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August 27, 2015

Plaintiffs: Time for Supreme Court to draw redistricting after legislative failure

Equating the Legislature's redistricting failure to a strike out, the challengers to the state's congressional redistricting efforts on Thursday called on the Florida Supreme Court to redraw the map it invalidated and reject the Legislature's call for more time. 

"Faced with the Legislature’s disregard of its mandate, this Court should promptly adopt a remedial plan,'' wrote the lawyers for the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and a coalition of Democrat-leaning voters in a motion filed Thursday.  Download Filed_08-27-2015_Coalition_Response

"...the unique circumstances of the crisis created by the Legislature—hitting foul balls in its first two attempts and now striking out without a swing when given a third opportunity to draw constitutional districts—warrants the remedy requested."

The motion comes a day after Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis asked the court for guidance after the Legislature ended its special redistricting session without an enacted congressional map -- the third attempt in three years. 

The House and Senate have asked the Supreme Court to allow Lewis to conduct a trial and decide whether the maps proposed by the House or the Senate map best.

Continue reading "Plaintiffs: Time for Supreme Court to draw redistricting after legislative failure" »

A Pants on Fire for Jeb Bush about Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is not involved in women’s health issues, said Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

At a town hall in Englewood, Colo., Aug. 25, an audience member asked Bush about his record on women’s health, as well as what he would do for women’s health, particularly for veterans, as president.

"When I was governor, we expanded those programs through community-based organizations, and that’s something I think the federal government needs to continue to do," Bush said. "I, for one, don’t think Planned Parenthood ought to get a penny, though. And that’s the difference because they’re not actually doing women’s health issues. They're involved in something way different than that."

Bush, who cut off state funding for Planned Parenthood as governor, then pivoted to talk about veterans affairs.

Bush’s claim that the organization is not involved in women’s health caught our attention. Setting aside the issue of abortion, Planned Parenthood offers many other medical services -- most of which seem obviously related to women’s health.

Keep reading Lauren Carroll's fact-check from PolitiFact.

Joe Biden to speak at Miami Dade College

Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the Science Center at Miami Dade College on Sept. 2.

Update: The speech will take place sometime in the afternoon at North Campus, according to the university.

From a press release:

The Vice President will discuss the importance of helping more Americans go to college and the critical role that partnerships between community colleges and employers play in helping Americans obtain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. On Thursday, September 3rd, the Vice President will meet with Jewish community leaders in Miami to discuss the nuclear deal reached with Iran.

Biden’s office has not released details about the meeting about the Iran deal but a Jewish leader invited to that event told Naked Politics yesterday that it will be held at the Jewish Community Center in Davie.

--with Patricia Mazzei

Determined to keep pushing, Galvano proposes yet another congressional map

Galvano planBy Mary Ellen Klas and Jeremy Wallace

No doesn't mean no when the stakes remain high, so Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, on Thursday released yet another proposed congressional redistricting map in an effort to get the House to agree to a deal before the court draws its own plan. 

The latest plan leaves U.S. Rep. Dan Webster's district in Orange County, as sought by the House. But it wrecks havoc for other incumbents  by doing a major rewrite of districts in Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties, and could end the congressional career of U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee.

All of Hillsborough south of Brandon would be combined in a new congressional district with all of Manatee County - now covered by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota. Under Galvano's plan, that district has no current incumbent living in it.

All of Sarasota County, represented now by Buchanan, would be pushed into a new 17th Congressional district that would include four other counties – Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee and part of Polk - currently represented by Rooney. He would either have to move further west to challenge Buchanan, or remain in a new 9th Congressional District that would stretch up into Orlando, a heavily Democratic district represented now by Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando.

Continue reading "Determined to keep pushing, Galvano proposes yet another congressional map" »

Scott warns to pay attention, plan ahead for Erika


Gov. Rick Scott's message to Floridians late Thursday morning was straightforward: Start preparing for Tropical Storm Erika now.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts that the storm could approach Florida's east coast this weekend and could escalate into a hurricane. If it did, it would be the first to hit the state in 10 years.

This could cause a big problem, he said, especially as millions of people have moved to Florida in that time and haven't experienced a hurricane before. 

"We haven't had a hurricane in years," Scott said, addressing reporters in Tallahassee after a statewide emergency management conference call. "The way I think about it is stop and think about your family for a second...How can I make sure they're prepared? Do I have enough water? Do I have enough food? Are they going to need a shelter?"

The state has a website,, with resources for hurricane and storm preparation.

In addition to making a plan, ensuring people have enough food and water and a place to go in the event that an evacuation is ordered, Scott said it's important to follow the news.

Especially with the likelihood that the storm could escalate during the weekend, he said it's critical that Floridians pay attention to elected officials and follow the news to stay up-to-date about any new information about the storm.

But there remains a lot of uncertainty about the storm and its path. Tropical storms and hurricanes tend to be unpredictable, and it's not yet clear when, where or if Erika will hit Florida.

"Hopefully this will continue just being a drill," the governor said.

In the meantime, get ready. Scott's next briefing on Erika is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in Tallahassee.

Pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC goes after GOP on immigration


A new digital ad by Priorities USA, a super PAC backing Democrat Hillary Clinton, takes Donald Trump's immigration positions and tries to cast 2016 Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Scott Walker in the same light.

The 30-second spot, titled "This is the Republican Party," features Spanish-language subtitles over flips of the three Republicans talking about immigration in ways at least some Hispanic voters won't like -- including Bush using the term "anchor babies."

The ad will air online in Florida, Colorado and Nevada for at least the next week.


This post has been updated.

WaPo: Donald Trump golfed with Florida House leaders (who now back Jeb Bush)

From the Washington Post:

Donald Trump spent a day in January 2014 hobnobbing with politicians at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. The billionaire mogul touted legalizing gambling with state House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and two other wired Florida Republicans, plugging his properties as potential sites for casinos.

But as they tapped putts on the manicured greens, something else was on Trump’s mind: Jeb Bush.

“He was trashing Jeb and, quite honestly, I don’t think he’s ever held Jeb in high regard,” said Crisafulli, a Bush supporter who said he was “uncomfortable” with the conversation and defended the former Florida governor to Trump. “I’ve met with Mr. Trump on several occasions and he’s constantly had things to say about Jeb. . . . He’s always had a negative connotation about Jeb.”

More, including a Will Weatherford kicker, here.

10 fact-checks about immigration including claims by Jeb Bush and Donald Trump

From statements about "anchor babies" to deportation data, illegal immigration has been one of the hottest topics of the 2016 presidential race.

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has made several claims related to immigration that have received False and Pants on Fire ratings. We have also fact-checked claims by many other GOP candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, as well as Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Here’s a look at 10 misleading statements about immigration we have fact-checked so far in the presidential race from PolitiFact

Amid tuition tussle, Miami-Dade commissioner teases a mayoral challenge


Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan C. Zapata found himself under the media spotlight this week, and he blames Mayor Carlos Gimenez's staff for the tempest. Now he's vowing to run for reelection next year unless he tries for another elected post -- Gimenez's. 

Wrapping up his first term in the western District 11, Zapata earlier this month returned $31,000 in county funds he had secured to cover fall tuition for a Harvard master's program in public administration. He reimbursed the county as Univision was  pursuing a story on the tuition money. 

"The question is who leaked it and why?" Zapata said Wednesday during an interview in his commission office. In an email first obtained by Univision, Zapata blamed county budget officials for "maliciously" leaking the information. "You all should be ashamed."

A Gimenez spokesman denied Zapata's allegation and blamed him for bad judgement.

In an interview with Naked Politics late Wednesday, Zapata countered by sounding more definitive about a bid for a second term in 2016. He also fired a shot across the bow toward Gimenez. 

Asked if he planned to run reelection, Zapata said:

"I'm planning on it now," he said. "And if the mayor's office keeps it up, I may just decide to run for another seat." 

Continue reading "Amid tuition tussle, Miami-Dade commissioner teases a mayoral challenge" »

MSNBC: Miami gay couple featured in Jeb Bush memoir won't vote for him


In his newly-released e-book, “Reply All,” Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush shares a tense email exchange over same-sex marriage with a man described by the former Florida governor as “a gay friend.” That’s a term the now 50-year-old Xavier Cortada, the gay friend in question, can’t dispute. But it doesn’t mean Bush will be getting his vote.

“I can separate my friendship from my politics,” Cortada told msnbc during a phone interview Wednesday. “Which is why I’m not voting for my friend, Jeb Bush.”

A longtime supporter of so-called “traditional” marriage, Bush has said repeatedly that he disagrees with the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex nuptials across the nation. But the new memoir of his governorship, as told through dozens of email exchanges like the one with Cortada, offers a little more insight into his enduring opposition to same-sex marriage.

Eleven years ago, on March 3, 2004, Cortada reached out to then-Gov. Bush about his support for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to unions between one man and one woman. The effort failed at the federal level, but ballot initiatives to ban same-sex marriage in nearly a dozen stateshelped energize social conservatives and, ultimately, reelect Bush’s brother, President George W. Bush.

More here.