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January 17, 2017

Introducing the Trump-O-Meter

TrumphandsupWPB

President-elect Donald Trump promised coal jobs in West Virginia and manufacturing jobs in Michigan. He said he would fix the inner city of Baltimore and the airports in New York. He said he would cut taxes and grow the military. Create paid family leave and balance the budget.

Build the wall. Kill Obamacare.

Protect Social Security. Take care of veterans.

And that’s just the start.

"We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t win anymore.’ … You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore. It’s too much. It’s not fair to everybody else,’ " Trump said in Montana last May. "And I’m going to say ‘I’m sorry, but we’re going to keep winning, winning, winning. We’re going to make America great again.’ "

The pitch worked. Now comes the hard part: Can Trump deliver?

For the past six months, PolitiFact has been cataloging promises Trump made to voters in speeches, appearances, interviews and debates. Today we launch our Trump-O-Meter, which will track 102 of the most significant pledges emblematic of his unconventional campaign. The Trump-O-Meter will measure whether Trump is able to accomplish what he told voters and ultimately rate each promise Kept, Broken or Compromise. It’s the same process we used to track the campaign promises made by President Barack Obama.

Keep reading PolitiFact's story about the Trump-O-Meter from Aaron Sharockman and Allison Graves and browse the full Trump-O-Meter including his promises about Cuba and Guantanamo Bay here.

State begins medical marijuana rule process

@MichaelAuslen

AR-140709507State health officials have started the process that will ultimately allow Floridians with debilitating conditions to buy and use medical marijuana.

Tuesday morning, the Florida Department of Health published its initial proposed rules for a statewide medical marijuana program and announced public hearings. But the rules essentially merge new patients into an existing, small medical cannabis program already functioning in the state, diverging from some of the key ideas pushed during the November election by backers of Amendment 2, the constitutional amendment that expanded medical marijuana.

Under the proposed rule, only patients with one of 10 specific medical diagnoses, including cancer, HIV and post-traumatic stress disorder, would have access to the drug, unless the Florida Board of Medicine specifically identifies additional debilitating conditions. Amendment 2, however, gives doctors the power to recommend marijuana to patients with any debilitating condition if "a physician believe sthat the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks."

It's likely the rules will change from DOH's initial proposal.

Amendment 2 gives the department until July to write rules governing medical marijuana. But it also allows the Legislature to step in and provide its own direction, which leaders in both the House and Senate appear eager to do.

Public hearings, which anyone can attend to contribute their thoughts about the proposed rule, begin in February around the state. A schedule is below. As well, people can tell the department what they think using a public comment form on its website.

It has already garnered criticism from Florida for Care, the group that pushed Amendment 2 in the election.

"The Legislature has demonstrated a willingness and a desire to implement this amendment in a reasonable manner that respects the plain language of the constitution and reflects the mandate of the electorate," chairman Ben Pollara said in a statement. "Why DOH would choose to engage in a policymaking exercise which ignores both the law and the role of the Legislature in implementing the law is a mystery."

The rule would not allow any new growers or dispensaries to form in the state, leaving control of the market in the hands of the seven nurseries licensed to grow, process and sell cannabis in Florida already. (A 2014 law allowed patients with certain conditions, including children with severe epillepsy, to use strains of cannabis low in THC, the chemical that causes a euphoric high. These nurseries were selected under that law.)

It also does not allow for the separation of growing facilities from dispensaries, which Amendment 2 does not require but allows for.

The rule maintains most of the regulations put in place by the Legislature and the health department in creating the low-THC cannabis program, including requirements that doctors take an eight-hour training course and be registered with the state. It also maintains a statewide database of patients, as well as requiring that patients be issued an ID card, as required by the amendment.

Medical marijuana public hearings:

Jacksonville: 2-4 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Duval County Health Department, 900 University Blvd. North.

Fort Lauderdale: 10 a.m.-noon Feb. 7 at the Broward County Health Department, 780 SW 24th St.

Tampa: 9-11 a.m. Feb. 8 at the DOH Tampa Branch Laboratory, 3602 Sepctrum Blvd.

Orlando: 6-8 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Orange County Health Department, 6102 Lake Ellenor Drive.

Tallahassee: 4-6 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Room 148.

Photo: Associated Press.

Congressman Alcee Hastings boycotts Donald Trump's inauguration

Alcee2AP

@amysherman1

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings will not attend Donald Trump's inauguration.

Hastings will spend the day in his district instead, spokesman Evan Polisar said. Hastings, who lives in Delray Beach, represents portions of Broward, Palm Beach and Hendry counties. Hastings rallied African-Americans to support Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The other two Democrats who represent Broward -- Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Ted Deutch of Boca Raton -- will both attend the inauguration. Wasserman Schultz will attend the Women's March on Washington Saturday and is co-hosting a breakfast before the march.

Here is Hastings' statement:

“I have decided to boycott the Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and remain in my Congressional district in Florida. This decision is not a protest of the results of the Electoral College, but rather, an objection to the demagoguery that continues to define the incoming administration.

“President-elect Trump has done little to prove that he is ready to lead this country. Instead, he continues to champion divisiveness. The office of the President is not endowed with unquestioned loyalty, and it is the obligation of each and every American to speak out against injustices however big or small. I cannot play a part in normalizing the countless offensive comments that he has made throughout the past year.

“It is quite simply wrong for the President-elect to use his position of power to continue to make racist, sexist, and bigoted statements, to demean those who have spent their lifetimes championing civil rights, such as Rep. John Lewis, and to ridicule religious minorities, ethnic minorities, and anyone who looks different. President-elect Trump continues to denigrate the American intelligence community, jeopardizing the security of the American people, and has clear, undeniable conflicts of interest in violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, designed to prevent foreign influence over American elected officials. Make no mistake: these behaviors are not, nor can they ever be, considered normal.

“President-elect Trump has made it clear that when given the choice, he stands with Vladimir Putin. I choose to stand with Rep. John Lewis, and every American that expects our President to serve with compassion and humility. If the Trump administration continues to champion illegal, unconstitutional, or other ideas that put the safety of the American people at risk, it will find no harsher critic than me.”

 

Who's going to Trump's inauguration? Gov. Scott, for starters

@MichaelAuslen

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Several leading Florida Republicans are making the trek to Washington, D.C., this week to see Donald Trump take the oath of office and officially become president of the United States.

Gov. Rick Scott, who campaigned for Trump and chaired a super PAC that supported his presidential bid, will leave the state Tuesday evening ahead of an inaugural ball sponsored by his Let’s Get to Work political committee the next night. Scott will attend the inauguration and be seated with other Republican governors, according to his office. He returns to Florida Saturday.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, one of Trump's closest allies in the state and a likely pick for a top job in his White House will be there and at the Florida Sunshine Ball sponsored by Scott.

The other two cabinet officials, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater are not going.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, will attend the inauguration, his office said. Corcoran -- who initially backed former Gov. Jeb Bush, then Sen. Marco Rubio and finally Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination -- was a reluctant supporter of Trump.

Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, will be there. Unlike his counterpart in the House, Negron was quicker to back Trump and served as a member of the electoral college, which gave the president-elect Florida's 29 electoral votes in December.

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, also a state representative from Spring Hill, is going. He led the state party through the election and was re-elected to the post Saturday.

Several other state lawmakers are, as well, including Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, who is being considered for an ambassadorship. So are House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues of Estero, Rep. Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz of Miami, Rep. Bill Hager of Delray Beach, Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen of Fort Myers, Rep. Jason Brodeur of Sanford and Rep. Joe Gruters of Sarasota, the Florida co-chair of the Trump campaign.

Brian Ballard, a top Tallahassee lobbyist and the Trump campaign's chief Florida fundraiser, is going to the inauguration and several related events. He was an elector for Trump, as well. So is Susie Wiles, who also led Trump's Florida operation. She is a Jacksonville-based lobbyist and helped usher Scott into office six years ago.

This list will continue to be updated as we hear from other Florida officials.

Photo: President-elect Donald Trump at an Orlando stop on his victory tour in December. (Andres Leiva, Tampa Bay Times)

Meet the South Florida protesters heading to the Women's March on Washington

TRUMP PROTEST d epf
via @harrisalexc

As the November election results came in and tears rolled down her face, Carrie Feit couldn’t stop thinking about her nieces.

Unlike her own 6-year-old daughter, Feit’s 12- and 14-year-old nieces were old enough to ask their mother about what they heard Donald Trump say on television. They wanted to know about the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape, of crude groping language infamy.

“My sister had to wake up the next day and tell her daughters that he won,” Feit said. “That ‘we’ elected him, that he won, that this country was OK with all that.”

Feit, 42, turned her anger into action. Two days after Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton, Feit was area captain for the Miami-Dade County section of the Women’s March on Washington, a catch-all demonstration for a slew of liberal causes planned for Saturday, the day after Trump’s inauguration. It’s expected to draw some 200,000 people from across the country.

“I thought about my nieces and all little girls that we want to empower,” Feit said. “The idea that they and other girls would think they did not deserve as much respect as anyone else pained me to the core.”

A robust contingent of Florida women is headed to the march any way they can. One bus from Miami-Dade — a nearly 20-hour ride away — sold out weeks before the trip. For those who can’t make it to D.C., a simultaneous local rally is planned at Bayfront Park.

More here.

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell, Miami Herald staff

January 16, 2017

Rubio: Cuban immigration policy 'was going to be changed one way or another'

@PatriciaMazzei

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio confirmed Monday that he won't try to bring back the special immigration status for Cubans that President Barack Obama eliminated last week in a surprise move.

"Wet foot/dry foot -- and the Cuban Adjustment Act in general -- was in danger," Rubio told reporters in Miami. Obama's reestablishing of diplomatic relations with Cuba undermined "the very essence and the purpose of the law, its justification."

"There's been well-documented abuses of the program," added the Florida Republican, who had filed legislation to tighten federal benefits for recent Cuban arrivals. "In my view, the Cuban Adjustment Act was going to be changed one way or another."

He even predicted there would be enough votes in Congress to repeal the law altogether.

The Cuban Adjustment Act still stands, but Obama's actions Thursday effectively gutted it, making it much more difficult for Cubans to remain legally in the U.S. and qualify under the act's protections.

While he won't ask President-elect Donald Trump to bring back the wet-foot/dry-foot policy, Rubio reiterated he'll push to reinstate the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program that gave refuse to Cuban medical professionals forced to work abroad who defected to the U.S. In a statement Thursday, Rubio said he spoke to Vice President-elect Mike Pence about the issue.

Now that Cubans who arrive undocumented in the U.S. must request political asylum to try to remain in the country, Rubio said he hoped their asylum claims would be given a full hearing.

"I don't want to see stories about people who came that way," with legitimate claims of oppression, he added, "and were sent back to Cuba."

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to meet about Fort Lauderdale airport security

FLL Airportswat DS

@amysherman1

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, will meet with law enforcement and aviation officials Tuesday afternoon to discuss airport security following the mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

The meeting at the Broward Sheriff's Office in Fort Lauderdale is not open to the public or press however officials will speak to the media after the meeting.

Other participants in the security roundtable include Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief, airport director Mark Gale, airport security director Frank Capello and officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and federal agencies including the Transportation Security Administration.

Broward County officials have made no long-term decisions about airport security changes. The county pays the Broward Sheriff's Office about $17 million a year to provide security at the airport. The money comes from fees paid by airlines and vendors and pays the cost for about 116 full-time employees. Israel and U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio have sought federal money to help cover the cost of responding to the shooting. BSO is in the process of compiling an estimate for what it spent related to the Jan. 6 shooting which shutdown the airport for several hours.

Suspected gunman Esteban Santiago, who faces charges in the fatal shooting of five people and injuring six, will appear in court Tuesday morning.

 

 

Broward's Mitch Ceasar running for DNC vice chair

Mitchin2014SS

@amysherman1

Broward County's former Democratic chairman, Mitch Ceasar, is running for vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

In 2016, Ceasar ended his 20-year reign as chair of Broward, Florida's county with the highest number of registered Democrats. A lawyer from Plantation, Ceasar lost a Democratic primary for Broward Clerk of Courts in August. 

"We are living in a political climate where the new normal is abnormal," Ceasar said about his quest for one of five vice chair positions. "I want to be part of the solution -- I will have time to devote to rebuilding the party. This is not going to be some glory job -- no more White House Christmas parties, no more perks. It is going to be a very tough four years to rebuild."

Ceasar said that he wants the party to focus on lower ballot races including state legislators who redraw state and Congressional district boundaries and he wants to use Florida Fair Districts amendment as a model.

The New York Times reported that at a forum for the national officer candidates in Phoenix Saturday, Democrats disagreed about how to respond to Donald Trump:

“We can complain all day about every stupid tweet, but the bottom line is that’s not going to change anything,” Ceasar said. “We have to have precision and be narrow in our scope.”

Ceasar is running for a male vice chair slot against three other men -- the number of males elected depends upon the gender ratio of those who win other positions. Ceasar is competing against New York state assemblyman Michael Blake, Adam Parkhomenko, co-founder of Ready for Hillary and served on Donna Brazile's DNC transition team and Rick Palacio, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party.

The DNC's approximately 447 members will elect their new leadersduring meetings Feb. 23-26 in Atlanta. Ceasar said he has made no commitment to back any of the chair candidates including State Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota or Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

Ceasar has served on the DNC's executive board for about 10 years but that ended Saturday when the Florida Democratic Party held its election for officers including representatives to the DNC. Ceasar was nominated for a DNC position, but did not win and couldn't attend since he was at the national forum in Phoenix. Ceasar said it isn't a requirement to be on the executive board to run for the vice chair position.

The DNC members elected from Florida Saturday are Cynthia Busch, Terrie Rizzo, Nikki Barnes, Grace Carrington, Alma Gonzalez, Alan Clendenin, John Ramos, Ken Evans, Dwight Bullard and John Parker

-- Photo by the Sun Sentinel

 

In Miami, Lewis responds to Trump by invoking civil-rights struggle

  John Lewis 02 EKM
@PatriciaMazzei

Perhaps, in U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ prepared speech to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Miami, there was a direct response to President-elect Donald Trump over the political feud between the two men over the past three days in TV interviews and on Twitter.

But when Lewis took the microphone Monday, he put his script aside.

“I prepared a speech, but I’m not going to use it,” he told hundreds of people assembled at Jungle Island’s treetop ballroom. “I’ve been deeply inspired by being here.”

And so Lewis launched into a rousing, 32-minute oration — which at times felt like a church-pulpit sermon — about his remarkable life of civil-rights activism, the heroes that inspired him and the faith that a younger generation will succeed them.

He didn’t mention the end of the first black presidency, or the start of new presidency headed by an executive who paints many African Americans as residents of inner-city “hell.” But it was impossible to ignore the political context of Lewis’ remarks.

“Never, ever hate,” Lewis implored the young men of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, the mentoring and scholarship program that hosted the breakfast. “The way of love is a better way. The way of peace is a better way.”

Perhaps it amounted to a response to Trump after all.

More here.

Photo credit: Emily Michot, Miami Herald staff

Donald Trump foe Rep. John Lewis, in Miami today, on PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter

JohnLewisGun Control Democratsjune231026AP

@amysherman1

Civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who sparked Donald Trump's ire when he said he doesn't view Trump's presidency as "legitimate" is the keynote speaker today at the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence event in Miami.

Trump fired back on twitter saying that the Georgia 5th congressional district, represented by Lewis, is "in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)."

PolitiFact ruled that claim Mostly False. The district isn’t in as terrible economic shape as Trump suggests. While it has higher unemployment and poverty rates than the national average, it still has a thriving economic hub in Atlanta and higher educational attainment. Atlanta does have a much higher crime rate than the national average, but like most major cities, that has been in decline. (Read Linda Qiu's fact-check here.)

Here's a look at Lewis's Truth-O-Meter record including his claims about black children and school discipline, crime and prison statistics and the costs associated with the Voting Rights Act.