Bill analysis, NSF-style

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The 2017 regular session yielded a pretty typical performance by Gov. Rick Scott’s veto pen when it came to House and Senate bills.

Scott vetoed 11 of the 241 bills passed in the session, above his seven-year average of 7.9 vetoed bills per regular session. In four of the seven years he has been in office, Scott has reached double-digit bill vetoes, with his high of 12 vetoed bills following the 2012 session.

His low was one bill vetoed following the 2014 session, when Scott was seeking re-election, and the Legislature passed 255 bills. The lone victim of his veto pen was a controversial bill that would have raised the speed limit to 75 mph on interstate highways and would have made speed-limit adjustments to other major roadways.

The 241 bills passed by the Legislature this year in the regular session is a dip in the 262 average during Scott’s tenure. The passed bills have ranged from a low of 227 bills in 2015, when the Legislature had a procedural meltdown in the final week, to a high of 283 passed bills in the 2013 session.

Posted by Lloyd Dunkelberger

Scott in Washington to lobby for health care changes

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 7.38.28 AMGov. Rick Scott is in Washington, D.C. today, meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, as he crusades to cut taxes from the Affordable Care Act.

Scott is to meet “with Congressional leaders to provide input on how to make the Senate’s healthcare bill better for Floridians,” the governor’s office announced Tuesday morning.

Scott will appear on FoxNews at 10:30 a.m., before holding a press conference in the Russell Senate Office Building at 12:40 p.m. today.

Scott, a former hospital executive who is expected to run for the U.S. Senate next year, announced Friday he intended to make the rounds in Washington to provide input on how to make the bill better.

“There seems to be a lot of people advocating for more government and higher costs in Washington and not a lot of people advocating on behalf of taxpayers,” Scott said in a release.

Congressional leaders seeking to replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care law want to repeal taxes imposed to pay for the plan. The Senate plan, as with a House proposal, would provide about $1 trillion in tax cuts that would go to corporations and high earners.

A report from the Congressional Budget Office released on Monday estimated the Republican-crafted U.S. Senate plan released last Thursday would leave 22 million individuals without health coverage by 2026.

Will Florida’s new CFO put down the seating chart?

patronis Florida’s next chief financial officer may not be seating the next table of four.

An emotional Jimmy Patronis — a former state lawmaker from Panama City who resigned his post on the Public Service Commission Gov. Rick Scott tapped him for the $128,972-a-year spot as Florida’s banker-in-chief — said Monday his phone has blown up as news of the appointment spread.

“I’ve gotten probably about 200 text messages over the last 24 hours,” Patronis said after Scott formally announced the appointment at Patronis’s Captain Anderson‘s Restaurant and Waterfront Market in Panama City. “And probably the most popular one is, ‘Does that mean I can’t contact you anymore to get a table at the restaurant?’ ”

Patronis, who will be sworn in Friday to replace Jeff Atwater, was an early political supporter of Scott’s in 2010.

That fact wasn’t missed by the Florida Democratic Party, which quickly blasted Scott’s selection of Patronis to replace Atwater, who stepped down to take a post at Florida Atlantic University, as “cronyism.”

Scott has used the dockside restaurant for a number of political events, including one of his “work days” back in 2011, when the governor was trying to personalize the issue of unemployment.

“He made me work really hard,” Scott said of Patronis on Monday. “He didn’t let me off the hook. He made sure I sold a dessert to everyone that was here.”

The Patronis family has deep ties in Panama City, where they have owned the popular Captain Anderson’s for five decades. The name is affixed throughout the community, including an elementary school on land donated by the family down the road from the restaurant.

Posted by Jim Turner

The opposite of buzzkill? More pot workers than dental hygenists

There are more pot workers than dental hygienists or bakers, nationwide, according to Marijuana Business Daily, a marijuana-industry publication.


Cannabis-related businesses now employ more people than there are dental hygienists and bakers in the United States and will soon surpass the number of telemarketers and pharmacists,” according to the industry mag’s Eli McVey.

The marijuana industry — which could generate up to $20 billion, according to some predictions — is set to explode in Florida, which is gearing up for implementation of the voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana for an estimated 400,000-500,000 patients within the next year.

With 29 states — including Florida — having legalized medical marijuana, the industry is now turning efforts to a push for recreational use, now permitted in seven states and the District of Columbia.

Two-year anniversary for SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage


Tallahasseans Jim Brenner (left) and Chuck Jones are among the dozens of plaintiffs around the country highlighted in a Freedom for All Americans blogFreedom for All Americans blog celebrating the second anniversary of the seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision that cemented the ability of gays and lesbians to marry.

The ruling came more than a year after a federal judge in Florida overturned the state’s voter-approved ban on gay same-sex marriage.

Brenner and Jones, who’ve been together for nearly three decades and were married in Canada, filed the initial lawsuit against the state challenging the gay marriage prohibition. Brenner and Jones later asked Stephen Schlairat and Ozzie Russ, a gay Washington County couple, to join the lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union also filed a challenge on behalf of eight couples and other plaintiffs, and the cases were consolidated. Two of those couples are also featured in the Freedom for All Americans post.

In August 2014, Hinkle ruled that the state’s prohibition against gay marriage was unconstitutional, but he put a stay on his decision until January 2015, when same-sex marriages became legal in Florida.

Six months later, the U.S. Supreme Court cemented Hinkle’s ruling in a case known as Obergefell v. Hodges. The high court decided on June 26, 2015 — in a case dealing with other states — that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry.

Play ball! Scott meets with MLB commish

scott manfred

Gov. Rick Scott tweeted this picture from his meeting with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred yesterday, prompting this response from @TimBoylesPhoto:

“he looks happy to be with you as the Pope was to be with @realDonaldTrump #ouch #sad.”

Scott’s tete-a-tete with the MLB commish comes as the Miami Marlins scout for new owners and the Tampa Bay Rays continue a drawn-out quest for a new stadium.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will be held in Miami next month.

Scott’s meeting with Manfred was part of the governor’s economic development trip to the Northeast, which an “I-want-to-poach-your-jobs” stop in Connecticut.

What was on the major-league menu at yesterday’s meeting?

The governor’s office had this to say when The News Service of Florida asked if the talks involved the future of the Marlins and Rays:

“While in New York, Governor Scott had the opportunity to meet with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred about their commitment to Florida and baseball’s large impact on Florida’s economy.”

On June 13, Manfred expressed some optimism about the Tampa Bay stadium search during an interview on Siriius XM Fantasy Sports Radio.

“Hats off to the governments in St. Pete and Tampa. They have given Stu Sternberg, the owner of the Rays, the ability to look on either side of the causeway to find the site that’s best for the team,” Manfred said. “They have not been parochial in terms of whether it was going to be on the St. Pete side or the Tampa side. Again, I take that as a really positive development in terms of trying to move things forward in Tampa.”

— Jim Turner contributed to this post.

Rubio and Trump — a budding bromance?

It wasn’t that long ago that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was openly bashing Donald Trump.

But that was when the two Republicans were competing for the White House.

Now that President Trump is comfortably ensconced there, has Rubio changed his views of his onetime foe?

Alex Conant, the former Florida House speaker’s former aide and current advisor, talks with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition about his pal Rubio’s evolving approach to trump.

Listen to the interview here.