Herman Cain to appear with Senate candidate Craig Miller

Published Jan. 11, 2012

Herman Cain will appear Thursday with Florida Republican U.S. Senate candidate Craig Miller for a "major announcement."

Sure sounds like an endorsement, and we hear Cain will drop in for a fundraiser with Miller after the event in Winter Park. Cain could also participate in a multicity campaign tour for Miller next month. Miller could use the help as his campaign has failed to generate much notice.

Like Cain, Miller has roots in the food business, having served as CEO of Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Primary date could move again

The Florida Legislature is considering a bill that would move back the date of the statewide primary election a week, from Aug. 14 to Aug. 21. The legislation (SB 7042) is scheduled to be considered at Wednesday's meeting of the Senate Rules Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections chaired by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican.

During last spring's session, the Legislature switched the primary date to Aug. 14 so it wouldn't conflict with the Republican National Convention, which begins in Tampa on Aug. 27. Originally, it had been scheduled for Aug. 28.

The deadline to register to vote in the primary will be 29 days before the primary, and election supervisors must issue new voter cards to all 10 million-plus voters in Florida.

Capitol renovation continues

Add Attorney General Pam Bondi to the list of Cabinet officials whose offices have been turned into temporary hard-hat zones. The state is slated to spend $51,919 to renovate the lobby of her Capitol suite, including the installation of a secure doorway that separates the front area from interior offices.

A Department of Management Services spokeswoman said Bondi's office was the only plaza-level suite that didn't have such security features. The construction project was scheduled to last two weeks and appears to be wrapping up.

You may recall that the state has already paid $80,000 for renovation of Gov. Rick Scott's offices, including painting walls, replacing carpet and expanding the chief of staff's office. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putman's office received $108,604 in renovations in 2011, including $85,973 in new carpet. Offices for the Republican-controlled Legislature also received $200,000 in new carpet.

TV ads for, against gambling

Another sign that the high-intensity fight over expanding casino gambling in Florida: practically back-to-back television ads during the BCS Championship.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce's "Bad Bet for Florida" features a classroom of kids and is running in Tallahassee and another market. Meanwhile, Associated Industries of Florida's ad features American actor, writer, lawyer and commentator Ben Stein promoting the gambling venues as a jobs creator.

Finally, an ad run by the Institute for Liberty, a Washington, D.C., think tank that opposes health care reform, is running in Orlando. The group has somehow found its way into the Florida gambling debate with the ad bashing Disney for its ownership of Marvel comics, whose characters are featured on online slot machine games.

Insurance overhaul in bill

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, has proposed a "comprehensive" overhaul to the state's no-fault insurance laws. SB 1860 includes requiring long-form incident reports as a way to thwart staged accidents; closing licensing loopholes for health clinics; streamlining the fee schedule for reimbursements; providing a more modern system for bill payment; giving hospitals priority standing in PIP claims; enhancing accountability measures for all parties involved in PIP claims, including law enforcement, insurance companies, providers and attorneys.

Times/Herald staff writers Mary Ellen Klas and Tia Mitchell contributed to this report.