Florida Legislature

Surprise! Corcoran disses DWS

House Speaker Richard Corcoran ridiculed Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for asking Florida lawmakers to convene a special session to deal with a Confederate statue in the nation’s capital.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who may be pondering a run for governor, called the Broward County Democrat “out of touch” for making the request.

The Legislature voted in 2016 to replace Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, a figure who critics say has a tenuous connection to the state, during a nationwide backlash against Confederate symbols in the wake of the 2015 shooting deaths of nine African-American worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.

The latest dust-up over the statue of the civil war general comes as cities throughout Florida engage in sometimes heated debate over what to do with Confederate monuments, an issue obviously highlighted by the events in Charlottesville last weekend.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got into the fray yesterday, demanding that all Confederate monuments be removed.

Tear down that monument! (Part II)

6264593750_0e2623f32d_oWe’re not suggesting it’s even a possibility.

But Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is calling on Florida state lawmakers hold a special session to finalize plans to rid the state of its connection with a Civil War general who holds a place of honor at the National Statuary Hall in the nation’s capital.

The Legislature voted in 2016 to replace Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, a figure who critics say has a tenuous connection to the state, during a nationwide backlash against Confederate symbols in the wake of the 2015 shooting deaths of nine African-American worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.

But state legislators have since failed to agree on a replacement for Smith, leaving the general — and his successor — in limbo.

Following this weekend’s deadly clash in Charlottesville, sparked by the removal of a Confederate monument, Wasserman Schultz asked Florida lawmakers to hold a special session to address the issue.

“It’s time to stop playing games. No family visiting our nation’s Capitol should have to explain to their child that the statue representing our state honors someone who fought for a philosophy built on hatred and oppression. Governor Scott and the Florida legislature must take immediate action by calling a one-day special session during their upcoming interim committee meetings to pass a bill with one of the three recommendations from the committee established by law: Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Mary McLeod Bethune or George Washington Jenkins. These three Floridians represent the best of the history of our state. The removal of the Confederate statue must be made an urgent priority,” Wasserman Schultz, a former head of the Democratic National Committee, said in a press release issued Tuesday.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King wants all confederate monuments in the Sunshine State removed. More about that here.


Another Fla Dems-backed TV ad starring Trump

Florida Dems are unleashing a TV ad using the man who is sure to become Democrats’ most popular whipping boy — President Donald Trump — in the battle for an open Miami-Dade County state Senate seat.

Democrat Annette Taddeo and Republican Jose Felix Diaz are duking it out over SD 40 after emerging as the winners in last month’s special election primaries. The redrawn Senate seat became available when former state Sen. Frank Artiles, a Republican, was forced to step down after a profanity-laced and racially charged outburst at a private club midway through this year’s legislative session.

The ad, released in English and Spanish in the district where 75 percent of the population is Hispanic, links Diaz — a supporter of the president who once appeared on his TV show, “The Apprentice” — opens with Taddeo watching the now-infamous clip of Trump slamming a bad guy in a WWF stunt.

“Families are too busy to worry about this drama,” Taddeo says, after turning off the TV.

She later alleges that “Jose Felix Diaz supports Trump’s every move,” highlighting services for seniors and coverage of pre-existing medical conditions that would be lost if Trump gets his way and kills the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.”

The Florida Democratic Party announced the launch of the ad not long after national Dems said they intend to fork over $150,000 in the SD 40 race.

Yesterday, state Democrats released an ad tying former St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker to Trump. Baker is trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Rick Kriseman.

Nevada gambling regulators ponder pot

budWith the advent of recreational marijuana in Nevada, at least one of the state’s gambling regulators wants weed to be included in “responsible gaming” policy.

According to a report by CDC Gaming Report’s Aaron Stanley, Nevada Gaming Control Board member Terry Johnson expressed concern about adding the impacts of marijuana to those of alcohol or problem gambling in the state’s regulations governing responsible gaming.

“We have existing regulations that talk about impairment from alcohol and gambling, but the statutes and regulations are silent on… what happens when the persons might be impaired from marijuana intoxication and continue to gamble,” Johnson, who has served on the NGCB since 2012, said, after explaining that an operator had been recently fined for allowing a patron to continue to gamble while visibly intoxicated from alcohol.

Johnson spoke yesterday at a University of Nevada-Las Vegas event hosted by the American Gaming Association.

Florida, which legalized medical marijuana last year, doesn’t have any gambling regs on the books specifically dealing with pot, either.

Nevada regulators concerns may be heightened by what could be the nation’s first marijuana mega-store opening soon near downtown Las Vegas.

Click here for more on that.

Will the big boxing of kush be a trend?

IMG_2721Could it be a sign of what’s to come in Florida?

A pot mega-store is slated to open on tribal land near downtown Las Vegas next month, according to a report yesterday in the Las Vegas Sun.

The 15,800-square-foot Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace — about the size of a Walmart Express — will open next month.

The tribe aims to capitalize on the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada, approved by voters in November.

With 13 checkout lanes, the pot shop will be the largest in the nation, according to tribal leaders.

“We’re pretty sure this is bigger than anyone here will have ever seen,” Las Vegas Paiute Chairman Benny Tso said. “We want to raise the bar on the cannabis industry, and we want the industry to come with us.”

The outlet is intended to be a marketplace, where customers already know what they want, rather than a dispensary, Tso said in the report.

It’s unlikely Florida — where only medical, not recreational, marijuana is legal — will see any big-box pot stores any time soon.

And we don’t know yet if the state’s tribes intend to start marijuana operations on tribal lands.

National Dems one-up GOP in SD 40 race

taddeoThe Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is putting up $150,000 to support Annette Taddeo in the Miami Democrat’s general election match-up against former state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz.

The national Democratic committee highlighted the SD 40 special election as a “Spotlight Race,” and made the pledge after Taddeo handily defeated Ana Rivas Logan in a primary late last month.

“With Annette in the Florida Senate, Democrats will be one step closer to taking back the chamber in 2018,” DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post in Thursday’s announcement. “The Spotlight Races platform will highlight Annette to the national progressive community and help future supporters get to know her and her campaign. We will employ DLCC programs and lessons learned from our previous wins this year to ensure Annette’s campaign has a winning strategy in place, access to the best data, and an expansive field plan. DLCC is proud to stand with this community leader as she fights to protect Democratic values at the state level.”

The big bucks from the DLCC overshadow the $100,000 the organization’s Republican equivalent — the Republican State Leadership Committee — announced it has earmarked  to get Diaz elected.

SD 40 is one of a handful of true swing seats. Democrats have a slight edge in voter registration, but the district is almost evenly split between Republicans, Dems and voters with no party affiliation.


Caldwell ropes in cows, horses and trees in latest campaign video

Only oranges scream “Florida ag” louder than horses, cattle and trees.

And state Rep. Matt Caldwell, who’s running for state agriculture commissioner in what could be a heated primary against state Sen. Denise Grimsely, looped in all three of the latter — and heavy equipment and pickup trucks, too! —  in his latest “work days” video, released by Caldwell’s campaign Wednesday.

We’re not judging, but check out Caldwell, a Republican from North Fort Myers, hacking away at a limb on the back of a semi.