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8 posts from July 9, 2013

July 09, 2013

Pam Bondi criticizes Obamacare regulations on FOX News

The federal government quietly released a 606-page document Friday that outlined new regulations under the health care law, and Attorney General Pam Bondi doesn't like what she sees.

The government decided that state-run health exchanges won't have to verify that people are not receiving insurance from their employers before allowing them to receive tax subsidies to purchase coverage on the exchange. The honor system will be used, at least for the first year, meaning people who say they don't have employer-sponsored insurance will be taken at their word.

Income verification rules were also relaxed, because the federal government said it doesn't have the authority or resources to carry out that task as initially outlined.

"Here now, we have nothing to prevent fraud," Bondi said on "FOX and Friends" Tuesday morning. "Anyone can come and say we can qualify for this, and there is absolutely no verification." (Video after the jump.)

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Charlie Crist pens 'no holds barred' book on politics, mentions Marco Rubio

Via @adamsmithtimes

Charlie Crist is taking his message of political redemption and evolution from the Democratic club circuit to your local book store.

Florida’s former Republican governor-turned-independent-U.S.-Senate candidate-turned-Democratic-potential-gubernatorial-candidate has a book coming out in September: “THE PARTY’S OVER: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.”

Published by Dutton, the book promises to be “a no-holds-barred memoir of his journey from Republican to Democrat. He will name names and offer a frank indictment of the failings of the Republican Party,” according to the publisher.Crist, 56, is widely expected to run for governor as a Democrat in 2014. It’s a remarkable journey for a self-described “Ronald Reagan Republican” and serious contender for John McCain’s running mate in 2008 to speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention who campaigned harder in Florida for Barack Obama than any other politician.

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Scott's LG search a real drag for Dems

The Florida Democratic Party said Tuesday Gov. Rick Scott is dragging his feet in finding the state’s next lieutenant governor. A day after Scott told reporters that his search will be handled by his chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, Democrats pounced on a phrase he used Monday.

“We’re starting the process now,” Scott told reporters then.

“It is clear now that Rick Scott is running the governor’s office just like he ran his business: with total disregard for the best interests of the people he serves,” Joshua Karp, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, wrote in a Tuesday e-mail to reporters. “Almost 120 days after the resignation of scandal-plagued Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, Rick Scott says he is only now beginning the search for a replacement for Florida’s second-ranking constitutional officer.”

Asked Tuesday if he would consider someone without political experience, Scott said he was open to it.

“Let’s look at the qualifications, let’s find the best person,” Scott said. “That’s what my plan is. We’re going to be doing that. I came from outside politics. I had never run for politics before. I think it’s good to bring people in. It’s good to bring people in with different backgrounds.”

As if to fan wild speculation, Scott then turned to Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, who was attending as part of a ceremonial signing of HB 705, which he sponsored.

“Rep. Workman can say the same thing,” Scott said. “His experience in business -- “

In mock surprise, Workman interrupted.

“Are you announcing it today?” Workman said. “Oh my god! What a team, look, it’s going to be great.”

After both riffed on their matching bald heads, Scott continued with no further mention of Workman, who sponsored a controversial bill (HB 718) this year that would have ended permanent alimony that Scott vetoed.

“But I think it’s helpful to bring people in from different walks of life.”

Scott's support of Rubio's immigration reform limited to border security

Sen. Marco Rubio might be getting flak from some conservatives for helping write and support an immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate last month, but don’t count Gov. Rick Scott among the critics.

Scott, who has his own concerns with shoring up his tea party base, said he’s reviewed the legislation, which passed the U.S. Senate on June 27 by a vote of 68-32. The bill offers up to 11 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship while spending tens of billions on border security with Mexico.

Asked Tuesday about the plan, which is unlikely to pass the U.S. House, Scott said, in measured language, that it’s the “right thing.”

“We need to have a discussion about how we improve immigration,” Scott said. “First thing we have to focus on is border security. So I’m glad they’re focused on border security. If we don’t have border security it’s hard to get something accomplished. But I’m glad Sen. Rubio is focused on it.”

Asked again if he reviewed the plan and what he thought of it, Scott replied: “I’ve reviewed the plan. He’s doing the right thing. He’s very focused on border security. He’s doing the right thing.”

It’s notable that in that brief remark, Scott managed to say “border security” four times. Not once did he mention the other part of the reform plan: the path to citizenship for 11 million.

Miami commissioner battling red-light cameras received two tickets

Miami Commissioner and mayoral candidate Francis Suarez wants to remove the city’s controversial red-light cameras -- and has vowed to raise the issue when the commission meets on Thursday.

He has some first-hand knowledge of the program.

Vehicles registered to Suarez have received two tickets from red-light cameras since 2010, according to records obtained by the Herald/Times from American Traffic Solutions, or ATS, the Arizona vendor that provides the cameras for most of the Florida municipalities that use them.

One of the tickets was later dismissed, but one remains uncollected, a company spokesman said.

Suarez said he didn’t recall either.

"In both cases, I suspect I was doing a very benign action that would not have been ticked by a police officer," he said. "That highlights the problems people have with these systems... they were supposed to be about safety, but they have really become about generating revenue."

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With $440k cash haul, Joe Garcia doesn't appear too damaged by election scandal


U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia has had the roughest of days for a congressional freshman: His former campaign team is under investigation for possible elections crimes and a bevy of Republicans is lining up to take him out.

But none of it has appeared to really hurt the Miami Democrat’s fundraising.

Garcia’s team announced he raised about $440,000 in the last three months and has about $800,000 cash on hand.

"We are honored by the overwhelming support and I will continue to reach across the aisle and push for real immigration reform, improve our economy and get our fiscal house in order,” Garcia said in a written statement. “This also means pushing everyday for student loan reform until we succeed."

Garcia sits in one of the most-competitive seats in Florida, District 26. Democrats narrowly outnumber Republicans, but the sizable number of independents make it a truly swing district.

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Movers & Shakers

Governor's appointments

Aventura City Commissioner Luz Weinberg, director of communications for Bouygues Construction, has been appointed to the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority.

She is also the vice president of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and a member of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Broward Sheriff Scott J. Israel  has been reappointed to the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.'Great Floridians'

The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

'Great Floridians'

Betty Sembler and the late Ruth Springer Wedgworth were honored as Great Floridians during a reception Monday at the Governor’s Mansion.

Sembler was one of the 10 founding members of Straight, Inc. a nonprofit drug treatment program,  and was the founder and president of Save Our Society From Drugs (S.O.S.) and the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. During three decades of activism, she also served as a member of the Governor's Drug Policy Task Force in Florida.

Springer Wedgworth built a small family farm in Palm Beach County into one of the state's most prominent agribusinesses and she was named a Woman of the Year in Florida Agriculture. Her son, George Wedgworth, accepted the award on her behalf.

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It's official: Carlos Curbelo becomes Republican No. 3 to challenge Rep. Joe Garcia


We told you about it yesterday (and for weeks before), now here's the press release making it official:

Carlos Curbelo Announces Campaign for US Congress
School Board Member Rejects District's History of Scandal and Fraud

MIAMI- Surrounded by his family in the backyard of his Kendall home, School Board Member Carlos Curbelo declared his candidacy for US Congress, District 26.

Before highlighting priorities like the economy, ethics, and education, Curbelo vowed to wage a new type of campaign.

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