall to come up with an action plan for Florida....
The Florida Department of Health says it wanted to use a lottery to select the companies that will dispense low-THC cannabis in Florida to avoid lawsuits, but on Monday the agency in charge of writing the medical marijuana rules drew its first lawsuit -- because of the lottery.
Costa Farms of Miami, one of the state's largest farming operations filed an administrative complaint against the Department of Health Monday, alleging that it is violating the law authoritizing the selection of five companies to dispense low-THC cannabis by requiring they be selected through a lottery system....
The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting shines a light on Gov. Rick Scott's little-discussed move to a driver-tax, exposing the administration's elaborate plan to install tolls on most major highways in Florida. The plans, conceived initially by the libertarian think tank the Reason Foundation, are now underway and have been executed quickly and with little local input, the report by Eric Barton shows. Here's an excerpt:...
For five days and five nights, Paige Elizabeth Lunsford — a severely disabled teen — retched “like a waterfall,” could not eat and thrashed about in an “educational center” staffed with teachers, nurses and a doctor....
Saying that's Florida's delayed prosecution of greyhound abuse laws is unacceptable, three Florida lawmakers have ordered state regulators to provide them detailed answers to questions involving animal cruelty and abuse allegations.
In a letter to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Division of Parimutuel Wagering, state Reps. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, and John Wood, R-Winter Haven, cited an investigation by the Miami Herald and ordered the agency to respond to a lengthy list of questions. They gave the agency ten days to respond....
The Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews, and Wexford Health Systems ignored the widespread torture and abuse that mentally ill inmates have suffered for years at Dade Correctional Institution, a civil lawsuit alleges.
Disability Rights Florida, a nonprofit mental health advocacy group, is seeking an injunction to force immediate reforms and investigations into some of the more egregious complaints that it says Crews and others have ignored for more than three years....