TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

Gov. Rick Scott, staff used private email account

Published:   |   Updated: November 25, 2014 at 06:23 PM
The Associated Press

Florida Gov. Rick Scott exchanged emails dealing with vetoes, the state budget and his speeches from a private email account, according to records turned over to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Scott has previously said he used a Google email account to communicate with his family and not for state business. He also said that if ever he got an email dealing with state business he would forward it to his public email accounts.

John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, however, acknowledged in a statement that “after a thorough review of this old email account, there were occasions the governor failed to forward messages.”

Click to continue reading this post

‘Blind trust’ arguments set for January

Published:
The News Service of Florida

An appeals court will hear arguments Jan. 14 in a challenge to a state law that allows elected officials to set up blind trusts, according to an online docket.

The 1st District Court of Appeal scheduled oral arguments in the case filed by Jim Apthorp, a former chief of staff to the late Gov. Reubin Askew.

Apthorp and his lawyers contend that blind trusts violate the Florida Constitution’s open-government requirements. Those requirements include public officials providing details about their financial interests.

Click to continue reading this post

Gov. Scott orders special election for vacant Tampa-area legislative seat

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

As expected, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday ordered a special election for the vacant seat in Florida’s House District 64 in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

The special primary election will be Feb. 10, with a special general election set for April 21.

A full story will be posted soon.

Click to continue reading this post

Mexican national fulfills dream of becoming Fla. lawyer

Published:   |   Updated: November 24, 2014 at 02:35 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

It’s official: The Largo man brought to the United States as a child from Mexico and now here unlawfully has been sworn in as a Florida attorney.

Jose Godinez-Samperio was sworn in by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga in a ceremony Thursday night, said his attorney, Sandy D’Alemberte.

His parents and sister, who live in Mexico, received special permission to travel to the United States to attend the swearing-in at the Tampa Hispanic Bar Association’s yearly gala, D’Alemberte said.

Click to continue reading this post

As Fla. House rejects Jamie Grant, turmoil surrounding Tampa seat continues

Published:   |   Updated: November 18, 2014 at 04:14 PM
Tribune staff

♦ Updated 2:45 p.m. -- Lesser replied, “The Secretary will collaborate with the Supervisors of Elections to determine Special Election dates.”

♦ Updated 2:25 p.m. -- The Governor’s Office referred questions about a possible special election to Department of State spokeswoman Brittany Lesser. Tribune/Scripps left a message; we’ll update when we get a response.

Original post below:

Click to continue reading this post

Gardiner wants “open dialogue” on Amendment 1

Published:   |   Updated: November 18, 2014 at 02:13 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, spoke to reporters after the conclusion of the post-election organization session on Tuesday.

Among other subjects, he was asked about the recent passage of Amendment 1, the state constitutional amendment that now requires a one-third set aside of documentary stamp revenue for conservation.

Documentary stamp revenue is derived from real estate sales.

Click to continue reading this post

With campaign fights behind them, lawmakers meet to organize for session

Published:
Matt Dixon in Tallahassee

On the heels of a brutal election cycle that saw the Republicans rout Democrats, lawmakers gathered Tuesday in the Capitol to organize and transition from the campaign trail to the policy arena.

The state’s legislative session technically will not begin until March, but lawmakers will start their work after the holidays, with six weeks of committee meetings scheduled in January and February.

New Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said that this year’s session will get off to a quick start, as lawmakers will quickly begin developing major pieces of legislation in January.

Click to continue reading this post

Negron on renewing Medicaid expansion battle in 2015: “No”

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

After a challenge from the Florida Senate’s new Democratic leader, Sen. Joe Negron Tuesday said he won’t revive his plan to expand health insurance for more than 1 million people in the state.

On Monday, new Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner of Tampa suggested Negron might lead another effort toward some kind of Medicaid expansion for the 2015 legislative session.

When asked directly Tuesday morning, Negron had a direct answer: “No.”

Click to continue reading this post

Senate Democrats plan to tilt at Medicaid-expansion windmill

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Senate Democrats sound like they’ll be using a variation of the old line from President Clinton’s first campaign: “It’s Medicaid expansion, stupid.”

As expected, the 14-member Florida Senate Democratic Caucus on Monday elected Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa to lead them through the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions.

Joyner came out swinging in her opening remarks, taking her Republican colleagues to task for not expanding health insurance for more than 1 million people in the state.

Click to continue reading this post

Scott announces new chief of staff, communications director

Published:
Matt Dixon in Tallahassee

Melissa Sellers will take over as Gov. Rick Scott’s new chief of staff starting Dec. 1.

She had served as his campaign manager and was previously his office’s communications director.

She replaces Adam Hollingsworth, who has been Scott’s top staffer since 2012.

Click to continue reading this post