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July 29, 2015

Alan Grayson fails to file candidacy form

via @learyreports

Alan Grayson failed to file a statement of candidacy for his U.S. Senate bid, the FEC website shows.

The Florida Democrat’s campaign blamed it on a “staff error.

“The proper form will be sent in today,” spokesman Kevin Franck told the Tampa Bay Times.

Federal candidates are required to file Form 2, also known as statement of candidacy, with the FEC within 15 days of receiving contributions of making expenditures in excess of $5,000. Grayson has bragged of big fundraising since launching his campaign on July 9.

It’s the second blunder from the fledgling campaign. On July 9, Grayson was seen in a video interview with Huffington Post Live from his U.S. House office, which may have violated rules because he was clearly engaged in campaign activity.

Grayson’s House communications director told the Washington Free Beacon that “The interview was done on a campaign computer, and there was no attempt to misuse government funds or resources.” But he added: “The congressman will not do any more interviews in his government office regarding his campaign for the U.S. Senate.”

Regarding the FEC form, Grayson could face a complaint and embarrassment but there’s no automatic penalty. “The commission decides on a case-by-case basis,” FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram said Wednesday.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott orders investigation of Planned Parenthood sites

via @kmcgrory

Amid a growing controversy over the alleged sale of fetal tissue, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday called for an investigation of Florida’s 16 Planned Parenthood offices that perform abortions.

The investigation comes two weeks after the release of an undercover video in which a Planned Parenthood official in California discusses the use of fetal organs for medical research. The anti-abortion group that took the video says it is proof Planned Parenthood sells human tissue.

Planned Parenthood has said the footage was heavily edited, and that it does not profit from tissue donation.

Still, Scott called the video “deeply troubling.” He said he has asked Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek “to evaluate the 16 Planned Parenthood offices in Florida that perform abortion procedures to ensure they are in full compliance with the law.”

“It is against the law for any organization to sell body parts,” he said. “If a Planned Parenthood office is not following the law, we will move quickly to take legal and regulatory action against them.”

Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, called the governor’s action “politically motivated.”

More here.

Jeb Bush, campaigning outside GOP 'comfort zone,' to take message to African Americans

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush casts himself as an evangelist for a Republican Party that welcomes new faces of all ages and colors. In campaign stop after campaign stop, he spreads his arms wide: “We have to campaign like this,” he says — not with an angry posture he sometimes mimics by frowning, wagging his index finger and grunting, “Grrr.”

That’s not much of a hard sell for Bush to make to Hispanics. The former Florida governor is an adopted Miamian who speaks Spanish with his Mexican-born wife.

But making the same case to African Americans, another overwhelmingly Democratic bloc, is a different story. But Bush will try anyway when he speaks Friday in Fort Lauderdale to the annual conference of the National Urban League, a civil-rights group.

Bush got a preview of the kind of skeptical crowd he might face at a meet-and-greet with pastors in Orlando on Monday. A black minister, David Outing, grabbed the microphone and asked Bush what he would do as president to represent, and not just pander to, the black community.

“I would do what I did as governor,” Bush responded. “My administration was as inclusive as possible.”

He pointed to increasing state contracts with minority-owned businesses, giving more children the option to attend a private or charter school and appointing more African-American judges: “You show your commitment day in and day out.”

Yet some of Bush’s actions disproportionately hurt African Americans. He ended affirmative action in state universities, oversaw a flawed purge of Florida’s voter rolls and signed off on mandatory prison sentences and a self-defense law for people “standing their ground.”

More here.

Is the majority of the Hispanic population and growth U.S. born as José Díaz-Balart says?

Donald Trump’s immigration views may be divisive among candidates vying for the GOP presidential nomination, but the bombastic billionaire remains at the top of the polls. Former presidential candidate and conservative pundit Pat Buchanan credits Trump’s rise in part to his willingness to address one of the country’s hottest issues.

Appearing July 26 on NBC’s Meet the Press, Buchanan said people are feeling the "conquest of the West by massive third-world immigrations coming from refugees and border jumpers and all the rest of them."

José Díaz-Balart, host of MSNBC's The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart and a Telemundo anchor, challenged Buchanan’s comments during the show’s panel discussion with some food for thought.

"The invasion is from within," Díaz-Balart said. "The majority of the Hispanic population and the growth is U.S.-born."

He added, "Sprinkle that on your oatmeal, or probably on your huevos rancheros."

See what Anna Bruzgulis of PunditFact found.

State aims to address high drivers license failure rates

@JeremySWallace

In light of the startling failure rates on the state’s new written drivers test, top aides to Governor Rick Scott and Florida Cabinet are pushing the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles on what it is doing to improve the numbers.

The Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald earlier this month reported that three out of every five people are flunking the new written drivers test through the first six months of 2015. After decades of using the same test, Florida went to a new, longer test that officials say better tests a driver’s knowledge and reduces the chances of cheating. The result is that in some counties, fewer than 20 percent could pass the exam through the first two months of the year. Those numbers have improved some as the state has begun removing questions that produced high miss rates.

The issue came up on Wednesday during a meeting of cabinet aides, who typically meet a week before Scott and the full cabinet meet.

“What’s the game plan to improve these numbers,” asked Brooke McKnight, cabinet affairs director for Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. “Obviously you have identified it as an area of improvement.”

Continue reading "State aims to address high drivers license failure rates" »

Gov. Scott and Cabinet will settle Mansion-area property lawsuit

Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will settle a lawsuit over access to property the state wants to acquire as part of a development project to enhance the Governor's mansion.

The four officials plan to approve the settlement of three separate cases at a Cabinet meeting next Wednesday in a legal battle begun three years ago by Tallahassee lawyer Steve Andrews, who tried to prevent the state from acquiring the land that houses Andrews' law office to create a park adjacent to the Governor's Mansion. As the case unfolded, Andrews raised claims that Scott was using a private email account for official business. The public records issues remain unresolved and are not part of the proposed settlement.

Under the settlement, the state will be able to buy Andrews' land at 822 N. Monroe Street in Tallahassee, and Andrews will grant the state a permanent parking easement. Each side will pay its own costs and fees. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's office immediately released the 13-page settlement document in response to a public records request.

The three Cabinet members were not named as defendants in the litigation, but Andrews sued them and Scott in the role as trustees of the state Internal Improvement Trust Fund, which votes on land acquisition decisions at Cabinet meetings.

Hillary Clinton to give speech on Cuba at FIU in Miami Friday

Hillary Clinton will use Friday, her first day of public appearances in Florida as a presidential candidate, to declare her allegiance to President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy in the hometown of Republican rivals who oppose it, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Much like her speech on immigration reform in Las Vegas, in which she tried to portray herself as willing to go further than Obama, her speech at Florida International University will be her first chance to double down on the president’s move in December to normalize U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations. Clinton’s campaign confirmed Wednesday morning that her FIU speech will be about Cuba. That speech will follow her address to the National Urban League, a civil-rights organization, in Fort Lauderdale earlier Friday.

Clinton will call on Congress to lift the Cuban embargo.

“She will highlight that Republican arguments against increased engagement are part of failed policies of the past and contend that we must look to the future in order to advance a core set of values and interests to engage with Cubans and address human rights abuses,” said a statement from the campaign.

More here.

Internal Affairs closes probe of Miami FOP president

@NewsbySmiley

A politically charged internal affairs probe tied to a failed reality series on the Miami Police Department has been closed without any finding of fault against Police union president Lt. Javier Ortiz.

Ortiz has been under investigation since late May, when he shared a video teaser of Miami Blue, produced by Coconut Grove-based Entertainment Dynamix. The company received permission from the city to film police in 2013, and some of the footage produced featured scantily clad female officers.

Ortiz told the media it was being used by the department to recruit new officers. He said he knew that to be true because former police chief Manuel Orosa told him during the 2013 Ultra Music Festival that crews filming police work at the event were working on a recruiting film.

Orosa said that's not true. And after stories ran in The Miami Herald and on WPLG-10, Orosa filed a complaint with Internal Affairs saying Ortiz violated department protocol requiring honesty from Miami's officers.

Internal affairs closed the case last week and ruled the allegation inconclusive. Ortiz said he received a copy of an investigative close-out memo Wednesday and provided it to the Miami Herald.

"What a waste of manpower and resources, especially at a time that we have a rising crime rate and a shortage of police officers," he wrote.

Download OrtizIA

As Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush speak at National Urban League, a primer of fact-checks

It may not be the last time they face off, but Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton take their messages before a key demographic -- black voters -- when they give speeches at the National Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale July 31.

While black voters overwhelmingly register as Democrats, Bush has said he will campaign where Republicans often don’t, including before black audiences.

Founded in 1910, the National Urban League is a civil rights organization that works for economic empowerment in historically underserved urban communities.

All of the 2016 candidates were invited to speak, but the only other ones who will participate -- in addition to Bush and Clinton -- are Democrats U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, and Republican Ben Carson, a black neurosurgeon who retired to West Palm Beach. 

Here are six fact-checks of claims by BushClinton and Sanders about purges of the voter rolls, education and African-American unemployment. Turn to PolitiFact Florida for the rest of our story.

One Democratic leader's suggestion for Rep. Corrine Brown's congressional district

Democratic National Committeeman Jon Ausman has a solution to one of the many outstanding questions raised by the upcoming redistricting.

When the Legislature re-draws the serpentine 5th Congressional District that currently curves to group together black communities in Duval, Alachua and Orange counties, they should make it horizontal (as the Florida Supreme Court suggested), and they should keep Leon County in one district.

"If the Legislature decides to split Leon County," Ausman said Wednesday, "there could be further litigation."

In other words, let the congressional map games begin.

The district Ausman built with the help of map guru Matthew Isbell accomplishes a number of important goals for Democrats and residents of the Tallahassee area: It keeps the county in one district, thus increasing their power as a voting bloc. And it all but guarantees a Democrat will be elected to Congress in the 5th District, likely Rep. Gwen Graham, who lives in Tallahassee.

Leon County Republican Chairman Evan Power supports the idea of keeping the state's capital county all in one district, but he wants to see it go west into the Panhandle, not east to include Jacksonville.

These are some of the early shots being fired in a battle over U.S. House and state Senate maps that will continue into October, at the very least. And while the Supreme Court gave a vague roadmap to lawmakers who convene in Tallahassee in less than two weeks to redraw House districts, they'll still have to maneuver ideas and special requests from any number of outside groups, each of which has a self-identified very important purpose behind their map.

Still, Ausman is confident the Republican-dominated Legislature will like his suggestion. Why? It could force Graham and Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown into one district, causing an intra-party fight over an almost-guaranteed Democratic seat in Congress and clearing the way for perhaps another Republican in northeast or central Florida.

WSJ: Top donor to Jeb Bush super PAC is Miami billionaire Mike Fernandez

From the Wall Street Journal:

A Texas oil man, a Wall Street financier and several former U.S. ambassadors are among the top donors to Jeb Bush’s super PAC, providing hard evidence the Republican establishment is rallying to his presidential candidacy as he girds for a long primary battle.

Mike Fernandez, a Cuban-American billionaire who gave $3 million, is the biggest donor to the Right to Rise super PAC, which set a record fundraising pace and bested all of Mr. Bush’s rivals—Democrats and Republicans—by amassing $103 million in the first six months of 2015.

The names help confirm that the Republican establishment, supplemented with a healthy dash of Florida financial backers from Mr. Bush’s days as governor, are prepared to deliver a powerful flow of money that no other GOP candidate is likely to match.

More here (subscription required).

July 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton to give policy speech at FIU Friday

Hillary Clinton will hold an event at Florida International University following the National Urban League Conference Friday.

Clinton will first give a speech at the National Urban League’s annual conference at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale which starts at 8 a.m. Other candidates who will speak include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

The details about Clinton's FIU event are still being worked out but the event will be held at FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus in West Miami-Dade County following the event in Fort Lauderdale. The Clinton campaign wouldn’t yet confirm if the FIU event will be open to the public or invite only.

For months, Clinton faced some criticism for not holding many public events and giving few interviews to reporters although she has increased them in recent weeks.

In May, Clinton’s campaign said she might do a public event while in South Florida but ultimately she only did fundraising events in Miami, Parkland and Orlando.

This blog post will be updated if more details become available about the FIU event. 

Did a Miami-Dade commissioner spill the beans on Lauren Book's Florida Senate run?

@PatriciaMazzei

Lauren Book, daughter of mega-lobbyist Ron Book, plans to announce her candidacy for the Florida Senate on Sept. 1.

At least that's according to an invitation Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman sent her friends Tuesday asking them to attend a fundraiser for Book at Il Gabbiano, a posh Italian restaurant in downtown Miami, on Sept. 18.

"As you have probably heard, my very close personal friend, Lauren Book, is planning to launch a campaign for an open Senate seat on September 1, 2015," read Heyman's email, which was obtained by the Miami Herald.

But Book herself has not revealed her plans. She told the Herald that's because she has yet to make up her mind. Book recently got married.

"We are looking at all of our options and have not made a decision of what we're going to do," she said, conceding that she nevertheless has several events on her calendar. "We haven't made any final, final, final decisions yet."

Book, who runs Lauren's Kids, a nonprofit that raises awareness about children victims of sexual abuse, has made no secret of her intention to run for the Broward seat being vacated by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat. 

Book created a political action committee, Leadership for Broward, last September. It has collected nearly $640,000; some of her donors, such as the Miami Dolphins and GEO Group, a private prison company, also happen to be her dad's clients.

Liberal think tank faults Jeb Bush for Stand Your Ground law ahead of Urban League speech

@PatriciaMazzei

The "stand your ground" law Jeb Bush signed as Florida governor has left a "deadly legacy" in the black community, according to a new report by the campaign arm of a liberal think tank.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund released its report, titled "Jeb Bush's License to Kill," ahead of the Republican presidential candidate's scheduled remarks Friday to the National Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale. The gathering of largely African-American activists will focus at least in part on criminal justice, in the wake of a series of high-profile black deaths at the hands of police.

The report faults Florida in general and Bush in particular for adopting stand your ground in 2005, prompting 23 other states to pass "expansive self-defense laws."

"And while Gov. Bush touted his as a significant achievement at the NRA convention in April, the reality is that the legacy of his leadership on this issue has left a dark footprint on the country," report author Chelsea Parsons argues. "It has led to an increase in homicides in states that have enacted these laws, as well as a racially skewed application that results in white perpetrators more frequently being relieved of liability for killing black victims."

Bush has defended the law, saying it was not intended to protect someone like George Zimmerman, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.

"Stand your ground means stand your ground," Bush said after Trayvon's death. "It doesn't mean chase after somebody who's turned their back."

Continue reading "Liberal think tank faults Jeb Bush for Stand Your Ground law ahead of Urban League speech" »

Miami-Dade's mayor is going to Denver with a big crew to discuss transit

@doug_hanks

 

UPDATE: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce wrote today to say the delegation list provided by the mayor's office was incomplete. A chamber publicist provided a new one, and it's listed below. The chamber also provided a full agenda that emphasizes how large a role the "P3" financing model plays in the schedule. You can see it by clicking here

 The latest list: 

The Honorable Steven Abrams

Commissioner - District 4, Palm Beach County

 

Humberto Alonso

Vice President, Atkins

 

Jolie Balido

Public Relations Agency of Record, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

President and Co-founder, Roar Media

 

The Honorable Bruno Barreiro

Commissioner - District 5, Miami-Dade County

 

Javier Betancourt

Strategic Partnerships Committee Chair, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Deputy Director, Miami Downtown Development Authority

 

Mitchell Bierman

Transportation Committee Chair, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Member, Weiss, Serota, Helfman, Cole & Bierman

 

The Honorable Esteban Bovo

Commissioner - District 13, Miami-Dade County

 

Alice Bravo

Director - Transit, Miami-Dade County

 

Kathie Brooks

Assistant City Manager, City of Miami Beach

 

James Cromar

Director of Planning, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization

 

Meg Daly

Founder, Friends of the Underline

 

Harold Desdunes

District Director of Transportation Systems Development, Florida Department of Transportation

 

Al Dotson Jr.

Executive Committee Member At-large, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Partner, Bilzin Sumberg

 

Glenn Downing

Second Vice Chair, Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust

 

Alex Ferro

Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor, Miami-Dade County

 

Jose Fuentes

Government Affairs Consultant, Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.

 

The Honorable Carlos Gimenez

Mayor, Miami-Dade County

 

Jose Gonzalez

Transportation Director, City of Miami Beach

 

Jose Gonzalez

Senior Vice President, Florida East Coast Industries

 

Jesus Guerra

Director, Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization

 

Matt Haggman

Program Director, Knight Foundation

 

Alexander Heckler

Managing Partner, LSN Partners

 

Barry Johnson

President/CEO, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

 

Ric Katz

Executive Vice President, Balsera Communications

 

Jason King

Principal, Dover, Kohl & Partners

 

Danet Linares

New World Center (Downtown Miami) Committee Chair, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Vice Chair, Blanca Commercial Real Estate

 

Marcelo Llorente

Managing Partner, LSN Partners

 

Al Maloof

Director, Government Relations, Genovese, Joblove & Battista, P.A.

 

Ed Marquez

Deputy Mayor, Miami-Dade County

 

The Honorable Jean Monestime

Chairman - Board of County Commissioners, Miami-Dade County

 

The Honorable Dennis Moss

Commissioner - District 9, Miami-Dade County

 

Dr. Pablo Ortiz

Associate Vice President, Florida International University

 

Benjamin de la Pena

Director of Community and National Strategy, Knight Foundation

 

Gerard Philippeaux

Chief of Staff, Office of the Chair, Miami-Dade County

 

Joe Rasco

Director - Intergovernmental Affairs, Miami-Dade County

 

Michael Reininger

President/CEO, All Aboard Florida

 

Eric Riel

Planning, Design + Transportation, Miami Downtown Development Authority

 

Alyce Robertson

Executive Director, Miami Downtown Development Authority

 

Dr. Mark Rosenberg

Chair-Elect, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

President, Florida International University

 

The Honorable Marc Sarnoff

Commissioner - District 2, City of Miami

 

Paul Schwiep

Chair, Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust

 

Charles Scurr

Executive Director, Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust

 

Jason Smith

Legislative Director - District 8, Miami-Dade County

 

Ana Sotorrio

Public Policy Committee Chair, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

President, ASTS Inc.

 

The Honorable Francis Suarez

Commissioner - District 4, City of Miami

 

Daniel Tapia

Director, Governmental Affairs, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

 

Anna Ward

First Vice Chair, Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust

 

Joseph Yesbeck

Executive Committee Member – Governmental Affairs Group Chair, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Vice President, T.Y. Lin International

 

Robert Villar

Chief Budget and Performance Reporting, Miami-Dade County

ORIGINAL POST:

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is flying to Denver next week for a look at the city's transit systems and how officials funded the expansion there. He's bringing with him a large delegation of elected leaders, lobbyists and business executives.

His office on Tuesday released the current delegation list of about 40 people. Most are paying their own way, while Miami-Dade is likely picking up the tab for county officials and elected leaders on the trip. (Gimenez's office did not have a trip budget immediately available Tuesday night.) 

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce organized the Aug. 5 to 7 trip, which is being billed as a "Transportation Fly-In." Registration costs were $200, plus lodging and airfare.   

Gimenez spokesman Michael Hernández described the trip in a statement: 

 

Continue reading "Miami-Dade's mayor is going to Denver with a big crew to discuss transit" »

Judges lift injunction in 'Docs v. Glocks' lawsuit

A law banning doctors from asking patients about guns has gone into effect after a federal appeals court lifted a ruling that prevented it from being enforced.

As of Tuesday, physicians in Florida could risk license suspensions and disciplinary action from the Board of Medicine if they talk to patients about gun ownership or use when it's not directly related to the treatment being given.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law in 2011, but before it could go into effect, doctors and medical groups including the state chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Physicians sued the state, calling the law unconstitutional. The U.S. District Court in Miami agreed but was overturned last year by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

An injunction granted by the District Court was still in effect while the Circuit Court considered if it would re-hear arguments. The Circuit Court judges lifted that order on Tuesday.

"When a patient enters a physician’s examination room, the patient is in a position of relative powerlessness," the Circuit Court judges wrote. "The patient must place his or her trust in the physician’s guidance and submit to the physician’s authority. With this authority comes responsibility. To protect patients, society has long imposed upon physicians certain duties and restrictions that operate to define the boundaries of good medical care. In keeping with this tradition, the State passed the Act."

But the doctors who sued the state have called the law a gag order preventing doctors from discussing important safety issues with their patients.

In a statement, executive director Howard Simon of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which filed a brief in the case, called the ruling "a sad day for Florida doctors, their patients and for free speech."

“The Legislature’s unconstitutional effort to stop doctors from talking to their patients about measures to keep kids safe when there are guns in the home is not simply a violation of doctor’s free speech, it is also dangerous policy," he said.

Florida Senate: We broke anti-gerrymandering law

@PatriciaMazzei

Because it's not every day that the Florida Senate admits it violated the state's constitution.

From a legal settlement in which the Senate agreed to redraw district boundaries:

IMG_5201

The Florida House wants everyone to know it wasn't its fault.

From a joint statement by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner:

IMG_5202

Legislature sets special session for October to redraw Florida Senate districts

@JeremySWallace

The Florida Legislature has set yet another special session, this time for October to redraw the Florida Senate district lines that opponents had argued violated the state constitution prohibition on gerrymandering to favor or disfavor politicians.

The Legislature will meet from Oct. 19 to Nov. 6, according to a joint statement put out by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner.

It will mark the third special session this year. In June, legislators met in special session to finish a budget that was not completed during the regular session in the spring. In August, legislators will be in special session again to redraw the state's 27 congressional districts, which the Florida Supreme Court ruled earlier this month violated the state consitution.

The court had not instructed the Legislature to redraw the Senate lines yet, but Senate leaders have agreed to make the changes now based on they said was a new precedent the Supreme Court set in throwing out the Congressional lines.

In its landmark ruling, the Supreme Court invalidated the state's congressional map after political operatives "infiltrated" the process, used fake email accounts to submit the maps as nonpartisan private citizens and created districts that found their way into the final maps approved by lawmakers. Because those actions violated the Fair Districts provisions of the state Constitution, the court ordered lawmakers to redraw eight congressional districts and provided guidelines on how to do it.

A trial over the Senate map was scheduled to begin Sept. 28 in Leon County Circuit Court in a case in which two Democrat-leaning groups, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause, argue that 28 of the 40 Senate districts were designed to favor incumbents and the Republican Party, violating the Fair Districts amendments to the state Constitution.

Real Clear Politics: Scott Walker again suggests he'll skip Florida primary

From Real Clear Politics:

Scott Walker has insisted he will be able to “compete anywhere in the country” as a candidate for president — but, at a private event in St. Louis on Sunday, Walker said he does not plan to compete in Florida, contradicting his own public assertions that he would not skip that primary.

During a fundraiser at the St. Louis home of Rex Sinquefield, Missouri’s most active Republican donor, Walker reasoned that it “doesn't make a ton of sense for him to pour cash into Florida” with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in the race, said one person who was present for Walker’s remarks. Bush is a former Florida governor, and Rubio is senator from Florida.

Instead, Walker suggested he will focus on the Midwestern states with primaries around the same time, the source said — including Missouri, Illinois and Ohio, which are slated to hold their primaries March 15, the same day as Florida’s.

A second person who was present confirmed that Walker said it would not make sense for him to try to compete in Florida with Rubio and Bush in the race.

More here.

UPDATE: Walker spokeswoman AshLee Strong, while not disputing the Real Clear Politics report, said Walker intends to compete "everywhere."

"The Governor is going to play everywhere as evidenced by his travel to 11 states since becoming a candidate," Strong said. "We have long said Governor Walker has appeal with voters of all kinds across all states but we have also acknowledged the obvious that there are two Floridians in the race."

Donald Trump wrongly says number of illegal immigrants is 30 million or higher

The day after Donald Trump visited the border in Laredo, Texas, he was armed with some fresh claims about illegal immigration, including how many immigrants are actually here.

"I don't think the 11 million -- which is a number you have been hearing for many many years, I've been hearing that number for five years -- I don't think that is an accurate number anymore," Trump said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe July 24. "I am now hearing it's 30 million, it could be 34 million, which is a much bigger problem."

Host Joe Scarborough then asked Trump, "Who are you hearing that from?"

Trump replied: "I am hearing it from other people, and I have seen it written in various newspapers. The truth is the government has no idea how many illegals are here."

Is Trump right that there are 30 million or more illegal immigrants? We decided to see what the latest evidence shows.

Turn to PolitiFact for the rest of our fact-check and see Trump's full Truth-O-Meter record.