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15 posts from March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013

Broward GOP interim chair reverses course to allow media at election

The press will be allowed to attend the Broward Republican Executive Committee election Monday night, a reversal of the plan earlier this week.

Interim chair Christine Butler, one of the candidates, had previously told the Miami Herald that the media would not be allowed to attend the election Monday. That stance drew criticism on blogs and one of her opponents, former Davie mayor Tom Truex, also spoke out against it

"People think you have something to hide when you don't conduct business in an open manner," Truex told the Miami Herald. 

Butler called the Miami Herald Friday to say that the full meeting Monday night will be open to the press. At future meetings, the press can attend to hear speakers and general announcements and then the media and other guests will be asked to leave for the member comments portion at the end of the meeting.

"It's not because we were not being transparent or wanted to hide anything," Butler said. However, "members want to be free to say what they like."

Other candidates include activists Bob Sutton and Jim Gleason. They are competing to replace Rico Petrocelli who quit after just a couple of months saying he had differences with the board.
The election will be held at the Sheraton Suites Cypress Creek in Fort Lauderdale. Members start gathering at 6 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7 p.m.


Miami Dolphins assembling political team with Giuliani, Obama campaign experience


The Miami Dolphins have been assembling a political team behind the scenes to handle what would be a sprint of a campaign for a May referendum to approve a potential, partly taxpayer funded deal to renovate Sun Life Stadium.

Topping the list of names is Michael McKeon of New York, who worked as communications director for former Gov. George Pataki, advised former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and helped sitting Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Also in talks with the Dolphins are two veterans of President Barack Obama's Florida reelection campaign last year: campaign chief Ashley Walker and spokesman Eric Jotkoff. Jotkoff has already been handling some of the Dolphins' communications.

The football team has so far kept on almost all of the local political operatives, many of them tied to former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, who is also advising the team. The locals helped the Dolphins garner the support of a majority of Miami-Dade commissioners. Only one operative has bowed out of the effort: Jesse Manzano-Plaza, who worked as County Mayor Carlos Gimenez's campaign manager last year.

Commissioners would have to vote in early April, at the latest, to set a potential May 14 referendum on any stadium proposal. State law requires Miami-Dade to notice a special election five weeks before it takes place, according to the elections department. Some preparations must begin about two months before each election, so the department is already testing voting equipment and plans to reach out to poll workers and polling place operators in the coming week to gauge their availability, department spokeswoman Christina White said.

House panel passes bill to clarify law to outlaw gambling machines

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For Florida education laws, it's out with the old

Lawmakers in Tallahassee are slashing more than two dozen outdated, overlooked and just plain unpopular education laws. Teachers say it's a sign of the ever-changing state of education reform in Florida, where public-school policies come and go.

Read the full story here.

Three Things To Know for Friday's Legislative Session

A topsy-turvy week in Tallahassee finally comes to an end on Friday as Florida moves on without a lieutenant governor following the sudden resignation of now former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

With the Senate shut down for the day, only the House members are at the Capitol. So here are just three things to watch on Friday:

  • The House Select Committee on Gaming takes up a bill to ban the operation of illegal gaming devices run by Internet Cafes. The measure is on the fast track after a federal and state investigation led to the arrest of 57 people in six states, including Florida.
  • State economists meet to estimate the state’s general revenue projections for the next year. The Revenue Estimating Conference will provide legislators with the revenue outlook on which to build a budget. It is expected to be the first positive revenue outlook for the first time in six years.
  • Florida House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston and Democratic Leader Pro Tempore Mia Jones chat with state capitol reporters at 11:30 a.m. at the at the House Democratic Caucus office. The subject: mainly health coverage.