April 15, 2013

Charlie Crist vulnerabilities are fueling speculation over Nelson running for governo

From @AdamSmithTimes

Major Democratic financial backers, including trial lawyers and teachers, are gushing about Charlie Crist and his prospects for 2014. Crist has not announced plans to run for governor again, but polls show him trouncing Republican Gov. Rick Scott by double digits.

The lifelong Republican-turned-Democrat at this point looks like he could grab the Democratic nomination without even a serious challenge. But oh-so-quietly, veteran Democratic fundraisers and strategists across Florida worry about another scenario: a Charlie Crist train wreck that would ensure a second term for one of America's most vulnerable Republican governors.

The wariness and even downright hostility to Crist's candidacy are part of what's fueling speculation about Sen. Bill Nelson entering the race. Story here. 


April 09, 2013

From fraud-ridden Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson targets tax ID theft


IRSWith nine of the United State's top 10 tax-ID fraud cities in Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson is again backing legislation to crackdown on the $5.2 billion crime.

The cities:

1 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 35,914 645.4

2 Naples-Marco Island, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,279 397.8

3 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 9,805 352.3

4 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,810 292.5

5 Tallahassee, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,060 288.5

6 Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,692 281.0

7 Port St. Lucie-Fort Pierce, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,156 272.6

8 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area 12,992 246.6

9 North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,720 244.9

10 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 4,991 233.8

Here's the press release:

Continue reading "From fraud-ridden Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson targets tax ID theft" »

April 04, 2013

Bill Nelson flip flops on gay marriage, backs it

Sen. Bill Nelson has reversed his opposition to gay marriage, becoming the latest senator to do so. Now, only six Democrats in the chamber are opposed to gay marriage. In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board, he wrote: It is generally accepted in American law and U.S. society today "... that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I believe that. The civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all. --- Alex Leary

March 27, 2013

Bill Nelson has 'no intention' of running for gov, stays mum on Crist

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said he is not planning to run against Gov. Rick Scott in the 2014 governor's race but stopped short of completely ruling it out.

"I'm not planning to run for governor," he said Wednesday in Tallahassee. "I have no intention of running for governor. I've got plenty to do as serving as the senator of this state, and that's why I'm here today, in my role as senator."

Will you say that you won't run for governor? a reporter asked. "I said what I said," Nelson replied

Continue reading "Bill Nelson has 'no intention' of running for gov, stays mum on Crist" »

March 11, 2013

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez to visit Congress


Yoani Sánchez, the dissident Cuban blogger who since last month has been on an international tour after being granted a passport, will meet with U.S. senators and representatives on March 19, Sen. Bill Nelson's office announced Monday.

Nelson, of Florida, and Miami Rep. Joe Garcia, both Democrats, invited Sánchez to visit. She plans to spend a couple of days in Washington D.C., and she is scheduled to stop in Miami in April.

"I look forward to this meeting and her unique view of the realities of life in Cuba," Nelson said in a statement.

Read the full statement after the jump.

Continue reading "Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez to visit Congress " »

February 28, 2013

Sen. Bill Nelson: dock lawmakers' pay if fed workers get furloughed


From a press release:

TAMPA – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) will announce here tomorrow that he and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) are filing legislation aimed at having members of Congress’ paychecks docked the same percentage as any federal worker furloughed as a result of sequestration.

“No one should get paid for inaction,” Nelson said today.  “And Congress clearly hasn’t done the job to avert the sequester.

“Everyone expects us to work together and find a common ground,” the Florida Democrat added.  “But too many in Washington keep fighting for their own political side.”

Said McCaskill: “The federal workforce is looking at furloughs that would result in a sizeable pay cut—and there’s absolutely no reason members of Congress should exempt themselves.  We can and should reach a balanced compromise to replace these damaging across-the-board cuts, but until we do, this is an obvious step to hold Congress accountable for the job we need to get done.”

An announcement is set for Friday morning - the same day steep across-the-board federal budget cuts are to go into effect, absent a deficit reduction deal in Congress by midnight tonight.

The cuts are a result of the so-called sequester measure Congress passed during tense debt-ceiling negotiations in 2011.  Talks to avert the spending cuts have failed so far.  Democrats offered a plan that includes targeted spending cuts with some new revenues, but Republicans are insisting upon a deal without tax increases.

The Senate late this afternoon rejected rival proposals to stop the sequester, all but ensuring the automatic spending cuts will begin tomorrow.  Furloughs aren’t expected to start until at least mid-April.

Nelson plans to announce he’s filing legislation with McCaskill a day after he talked to the powerful Senate Appropriations chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who recently took to the Senate floor to talk about the devastating effect a furlough, or layoff of federal workers would have on the economy.  During a speech Tuesday she declared:

“If the workers are going to be cut 20 percent then I think Congress members’ pay should be cut by 20 percent.  I look forward to moving on that legislation in the coming weeks, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

February 25, 2013

Poll: 7 in 10 back FL medical-marijuana plan, could affect governor’s race


As many as seven in 10 Florida voters support a state constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana – more than enough to ensure passage and possibly affect the governor’s race — according to a new poll from a group trying to put the measure on the 2104 ballot.

Medical pot’s sky-high approval cuts across party and demographic lines, with Republican support the lowest at a still-strong 56 percent, the poll conducted for People United for Medical Marijuana, or PUFMM, shows.

The outsized support of Democrats and independents brings overall backing of the amendment to 70 percent; with only 24 percent opposed, according to the poll obtained by The Miami Herald.

Regionally, voters from the Miami and Orlando areas, among the most socially liberal in the state, want medical marijuana the most.

Continue reading "Poll: 7 in 10 back FL medical-marijuana plan, could affect governor’s race" »

January 28, 2013

Florida's other Senator, Bill Nelson, lauds 'principles' of Marco Rubio, Gang of 8's immigration plan

By @MarcACaputo

Sounds like senior Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, likes what Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is doing with immigration:

“I support the principles of a bipartisan group of senators seeking immigration reform and U.S. border security.  We simply cannot deport 11 million people.  That would be unreasonable.  It would ruin our economy.  But anyone who is here must follow the rules, pay taxes, learn English and go to the end of the line.  If they do that, they should have a shot at citizenship.  And those who are unwilling to do that, they should be sent home.   We also need to make sure that children who through no fault of their own know no other country but ours can stay here to go to college or serve in the military.  The bottom line is: we’re talking about fairness."

Story here on the plan so far.

January 22, 2013

Bill Nelson didn't catch an Everglades python, but team with county commissioner and state rep did


Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz spent Saturday dressed in camouflage gear, riding an air boat and hunting for pythons in the Everglades. And someone on his team actually caught one.

Diaz and Miami Republican state Rep. Frank Artiles, taller and also clad in camouflage, and Florida Wildlife Commissioner Ron Bergeron posed for a photo with the python as part of the 2013 Python Challenge -- while the python was still alive, Diaz said. Artiles and Diaz are both U.S. Marine veterans. 

"The python was caught by the team that had gotten to the island just before us," Diaz said. "I had one that I kind saw the tail end of it, and I tried to grab to get it, but it went into the water."

He estimated the photographed specimen -- caught by a wrangler known as "Python Dave" -- measured around 10 feet. Diaz called it "very aggressive" because it snapped at them a few times. (He also said he had an encounter with a gator who growled at him.)

"It's not an easy thing to do," he concluded from his python-hunting trip. "You gotta really be careful."

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, took part in the python hunt last week, and brought reporters along, but returned empty-handed. That was before the weather cooled, which usually prompts pythons to leave the water and sun themselves.

As of Monday, 27 Burmese pythons had been caught as part of the challenge, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

photo courtesy of the office of Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz

January 17, 2013

Bill Nelson doesn't get his python. But he sure bagged the news media

IMG_0605Bill Nelson didn’t kill any pythons in the Everglades.

But Florida’s senior senator bagged something bigger Thursday: the rapt attention of the news media.

With a Florida Wildlife commissioner who goes by "Alligator Ron" Bergeron and snake hunters — including one wrangler called "Python Dave" — Nelson and a team of biologists and naturalists roamed the River of Grass to raise awareness about the invasive snakes that are gobbling up the creatures of the Everglades.

The wildlife commission has launched a “Python Challenge” cash-prize contest, which began last Saturday, to get more people to kill more of the snakes.

"These pythons eat everything in the Everglades: bobcats, deer, even alligator and maybe endangered Florida panther," Nelson said.

"These snakes are dangerous. There was a child killed in Central Florida by one of these kept as pets," he said. "The pythons don’t belong here."

But Nelson does.

The Everglades is a piece of Florida history and a place for threatened and endangered species. And Nelson, the only statewide elected Florida Democrat, has been a threatened political species since he first won his Senate seat in 2000.

Continue reading "Bill Nelson doesn't get his python. But he sure bagged the news media" »