May 9 2016

Scott to Honor Former Surgeon General

Gov. Rick Scott will host a reception Monday night at the governor’s mansion for former Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong, who lost his job when he failed to get through the Senate confirmation process earlier this year.

The evening reception was announced on Scott’s daily schedule, released Monday morning.

Armstrong, who as surgeon general was also the secretary of the Florida Department of Health, had held the post since 2012. He faced questions about issues such as a steep drop in the number of people receiving services from county health departments and Florida’s highest-in-the-nation rate for new HIV infections. Armstrong also was questioned about Children’s Medical Services, a program for youngsters with “chronic and serious” conditions that last year dropped more than 13,000 kids from its rolls.

Despite public pressure from Scott for the Senate to confirm Armstrong during the 2016 session, Armstrong narrowly got through a single committee. A confirmation vote was never taken on the Senate floor.

The News Service of Florida

May 4 2016

Kriseman Climbs Aboard Crist Train

A day after Eric Lynn dropped out of a Democratic primary battle with Charlie Crist in Congressional District 13, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tossed his support to Crist.

Kriseman had backed Lynn, a former Pentagon official who announced Tuesday that he will instead run this year in state House District 68. In a statement released Wednesday by the Crist campaign, Kriseman said he will support the former governor — another indication that Lynn’s exit could help clear the way for Crist to win the Pinellas County congressional seat.

“I have admired and worked with Charlie Crist for a long time and know that he will be a tremendous champion for all of us in our nation’s capital,” the statement said. “It’s time for all Democrats, and all citizens of District 13, to unite behind Charlie Crist.”



The News Service of Florida

Apr 26 2016

Scott, Negron to Meet

After spending part of the day in a Cabinet meeting, Gov. Rick Scott plans to huddle this afternoon with incoming Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, according to a schedule released by Scott’s office.

The schedule does not detail the subject or exact location of the meeting, but Scott and Negron are slated to talk at 4 p.m. in Tallahassee. Scott is then scheduled to go to Jacksonville for a 7 p.m. “business development meeting,” the schedule says.

Negron is slated to become Senate president after the November elections.

The News Service of Florida

Apr 20 2016

Scott, Hager Slated to Talk

As Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater continue trying to reach agreement on a new insurance commissioner, Scott is scheduled Wednesday afternoon to meet with state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach.

Atwater backed Hager last month for the commissioner job, but Scott supported another candidate, Jeffrey Bragg. Scott and Atwater have to agree on a candidate before taking the nomination to the full Cabinet. After they could not agree last month, the search was reopened. The Cabinet is expected to take up the issue again next Tuesday.

Scott’s schedule indicates he will talk at 1 p.m. with Hager, a former Iowa insurance commissioner. Longtime Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced in January that he planned to step down from the position.

The News Service of Florida

Apr 18 2016

Connecticut Mayor Says No-Go to Scott

First it was General Electric. Then it was Yale University. Now it’s the town of Danbury, Conn.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton last week did some social-media trolling by asking residents of his city of more than 80,000 if they should secede over Connecticut’s latest tax plan.

“Should #Danbury secede from CT?” Boughton said in posts on both Twitter and Facebook. “Give back state aid and form our own state. What should we call it? Should we allow Bethel in?”

Boughton, who apparently was referring to the nearby town of Bethel, had already told Hearst Connecticut Media on Wednesday that he was “Just being a little tongue and cheek here.”

But that didn’t stop Florida Gov. Rick Scott from chiming in Friday.

@MayorMark No state income tax, 2nd lowest tax burden, 55 tax cuts, 4 years of surplus- come to FL it’s a sunny day!” Scott posted via Twitter to Boughton.

“Thanks Gov. I’m gonna stay and fix CT.. (Happy to visit tho),” Boughton responded.

Always the salesman, Scott wasn’t done.

@MayorMark hope you change your mind! Call me when you decide to join the more than 100 million visitors to FL.…” Scott tweeted back.

The exchange wasn’t Scott’s first aimed at Connecticut.

In March, Scott was rejected by Yale after urging the Ivy League school to look at relocating to Florida after Connecticut lawmakers considered a bill to tax the university’s endowment.

Last June, Scott went to Connecticut for a business-recruitment trip. One of Scott’s prime targets out of the Connecticut excursion became the mega-conglomerate General Electric. But GE took an offer in January from Boston for a new headquarters location.

The News Service of Florida

Apr 11 2016

Sheriffs Give DLP Some Love Over Gun Bills

The Florida Sheriffs Association on Monday announced its selection of Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, as the group’s 2016 Legislator of the Year for his role in derailing two controversial gun bills.

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Diaz de la Portilla refused to hear a bill that would have allowed people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry firearms. He also blocked a bill that would have allowed people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on college and university campuses. Both proposals passed the House.

“His role in ensuring a common-sense approach to conceal-carry legislation exemplified what we expect of our elected officials, and his unwavering support for reasonable solutions proposed by Florida’s sheriffs demonstrated his commitment to Florida’s citizens and visitors,” the Florida Sheriffs Association said in a statement.

The News Service of Florida

Mar 31 2016

Florida Chamber Touts 13 Republicans and 1 Democrat

With the legislative session becoming a more-distant memory, it’s time for groups to start sending out their rankings of lawmakers.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce on Thursday released its annual report card, giving grades to lawmakers.

It also cited 14 lawmakers as “distinguished advocates.” They are Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach; Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange; Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples; Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby; Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland; Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton; Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers; Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah; Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville; Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami; Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach; Rep. Ed Narain, D-Tampa; Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples; and Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville.

The News Service of Florida

Mar 18 2016

Richter Backs Passidomo for Senate Seat

Term-limited Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, has endorsed Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, to replace him this year in a closely watched Southwest Florida legislative race.

Passidomo announced the endorsement Friday as she competes with Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, in Senate District 28.

“It’s been a pleasure working alongside Kathleen to keep taxes low and protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits, and there is no one I trust more to continue those efforts in the State Senate,” Richter said in a statement released by Passidomo.



The News Service of Florida

Mar 16 2016

Rep. Rodriguez: Reject FPL Rate Plan

State Rep Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, wants state regulators to reject proposed rate increases by Florida Power & Light that would add up to $1.34 billion during the next few years.

Instead, Rodriguez said the Florida Public Service Commission should favor a more “reasonable request.”

“Even if we weren’t already dealing with contamination of our aquifer and Biscayne Bay at Turkey Point, FPL asking regulators for guaranteed profits that can go as high as 12.5 percent on the backs of consumers is outrageous and unjustified,” Rodriguez, who is running for the state Senate, said in a release Wednesday. “Especially at a time when they should be cleaning up their act at Turkey Point and not seeking higher guaranteed profits I ask the Public Service Commission to, at minimum, deny FPL’s rate increase request.”

FPL formally filed its request Tuesday for an $866 million increase in 2017, followed by increases of $262 million in 2018 and $209 million in 2019. State regulators are expected to make a decision on the request by the end of November.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO of the utility, said in a release Tuesday that the request is about “continuing to make smart, long-term investments in our system.”

The News Service of Florida

Mar 15 2016

Mica’s Meals Draw Democratic Fire

The Hill reports that longtime Florida Congressman John Mica is drawing criticism from Democrats about the use of campaign cash for “meals with constituents” across the country. Mica said the attacks are politically motivated.

Here is a link to the Hill report.

The News Service of Florida