The Buzz on Florida politics


Latest Buzz on Florida politics

Sen. Bill Nelson and the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden of Oregon, will hold a discussion on the GOP tax bill in Tampa on Monday.

They will meet with local business leaders including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and representatives from six area chamber of commerce organizations.

Democrats have assaulted the tax plan as rushed and favoring corporations and the wealthy. On Thursday, Finance Committee members Nelson and Wyden voted against advancing the plan.

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Winner of the week

Anonymous sources. Unlike the crippling controversies surrounding Roy Moore, Al Franken, and Harvey Weinstein, it has taken only anonymous sources in Politico accusing men of improper treatment of women to end one man’s party chairmanship and all but kill the gubernatorial campaign of another.

Loser of the week

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From our friends at the Miami Herald:

Sen. Al Franken canceled his Sunday appearance at Miami Book Fair amid allegations over sexual misconduct.

The call to Book Fair officials came Friday afternoon, said Juan Mendieta, director of communications for Miami Dade College, host site of the fair. No reason was given, he said, but the buzz is that the Minnesota senator is canceling his tour to promote his new book, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.

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From William March:

Jose Vazquez served a sentence from 2007 to 2009 on a felony charge of repeatedly driving with a suspended license. And he filed as a 2008 state House write-in candidate.

How did all that happen?

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump welcomed a number of college sports champions to the White House on Friday, including the Florida Gators baseball team.

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WASHINGTON – Rep. Tom Rooney, who has led the charge for relief for Florida's citrus growers, is ticked off that the latest White House disaster aid request to Congress does not include money for the industry hit by Hurricane Irma.

"Do we want to say that orange juice is produced and made in America? Without the inclusion of funds to address citrus crop losses; that is at risk," the Florida Republican said Friday.

"The threat to the domestic industry is real: oranges imported to Florida, primarily from Brazil and Mexico, are already projected to surpass what is grown in Florida this season. This storm has jeopardized Florida's most iconic crop and an entire way of life. Washington must act and provide relief so that generations of family citrus growers can continue to produce, employ, and put Florida-grown orange juice on America's breakfast tables."

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HAVANA, Nov 17 (Reuters) – An association of Cuban businesswomen has asked to meet with Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida to explain the impact on the country's nascent private sector of rolling back a detente in U.S. relations.

Rubio, a Cuban-American politician who advocates a "no contact" policy with the Communist-run island, has advised President Donald Trump on Cuba policy and welcomed his reversal of the Obama administration's efforts at a rapprochement.

"The current situation has us very worried and we would like to share our personal histories and perspective from Cuba," the association, which represents women who own small businesses, said in a letter to Rubio last month.

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From the Miami Herald's Carol Marbin Miller and Caitlin Ostroff:

On a good day, Olga Vasquez would dress up in the morning, apply makeup and stand in the hallway at her Hialeah Gardens nursing home, helping other residents get in and out of wheelchairs or offering unsolicited advice. On a bad day, her depression got the best of her and she would remain in bed in her nightgown.

May 31, 2012, was a very bad day.

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Beyond the Buzz

Unlocked And Loaded
More than 80,000 guns have gone missing in Florida over the last decade. Most will never be recovered.
Hurricane Irma
How the slightest shift kept Hurricane Irma from turning into an even worse disaster

WASHINGTON – Florida lawmakers have drawn hard lines in the debate over taxes.

Every House Republican yesterday voted for the $1.5 trillion plan (details here) while every Democrat opposed it*. Talking points were flying on both sides.

"This legislation cuts taxes and will boost our economy," said. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Panama City. "It helps hardworking Americans keep more money in their paycheck, because they know how to spend it better than Washington. It levels the playing field for American workers so we can grow jobs here. It ends special interest carve outs, simplifies the code, and reins in the IRS. It's a good start, and I am eager to move this critical national priority forward."

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Stephen Bittel's rocky tenure as Florida Democratic Party chairman ended in disgrace Friday after he resigned following accusations from women that he leered at them, made suggestive comments and created an unprofessional work environment.

Bittel said he is working with party leaders to set a date to elect his successor.

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The Senate’s decision to outsource its investigation of sexual harassment claims against Sen. Jack Latvala got moving on the second track Friday as the Senate’s hired special master started interviewing witnesses.

The special master, retired First District Court of Appeal Judge Ronald V. Swanson, will conduct an investigation in response to a formal complaint filed by an unnamed Senate staff member.

A separate employment investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Latvala as published Politico is underway. That investigation is being led by Gail Golman Holtzman of the Tampa-based Jackson Lewis law firm.

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Florida's transportation secretary is giving his agency a passing mark for debris removal after Hurricane Irma.

But with debris still along some roads, particularly in pockets of the Florida Keys, Department of Transportation Secretary Michael Dew said officials will look at how they can improve before the next storm.

"I think we did an effective job, but I think we can always do better," Dew said Thursday during a meeting of the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness.

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JACKSONVILLE— Ex-U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and her supporters asked a federal judge for "mercy and compassion" in his sentencing of her for fraud and tax evasion convictions.

The Florida Times-Union reports that Brown told U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan on Thursday that the good she did over her political career overshadows her crimes.

A jury convicted Brown of stealing money from a bogus charity, One Door For Education, which purported to give scholarships to poor children.

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