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June 26, 2015

Donald Trump bans Univision employees from Doral resort

@PatriciaMazzei

In the case of Univision vs. Donald Trump, a good fence does not make good neighbors.

The Spanish-language television network’s headquarters happen to be adjacent to Trump’s ritzy golf resort in Doral. And now Trump, upset that Univision broke off its deal with his Miss Universe beauty pageant as a result of the real-estate magnate’s offensive comments about Mexicans, has issued an edict of his own: No Univision employees can set foot on his resort next to their offices.

“Dear Randy,” Trump, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, wrote Friday to Univision Chief Executive Randy Falco. “Please be advised that under no circumstances is any officer or representative of Univision allowed to use Trump National Doral, Miami — its golf courses or any of its facilities.”

No biggie, as far as Univision corporate is concerned: The company had already directed its workers Thursday to steer clear of Trump’s real estate. Employees “should not stay at Trump properties while on company business or hold events/activities there,” the company advised.

They could still go during their personal time, though. Trump doesn’t want them around, but it’s unclear how his staff would identify Univision workers in order to kick them out.

The feud did not end there.

More here.

This post has been updated.

Democratic Tampa Mayor Buckhorn seems to be feeling out a 2018 gubernatorial race

BuckhorntallyTALLAHASSEE — Bob Buckhorn doesn’t like to say if he’s eyeing the Governor’s Mansion in 2018. But speaking to the Capital Tiger Bay Club on Friday, the Tampa mayor hinted that Floridians should look to a mayor to lead their state.

“I’m convinced that, No. 1, mayors should run the world,” said Buckhorn, a Democrat. “Mayors more than anything are the governing model of what this country should look for in its candidates.”

Perhaps the mayor of the third-largest city in Florida?

Many of those who came to hear him speak at the Tallahassee political club seemed eager to hear the answer to that very question.

“The road to the Governor’s Mansion runs always through the Capital Tiger Bay Club,” joked past club president Elise Judelle, introducing Buckhorn to the crowd of about 100. “Maybe he’ll reveal to us today whether he is a candidate for gov in 2018...The last time I introduced a gubernatorial hopeful here at the club, it was Jeb Bush.”

Continue reading "Democratic Tampa Mayor Buckhorn seems to be feeling out a 2018 gubernatorial race" »

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen explains how she changed her mind on same-sex marriage

@PatriciaMazzei

The New York Times compiled audio from eight leaders explaining how they came around to supporting same-sex marriage. One of them is U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican, who on Friday called the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing the marriages one that "reflected our values."

"I did not have an 'A-ha!' moment. I evolved just like society did," she told the Times. She also spoke about her son Rodrigo, 29, a transgender man who was born Amanda Michelle.

"People look at me and they think, 'Oh, it's because of her family situation that she thinks the way she does now," she said. "It really is not because of that. I would have evolved to that position. Certainly Rigo sped it up for me and made it more personal for me."

Listen here.

Gay community celebrates in Broward

Jeff Bloom, 72, recalls decades ago when gay men got arrested in New York City for dancing together and when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used by psychologists labeled homosexuality a disease.

On Friday, Bloom witnessed a major milestone in the advancement of gay rights when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.

“To me, I never thought in my lifetime I would see something like this,” said Bloom, a single gay man while getting his hair cut at the Richard’s Men’s Hair Shop in Wilton Manors. “They recognized love is love.”

Customers and staff watched the news on the TV at the hair salon on Wilton Drive, the heart of Broward’s gay community.

“All of us started jumping up and down and screaming,” said David Krombholz, manager of the shop.

Older members of the gay community said they hope that younger generations will learn about the struggles they faced but acknowledged they will now grow up in a different time. Many recounted how they spent years of their lives hiding their relationships at work and elsewhere and now have seen the highest court declare equality.

Continue reading "Gay community celebrates in Broward " »

Burwell decision secures subsidies, but feud continues in Florida over health care

Gov. Rick Scott and the legislative opponents to the Affordable Care Act dodged a bullet Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health insurance subsidies, but it did little to narrow the divide between Republicans over how to handle Florida’s uninsured.

The ruling reduces the pressure on state leaders to create a state exchange to cover the 1.3 million low- and middle-income Floridians who now rely on the federal program for health insurance. But it leaves unanswered the question of how Florida will handle the loss of $400 million federal Low Income Pool money used to reimburse hospitals and health care providers who provide charity care to the uninsured.

After a bitter and divisive legislative session that led to a special budget session ending last week, lawmakers must return in January to craft a new budget for 2016-17 that addresses the loss of the LIP funds. The federal government confirmed this week that it would limit Florida’s LIP money to $1 billion to help cover the cost of the uninsured not covered under Obamacare, for the 2015-16 budget year. But it also said the state’s LIP money would be limited to only $600 million in 2016-17.

That has prompted Republicans in the Florida Senate to renew calls for the state to create an alternative, privately run plan to draw down federal money to cover an estimated 800,000 uninsured Floridians. Florida was among the 34 states that allowed the federal government to run the insurance marketplace, known as exchanges, that allow eligible Floridians to shop for individual health plans.

But thousands of low-income adults who would be eligible for Medicaid under expansion remain in the “coverage gap.”

Scott and the Republican leaders in the House opposed the Senate’s efforts to create the plan this year. They argued it would prop up a “broken” Medicaid system, expand the federal deficit and hurt taxpayers.

The issue deeply divided the two chambers, as Scott and House leaders accused several senators, including Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who works for an Orlando hospital, of using his office to advocate for his industry.

On Thursday, comment from both sides indicated the feuding is likely to continue.

More here.

How Florida Gov. Rick Scott's trip played in Connecticut

via @stevebousquet

"You're raising taxes on everybody," Gov. Rick Scott is quoted as saying about Connectiut's Democratic governor and Legislature in Friday's Hartford Courant. Here's how the trip is playing in the state's largest newspaper. In an interview with the Associated Press in Hartford, Scott said "it truly helps me when a governor raises taxes."

--STEVE BOUSQUET, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

Will Melissa Sellers stay put as Florida governor's chief of staff?

via @adamsmithtimes

The announcement by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal this week that he was jumping into the crowded Republican presidential primary field prompted widespread speculation that Melissa Sellers, a former senior Jindal adviser, would leave Gov. Rick Scott's staff as chief of staff to join Jindal's campaign. Sellers, who managed Scott's reelection campaign, has antagonized plenty of legislators in Tallahassee since she became Scott chief of staff seven months ago - his fourth chief of staff in 4 1/2 years.

"The governor is not being well served by these kids from Louisiana,'' fumed Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, early this week after the governor vetoed more than $461-million in legislative spending measures. "I don't recall a governor's office as unresponsive as that one is. They’ve got him totally isolated. You can’t have a meeting without Melissa sitting there. She totally controls the agenda but what are her credentials to do that? She won a campaign."

So we asked Sellers and the governor's communications director if there's anything to the talk of her joing the Jindal campaign, or the rumor she might work on the U.S. Senate campaign of U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Chumuckla.

"Neither is true," said Communications Director Jackie Schutz in an email.

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

Florida politicians react to SCOTUS legalizing same-sex marriage

@PatriciaMazzei

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states Friday. Here's how Florida politicians reacted to the 5-4 ruling, updated as they come in:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida and 2016 Republican presidential candidate

I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman. People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.

The next president and all in public office must strive to protect the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and millions of Americans whose faiths hold a traditional view of marriage. This is a constitutional duty, not a political opinion. Our nation was founded on the human right of religious freedom, and our elected leaders have a duty to protect that right by ensuring that no one is compelled by law to violate their conscience.

I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, 2016 Republican presidential candidate

Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage.  I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision.  I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments.  In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side.  It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida

Today's ruling reaffirms one of the paramount principles of America that we're all created equal and have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Continue reading "Florida politicians react to SCOTUS legalizing same-sex marriage" »

With 5-4 ruling, U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage

via @MichaelDoyle10

WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court made history on Friday, ruling that the Constitution ensures the right of same-sex couples to marry.

In a resounding decision that caps a remarkably fast transformation across the social, legal and political landscapes, the high court overturned marriage restrictions in Kentucky and three other states.

“Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

The court’s 5-4 majority concluded the Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection ensures the same-sex marriage rights.

The decision locks in same-sex marriage rights nationwide, guaranteeing that marriages that have already been performed must be recognized in every state. The only way to unravel the court’s action would be to amend the U.S. Constitution, a longshot that has fallen from political favor.

“The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity, “ Kennedy wrote.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer joined in the majority decision. All were appointed by Democratic presidents, and their support for same-sex marriage was never in question.

In dissent, Republican-appointed justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito likewise voiced their positions foreshadowed by their prior opinions. Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. also dissented.

More here.

This story has been updated.

The Scarlet Letter-single mom attack on Jeb Bush

A Facebook meme from a political group made so many simultaneous assertions about former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, we couldn’t put them all on the Truth-O-Meter.

That doesn’t mean we can’t still examine the quintet of claims, however.

Ultraviolet, which describes itself as a community "mobilized to fight sexism and expand women’s rights," posted an image labeled "5 things you should know about Jeb Bush" to its Facebook page on June 15, 2015. A few days later, the group added a link to information backing up its claims.

The claims included:

1. Appointed a guardian for the fetus of a rape survivor

2. Signed into law a bill requiring single moms to publish their sexual history

3. Hired a staffer who publicly called women "sluts"

4. Said low-income women should "get their life together and find a husband"

5. Used taxpayer money to promote anti-abortion groups

Turn to Joshua Gillin's fact-checks from PolitiFact Florida and see Jeb Bush's full Truth-O-Meter record.