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13 posts from May 3, 2012

May 03, 2012

**Update: Bill Nelson on Marco Rubio's DREAM idea: Pass it, if it's the best we can do.

Picture 9This blog has been updated/rewritten since last week, when, based on a snippet of a quote, Sen. Bill Nelson's position was misrepresented regarding fellow FL Sen. Marco Rubio's immigration proposal. Nelson said he basically supports Rubio's plan, if it's the best Congress can do.

But initially, it appeared Nelson panned the idea of the so-called DREAM ACT alternative:

Unlike the actual DREAM Act, Nelson said, Rubio’s proposal does not give students who attend college or join the military a path to citizenship but a legal status that he said was vague, not in writing and shrouded in confusion.

“Are they going to sit here in a legal limbo?” he said. “Are they going to have to go back to their country of origin and stand in line to get back?”

A screen shot of the original blog is above.

Here's how AP represented Nelson's sentiment:

In a roundtable discussion with about three dozen students at the University of South Florida, Nelson said he remains a strong proponent of the DREAM Act, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors measure. The Democratic-backed bill would grant a path to citizenship to young undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the military. It remains stalled in Congress.

Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, is crafting a Republican alternative that would permit young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. with their parents to apply for non-immigrant visas. They would be allowed to remain in the country to study or work and could obtain a driver's license. They could apply for legal residency later, but they would not have a special path to citizenship.

Pressed on Rubio's plan, Nelson said he was awaiting the final version of the evolving legislation.

"If that's the only thing we can pass, then I'm certainly open to it," he said. "But that's not going to solve the problem because once the child – or now-grown student – gets through, what's going to happen to them? Are they going to sit here in legal limbo? Are they going to have to go back to their country of origin and get in line to then come back? Well, at that point they think of themselves as American."

Last week, Rubio stopped by the Miami Herald and our WLRN studio where he pointed out that the Washington Post and others have noted that the White House sees his immigration proposal as a threat because Democrats were planning to use immigration as a wedge issue to curry favor with Hispanics (Rubio later acknowledged that Republicans, too, play wedge-issue politics with immigration).

But perhaps the most intriguing dynamic between Rubio and Nelson was from a Rubio interview a few days ago, in which we asked him about Nelson: "We have a very good working relationship, which is in a long tradition of Florida senators. I think that’s important. Our state expects that of us."

But doesn't that put you in a box when it comes to the Senate challengers?

Rubio: "I want the Republicans to be a majority here in the Senate. And I think they’ll understand that his seat is one of the seats Republicans would want to win. And so certainly we’re going to have a nominee. And from that perspective, Republicans would want that nominee to win.

"But I’m never going to say anything negative about Bill Nelson because we have a good working relationship. And ultimately I think our ability to work together for our state now, in the lead-up to the election and after the election, is important. And I think people will expect that."

Rick Scott spox Amy Graham heads to team Mitt Romney

FullThere was one obvious omission from the list of staffers whose emails were posted on the governor's new Sunburst open records web site today: Amy Graham, the deputy communications director and one of the longest serving on the governor's staff.

That's because she's about to announce she is headed to Mitt Romney's Massachusetts campaign.

Graham, 25, joined Scott during the transition and had worked as his traveling press secretary. She was earning $71,000.

Prior to joining the governor's office, Graham was press secretary at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and worked in the press office of former Gov. Jeb Bush. She is a native of Port St. Lucie and a magna cum laude graduate of the Florida State University College of Communication and has a master’s degree in Applied American Politics and Policy.

--Mary Ellen Klas

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/#storylink=cpy

Rep. Bill Hager, the Florida Legislature's duly elected birther-tweeter-jokester

Picture 7
Who knew that we were supposed to dig through citizenship and school-transcript records? Rep. Bill Hager, that's who. The Boca Raton Republican's tweet: "Any guess as to why Obama has hidden his hi school & college records? Wanna bet bc he applied for aid as a foreign std? #sayfie"

A joke? Probably. But it's also a reminder that some might still be struggling with the fact that 1) Obama is lawfully the president 2) He was born in the US (according to his birth certificate, the state of Hawaii and contemporaneous newspaper birth-announcements) and 3) he went to Harvard.

Haters....er...Hager's gonna hate.



Justices fire back in controversy over their campaign paperwork

Florida's three Supreme Court justices, who are under fire for using court staff to assist them in their last-minute completion of their paperwork needed to meet the deadline for their merit retention campaigns, shot back on Thursday with a letter from a well-regarded constitutional law expert.

Lawyer Barry Richard, who has presided before the court on numerous cases and represented George W. Bush in the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, sided with the justices that they did nothing wrong.

"It has been common practice in Florida for many years for deputies and employees in the officers of supervisors of elections and court clerks to notarize documents filed in such offices when requested by members of the public,'' Richard wrote in in a legal opinion sought by the judges' campaign counsel. "...Such notarization is offered as a public service" and "does not indicate that the notary endorses the candidacy of the person filing the documents'' Download Opinion_letter_to_DStengle[1]

Continue reading "Justices fire back in controversy over their campaign paperwork" »

Rep. David Rivera stumps for votes at Gay Republican club

While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign is struggling with how to deal with gay staffers (er...how to watch them hounded out), Republican congressman David Riverais far more comfortable with gay GOPers. Facing a potentially tough re-election, the Miami Republican recently made his pitch at the Broward Log Cabin Club.

Said a press release:

The Broward Log Cabin Club of Florida was please to host a coffee, spirits, and cake reception for three SE Florida Republicans who are running for political office, seeking volunteer support and donations, and planning to be the chosen representatives on the November 2012 ballot.

Congressman David Rivera, during a question and answer session, professionally address and successfully answered the group’s inquiries as he was challenged by attendees on the deficit, the mortgage and banking debacle, and the painful energy crisis.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2012/05/us-rep-david-rivera-r-miami-speaks-at-gay-log-cabin-republicans-meeting-in-broward.html#storylink=cpy

More here from Gay South Florida

Sen. Marco Rubio refutes Gov. Rick Scott on Cuba crackdown law

Sen. Marco Rubio joined the chorus of Republican lawmakers who disagree with Gov. Rick Scott for calling a Cuba-crackdown bill unenforceable and unconstitutional.

“I believe that it’s constitutional,” Rubio told The Miami Herald and WLRN-Miami Herald News, “but I don’t sit on the Supreme Court. So it’s not going to be my decision to make.”

Asked if Congress and the president are needed to act to authorize the controversial Florida law — as Scott believes — Rubio said, “I don’t think so.”

Rubio’s stance was the gentlest of rebukes of Scott, who incensed his fellow Republican lawmakers from Miami-Dade on Tuesday when he signed the crackdown law with great fanfare at a public event at the Freedom Tower — only to issue a signing statement moments later that essentially called the law meaningless.

The lawmakers, all members of Miami’s Cuban exile community, felt betrayed by the statement, in large part because Scott didn’t tell them he would issue it. They said the statement undermined the law, which prohibits state and local governments from contracting with companies that have business operations in Cuba or Syria.

One of Rubio’s close friends and allies, Congressman David Rivera, even threatened to sue the governor if the law didn’t go into effect on the scheduled July 1 date.

Scott retreated somewhat from his signing statement the following day, Wednesday, when he agreed with the lawmakers that the law is valid and would become effective in two months.

“I think the governor has, from what I’ve read briefly, restated his position in a way that I think is more appealing to people here who are concerned about it,” Rubio said.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/03/2781652/sen-marco-rubio-refutes-gov-rick.html#storylink=cpy

More here

Scott to sign PIP bill in Jacksonville and then take a river cruise

Sen. John Thrasher told the Herald/Times Thursday he will accompany Gov. Rick Scott Friday in Jacksonville where he will sign the legislature's attempted crackdown on automobile insurance fraud by signing the so-called PIP bill.

Scott will then accompany Thrasher on a cruise down the St. John's River to show him the value of the region's rare north-flowing river.

The yet-to-be announced event is a sign that Scott is willing to put into law the auto insurance reform into law despite a glitch in the measure that could cause serious trouble for health care professionals seeking reimbursement for treating victims of auto injury. The Palm Beach Post reported last week that the bill might prevent some PIP providers such as doctors, chiropractors, medical schools and dentists from receiving payment between July 1 and Jan. 1.

'Tax Your Assets Off' campaign launches in support of prop tax amendment

Supporters of a property tax Constitutional Amendment are urging Floridians to vote "Yes" on Amendment 4 this fall, or risk having their "assets taxed off."

Referring to rising property taxes in a down real estate market as "Sudden Posterior Reduction Syndrome" (or getting your assets taxed off), a group called Taxpayers First is pushing for an Amendment that will outlaw property tax increases when home values fall.

In a group of Youtube videos, Taxpayers First calls on voters to support the amendment at the ballot this fall. The mock video shows a talk show host interviewing a doctor about Sudden Posterior Reduction Syndrome.

"I first noticed on a patient around the onset of the recession," says a man identified as Dr. Stanton Robinson. "The value of his home went down, but his property taxes went up."

Continue reading "'Tax Your Assets Off' campaign launches in support of prop tax amendment" »

Marco Rubio on questions about David Rivera's finances: 'They're serious. David knows that'

Sen. Marco Rubio dropped by the WLRN-Miami Herald news studios Thursday morning, where host Phil Latzman asked the Florida Republican about the state probe that ended without any criminal charges filed and the ongoing federal investigation into the campaign and personal finances of his longtime friend, U.S. Rep. David Rivera.

Rubio has repeatedly said that he stands by Rivera, with whom he shared a house (that briefly when into foreclosure) in Tallahassee. The national press has recently questioned whether Rubio's ties to Rivera could hurt the senator's chances to be named Mitt Romney's running mate.

Here's Rubio's answer in full:

Look, I'm not going to sit here and give opinions on stuff about a friend. We've all read the accounts. You never want to read that about anybody, certainly someone who's a friend of yours. They're serious. David knows that. I think he needs to address those. He has a campaign where he'll be forced to address those and respond to the people of his district. He's accountable to them. And so I would leave it at, and say that that I think that is going to be part of the conversation moving forward. It doesn't -- on a personal level, he's my friend. I've known him before he was elected to anything, and I was elected to anything and I don’t -- we all –- have a friendship. And that's not going to change the friendship. As far of the politics of this, obviously, you know, he knows this. He's a big boy, and he's a congressman; he's been elected, and he's a veteran of the political process. He has some questions he'll have to answer on the campaign trail. I think he's aware of that.

Scott at National Day of Prayer event: 'We all need God's help'

Top officials in Florida’s government paused to pray Thursday, hosting a National Day of Prayer event at the state Capitol.

Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and House Speaker Dean Cannon all offered words of spiritual guidance, and asked for prayers for government.

“We’d all agree our nation faces tough challenges,” said Scott. “And we all need God’s help.”

Continue reading "Scott at National Day of Prayer event: 'We all need God's help'" »