07/01/15 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's personal net worth ballooned in the past year to nearly $147 million, an increase of 11 percent and nearly twice what it was two years ago.
The richest governor in Florida history reported his bigger bottom line on an annual financial disclosure statement with the state Commission on Ethics that become public Wednesday.
Thanks to a vast portfolio of investments and extensive sales of stock in a bull market, Scott's year-to-year net worth grew by more than $14 million in 2014, but exactly how remained a secret, because Scott places his assets in a blind trust....
Gov. Rick Scott reports his net worth has grown to nearly $147 million, an increase of about $14 million or nearly 11 percent more than the year before, and double what it was the year before that. The wealthiest governor in Florida history filed his annual financial disclosure statement with the Commission on Ethics and the agency posted it online Wednesday....
If Republicans in the Florida Senate are getting over their anger at Gov. Rick Scott's rash of vetoes, they sure don't sound like it.
Appearing on News 13's Political Connections, Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, did not mince words in describing Scott's zeroing out of money for programs for people with disabilities and for the start of a downtown Orlando campus of the University of Central Florida....
Making the rounds in anticipation of announcing a U.S. Senate bid, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera huddled Tuesday with Chip LaMarca, Broward’s lone Republican county commissioner, at an undisclosed location in Fort Lauderdale, according to Lopez-Cantera’s official schedule.
“LOL, just meeting him for coffee and to catch up,” LaMarca told The Miami Herald's Amy Sherman via text. “I’m sure that he wants to talk about the U.S. Senate campaign in Broward County. ... I’m happy to assist him because he’s a friend and has been supportive of me as well.”...
Gov. Rick Scott and the three Cabinet members will soon reappoint permanent directors of two Cabinet-level agencies snubbed by the Senate this spring. The selection process is slowed by new Cabinet rules that require more transparent application and interview systems, leaving the two leaders in a limbo-like "interim" status.
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen is sure to win reappointment because neither Scott nor the Cabinet asked to interview anyone else for a job that requires extensive law enforcement experience. But it's a different story for Secretary Jon Steverson of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), who faces competition and a possible re-application process....
It might be the longest job interview in Florida history, at six months and counting.
That's how long ago Rick Swearingen got the shocking phone call that changed his life and set off a slow-motion political disaster for Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet.
It's all because Scott and the three elected Cabinet members botched the removal of Swearingen's predecessor as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Gerald Bailey's hush-hush firing by Scott last Dec. 16 exposed a lack of oversight by asleep-at-the-switch Cabinet members and damaged morale at an agency that reports to the Cabinet so as to be protected from political meddling by one person, even the governor....
Gov. Rick Scott's liberal use of his veto pen in the new state budget continues to reverberate across the state in a number of pointed editorials and woe-is-us news stories. But one of Scott's most persistent critics isn't complaining.
Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen penned a piece over the weekend that actually sprinkled some praise on Scott for a "rare display of might" in dealing with a "malfunctioning" Florida Legislature, and the popular author also concluded that Scott axed so much spending ($461.4 million) that he couldn't have been playing favorites. "The slashing was evenhanded," Hiaasen writes....
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's sudden and sweeping vetoes of lawmakers' projects have stirred up more bad blood with the Senate that is likely to linger.
It won't take long for the governor to find out the price he'll pay the next time he needs support for his priorities. The next session begins in just six months.
Acting with a swiftness not seen before in Florida, Scott blindsided legislators from the cozy privacy of his Capitol office on Tuesday and wiped out $461 million for virtually every type of program, from free medical clinics to college construction to programs to help ex-offenders rejoin society....
Funeral services will be held this weekend for former state Sen. Durell Peaden, who died this week.
Secretary of the Senate Debbie Brown sent the following details to senators: Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Central Time on Saturday and a funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday. Both will take place at the First United Methodist Church, 599 8th Avenue, Crestview....
"You're raising taxes on everybody," Gov. Rick Scott is quoted as saying about Connectiut's Democratic governor and Legislature in Friday's Hartford Courant. Here's how the trip is playing in the state's largest newspaper. In an interview with the Associated Press in Hartford, Scott said "it truly helps me when a governor raises taxes."...
A number of budget brainstorms got as far as the negotiating table in the Capitol in the just-ended 2015 session, but they ended up on the cutting-room floor.
Two noteworthy ones sprang from House leaders, including one-time pay raises of $30,000 to all seven state Supreme Court justices. Another proposal would have prohibited legislators from conducting campaign events in coordination with Farm Share, a surplus food program for needy families based in Miami that gets state money....
The University of Florida said Thursday that a state-of-the-art laboratory in Fort Pierce is "likely" to close, and its 12 positions eliminated, because of Gov. Rick Scott's line-item veto. Scott's reason for eliminating the money for the project was that "a clear state return on investment has not been demonstrated at this time."
The joint projecst by UF and IFAS, the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, controls invasive plants and insects. The university said that the lab's future is in question because Scott vetoed its funding, including a $180,000 increase that the Legislature appropriated in the new state budget. Jack Payne, a UF senior vice president for agricultural and natural resources, said the lab has been open since 2004 at the Indian River Research and Education Center....
Former Florida Sen. Durell Peaden, a well-liked Panhandle legislator who represented Northwest Florida in the House and Senate for 15 years, died Tuesday at age 69. He had suffered a severe heart attack earlier this month while in Pennsylvania.
Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, who is a cousin to Peaden and replaced him in the state Senate, notified his colleagues of Peaden's death on Wednesday morning in an email....
06/23/15 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Moving with surprising speed and secrecy, Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $461 million from the state budget Tuesday, enraging fellow Republicans for wiping out their priorities with the stroke of a pen.
Following a tense session in which he fought senators in his own party, Scott bludgeoned their projects just four days after the end of a three-week special legislative session. He denied that he was getting even with them. Yet, he was criticized for inconsistency for vetoing a $2,000 pay raise for state firefighters while allowing $5,000 raises for highway patrol troopers in six counties....
Gov. Rick Scott signed the new state budget in the privacy of his Capitol office Tuesday, the first time in memory that a Florida governor took that important annual step in secret. Scott's press office said it would "send out pictures" of the event and that Scott would be available to answer questions following a Cabinet meeting.
A public budget signing gives the governor a chance to use the bully pulpit to tout the positive elements of it -- more money for schools, tax cuts and the like. Scott's office released his daily schedule at 8:24 a.m. saying he would be signing the "Keep Florida Working" budget at 8:30 a.m....