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334 posts from June 2015

June 30, 2015

Jeb Bush to release 33 years of tax returns today. Will that be a record?

Former Gov. Jeb Bush will release 33 years of tax returns later this afternoon or early evening on his campaign website.

"This is more than any presidential candidate in the history of the United States," said a  campaign spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger. "This display of transparency is consistent with the high level of disclosure he has practiced during his life in public office."

When Bush ran for governor, he released his tax returns dating back to 1981. Bush was governor from January 1999 through January 2007 so the new information in today's release will cover the period since he left office.

So when he releases 33 years of returns will that be a record?

In 2012, PolitiFact Florida fact-checked a claim by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, that "Mitt Romney is the first major party candidate for president of the United States in modern times not to release at least 12 years of tax returns." We rated the claim by the Democratic National Committee chair False.

Here were our findings at the time:

Continue reading "Jeb Bush to release 33 years of tax returns today. Will that be a record?" »

PolitiFact looks at claims about same-sex marriage by Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges means that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide -- a decision derided by some GOP presidential candidates and celebrated by Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

Before the 5-4 ruling, about three dozen states, including Florida, allowed same-sex marriage.

For President Barack Obama, the ruling means the fulfillment of a campaign promise he made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. PolitiFact’s Obameter rated his promise to support the repeal of DOMA as Promise Kept. We also rated his promise to support adoption by same-sex couples as Promsie Kept.

We’ve fact-checked a number of 2016 presidential candidates including former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on LGBT issues or looked at their track record on support for same-sex marriage. Here’s a summary of some of our more notable findings.

Turn to PolitiFact for the rest of our story.

Miami-Dade legislators to speak at Ramadan event

State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, and State Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, will speak at a Sharing Ramadan event at the Al Ansar Mosque in Miami on Tuesday from from 7 to 9 p.m.

The events are sponsored by Emerge USA, an organization that aims to engage Muslim, Arab and South Asian American communities in the political process. Emerge USA has a federal political action committee that has raised small amounts of money for candidates.

The mosque is located at  5245 NW 7th Ave, Miami.

June 29, 2015

Pam Bondi asks court to move forward with execution after Supreme Court ruling

via @MichaelAuslen

Florida’s rapid pace of executions — derailed in February because of a pending U.S. Supreme Court Case — is cleared to start up again. And the state isn’t wasting any time.

Just hours after the high court ruled that a drug used for lethal injections in Florida is allowed under the Constitution, Attorney General Pam Bondi filed to lift a state court order blocking executions.

Specifically, Bondi is asking the Florida Supreme Court to move forward with the execution of convicted quadruple-murderer Jerry Correll, who would be the 22nd person put to death since Rick Scott became governor in 2011.

He would also be the first person executed since January. The six-month break is unusual for Scott, who has signed death warrants at a faster pace than any governor in recent memory. Former Gov. Jeb Bush ordered 21 executions in his eight years in office, and Charlie Crist waited a full year and a half before issuing his first death warrant.

In Florida, executions take the form of lethal injection. The process requires a series of three drugs: one to knock out and numb the inmate, followed by one that causes paralysis and a third to induce cardiac arrest.

More here

County commissioner calls for Miami-Dade to snub Trump's Doral resort


County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava wrote Mayor Carlos Gimenez Monday and urged him to declare Donald Trump's Doral resort a hotel non grata for "official sanctioned events" after the presidential candidate's disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants and Univision, the Doral-based television network.

"I feel that Mr. Trump has shown great disrespect to our vibrant Hispanic community and to one of our community's most respected  corporate members," wrote Levine Cava, who represents southern Miami-Dade. On Monday, NBC said it was cutting ties with Trump, who hosts the popular Apprentice series on the network. 

Levine Cava's request wouldn't seem to have an immediate effect if granted, since Miami-Dade isn't known to hold any events at the Trump Doral golf resort (watch this space for updates if some turn up). She called  it a "preventive measure" on Monday.

But the letter certainly adds local fuel to a political firestorm following Trump's June 16 campaign announcement. He criticized U.S. border protections, and said Mexico was sending some of its worst citizens north, including "rapists." 

Continue reading "County commissioner calls for Miami-Dade to snub Trump's Doral resort" »

Annette Taddeo cites bogeyman Allen West in fundraising email

Former Congressman Allen West is long gone from Florida, but hey when it’s fundraising time is there any better bogeyman for a Democratic candidate?

From a fundraising plea today by Annette Taddeo who is running for Congress in a Miami-Dade/Monroe County swing district against first-term U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami:

“Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Luján wouldn’t be emailing you if it weren’t important. And believe us: tomorrow’sdeadline is critical. Here’s why:

FIRST: We told you how Congressman Carlos Curbelo has the backing of the Koch brothers and right wing special interests groups.

NOW: We just learned former Congressman Allen West has pledged to support Rep. Curbelo and his reelection campaign.

This is the very same Allen West who said Obama supporters were “a threat to the gene pool” and made numerous inflammatory comments about women.”

West was elected in a Broward/Palm Beach district as part of a tea party wave in 2010 but after redistricting lost his seat in a newly drawn district to Democrat Patrick Murphy in 2012. After losing the election, West became a Fox news contributor and then in November 2014 took a job in Texas as CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Jeb Bush spoke on guns, religion and the flag in South Carolina

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush met privately with pastors in Charleston today and then toured Nephron Pharmaceutical Company in West Columbia, South Carolina, where he took questions from employees.

During the question and answer, Bush addressed a broad range of topics including immigration reform, gun control, the Confederate flag and foreign policy.

When speaking about education, Bush brought up his call for immigration reform without mentioning anything about a path to citizenship.

Instead, he linked immigration to growing jobs:

“A lot of students would love to come here and stay here and contribute to our society and be able to create opportunities for others that do embrace the technologies and STEM-related fields. It's not a zero sum game. The more we can grow our economy the more opportunity that will exist for more people.”

Bush reiterated his support for gun rights about two weeks after the shooting at the Charleston church that left nine people dead. He noted that Florida has about 1.3 million concealed weapon permits.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush spoke on guns, religion and the flag in South Carolina" »

As Gov. Scott's vetoes reverberate, one critic offers praise

Gov. Rick Scott's liberal use of his veto pen in the new state budget continues to reverberate across the state in a number of pointed editorials and woe-is-us news stories. But one of Scott's most persistent critics isn't complaining.

Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen penned a piece over the weekend that actually sprinkled some praise on Scott for a "rare display of might" in dealing with a "malfunctioning" Florida Legislature, and the popular author also concluded that Scott axed so much spending ($461.4 million) that he couldn't have been playing favorites. "The slashing was evenhanded," Hiaasen writes.

Others were less charitable. The Gainesville Sun blasted Scott for vetoing $200,000 for Reichert House, a well-regarded after school program for troubled children in Alachua County that has a waiting list for services. The paper questioned the values of a governor who cut projects for the poor and disabled while championing a cell-phone tax cut that will save a typical customer $20 a year.

Scott's motives continue to be questioned by fellow Republicans. Rep. Ken Roberson, R-Punta Gorda, is quoted in his hometown paper, the Charlotte Sun, as telling a GOP club about the flood of vetoes: "A lot of us legislators are still scratching our heads over that. It may have been political.”

The Leesburg Daily Commercial reports that backers of the historical significance of the notorious fugitive Ma Barker aren't surrendering despite Scott's veto of $250,000 to restore her Depression-era hideout in Marion County, the scene of a bloody shootout with FBI agents. "We are disappointed, but we are not deterred," said the project's champion, Marion County Tax Collector George Albright, a former Republican House member.

Supreme Court rules that independent commissions can draw Congressional districts

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Monday that an independent state commission can draw federal congressional districts.

The Arizona case related to an independent commission set up by a referendum in 2000. The commission was tasked with redrawing new lines and a new map in 2011 resulted in four safe GOP districts, two safe Democratic districts and three swing districts, according to NPR. The GOP-led Arizona Legislature sued.

In Florida, the Legislature draws the maps and has been involved in a series of legal challenges since the latest maps were adopted in 2012. In 2010, voters approved Fair District rules which were an attempt to block  partisan gerrymandering of political boundaries.

The League of Women Voters has an ongoing case before the Florida Supreme Court in which it has argued that the congressional maps should be rejected because they are the product of a shadowy process infiltrated by Republican political operatives in violation of the Fair District rules.

The state Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling over the next several weeks -- possibly as early as Thursday. We asked lawyers on both sides of that case what the Arizona decision means if anything for the Florida case.


Continue reading "Supreme Court rules that independent commissions can draw Congressional districts" »

Marco Rubio to launch TV ads in November

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will launch his presidential advertising in the early nominating states starting in November.

Rubio’s campaign has reserved TV time in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada in November through February, a Rubio aide confirmed. (Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal  which reported on the news earlier this morning.)

Iowa holds caucuses the first week of February followed by the New Hampshire primary Feb. 9th and the South Carolina primary Feb. 20th. The Nevada caucus is Feb. 23.

Florida’s primary is March 15.

Rubio is fundraising Monday and Tuesday in Kentucky and California and has no public events scheduled this week.

Jeb Bush's campaign wouldn't comment about TV buys but The Tampa Bay Times reported that the Right to Rise USA PAC supporting Bush sought advertising rates in the Naples/Fort Myers market. 

Bush is in South Carolina today where he met with pastors.

This blog was updated to include information about Bush's campaign.