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Flagler Health Department Chief Defends Ban on Navigators, Citing Privacy and Logistics

| September 16, 2013

Flagler County Health Department Director Patrick Johnson defended the state’s controversial ban from DOH property against outreach workers called Navigators, who help uninsured people sign up for subsidized health coverage under Obamacare–a law Florida officials have actively and chronically obstructed.

Supervisors of Election Weary of State’s Renewed Push for Voter Purges

| September 12, 2013

Secretary of State Ken Detzner will go on the road next month to pitch for a revived voter scrub, but supervisors of elections, caught in the crosshairs of last year’s problematic purge, and voting-rights advocates remain skeptical.

Only in Florida: Attorney General Bondi Reschedules Execution to Avoid Conflict With Her Fundraiser

| September 10, 2013

Marshall Lee Gore was to be executed the evening of Sept. 10 until Attorney General Bondi rescheduled the killing so it wouldn’t conflict with her “campaign kickoff” fundraiser in Tampa. She now says she shouldn’t have done that.

Another Red State Takes Medicaid Dollars, Contrasting With Florida’s Holdout

| September 1, 2013

Michigan, which like Florida has a Republican governor and legislative majority, has voted to accept federal funds and expand its Medicaid program to the low-income uninsured. It is yet another GOP-dominated state that has done what Florida, which declined $51 billion over 10 years, did not.

Burnishing Green Creds Ahead of Election, Gov. Scott Wants To Give Everglades a Lift

| August 29, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott is proposing $90 million to help lift a section of the Tamiami Trail, which groups such as the Everglades Foundation have called “one of the most prominent dams” blocking the natural flow of the River of Grass.

Gov. Scott Sets Education Summit Amid Direction’s Growing Uncertainties

| August 25, 2013

The summit, which will last from Monday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon in Clearwater, comes after the resignation of former Education Commissioner Tony Bennett and as debates swirl about the state’s school-grading system and a move to “Common Core” standards.

Florida Cabinet Hypes Identity Thievery of Affordable Health Act “Navigators”

| August 21, 2013

There is no danger that so-called “navigators” will steal people’s identities or feed information into a giant federal database, said Greg Mellowe, policy director for the consumer group Florida CHAIN. The group is one of the non-profits that will get a share of federal grant money for the “navigator” program.

Tallahassee For Sale: Six Lobbying Firms Collect More Than $1 Million Each

| August 18, 2013

Bolstered by huge paydays from some clients, at least six lobbying firms, including the Southern Strategy Group, collected $1 million or more in legislative lobbying fees between April 1 and June 30.

After 31 Days, Dream Defenders
End Their Protest at the Florida Capitol

| August 15, 2013

Dream Defender leaders said they’ll carry their campaign against the “stand your ground” self-defense law and what they consider other forms of racial bias to the polls, trying to defeat the elected officials who opposed their demands, including Gov. Rick Scott, who is up for re-election next year.

Not Enough Votes for a Special Session on Stand Your Grounds, But Protest Continues

| August 14, 2013

Republicans have returned enough “no” votes in a poll of legislators to quash the idea of a special session to address the state’s stand your ground law, yet the Dream Defenders, a group of protesters whose around-the-clock sit-in at the Capitol stretched to a 30th day on Wednesday, are not quitting.

Sorry, Teachers: Don’t Yet Bank on Debit Cards for Classroom Supplies Gov. Scott Promised

| August 14, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott touted the $250, tax-free debit cards as he talked about education issues across the state, but as of Tuesday, more than 130,000 teachers out of Florida’s 170,000 are not in line to get one of the Chase debit cards this year.

Stand Your Ground Special Session: Florida Democrats Invoke Unique Tactic in Hunt for Votes

| August 12, 2013

Vastly outnumbered Democrats have a week to convince enough Republicans lawmakers to support a special session of the Legislature on the Stand Your Ground law. The Secretary of State’s office has to find 96 lawmakers to trigger such a session.

Cabinet Passes, for Now, on Pardoning Marissa Alexander, Pending Stand Your Ground Appeal

| August 7, 2013

Alexander, a 32-year-old mother of three, was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year after firing a shot into a wall during a dispute with her abusive husband, a case that stands in sharp contrast with George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict after he shot and killed an unarmed teen.

Latest Education Scandal Buoys Critics Of High-Stakes Testing as Scott Scrambles

| August 5, 2013

Critics of the state’s education policies are seizing on serial resignations in the education commissioner’s seat, arguing that the problem is less the person on the job than the state’s accountability system. Tony Bennett was a strong supporter of that system, adding a twist of irony to his resignation in the wake of reports that he tweaked the Indiana school report card formulas to help a school founded by a political contributor.

Hypertown: Jesse Jackson and His Detractors

| August 4, 2013

But by the time Gov. Scott and his ilk were done demanding that Jesse Jackson apologize to all Floridians over hos comparisons of Scott to George Wallace and the Dream Defenders to the Selma march, lo and behold, we were back talking about the Dream Defenders and Stand Your Ground. That was Jackson’s goal.

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett Is Resigning Over Favoritism Scandal

| August 1, 2013

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is announcing his resignation today a year to the day after his predecessor, Gerard Robinson, resigned amid another controversy over school grades. The two resignations underscore the flammability of school grades resulting from high-stakes testing–a flammability opponents of such testing say belie the credibility of the testing and system.

Jesse Jackson Calls Capitol Sit-In “The Selma of Our Time.” Scott Calls It an “Insult” to Floridians.

| July 31, 2013

Calling Florida “an apartheid state,” Jackson spoke ahead of an overnight visit with the Dream Defenders that has staged a sit-in at Scott’s office to demand a special legislative session to consider changes to the state’s self-defense laws, initiatives to end racial profiling and an end to zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools.

Florida Education Commissioner Defends Grade Inflation as Bush Rallies to His Side

| July 30, 2013

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Bennett said it was “absurd” to believe he inflated grades to help a donor because of her political contributions to Bennett, but criticism of Florida’s education commissioner persisted.

Again in Flagler, Gov. Scott Headlines Aveo Co.’s 300-Jobs Groundbreaking at Airport

| July 30, 2013

If the 300 promised jobs are produced, landing Aveo Engineering in Flagler County will prove to be the largest single gain of private-employer jobs in memory, and an unqualified success for the county administration’s new economic development department under Helga van Eckert. But the company is getting generous incentives beyond the $150,000 in cash for jobs retained.

Into Their Second Week of Protest, Dream Defenders Plan Their Own Special Session

| July 30, 2013

Scott, who is expected to spend the next couple of days back on the road, didn’t pop out for a chat with those who want him to call a special session on the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law.

Florida Snubs Millions in Federal Health Grants That Could Help Workers and the Poor

| July 29, 2013

in a pattern of politically motivated rejections by Florida itself, the state got the lowest amount of health-care reform act grant funding per capita – behind all 50 states and the District of Columbia – in 2011. While state agencies received the bulk of federal health grants in other states, it was the reverse in Florida.

Dream Defenders’ Stand Your Ground Standoff at Scott’s Office Continues Into Second Week

| July 22, 2013

Members of the Dream Defenders, a student-led group that has protested at the Capitol since last Tuesday, said they’re busy making plans for the rest of this week and beyond as Scott reiterated Monday, before leaving Tallahassee for an event in southeast Florida, that there will be no special session to review the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law.

Flagler’s Unemployment Back in Double Digits While Florida’s Stalls at 7.1%, Mirroring U.S.

| July 19, 2013

Flagler County’s unemployment rate shot back up to 10.2 percent as 830 fewer people had jobs, one of the sharpest drops of the year, though seasonal fluctuations account for much of that drop. Florida added just 2,300 private sector jobs.

Boycott Florida Movement Grows in Protest Of Stand Your Ground and Zimmerman Verdict

| July 18, 2013

The boycott-Florida movement has quickly grown on social media and with such headliners as Stevie Wonder while Gov. Rick Scott and the state’s business groups downplay the effectiveness of the effort, which could nevertheless hurt the state’s tourism and convention business.

Students Stage Sit-In at Gov. Scott’s Office, Demanding Special Session on Florida’s Gun Laws

| July 16, 2013

The students, part of a group called the Dream Defenders, said they’re responding to the “not guilty” verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, want a special legislative session addressing laws such as Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense provision they say unfairly affect minority youth.

Florida Cabinet Trio’s Combined Personal Worth: $9.76 Million

| July 9, 2013

Cabinet members — Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — are now collectively worth $9,756,748, still a far cry from the $83.8 million Gov. Rick Scott reported last week.

As Democrats Dither, Local Republicans Hail Scott’s 4th Visits to Flagler in 2 Years

| July 9, 2013

It wasn’t long ago that Flagler County Republicans were an embarrassment of internecine warfare as fringes and factions threatened to tear the party apart. Dave Sullivan, chairman of the Republican Executive Committee, has kept the local party cobbled together, capping the achievement with Scott’s visit for a fund-raising dinner this evening. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to be a non-entity.

Florida’s Political Scientist:
Five Questions for Susan McManus

| July 2, 2013

Susan MacManus is probably Florida’s most-quoted political scientist. A distinguished professor at the University of South Florida’s Department of Government and International Affairs, she’s also a featured columnist on the Sayfie Review website and a political analyst for Tampa’s WFLA Channel 8.

If You’re Gay, Would Like to Legally Marry and Are Ready to Sue, Equality Florida Wants You

| July 2, 2013

Equality Florida, the state’s the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s LGBT community, is looking for potential plaintiffs for a lawsuit to challenge Florida’s ban on gay marriage. Voters approved a ban on marriage equality in 2008, by a 62 percent margin.

The Agonizing Over, Gov. Scott Signs Bill to Restrict Gun Buying from Mentally Ill

| June 29, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott defended his support for the Second Amendment as he signed a narrowly-focused firearms bill into law Friday, making it harder for the mentally ill to buy guns. The bill (HB 1355) blocks firearms purchases by some people who voluntarily admit themselves for mental-health treatment.

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