House Speaker Richard Corcoran released his version of musical chairs on Thursday, giving 21 of the 27 freshman Republicans elected last fall vice chair positions, ousting veterans in many cases and replacing three lawmakers who have resigned since session ended -- Reps. Jose Felix Diaz, Eric Eisnaugle and Dan Raulerson.
The big winner appears to be is Rep. Jamie Grant, who lost a bitterly fought race for House speaker designate for 2020 earlier this summer, and was awarded the chair of the Health Quality Subcommittee. As we have already reported, Rep. Paul Renner becomes the new chair of Ways and Means and the Ways and Means Chair, Rep. Jim Boyd, becomes the new chair of the Commerce Committee, replacing Jose Felix Diaz....
08/17/17 State Roundup
Republicans nationwide are blasting President Donald Trump for how he responded to Charlottesville.
From his news conference Saturday where he blamed "many sides" for the violent clashes between white supremacists and protesters to Tuesday's news conference where the president said "both sides" shared the blame, there's been much material for the Party of Lincoln to repudiate....
Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet unanimously voted Wednesday to continue to refrain from allowing state investment managers to use Florida funds to invest in companies controlled by the Nicolás Maduro regime or companies that violate federal law by doing business in Venezuela.
The state currently has no direct investment with the government of Venezuela and the proposal will continue that, but the resolution falls short of a plan initially pitched by Scott that would have required the state to divest its assets in companies that do business with the Maduro regime, including Goldman Sachs....
Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday repeated his condemnation of the actions in Charlottesville and indirectly contradicted President Donald Trump, who said Tuesday the people protesting the white supremacists were members of the "alt-left" and also deserved blame.
"I watched what happened on Saturday and it's disgusting,'' Scott told reporters after the August Cabinet meeting at the state Capitol Wednesday. "It's evil. There's no place in our country for racism, bigotry, the KKK, neonazis, white supremacists. There's no moral equivalency between the two sides....
08/16/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet unanimously voted Wednesday to continue to refrain from allowing state investment managers to use Florida funds to invest in companies controlled by the Nicolás Maduro regime or companies that violate federal law by doing business in Venezuela.
The state currently has no direct investment with the government of Venezuela and the proposal will continue that, but the resolution falls short of a plan initially pitched by Scott that would have required the state to divest its assets in companies that do business with the Maduro regime, including Goldman Sachs. ...
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott wants to make it harder to increase taxes by changing Florida's Constitution to require a new "supermajority" vote by the state Legislature.
Scott floated the idea for the first time Monday. He provided few details and his staff said he won't for several weeks.
It will be debated in the next legislative session in January.
Scott did not clarify whether a supermajority means three-fifths of both houses of the Legislature, or the higher two-thirds threshold. He will be in Jacksonville today and in Tampa on Friday to promote the tax measure....
If money is the mother's milk of politics, then Florida Gov. Rick Scott's political committee is providing lots of nourishment to operatives outside of Florida.
Of the $6.5 million his political committee, Let's Get to Work, has spent since his 2014 re-election, $4.5 million of it went to consultants and services outside of Florida, according to a Herald/Times review of the committee's expenditures since January 2015....
08/08/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Before Gov. Rick Scott named Taylor Teepell to be the finance director of the New Republican super PAC, the governor gave him a $110,000 job in Florida government for which he had no experience.
For 14 months, the Louisiana native served in a top position in the Department of Economic Opportunity — as head of growth management oversight in Florida. When he left in May, he'd been given a raise — to $116,561 — nearly three times the average state worker salary....
Before Gov. Rick Scott named Taylor Teepell to be the finance director of the New Republican Super PAC, the governor gave him a $110,000 job in Florida government for which he had no experience.
For 14 months, the Louisiana native served in a top position in the Department of Economic Opportunity — as head of growth management oversight in Florida. When he left in May, he’d been given a raise — to $116,561— nearly three times the average state worker salary....
With a second month of fast-paced fundraising, House Speaker Richard Corcoran's newly-formed political committee, Watchdog-PAC, amassed $820,900 in the month of July, fueled in part by large checks from Florida trial lawyers.
Corcoran, who is expected to seek the Republican nomination for governor, posted July numbers that exceed those of his two likely primary rivals, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala....
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has named Bradenton businessman and former Senate President John McKay to the board of governors at Citizens Property Insurance.
McKay, 68, president of The Riverside Real Estate Company, will succeed former board member, Juan Cocuy, for a three-year term ending July 31, 2020. The eight-member board oversees the plan of operation of the state-run insurance of last resort. Florida's governor, Senate president, House speaker and CFO each appoint two members to the Board....
Mark Silva, longtime Tallahassee bureau chief for the Miami Herald who went on to cover the White House for the Chicago Tribune, died early Tuesday at his home in Alexandria, Virginia. He was 63 and recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Silva led the Herald’s capital bureau from the mid-1980s through the 1990s and became the paper’s political editor through the 2000 presidential election, a contest decided only after a pivotal Florida recount that brought the state global fame....
The South Florida Water Management District chose its deputy director as the agency’s new chief, replacing a combative insider close to the governor with a career environmental regulator who has spent more than a decade working on Everglades restoration.
Ernie Marks, who joined the district in March 2016, becomes the third director in three years.
Marks served as the South Florida regional director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for two years and before that oversaw ecosystem projects for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a decade. He has a degree in environmental economics and natural resource management from the University of Rhode Island....
Who will be the next director of the South Florida Water Management District?
The board convenes today in a conference call to announce a replacement to outgoing director Pete Antonacci, who was named by Gov. Rick Scott last week to head the embattled Enterprise Florida economic development agency, a lateral move for the governor's former general counsel and loyal supporter....
07/27/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.
The proposed resolution released by the governor's office on Thursday stops short of advancing a bolder threat Scott had been making at public appearances as recently as last week when he vowed to boycott companies that "do business" with the Nicolás Maduro regime....