The Buzz on Florida politics

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Latest Buzz on Florida politics

The Republican Party of Florida announced in a Wednesday release that the party has flipped two counties, Polk and Volusia, that were once majority-Democrat to majority-Republican.

“For several election cycles, we have tirelessly worked to train and empower our grassroots leaders of the Republican Party because they are the lifeline to expanding our party,” state party chairman Blaise Ingoglia said in a release. “The momentum is building, and Polk and Volusia counties are continued proof that the RPOF remains hard at work, even during an off-year.”

In 2016, the Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, beat the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, by 14 points in Polk County. In Volusia County, the margin was 13 points.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday toured areas of Florida hit by Hurricane Irma and pledged to aid in the recovery.

“We'll work together to ensure resources are in place for rebuilding,” Ryan said on Twitter after a stop in Jacksonville.

A photo showed him surrounded by a bipartisan group of Florida House members, local officials and Sen. Marco Rubio.

Florida’s nursing homes and assisted-living facilities find themselves in an unfamiliar place this week — pushing back against Gov. Rick Scott’s administration over new rules that require them to purchase generator capacity by Nov. 15 to keep their residents safe and comfortable in a power outage.

With 56 days remaining before the state imposes $1,000-a-day fees, full panic mode has set in on an industry that is more accustomed to dealing with the gentle touch of state regulators and industry-friendly legislators than it is with facing new rules.

The board of directors of LeadingAge, an industry association that represents 350 non-profit senior homes, on Monday voted to ask the governor’s office to delay the mandate as impractical.

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A non-profit voter rights advocacy group, Access Democracy, founded by two veterans of Democratic politics, Hannah Fried and Alexis Prieur L’Heureux, has requested records related to online voter registration from the state of Florida.

“With the implementation deadline just over a week away, we are concerned that Governor Scott and his administration may not be implementing the new system faithfully,” Fried said in a release.

The group has asked for emails, audio files, photographs, communication records and other documents related to several aspects of Florida’s online voter registration system, including “technical readiness.”

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WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t on any vote-guessing lists over the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare, but the Republican says he wants to know how it affects Florida before officially saying yes.

“I’ve got to see some of the details, how it impacts Florida,” Rubio told reporters on Tuesday. “But by and large, returning the power to the states is something (I want) it to lead to. I don’t think you can design a one-size-fits-all system on virtually anything for a country of this size and diversity.”

Block grants are a central feature of the new legislation, which could come up for a vote next week, a last attempt for Republicans to kill off Obamacare any time soon.

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Four days after the owners of a Hollywood nursing home released a detailed time line casting blame for the deaths of nine elders on Florida health administrators and a local utility, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration issued a time line of its own — declaring that the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills “failed to do their basic duty to protect life.”

The time line, and a release of 159 pages of records, fueled an ongoing finger-pointing war between the nursing home and Scott, who was himself a healthcare executive before running for office.

As the parties fought, the death toll rose: Late Tuesday, the Hollywood Police Department reported that a ninth resident from the nursing home, identified as 93-year-old Carlos Canal, had died.

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Jeb Bush and Donald Trump gave speeches just 0.7 miles apart today. But they might as well have been standing on different planets.

Trump, the reality television star billionaire-turned-president gave a speech unlike any the United Nations had ever seen from a United States president — at one point referring to the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un as “Rocket Man.”

Meanwhile, the former Florida Governor-turned GOP presidential frontrunner-turned Donald Trump punching bag delivered a foreign policy speech at the United Against Nuclear Iran conference seemingly right out of the conservative foreign policy orthodox.

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Beyond the Buzz

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s select committee on Hurricane Irma won’t meet for three weeks. But questions about it flew quickly on Tuesday, and Senate President Joe Negron immediately rejected Corcoran’s call for a ban on hometown spending in lawmakers’ districts.

Corcoran announced formation of the 21-member panel, chaired by Rep. Jeannette Nuñez, R-Miami. It includes 14 Republicans and seven Democrats, most of them from counties hit hardest by the storm.

Corcoran, a free-market conservative who supports less regulation -- especially in health care -- floated ideas that would invite more regulation, such as underground utilities or forcing fuel companies to store reserves of fuel to get to gas stations more quickly.

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Sen. Bill Nelson has filed a bill that would create a Health and Human Services committee on seniors and disasters.

The bill, announced in a Tuesday release, has bipartisan support, Nelson said in a Tuesday release. Its co-sponsors fellow Floridian and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

“This bill will require the head of HHS to appoint a panel of experts to provide our state and local leaders with the guidance they need to make sure such a tragedy never happens again,” Nelson said in the release.

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Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg urged Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday to form a statewide oversight commission to review how state and local disaster managers, utilities, medical facilities and others responded to Hurricane Irma.

“I ask that you form a commission to review any after action reports created by state and local EOCs, utilities, state agencies, medical facilities, or other critical service providers, and to evaluate and oversee recovery projects,” Brandes wrote to Scott Tuesday. “This would ensure that state and county needs are triaged and met in a manner that leverages every disaster relief dollar, and that the assessments of the response and recovery actions taken by both public and private entities become best practices to prepare for future events.

“Establishment of similar oversight commissions consisting of representatives of state agencies, counties, cities, utilities, and other public and private parties is an established best practice that has been used to efficiently facilitate long-term recovery from disasters like the Deepwater Horizon and Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina,” Brandes wrote.

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Attorney General Pam Bondi said Tuesday that Florida has joined a number of other states seeking marketing information from opioid makers.

“The demands seek additional information about potentially unlawful practices in the distribution, marketing and sale of opioids. The demands are the result of an ongoing, coordinated multistate effort by 41 states. Florida is one of six states leading the widespread investigation,” reads a news release from Bondi‘s office.

“Florida citizens continue to become addicted to opioids and die daily—meanwhile, prescription drug manufacturers, distributors and the medical profession all point fingers at each other as the cause of this national crisis,” Bondi said. “This far-reaching multistate investigation is designed to get the answers we need as quickly as possible. The industry must do the right thing. If they do not, we are prepared to litigate.”

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