Thursday, May 31, 2007

Say What?

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/palmbeach/floridapolitics/entries/2007/05/31/everyone_loves_charlie_part_89.html

So what kind of a speaker does a Democratic club in Palm Beach County look for to address its hard-core members? How about a Republican governor?
Such was the proposition presented to Delray Beach Democratic congressman Robert Wexler's office by the Century Village and West Palm Beach Democratic Clubs recently. Would it be okay to invite Charlie Crist to speak at their meetings? Wexler and his staff said that it would.
Thursday, on a drive from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Crist said he agreed. "I think it's okay, too. I would be honored, frankly," he said on his way from one appointment of his trade mission to Israel to another. "I am a Republican. I'm proud of my party, but as I said even during the campaign, I want to be the governor for all the people. I would look forward to the opportunity to speak to good Democrats in our state."


Florida Presidential Poll

Hillary And Edwards Tied In Florida

Now that Florida has moved up its primary date, the poll numbers from this state become very important. John Edwards and Hillary top the poll on the Demoratic side.
And McCain has to be worried about a new poll from Datamar, Inc. that shows him in 4th place in this state.


Veto SB 900

 
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED
WE HAVE ONE MORE CHANCE TO SAVE THE PEOPLE'S BALLOT INITIATIVE!
 
The Florida Legislature passed SB 900, which will essentially make it impossible for grassroots groups to exercise their constitutional right to organize constitutional ballot initiatives.  Governor Crist has publicly stated that he is not sure whether or not he will sign the bill.  The Florida Chamber of Commerce is pulling out all the stops – now it is our turn.  Dozens of statewide groups, representing over 2 million voters, are joining this effort – we need your help. 
 
If SB 900 had been the law of the land, we would not have smaller class sizes, a state minimum wage, universal Pre-K, Clean Everglades Act or any of the other progressive policies we have been able to enact over the past ten years.  Don't lose your rights – don't give all power to the Florida Legislature – call and email the Governor now. 
 
Contact the Governor's Office – tell the "People's Governor" to look out for the people, protect their right to amend their constitution and
VETO SB 900! 
 
E-Mail Governor Crist - Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com
Phone the Governor's Office - 850-488-7146
or 850-488-4441

Election 2004: Redux

Everything in the known universe about Florida Election Fraud Scandal 2004
 
FLORIDA ELECTION FRAUD 2004 (CAGING)
FLORIDA ELECTION FRAUD PART 2


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Maroone Endorses Ron Klein

 Shaw moneyman helps Klein
The host committee for freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein's Wednesday fund-raiser in Fort Lauderdale includes auto magnate Michael Maroone, who last year opened his home to President Bush for an event that raised more than $800,000 for former Republican... [Read More...]
 
For Florida Politics Read: http://www.ChangeInTalahassee.com
For Broward Politics Read http://BrowardForChange.com/blog
For Political Junkies Read http://Politalk1.blogspot.com
For Non Partisan Election News http://ElectionGeek08.Blogspot.com
For Just Rumors Read     http://www.Rumormills.net
 

CRIST: VETO BILL ON PETITION DRIVES

 
 Charlie Crist should veto legislation written to make it more difficult for citizens to gather petitions to change the state constitution. The legislative proposal ostensibly is meant to battle fraud in the signature-gathering process, but it's really designed to make it harder for citizens to collect signatures. The measure could seriously cripple grassroots efforts on statewide issues. The bill demands that a petition be submitted within 30 days of being signed or it will be invalidated. And it gives people 120 days after their signature is verified to change their minds. The League of Women says the former provision has the potential to seriously burden groups' petitioning efforts while the latter provision would create a cottage harassment industry, with monied groups spending whatever it takes on phone calls and literature to convince citizens to withdraw their signatures. These onerous new regulations could also run afoul of our state and federal constitutions, so expect costly lawsuits if approved.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Crist Veto's

Gov. Charlie Crist  Vetos bills, including a controversial measure that gave a rate increase to Medicaid HMOs and repealed a state law that mandated how much Medicaid plans must spend on providing mental health services to Medicaid patients.
Crist also vetoed a bill dealing with cosmetology, a bill that changes how much landlords can charge tenants who break leases, and a measure that would have raised boat vessel registration fees $2 in order to pay for derelict vessel removal.
The bill dealing with Medicaid HMOs, SB 1116, was one of the so-called conforming bills that accompanied the $71.5 billion budget that Crist signed into law today. But this bill was changed behind closed doors in the waning hours of the session to give Medicaid HMOs a $5 million rate increase starting in January. Crist also faulted the bill for ending a current requirement that Medicaid health plans provide at least 80 percent of money they receive for mental health care on direct services to patients.
"Even more disturbing is that many of these provider driven provisions were not discussed in an open forum,'' Crist wrote in his veto message.
Crist, who still rents an apartment in St. Petersburg, said he vetoed the bill dealing with landlords because the "impact" on those who can least afford it would be too great. The bill, HB 1277, would have allowed landlords to charge additional fees to tenants who want to break their leases early.
To read the veto message on the Medicaid bill: Download VETOSB1116.pdf
To read the veto message on the landlords bill: Download VETOHB1277.pdf
To read the veto message on the cosmetology bill: Download VETOSB920.pdf
To read the veto message on vessel registration:Download VETOSB1104.pdf

Crist's Trade Mission To Israel

From Tallahassee to Tel Aviv

By the numbers:
There are nearly 750,000 Jewish people in Florida.
Florida is the 4th largest market in the U.S. for Israel.
Charlie Crist is going to Israel on his 1st trade mission as governor.
Read Beth Reinhard's column about the trip here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ouch That hurts

Democrats' primary may not count. So what, some say
St. Petersburg Times, FL -
Which helps explain why Florida Democrats are in such a bind now that America's biggest swing state has decided to snub the rules of the national parties ... READ MORE.......

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Open Letter To: Hon. John Conyers Jr.

This week, we learned from the opening statement of Monica Goodling that Bush-appointee Tim Griffin was involved in "caging" of Black voters in the 2004 elections. It's time to start asking questions about the Parsky Commission:

Despite my and others' best efforts, [Deputy Attorney General, Paul McNulty]'s public testimony was incomplete or inaccurate in a number of respects. As explained in more detail in my written remarks, I believe that the Deputy was not fully candid about his knowledge of White House involvement in the replacement decision, failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of the White House's interest in selecting Tim Griffin as Interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, inaccurately described the Department's internal assessment of the Parsky Commission, and failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote "caging" during his work on the President's 2004 campaign.

This is of stunning import, and should be addressed immediately by the Judiciary Committee, the White House, and all of Congress. An explanation is demanded--now--by we the American public. We're aware that you're going to want to sweep this under-the-rug, but we're not going to let you. This entire investigation of the U.S. Attorney scandal hedges on caging-lists, the real crimes committed by the Bush administration and their attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, as well as operatives of the national Republican Party.

This is literally the last straw, and we're going to wash all of you out if we don't see a real commitment to democracy and the rule of law regarding "caging" practices in our elections. They are a violation of federal voting-laws, in-particular, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There can be no faith in this government--or in the notion that we live in a democracy--until the issue of caging-lists and the illegal, coordinated elimination of voters from elections is addressed. Also, you have some charges to file against former-Deputy Attorney General McNulty, he has perjured himself before a committee of Congress, a gross violation of federal law. Get to work, we're not taking any excuses.
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
p/202-225-395
1

What Is Caging And How Is It Ilegal

";Caging" in Republican practice
Greg Palast describes the way Republicans have used ";Caging Lists" to challenge voters and suppress the vote of minorities and the poor. The trick is that if they discourage a hundred Black voters from voting, they may have lost 10 votes but their opponents will have lost 90.

Palast's article is a bit dated, having been published June 23, 2006. The VRA was reauthorized and signed into law by Bush on July 27, 2006 for another 25 years, so it remains effective for those jurisdictions it previously applied to. That means that it remains illegal to identify voters by race in order to challenge their right to vote.

That includes targeting districts with a high concentration of African-American voters, sending out registered letters to the registered voters in that district, then challenging those who do not respond or who do not pick up their letters. Registered letters are often used by bill collectors, so people behind on their bills rarely pick up registered letters from unknown addresses. This is not a reliable way to find who has moved, nor is that the purpose. It is just a way of challenging voters who are likely to vote Democratic.

Such practices are going to be quite common in November 2008, illegal or not. Unfortunately, such practices are not nearly as effective for likely Republican voters. It works when used on those minority voters who the Republicans are clearly out to get, such as African-Americans, immigrants, Hispanics, and homosexuals. Except for Republicans in general, there are no such minority groups actively threatened by Democrats.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Republican Party Of Florida Distributed 2004 caging List(s)

Someone need to use these emails and Prosecute the Florida Republican Party, CAGING
is illegal.
these emails were going around using the White House Server also illegal
this was part of Karl Rove's Stop The Vote Program.
 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kelly Porter [mailto:kporter@rpof.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 5:47 PM
> To: Lindy Landreaux - Political; Miriam Moore - Research/Communications; Victoria Newton - Research/Communications; Tim Griffin - Research/Communications; Shawn Reinschmiedt - Research/Communications; rkammerdiner@rnchq.org; Stephen Shiver; bdoster@georgewbush.org
> Subject: caging
> The total to date is 1771.
>
> Thanks.
>
> Kelly
>
> ATTACHMENT:
Caging.xls
-----Original Message-----
From: Carrie Thompson [mailto:cthompson@rpof.org]
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 8:55 PM
To: Sarah Anderson [mailto:sanderson@rpof.org]
Cc: Andy Palmer [mailto:apalmer@rnchq.org]; jbennick@georgewbush.org
Subject: CSV Files

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tom Feeney Update

 
'That Strikes at the Core'
The Black Chronicle, OK 
Tom Feeney (Rep., Fla.). Violating the law against politicizing the civil service is no grounds for pride. Miss Goodling's testimony didn't do much to ...
Immigration fix must consider 'human face'
Orlando Sentinel, FL -  Keller and Tom Feeney have latched onto the "this is amnesty!" cry of demagoguery. "I don't have a problem with immigration," Keller said. ...
Martinez takes flak on immigration
Palm Beach Post, FL -
Tom Feeney, who like Martinez is a Republican from Orange County, calls the proposal an "immigration amnesty sellout." Immigration reform supporters have ...

Charlie's Veto Pen

 
 
Crist's Pen Cuts Like A Knive

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Defend Democracy and Citizen Initiative Process

HB 7009/ SB 900- Relating to Petition Initiative Process
    
This bill would restrict the time period alloted to collect petition signatures, placing a particular burden on volunteer organizations; restrict organizations from compensating petition gatherers for their work, taking away a built in mechanism that makes organizations more accountable for signatures; and creates a revocation process that would encourage "counter campaigns" to set up shop in Florida.
 
HB 559/ SB 1920- Ballot Initiatives and Trespass
     This bill would unconstitutionally allow shop keepers and their agents to pick and choose which issues could be discussed in parking lots and sidewalks outside of "quasi-public" areas.
 
HB 233/ SB 736- Anti-free speech bill.
     Allows employers, owners and their agents to discriminate against persons or groups engaging in any type of activity they deem detrimental to business. Affects civil rights, free speech in front of strip malls, shopping centers.
 
CONTACT ACORN IN FLORIDA 
Florida Offices
Broward County ACORN
>> Visit Local Website
Hialeah ACORN
>> Visit Local Website  
Jacksonville ACORN
>> Visit Local Website
Miami ACORN
>> Visit Local Website  
Orlando ACORN
>> Visit Local Website
Palm Beach County ACORN
>> Visit Local Website  
St. Petersburg ACORN
>> Visit Local Website
Tallahassee ACORN
>> Visit Local Website  
Tampa ACORN
>> Visit Local Website
 

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hillary Snubs GLBT Activist's

Hillary Snubs GLBT Activist's
On Sunday May 20Th, Hillary was making the Rounds in South Florida, or was she?
 
While The Florida  Black Caucus was meeting in Jacksonville, the Small County Coalition was meeting in Gainsville the GLBT Democrats were meeting in Sarasota.
 
The most influential democratic GLBT leaders were meeting in Sarasota. on May 18,19 and 20Th as were the others, Back Democrats and the Fly Over Counties. The Florida GLBT Caucus had invited Hillary to attend a Coffee on Sunday May 20Th, which was more than feasible for her schedulers, seeing how she would be in New Orleans on Saturday May 19Th and could be in Sarasota Before going on to A fundraiser in Parkland.
 
Here was her Schedule instead, she went to a Coffee  in North Broward, then on to Parkland then on to a Dinner in Fort Lauderdale, all of these events were for the Insiders of Broward and the Wealthy, while the Hillary camp were snubbing the hard working activist of the Democratic Party   the Black Caucus The GLBT Caucus and The Small Counties.
 
Speaking of the GLBT Activist , Nation Wide most GLBT Leaders Have Already signed on to the Edwards Campaign,   While Many in  Florida are still undecided, If I were Hillary's Team,and wanted to Demonstrate that I wanted Florida's GLBT support I would not have Snubbed 65 of some of the strongest GLBT leaders in Florida.
http://FloridaGLBTDemocrats.org



 

Sunday, May 20, 2007

PETITIONS MAY FACE HURDLES


GROUPS URGE GOV CRIST NOT TO SIGN THE BILL THAT ENCUMBERS BALLOT INITIATIVES
St. Petersburg Times -- May 20, 2007
by Steve Bousquet
Tallahassee -- The next time someone asks you to sign a petition for a ballot initiative at a park or a mall, that person may be wearing a badge advertising that he or she is being paid for each signature collected.
As always, you're free to sign or keep walking. But if you sign, you'll have several months to change your mind and have your name removed from the list.
Those are two of many changes to Florida's initiative petition law passed in the recent legislative session.
Gov. Charlie Crist says he has not decided whether to sign or veto the bill.
For the past three years, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has lobbied lawmakers to impose new limits on groups that gather voter signatures for ballot initiatives.
The chamber contends that it's much too easy to amend Florida's Constitution, that a profit motive leads to fraud in signature gathering, and that voters should know whether petition circulators are being paid by interest groups.
The group has lost high-profile ballot battles in recent years, like the 2004 amendment that raised the minimum wage, and is fighting a proposed 2008 initiative that would require voter approval for land use changes.
The chamber had plenty of supporters in the Legislature this year, and both houses gave overwhelming passage.
"Most people will sign anything, no matter what it says, to avoid the hassle, " said Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka, calling paid petition circulators mercenaries.
But the chamber's success in the Legislature has outraged groups active in ballot initiatives, many with liberal agendas hostile to the chamber's probusiness philosophy.
They say the changes would pose new barriers to individuals' constitutional right to petition their government. They want a veto.
"This is a nightmare, " said Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti of Palm Harbor, a leader in the League of Women Voters of Florida.
She framed her challenge to Crist this way: "You call yourself the people's governor. What are you doing to protect the people's right to petition their government?"
Crist said both sides' arguments have merit. Then he recalled the words of former Gov. Reubin Askew, who spearheaded a ballot initiative on ethics reform in the 1970s and who has offered advice to the new Republican governor.
"Gov. Askew told me something. It's important to remember whose Constitution it is, " Crist said.
Other critics of the legislative changes include the Florida AFL-CIO, American Cancer Society, Common Cause, Florida Public Interest Research Group, Humane Society and People for the American Way.
Among their biggest complaints is a new requirement that petitions to be submitted to election supervisors within 30 days of being collected. Political groups say that's too little time in statewide, grass roots volunteer efforts, and would encourage them to rely even more on paid petition circulators to meet the new deadlines.
"We're talking about volunteers who are going door to door, " Laura Beven of the Humane Society told senators at a hearing in March. "It takes a lot longer to get those signatures and get them back to a central location."
Mark Herron, an election-law expert who represents groups pushing ballot initiatives, said it was revealing that the Florida Chamber of Commerce was touting the changes as reform.
"The most powerful special interests in this town, and in this state, are in favor of this legislation, " Herron said.
But such criticism did little to slow the bill's momentum: It passed the Senate, 27-9, and the House, 96-22. The only Republican who voted against it was Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico.
The bill SB 900, sponsored by Sen. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, is formally called the "Beatrice T. Posey Truth in Petition Act" after the senator's mother.
The senator said she once signed her name to a petition after being told that her son supported the issue in question, which he didn't, only to find out she could not revoke her signature.
"You shouldn't be married to that petition for life, " Posey said. "You ought to be able to get off of it."
Fast Facts:
Changing the rules
A bill awaiting final action by Gov. Charlie Crist would change the rules, effective Aug. 1, for collecting signatures on ballot initiatives in Florida:
- Paid petition circulators must wear prominent badges that identify them as paid.
- Petition forms must be submitted to election supervisors within 30 days of being signed by voters.
- Voters have 120 days to revoke signatures after being verified by election supervisors (a separate bill would make it 150 days).
- Election supervisors must make petition-revocation forms available to the public.
- Names and addresses of petition circulators must be legible on forms signed by voters.
Source: Florida Legislature
 



 

Thursday, May 17, 2007

FL-13: Our Sarasota Worm Virus Attack Story Followed Up by MSM

Posted at BradBlog.com
 
Election Supervisor Refuses to Comment; Jennings Camp Says Documents Were Turned Over; Why the Hell Are We Running Our Elections This Way?
A number of mainstream news outlets (for a pleasant change) followed up on our report yesterday (full version here, quick summary here) on the SQL Slammer Worm virus which hit Sarasota County's database network on the first day of Early Voting last year, wreaking havoc which disallowed voting for two hours in the now-contest FL-13 U.S. House election between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R). No telling what got into the MSM'ers, but perhaps it's because we ran the story at Computerworld first instead of here at the "dreaded" and "unreliable" blog.
Either way, several outlets picked up the story  which "caused a stir Wednesday," and even advanced it an aspect or two (see the link below for details), leading us to opine:
We've allowed small, underfunded governmental entities --- such as the thousands of county election offices around the country --- to build the precious and precarious machinery of democracy on top of extremely sensitive, virus prone, high-tech, mission-critical IT hardware and software which even well-funded, highly-trained experts in the private sector have enough trouble keeping secure and online.
What must America be thinking to believe that these types of incredibly complicated systems can be properly maintained and secured by small time, local governmental officials who have absolutely no idea how these systems even work --- or don't --- in the first place?



 

Bill Signing Ceremony for HB 537 - Elections

On Monday, Governor Charlie Crist will hold a Bill Signing Ceremony for HB 537 - Elections.  Below are the details for this event.  If you will be able to attend, please contact our office at 850.410.0501.

Date:   Monday, May 21, 2007
Time:   10:15 AM
Location:       Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Office
                240 S Military Trail
                West Palm Beach, FL 33415
Sincerely,
Chelsey Clifton
External Affairs
Executive Office of the Governor
The Capitol, Room 705
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
(850)410-0505
(850)410-0510 Fax
__._,_.___
 
 
 
Support the Troops. End the War.
 
 



 

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Weldon will run for eighth term

 
 
 
 
 
On May 9th, 2007, "Do Nothing Dave" responded to a letter to the editor in the Vero Beach Press Journal. In this letter, the Congressman verbally assaulted and attacked youthful members of his constituency in a vain and calculating fashion.

You can read all about this situation at:

http://www.ircyd.org/donothingdave.html  

By singling out the youthful member of his constituency, "Do Nothing Dave" has insulted all of the members of his constituency. The blatant false rhetoric and misrepresentation of facts, the distortion of the truth and personal attacks against the unfortunate messenger, have shown clearly why it is time we have a change in this Congressional representative.

At the very least, "Do Nothing Dave" owes both these young members of his constituency, and all members of the public subjected to his partisan misinformation, a personal and sincere apology. Even so, this is probably not enough for him to warrant keeping his current job representing any Floridians in Congress. No less can be expected of a man that is supposed to represent the interests of all members of this beautiful corner of Florida.

To sign a petition demanding apologies from "Do Nothing Dave" for these actions, please fill out the form online at:

http://www.ircyd.org/getactive.html  

By making your voice heard on this issue, we can together effect change for all Floridians.


Indian River County Young Democrats
May, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tom Feeney Updates

OSA Visits Capitol Hill, Calls For Increased Federal Investments
Photonics Online (press release), PA - 2 hours ago
Tom Feeney. "My laboratory at CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics, uses federal funds for critical, often life-saving optics and photonics research. ...
Congress Denies Congressional Challenge Without a Hearing in ...
Earthtimes.org -
"Although we don't understand why they want to keep Republican Tom Feeney in a seat he may not have won, we will accept that decision. ...
GOP: new salesman, new pitch
Seattle Times, WA -
John Doolittle of California and Rick Renzi of Arizona and grilled Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida about a junket with now-disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. ...
Tiger Bay: Journalists on the hot seat
Orlando Sentinel, FL - 
Speaking of which, you may know that the FBI asked for just such a thing from me – copies of e-mails between me and staffers for Tom Feeney. ...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

Only In Bush World

Nice work and Jeb can get it

Former Gov. Jeb Bush was officially elected yesterday to the board of Tenet Healthcare, a part-time job that will reap more than $450,000 a year. Read the full story here.
A columnist at TheStreet.com calculated that Bush would earn $36,500 a day for 13 hours of work a year.



 

Rubio Speaks

Property Tax Breakthrough? Rubio Speaks ...

    ... and it sounds like he has folded his sales tax tent: "During the past few weeks, Rep. David Simmons, a Republican from Maitland, suggested an idea that met the House's policy goals, and offered an opportunity for opponents of the House plan to reconsider their objections"
    .The House is now considering a variation of his idea of dramatically increased homestead exemptions based on a percentage of the value of the home. We think this approach is fair and simple, and eliminates many of the inequities that have developed under our current property-tax structure.

    Here is an example of how this approach might work:

    On the home's first $300,000 in just value, 80 percent would be exempt from property taxes.

    On the next $700,000 in just value, 70 percent would be exempt.

    On just value above $1,000,000, 30 percent would be exempt.

    Under the numbers used in the example above, the new homestead exemption for a $300,000 home would be $240,000. Using the example above, 90 percent of all homestead property owners would benefit more from this proposal than under the current Save Our Homes structure. The average beneficiary of this approach would see his or her tax bill cut in half.
    "Speaker: Florida House set to deliver property-owner protection".

    More: "State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, a Fort Lauderdale Republican and staunch defender of Marco Rubio's plan to swap sales taxes for homeowner property taxes, admitted to a group of South Florida Republicans that legislators will need a back up plan when the special session starts June 12." "Bogdanoff backs off sales tax swap".

    Pamela Hasterok, writing yesterday, is confident Rubio will back down:
    newspapers and pundits judge the governor's first legislative session as less than a success. ...

    [Charlie] didn't -- couldn't -- push Speaker Marco Rubio off his promise to eliminate property taxes in return for raising the sales tax.

    He will.
    "Crist's wish list mostly met".

    Laff Riot

    "As House Speaker Marco Rubio's top adviser, Richard Corcoran was immersed in crafting a bold but controversial plan to swap property taxes for higher sales taxes."
    But as a candidate for the state Senate, Corcoran said Thursday he "opposes any new taxes whatsoever, and that includes the sales tax."

    He was careful to say he was giving his general view on taxes, refusing to comment when asked directly about the House plan -- the only property tax proposal that includes a sales tax.

    It's the same plan Corcoran's opponents in the Senate District 3 race, Reps. Dennis Baxley and Charlie Dean, voted for last month.

    "I'm not going to be pitted against my former boss and friend," Corcoran said. He also refused to detail his involvement in developing the House proposal.
    "Rubio ex-aide in tight spot on tax swap proposal".

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The End Of Florida No-Fault

Special Session Could Save No-Fault Auto Insurance System

Florida's 37-year-old no-fault auto insurance system is scheduled to expire Oct. 1 because state lawmakers failed to reach agreement on how to change the system before the end of the regular legislative session Friday.
But no-fault, or some version of it, could still be revived.

GOP Gov. Charlie Crist said he was disappointed that the law would end and that it was likely no-fault would be taken up at a special legislative session on property tax reform that starts June 12.

The end of no-fault would mean lower auto insurance rates for many drivers because they would no longer be required to buy $10,000 worth of personal injury protection, or PIP, which pays the medical bills and lost wages of people injured in auto accidents and funeral costs for those killed.

The system's demise also would end restrictions that now prevent injured motorists from filing pain-and-suffering lawsuits against the at-fault driver unless a doctor or chiropractor certifies that the injury is permanent.

"This is a victory for consumers," said Chris Neal, a spokesman for State Farm Mutual Insurance Co., Florida's largest auto insurer.
But the Florida Hospital Association warned Friday evening that emergency-room trauma care could be jeopardized.

"The seriousness of this issue cannot be ignored," Wayne NeSmith, the association's president, said in a statement. ''Some hospitals may have to reconsider whether they can continue to operate their trauma centers, and that would be a tragic loss for the people of Florida.'' Hospitals are heavily dependent on reimbursements paid by auto insurers. Without no-fault, a person's health insurance would replace PIP as the primary payer of auto-accident medical treatment.
Auto insurers say they also plan to offer new optional medical coverage.

The legislature has been divided over what to do with no-fault and have heard conflicting views from dozens of lobbyists representing auto insurers, health insurers, medical groups and trial lawyers.

The Senate this week passed a bill that would extend the no-fault law until 2012 and would tell the state's Financial Services Department and Office of Insurance Regulation to use the extension to review the no-fault system and assess how it affects insurance rates, consumers, health-care providers and the trial court system.

The House made major changes to the Senate proposal, including limiting medical care to $10,000 for emergency care and $3,000 for outpatient care. But a divided House failed to take up the issue.
In 2000, a statewide grand jury concluded that the no-fault system was full of fraud and that a cottage industry of auto-accident medical clinics had developed.

After several years of debate, the legislature agreed in 2003 to let no-fault expire this year, with the idea that the pending disappearance would force legislators to write a new law. But even that threat was not enough to bring lawmakers together.

"We had been working for a number of weeks, trying to get everyone to buy into real reform, and there were some special-interest groups blocking it in the Senate," said Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale.

"We'll see what happens when it sunsets. Maybe nothing happens," she said. "Maybe we can save Floridians a lot of money on their car insurance, and we can do our own Geico commercial." Sen. Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, predicted that the issue would be addressed during the special session.

"It allows everyone to take a deep breath, and allows the presiding officers to perhaps revisit the issue," he said.
By The Palm Beach Post, Fla.



 

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Overall, not a good week for issues critical to Democracy and the voters of Florida

PAPER TRAIL LEGISLATION AND ANTI CITIZEN INITIATIVE BILLS MERGED AS
TWO BILLS PASS THE LEGISLATURE, SENT TO GOVERNOR



HB537 Paper Ballots mixed with initiative deforms and  SB 900 citizen
initiative deforms and SB1920 Property Rights allows a Publix to pick
who is allowed to set up for signature gatherings; these bills passed during
the final two days of floor action by the Florida Legislature May 3-4.
SB1920 passed 4/30/07.



            On Thursday 5/3, the House unanimously accepted the
"Election Reform" train which included the HB537 Paper Trail reforms and SB900
restrictions against citizens' initiatives.    On the last day of session,
the House backed down from its even more anti-citizen version of
Initiative Reforms and accepted the Senate's version, and both bills are heading
for the Governor's desk.    At first glance, the two so-called "good
government" bills are opposites, with the latter bill including changes to only a
single statute and the former boasting comprehensive (and expensive) reforms
to a variety of elections related subjects:

  a.. "Paper Trail" voting machines; funding and requirement of optical
scan machines and marksense technology replacing touchscreens in the fifteen
counties where they currently exist (and twenty-nine counties authorized for
ballot-on-demand for early voting sites);  CONGRATULATIONS TO SO MANY
ALLIES ON THE ONGOING VOTING MACHINES' PAPER TRAIL!!
  b..  Third party Voter Registration Organizations (similar to the
legislation declared unconstitutional previously);
  c.. Citizens' Initiative restrictions against petition drives,
including an onerous and expensive, new process for gathering signatures AGAINST
petitions signed by citizens who would be singled out and lobbied to
subsequently "Revoke"  the original petition signature;
  d.. The earlier Presidential Primary date for the last Tuesday in January
2008;
  e.. various Elections Commission changes, including weakening
citizen's complaints against possible violators;
  f.. internal changes for political parties;
  g.. changes in campaign contribution restrictions;
  h.. streamlining the transfer of campaign contributions for political
committees and "committees of continuous existence," but also requiring
unions to list all dues-paying members in their reports;
  i.. changes in eligibility and timing for different levels of
political candidates, including municipal, special district and federal
candidates;
  j.. changes in early registration for young voters;
  k.. removal of two of the identification documents to allow voters to
vote;
  l.. NO Severability Clause, which appeared in earlier versions, and
which usually are necessary in legislative "trains" in order to protect the
other provisions if one or more sections of the bill are later found to be
Unconstitutional.    This decision was deliberate to intimidate
supporters of Paper Trail legislation from participating in ANY legal challenge to
the remaining anti-citizen provisions of the bill.
  m.. Effective date of January 1, 2008, unless otherwise indicated in
specific sections.


So, is this 80-page bill a Legislative TRAIN?    You betcha.      Parts of
this bill (there are 57 "sections") came from various bills and
amendments from both the Senate and House;  the final bill looks very little like
the original HB 537 which passed the House floor on March 21 by a vote of
115-1; and, for example, when the bill was substituted for SB 960, which had
already become a train in the Senate, the legislation faced 20 floor
amendments during the last six days of session.  The bill now changes
or creates 52 sections of Florida Statutes, ranging across 13 different
Chapters of Florida law.



This bill makes all future initiative campaigns very difficult to even
put new changes on the ballot anywhere in Florida (besides proposed
constitutional amendments).     This restrictive new structure will
apply to Florida Hometown Democracy, as well as any future reemergence of
Redistricting Initiatives, or clarifications or strengthening of
Constitutional Rights, citizen-sponsored proposals for changes in
government financing or election opportunities, etc.  The so called good
government bill changed dramatically for the worse on a 3-2 vote on April 24 when
Senators Fasano, Diaz de la Portilla and Webster voted to use the paper
trail bill against citizen initiatives.





SB 900 ANTI-CITIZEN INITIATIVE BILL PASSED ON FINAL DAY OF LEGISLATIVE
SESSION



This bill was stripped of several Bad provisions which had been passed
by the House.   Since sponsor Joe Pickens and other supporters knew the
session was winding down, they chose to accept the Senate version rather than
get only the provisions in the HB 537 Elections Train which already passed
the previous day.  Under statutory construction rules, the later-passed
bill supersedes, so the language in SB 900 would replace the new sections in
Florida Statute 100.371 as changed in HB 537.    Significantly, the new
language in SB900 would go into effect on August 1, 2007  (as opposed
to 1/1/08 in HB537).

         (SB 900 and HB 7009) did record opposition votes in both chambers:  
SB900
passed the Senate 27-9 on 4/27,  82-35 on the House floor 5/2, and
again
96-22 on 5/4.  HB 7009 came out of its Council of origin March 8
(Economic





SB 1920 SENT TO GOVERNOR MONDAY April 30



After the Senate passed the Publix/ Chamber's  so-called private
property rights bill allowing mall owners to prohibit citizen petitioners on
4/27 , the House unanimously sent the bill on to the
Governor at the beginning of Week 9 by a vote of 119-0.



Overall, not a good week for issues critical to Democracy and the
Environment.
 
HB. 537- The Bill Is 80 Pages Long Read It  HERE
 
FOR MORE INFO ON SB. 900 AND SB. 1920 CLICK HERE
 
 
 



 

FLORIDA HOUSE BILL 537

It is what we don't know about it, that hurts us
 FLORIDA HOUSE BILL 537  BY HOWARD TROXLER St. Pete Times
 
 
The Bill Is 80 Pages Long Read It  HERE



 

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tom Feeney News

papers around the state are weighing in on Tom Feeney -- specifically the investigation into his trip to Scotland. The Palm Beach Post described Feeney's explanation about not knowing who paid for his trip as the "I was stupid, not corrupt" defense and went on to say: "Playing dumb is Rep. Feeney's only defense ..." The full edit's here.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Bogdanoff's Latest "Stealth Tactic"


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Christian Chiari at 954-803-4844
Bogdanoff's Latest "Stealth Tactic" Puts Insurance Companies before Taxpayers
Latest in Series of Sneaky Moves Smacks of Payback to Biggest Donor
Ft. Lauderdale—Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff has once again demonstrated that she favors a government in the dark on behalf of special interests and ideologues over open government on behalf of the people. This time her champion is none other than the insurance industry and its desire to do away with personal injury protection insurance (also known as PIP).
As highlighted in an editorial in today's edition of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel , Rep. Bogdanoff's latest maneuver, designed to stall any attempts to renew the state's no-fault insurance law, will result in increased insurance company profits at the expense of taxpayer dollars.
"For months now, I have been talking about Rep. Bogdanoff's preference for government in the dark on behalf of the special interests," Christian Chiari, Democratic challenger to Rep. Bogdanoff in Florida's 91 st House District said, "And I am encouraged by the fact that such abuse of our government will not go unnoticed or unchallenged.
"I would call this a Bogdanoff 'triple play,'" Chiari said. "She is managing to help big insurance, hurt average Floridians and pursue her policy of government in the dark all at the same time. For her and her insurance company friends, it's a good day. For the rest of us it's trouble. "
Chiari said that Bogdanoff's latest trick demonstrates her allegiance to the insurance industry and echoed the sentiments of the Sentinel editorial which blasted Bogdanoff for "carrying water for the special interests."
"This is a deceitful legislative tactic that seeks simply to ensure the death of no-fault insurance and personal injury protection insurance in the state," Chiari said. "There is no genuine solution being put forward here. It's just a sneaky way to give the insurance companies what they want.
"It's shameful and tragic that with so many other legislative priorities Rep. Bogdanoff chooses to spend her time further obstructing the legislative process," Chiari said.
Chiari said that with the 2008 election a year and a half away that it is important for her constituents to keep Rep. Bogdanoff in check.
"The bottom line is that we know Representative Bogdanoff is for a government in the dark on behalf of the insurance industry," Chiari said. "And no matter what happens she still has another year and another session. And I intend to work night and day to make sure that is all she has."
###

--
for more see: http://chiari08.com

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tom Feeney News

GOP Wants Its 'Safe' House Seats Back
Washington Post, DC - 3 hours ago
FL 24 -- Republican incumbent Tom Feeney is in serious ethics trouble in this district that favours Republicans but can be competitive. If Feeney stays in ...
Guest Post: Hate Crimes Legislation and Why Wording Matters
Ex-Gay Watch, CT - 
Tom Feeney (R-Florida) made a great legal argument to not back the bill:. Federal efforts to criminalize hate crimes cannot survive the federalism standards ...
White House threatens to veto hate-crimes bill
CNN - 
Tom Feeney, R-Florida, said it is unfair to single out specific groups for protection under the law. "What it does is to say that the dignity, the property, ...
At Least 11 Members of Congress Now Under Investigation
Center for Media and Democracy, WI -
Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) has been mentioned multiple times in court documents filed by the Justice Department as "Representative #3" in the criminal ...



 

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Tom Feeney News

Our view: Time for answers
Florida Today, FL - 8 hours ago
Tom Feeney's refusal to address specifics of the FBI probe into his relationship with influence-peddling felon Jack Abramoff and the widening congressional ...



 

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Former Feeney Staffer Writes Newspaper

Former Feeney Staffer Writes Newspaper Defending Feeney; Doesn't Mention Past Job

feeneyheadlights.jpgRep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), who was recently questioned by the FBI about his ties to corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, published an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel yesterday proclaiming his innocence. He claimed that "Any suggestion that I have taken legislative action for personal gain or to benefit a lobbyist is an outright lie."
Today, the Sentinel ran a a gushing letter to the editor from a resident of Feeney's district commending him for "setting the record straight":
Congressman Tom Feeney has demonstrated his commitment to his constituents by setting the record straight and responding to recent reports in the Orlando Sentinel. I'd like to thank him for fighting back.
We live in a time when an investigation is immediately interpreted as guilt, and media implications are taken as gospel. An all-too-common result is that good, hardworking and dedicated leaders are persecuted in the court of public opinion, long before official investigations can clear them of any wrongdoing.
Lila Buchanan
Winter Springs
One minor note about Lila Buchanan: she apparently used to work for Feeney as his District Representative. That fact went unmentioned by both Ms. Buchanan and the Sentinel.
UPDATE: You can email the Sentinel's public editor Manning Pynn at public@orlandosentinel.com. Let us know in the comments section if you hear back.



 

A Tree Grows on Las Olas Boulevard


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Christian Chiari at 954-803-4844
A Tree Grows on Las Olas Boulevard
Chiari blasts Rep. Bogdanoff's $1.3 million Palm Tree Boondoggle
Ft. Lauderdale— Describing her request as a "fiscal insult" in the middle of both a funding and water shortage, Christian Chiari, Democratic candidate for State House in District 91, called on incumbent Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff to withdraw her budget request of $1.3 million for planting palm trees along Las Olas Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale.
"You've heard of the bridge to nowhere, well these are the trees to nowhere," Chiari said. "With this budget request, Rep. Bogdanoff is demonstrating to the people of Florida that she is completely unable to consider the seriousness of the budget or water crisis here in the state. This is a fiscal insult to all taxpayers."
Chiari said that he is urging Bogdanoff to withdraw her request for the $1.3 million as a show of good faith that she is serious about the budget crisis now raging in Tallahassee . The House is expected to vote on the budget tomorrow.
"As a member of the House negotiating team that is blindly fighting for the largest sales tax increase in Florida 's history, it is Rep. Bogdanoff's obligation to demonstrate that she has at least a shred of fiscal responsibility," Chiari said. "Pushing for $1.3 million for trees in the middle of what is shaping up to be one of the worst droughts in our state's history is simply ridiculous. She should drop this nonsense now."
"Local governments are being forced to get their spending under control and rightfully so," Chiari said. "But meanwhile the state budget has ballooned from $50 billion in 2000 to nearly $72 billion today. This is not what I would call practicing what you preach.
"Beautifying our neighborhoods is always an important goal, but right now we need to be considering our priorities," Chiari said.
###

--for more see: http://chiari08.com