Thursday, August 28, 2014

Florida's Crooked Governor Rick Scott Discovers Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned

Unless you're from Florida, you probably don't remember Jennifer Carroll,


Rick Scott's former Lt. Governor, a crook-- like him-- but one he held to a much higher standard than he holds himself. Just over a year ago, we covered her problems with ethics and common decency, problems that caused Scott to force her to resign. Kartik Krishnaiyer used to occasion to point out that the resignation was just the latest example of the ongoing culture of cronyism and corruption in the Sunshine State.      Florida Republicans have created a class of entitled politicians who lack intellectual curiosity or any governing wisdom. They are not conservatives as much as they are political whores for power and certain big business. They have lived for years on easy street being opposed by an impotent Florida Democratic Party that lacked organization or the courage in its own convictions to take the fight to the Republicans. The Democrats have benefited from these same tendencies in liberal southeast Florida, where it seems half the elected Democrats on the county level have been at one time or another linked to scandal.      ...Lt Gov. Carroll’s resignation is an indication that consequences are now being suffered by those in power for excessive and potentially illegal behavior. The progressive movement throughout American history has focused on issues of graft, greed, cronyism and corruption. Florida Progressives should do the same. Regardless of party, corrupt government cannot be progressive government.  


She works as a political commentator for WJXT Channel 4, a Jacksonville TV station. Her side of the story-- an autobiography called When You Get There-- hits the bookstores today, her birthday. I suppose Gov. Scott could be happy that the book isn't being released closer to November, since he's the villain of the story.      Carroll, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, was the first black woman to serve as lieutenant governor of Florida and held the largely ceremonial job for more than two years. Scott's two top aides forced her to resign on March 12, 2013, after state law enforcement agents interrogated her about past public relations work for Allied Veterans of the World, a group linked to Internet cafes that were shut down after investigators uncovered widespread fraud.      Carroll initially did not disclose all of her income in 2009 and 2010 from Allied Veterans on state financial disclosure forms, but later reported the money on amended forms.      She was not charged with any wrongdoing and writes that she felt humiliated by how Scott's aides "ambushed" her with a one-sentence resignation letter they forced her to sign.      Carroll describes Scott as overly controlled by his own staff and lacking in a personal touch, saying he showed no concern after she fainted and struck her head on the floor at a hot Greek church.      "Clearly, something was missing there, some ability to make personal connections that he just didn't have," Carroll said.      Working with black political consultant Clarence McKee in the 2010 campaign, Carroll said she built a plan to reach out to black voters with local newspapers, radio and phone calls and that despite the campaign's objections, she attended a forum in Miami hosted by Bishop Victor Curry, a radio host and prominent voice in Miami's black community.      "The campaign didn't want it, but I did it anyway," she writes.      As a result, Carroll writes, Scott got 6 percent of the African-American vote, according to 2010 exit polls, and if she had not directed a "minority stealth" campaign, "Scott would have lost the election."
 
   …Carroll's book contains no new bombshells, and many of the incidents she describes were reported by the Florida media at the time. But few in Scott's orbit escape Carroll's wrath.      She claims that Scott's former chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, blocked access to the governor and would "undermine or get rid of people who didn't go along with him," and that his replacement, Adam Hollingsworth, was "even more ruthless" and lower-level staffers cowered in his presence.      Carroll, a stylish dresser, wrote that when she wore designer pants and boots for an event at the Governor's Mansion, Hollingsworth ordered her to change clothes, and told her to scrap a scheduled birthday party in 2012 because a hurricane was approaching the state and Scott had canceled public events.      "It was just so silly," Carroll writes.      Carroll writes that she spent months asking superiors for a travel budget before she got one, but after security costs in her first year approached $300,000, Scott's staff limited her travel and assigned her a lower-ranking state trooper than previous lieutenant governors had.      During Scott's inaugural celebration, she writes, "I was treated like an unwanted stepchild," and when she wanted to talk to the governor, she said, she was told to ask for an appointment with his scheduler.

http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2014/08/floridas-crooked-governor-rick-scott.html
Unless you're from Florida, you probably don't remember Jennifer Carroll, Rick Scott's former Lt. Governor, a crook-- like him-- but one he held to a much higher standard than he holds himself. Just over a year ago, we covered her problems with ethics and common decency, problems that caused Scott to force her to resign. Kartik Krishnaiyer used to occasion to point out that the resignation was just the latest example of the ongoing culture of cronyism and corruption in the Sunshine State.
Florida Republicans have created a class of entitled politicians who lack intellectual curiosity or any governing wisdom. They are not conservatives as much as they are political whores for power and certain big business. They have lived for years on easy street being opposed by an impotent Florida Democratic Party that lacked organization or the courage in its own convictions to take the fight to the Republicans. The Democrats have benefited from these same tendencies in liberal southeast Florida, where it seems half the elected Democrats on the county level have been at one time or another linked to scandal.

...Lt Gov. Carroll’s resignation is an indication that consequences are now being suffered by those in power for excessive and potentially illegal behavior. The progressive movement throughout American history has focused on issues of graft, greed, cronyism and corruption. Florida Progressives should do the same. Regardless of party, corrupt government cannot be progressive government.
She works as a political commentator for WJXT Channel 4, a Jacksonville TV station. Her side of the story-- an autobiography called When You Get There-- hits the bookstores today, her birthday. I suppose Gov. Scott could be happy that the book isn't being released closer to November, since he's the villain of the story.
Carroll, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, was the first black woman to serve as lieutenant governor of Florida and held the largely ceremonial job for more than two years. Scott's two top aides forced her to resign on March 12, 2013, after state law enforcement agents interrogated her about past public relations work for Allied Veterans of the World, a group linked to Internet cafes that were shut down after investigators uncovered widespread fraud.

Carroll initially did not disclose all of her income in 2009 and 2010 from Allied Veterans on state financial disclosure forms, but later reported the money on amended forms.

She was not charged with any wrongdoing and writes that she felt humiliated by how Scott's aides "ambushed" her with a one-sentence resignation letter they forced her to sign.

Carroll describes Scott as overly controlled by his own staff and lacking in a personal touch, saying he showed no concern after she fainted and struck her head on the floor at a hot Greek church.

"Clearly, something was missing there, some ability to make personal connections that he just didn't have," Carroll said.

Working with black political consultant Clarence McKee in the 2010 campaign, Carroll said she built a plan to reach out to black voters with local newspapers, radio and phone calls and that despite the campaign's objections, she attended a forum in Miami hosted by Bishop Victor Curry, a radio host and prominent voice in Miami's black community.

"The campaign didn't want it, but I did it anyway," she writes.

As a result, Carroll writes, Scott got 6 percent of the African-American vote, according to 2010 exit polls, and if she had not directed a "minority stealth" campaign, "Scott would have lost the election."

…Carroll's book contains no new bombshells, and many of the incidents she describes were reported by the Florida media at the time. But few in Scott's orbit escape Carroll's wrath.

She claims that Scott's former chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, blocked access to the governor and would "undermine or get rid of people who didn't go along with him," and that his replacement, Adam Hollingsworth, was "even more ruthless" and lower-level staffers cowered in his presence.

Carroll, a stylish dresser, wrote that when she wore designer pants and boots for an event at the Governor's Mansion, Hollingsworth ordered her to change clothes, and told her to scrap a scheduled birthday party in 2012 because a hurricane was approaching the state and Scott had canceled public events.

"It was just so silly," Carroll writes.

Carroll writes that she spent months asking superiors for a travel budget before she got one, but after security costs in her first year approached $300,000, Scott's staff limited her travel and assigned her a lower-ranking state trooper than previous lieutenant governors had.

During Scott's inaugural celebration, she writes, "I was treated like an unwanted stepchild," and when she wanted to talk to the governor, she said, she was told to ask for an appointment with his scheduler.
- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2014/08/floridas-crooked-governor-rick-scott.html#sthash.j6ZUsBZP.dpuf

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rick Scott Signs Terrible Law Expanding Florida DCF’s Power

One of the least desirable features of a representative democracy is that often, poorly thought out legislation is rammed through with little thought as a gross overreaction to immediate public outrage. Such is the case with the child welfare law signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott today. The gist of this story is that the Florida Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) has come under substantial public criticism for an investigative series of stories first published by the Miami Herald which revealed that 477 children have died child abuse related deaths in the last five years. The report criticized the agency for, among other things, failing to notice obvious signs of abuse in children under their care. Predictably, the response that has been ramroded through the Florida legislature is to, essentially, give lots more money and sweeping new authority to the agency directly responsible for the SNAFU that caused the public uproar in the first place:


TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a sweeping bill Monday aimed at overhauling the child-welfare system after hundreds of child abuse-related deaths in the past five years.
The new law calls for a fundamental shift in the way the Department of Children and Families investigates and responds to cases. It clearly states that protecting a child from abuse is paramount and more important than keeping a family together. In the past, DCF has placed a premium on putting fewer children in foster care and, instead, offering family services while the child remains at home.
* * *
The law will fund jobs for 270 additional child protective investigators to reduce caseloads. It also establishes a response team to quickly investigate child abuse deaths when the child had previous incidents with the system and adds a small amount of funding for at-risk families with young children. Child advocates said substance abuse treatment issues are at the heart of many child deaths.

The DCF, like the federal TSA, is wildly more popular as an abstract idea than it is as an agency, in particular among anyone who has the misfortune to run afoul of their workings in any sort of personal way. In the abstract, people like the idea that there should be an agency tasked with preventing child abuse and neglect. Where the rubber meets the road, however, nightmares almost invariably happen. Part of it has to do with the nature of the job – any time a stranger is tasked with confronting a parent about the way they are raising their child, ugly personal confrontations are bound to happen. Worse, in many cases, the social workers at DCF have to encounter legitimate, heart-rending abuse and witness children kept in conditions that would rend the heart of all but the most calloused of people. The combined pressures tend wash out the sort of thoughtful, compassionate, qualified social workers and instead self-selects for social workers who are either unqualified or incapable of finding employment elsewhere, or who dispositionally enjoy personal conflict, or who are at least mostly calloused to the suffering of children. In other words, the exact people who should be kept as far away from having the power to remove children from their families as possible.
As a result, state DCFs (or DCS as it may be known in your state) too often become neverending cavalcades of horror stories where hordes of legitimate abuse cases go inadequately or incompetently investigated, all while DCF caseworkers become unwitting foot soldiers in countless divorce vendettas. As just one example of the problems infesting state child welfare agencies, it has long been shown that minority families are disproportionately likely to be reported to DCF for investigation; but moreover, even among the reported population, are disproportionately likely to have their children removed to foster care - which is not the hallmark of an agency that is thoughtfully pursuing their work.


At a glance, many aspects of this legislation, such as improving training and quality of case workers, are admirable and cannot be gainsaid. But the bolded portion above, combined with a clear and sweeping monetary incentive to root out and find more abuse, will be the root of untold measures of evil. One of our most treasured principles as a Republic is the principle that, where possible and in the absence of a compelling contrary interest, children should be raised by their parents. Florida’s DCF now has a clear statutory provision to the contrary along with a huge budget and a mandate to find more abuse will, in the hands of an agency that has engendered well deserved distrust among almost everyone who has come in contact with them, lead to disaster.
Any conservatives who are lauding this decision should ask themselves this fundamental question – do you think this legislation, in the hands of the same DCF, will lead to less abuse? Or more horrors like those suffered by Justina Pelletier and her family?
Perhaps this is a question Rick Scott should have asked before signing this ill-advised legislation.

http://www.redstate.com/2014/06/23/rick-scott-signs-terrible-law-expanding-florida-dcfs-power/

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rick Scott Signs Terrible Law Expanding Florida DCF’s Power

Leaping from overreaction overreaction

 

One of the least desirable features of a representative democracy is that often, poorly thought out legislation is rammed through with little thought as a gross overreaction to immediate public outrage. Such is the case with the child welfare law signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott today. The gist of this story is that the Florida Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) has come under substantial public criticism for an investigative series of stories first published by the Miami Herald which revealed that 477 children have died child abuse related deaths in the last five years. The report criticized the agency for, among other things, failing to notice obvious signs of abuse in children under their care. Predictably, the response that has been ramroded through the Florida legislature is to, essentially, give lots more money and sweeping new authority to the agency directly responsible for the SNAFU that caused the public uproar in the first place:


TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a sweeping bill Monday aimed at overhauling the child-welfare system after hundreds of child abuse-related deaths in the past five years.
The new law calls for a fundamental shift in the way the Department of Children and Families investigates and responds to cases. It clearly states that protecting a child from abuse is paramount and more important than keeping a family together. In the past, DCF has placed a premium on putting fewer children in foster care and, instead, offering family services while the child remains at home.
* * *
The law will fund jobs for 270 additional child protective investigators to reduce caseloads. It also establishes a response team to quickly investigate child abuse deaths when the child had previous incidents with the system and adds a small amount of funding for at-risk families with young children. Child advocates said substance abuse treatment issues are at the heart of many child deaths.

 

The DCF, like the federal TSA, is wildly more popular as an abstract idea than it is as an agency, in particular among anyone who has the misfortune to run afoul of their workings in any sort of personal way. In the abstract, people like the idea that there should be an agency tasked with preventing child abuse and neglect. Where the rubber meets the road, however, nightmares almost invariably happen. Part of it has to do with the nature of the job – any time a stranger is tasked with confronting a parent about the way they are raising their child, ugly personal confrontations are bound to happen. Worse, in many cases, the social workers at DCF have to encounter legitimate, heart-rending abuse and witness children kept in conditions that would rend the heart of all but the most calloused of people. The combined pressures tend wash out the sort of thoughtful, compassionate, qualified social workers and instead self-selects for social workers who are either unqualified or incapable of finding employment elsewhere, or who dispositionally enjoy personal conflict, or who are at least mostly calloused to the suffering of children. In other words, the exact people who should be kept as far away from having the power to remove children from their families as possible.

As a result, state DCFs (or DCS as it may be known in your state) too often become neverending cavalcades of horror stories where hordes of legitimate abuse cases go inadequately or incompetently investigated, all while DCF caseworkers become unwitting foot soldiers in countless divorce vendettas. As just one example of the problems infesting state child welfare agencies, it has long been shown that minority families are disproportionately likely to be reported to DCF for investigation; but moreover, even among the reported population, are disproportionately likely to have their children removed to foster care - which is not the hallmark of an agency that is thoughtfully pursuing their work.
At a glance, many aspects of this legislation, such as improving training and quality of case workers, are admirable and cannot be gainsaid. But the bolded portion above, combined with a clear and sweeping monetary incentive to root out and find more abuse, will be the root of untold measures of evil. One of our most treasured principles as a Republic is the principle that, where possible and in the absence of a compelling contrary interest, children shoudl be raised by their parents. Florida’s DCF now has a clear statutory provision to the contrary along with a huge budget and a mandate to find more abuse will, in the hands of an agency that has engendered well deserved distrust among almost everyone who has come in contact with them, lead to disaster.
Any conservatives who are lauding this decision should ask themselves this fundamental question – do you think this legislation, in the hands of the same DCF, will lead to less abuse? Or more horrors like those suffered by Justina Pelletier and her family?
Perhaps this is a question Rick Scott should have asked before signing this ill-advised legislation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Disappearing DCF child-death reports: Security or secrecy?

Florida’s Department of Children and Families is under pressure over the tragic number of children dying while under state protection.
A team of reporters from The Miami Herald has been investigating how a decade-long shift toward “family preservation” to cut the number of abused and neglected children in state custody, coupled with a cut in services like drug and alcohol rehabilitation, has led to a corresponding rise in the number of dead children.
The Herald pressed for public records on each and every child death in Florida since 2008, and found 477 of them as of November, as part of its important “Innocents Lost” series. In March, the reporters went back to update their findings statewide. They discovered 145 more. They also found something odd out of the state’s West Palm Beach office, a regional office that had previously documented more child deaths than any other statewide. Between November and March 31, the Herald found the West Palm Beach office had filed zero child death incident reports.
Antwan Hope died under state protection.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t for a lack of child deaths. There had been 30 in the region, 15 from Palm Beach County. DCF’s Southeast Regional office — which covers Palm Beach, Broward, Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties — had suspended the filing of the incident reports. Meanwhile, the deaths continued. Drownings. Sleeping suffocations. Trauma.
A Riviera Beach newborn was found smothered to death during the night in December, apparently by her sleeping mother. Soon after, the Herald found, an administrator in West Palm Beach sent this email to her staff:
“Please do not file this in the system. No incident reports right now on death cases. … Will advise why later.”

DCF’s new interim Secretary Mike Carroll, promised to look into the missing reports, and his deputy secretary was dispatched to West Palm Beach earlier this month to investigate. Yet when the Herald asked for documents on that administrative inquiry, even handwritten notes, the agency said no public records had been created.
Carroll, to his credit, put his findings on the record in a June 6 official letter to the West Palm Beach office director, Dennis Miles. He applauded Miles for showing the “courage and leadership” to admit a mistake and take responsibility, and suspended him for two days. He said it was clear that no records had been destroyed, but found operating procedures were not followed. Incident reports and analysis are to be entered into the state’s system within one day.

Nubia Barhona, who died while under state protection.

Carroll added this finding: “I have determined that this was not in an effort to shield information from anyone,” but rather an attempt to address data security problems.
Miles goes further. He says he stopped the filing of the incident reports because they were being broadcast, unredacted, to a broad list of current and former DCF personnel — a serious security and privacy breach, since they contained some private medical and active criminal investigation records. Miles said he didn’t want to send them until the state solved its data security problem. That’s been fixed, he said.
Do you think this second DCF scandal evokes the secret Veterans Administration waiting lists that may have been created in Phoenix and elsewhere to hide how badly stretched the VA was in serving veterans in need of appointments? Or do you accept the assertiong that this was about data security, not secrecy?

http://opinionzone.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2014/06/18/disappearing-dcf-child-death-reports-security-or-secrecy/

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rick Scott's fundraising flap shows that behind every great donor there's a potential crime

Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign last week provided a political corollary to HonorĂ© de Balzac’s saying that “behind every great fortune there is a crime.”
Behind every great donor there is a potential crime.
It’s especially true in scammer-rich Florida.


 Had Scott’s campaign-finance team realized this, someone might vetted (or Googled) James Batmasian. He pleaded guilty in 2008 to failing to collect and pay $253,000 in federal withholding taxes regarding his Boca Raton investment company’s employees. Batmasian spent eight months in prison, paid a $30,000 fine and had his law license suspended in Florida.
Perfect guy to headline a $10,000-per-donor fundraiser, right?
The Florida Democratic Party thought so.
“Birds of a feather . . . Rick Scott to fundraise with ex-felon tax cheat,” Joshua Karp, the Democrats’ spokesman wrote in a Thursday morning email blast that conflated Batmasian’s past — as first reported by Mother Jones online — and the 1997 record $1.7 billion Medicare-fraud fine paid by Scott’s former hospital company.


Behind each opponent’s misstep is an opportunity.
Scott quickly pulled the plug on the fundraiser and sought to focus attention on Democratic opponent Charlie Crist’s record as governor, when unemployment and budget shortfalls reached record highs.
“This event has been canceled,” Scott’s campaign spokesman, Greg Blair, said in an email. “All the name calling and mudslinging in the world can’t hide Charlie Crist’s record of failure or the fact that he is too scared to debate his primary opponent.”
Karp got in a final email dig regarding Scott’s cancellation: “If you ask him why, he’ll probably just plead the Fifth.”
Indeed, this Scott’s fourth fundraising woe, and the governor won’t directly answer questions about any of them:

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/06/rick-scotts-fundraising-flap-shows-that-behind-every-great-donor-theres-a-potential-crime.html

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/06/rick-scotts-fundraising-flap-shows-that-behind-every-great-donor-theres-a-potential-crime.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, June 9, 2014

Former Florida Judge Disbarred After Lying About ‘Personal And Emotional Relationship’ With Prosecutor

Former Broward Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner was found guilty Thursday of lying on the stand by the state's Supreme Court after denying her illicit relations with prosecutor Howard Scheinberg. Gardiner engaged in 949 phone calls and 471 text messages with Scheinberg during a capital murder trial.

 

She appeared to enjoy prosecutors more than her job.
A former Florida judge has been disbarred after an investigation revealed her "personal and emotional relationship" with a homicide prosecutor while he was trying a death penalty case before her.
Former Broward Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner was found guilty Thursday of lying on the stand by Florida's Supreme Court after denying her illicit relations with prosecutor Howard Scheinberg.

Howard Scheinberg

A recommended one-year suspension as punishment was swiped away by seven high court justices who instead unanimously voted to permanently revoke her ability to practice law, Reuters reported.
WPLG Gardiner and Howard Scheinberg, pictured, exchanged 949 phone calls and 471 texts during the death penalty trial, an investigation found. Despite this, Gardiner denied their relations.
That punishment followed the discovery of 949 phone calls and 471 text messages between Gardiner and Scheinberg over the course of five months during the 2007 capital murder trial of Omar Loureiro.
The justices ruled that Gardiner's relations with Scheinberg threatened her judgment while a man's life was in her very hands.
"Considering Gardiner's dishonest conduct and the harm that her actions have caused to the administration of justice in a capital first-degree murder case, we conclude that disbarment is the appropriate action," Reuters reported the Supreme Court’s order.
WPLG In a surprising twist, Gardiner has reportedly since married her defense attorney in the Bar investigation, David Bogenschutz, while Scheinberg is serving a two-year suspension.
Gardiner argued that nothing has ever interfered with her job while tearfully testifying at her Florida Bar trial in November.
"I've given everything up, including one of the things I love the most — my job," Local 10 reported her saying.


In a surprising twist, Gardiner has since married her defense attorney in the Bar investigation, David Bogenschutz, Local 10 reported.
She must also pay $8,117.18 in court costs.
Scheinberg is serving a two-year suspension.

 




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Watch A Florida Judge Beat Up A Lawyer In The MIDDLE Of Trial

A fight between a judge and a public defender broke out in a courtroom in Brevard County Florida on Monday.

Judge John Murphy

Judge John Murphy was allegedly trying to get public defender Andrew Weinstock to waive his client’s right to a speedy trial.
Video footage shows Murphy telling Weinstock, “You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now. Stop pissing me off. Just sit down.” Weinstock responds, “You know I’m the public defender. I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my client.”
Murphy then invites Weinstock to go out to a hallway in the back so they could settle their dispute with fists. Murphy is heard saying, “If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass.”

Must watch video on this link. 




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Broward County Judge Lynn Rosenthal Arrested On DUI Charge

BSO: Judge's BMW SUV struck parked cruiser in courthouse parking lot

Author: Peter Burke, Managing Editor, pburke@local10.com
Neki Mohan, Reporter, Anchor, nmohan@Local10.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - 

 

A Broward County judge was arrested Tuesday on a charge of driving under the influence.
Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion said Judge Lynn Rosenthal was arrested after her BMW sport utility vehicle struck a parked BSO cruiser in the parking lot of the county courthouse.
According to the arrest report, Rosenthal admitted to taking Ambien, a sleep-inducing prescription drug, the night before.


Rosenthal told deputies she wasn't injured in the crash with the cruiser "or the crash from earlier in the morning," the report stated.
When asked about the other crash, Rosenthal said a truck tried to run her off Interstate 595 and she captured the incident on her cellphone.
The cellphone video showed Rosenthal's SUV drifting across the yellow lines and at one point showed it hitting a concrete barrier wall, the report said.
There was damage to the driver's side of the SUV and rear-view mirror.
Rosenthal, 56, was appointed to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida by Gov. Rick Scott in 2012. She previously worked as a federal prosecutor.
Her DUI arrest comes less than a month after another Broward County judge was arrested on DUI charges in Plantation. Judge Gisele Pollack was suspended from the bench without pay Friday by the Florida Supreme Court.
Rosenthal is campaigning to reclaim her seat on the bench in this year's election.

Broward County Judge Lynn Rosenthal




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

State Of Florida Budget Highest Ever, Higher Than Rick Scott's Original Proposal

Yesterday, May 2, 2014, the Florida Senate voted in favor of House Bill 5001, Florida’s 2014-2015 balanced budget. An official vote on the House Bill 5001, the General Appropriations Act, which followed the conclusion of the 72-hour cooling off period. The bill will now go to Florida Governor Rick Scott for his signature. The State of Florida is over $77 billion, the highest in the state's history, and much higher than Scott's original proposed budget. If Rick Scott signs the budget as passed, it should offer Scott opponent Adrian Wyllie fuel to nail Scott on failing his campaign promises.


“The General Appropriations Act proposed by our conference committees funds the critical needs of our state as well as strategic investments in our economy through enhanced funding for education, our transportation infrastructure, cultural and museum programs as well as funding to restore and preserve our environment, while also setting aside substantial savings for Florida’s future,” said Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville).
“The budget presented in the Senate today allocates funding to improve our child welfare system including significant increases in resources for child protective investigators and Florida’s community-based care agencies,” continued President Gaetz. “Funding to enhance services at Children’s Advocacy Centers, to facilitate the maximum current year expansion of the Guardian Ad Litem Program and to serve more Floridians on the Agency for Persons With Disabilities critical needs waiting list are all key components of Work Plan 2014, our joint House and Senate effort to protect Florida’s most vulnerable citizens. Additionally, this legislation rewards state universities that cement the link between education and jobs and allocates funding for increased student access to Career and Professional Education (CAPE) industry certification opportunities in order to advance the House and Senate efforts to expand economic opportunity through education.”
“Our proposed budget provides for $500 million in broad-based tax relief for hardworking Floridians while also setting aside more than $3 billion in reserves, totaling more than 10 percent of general revenue,” said Senator Negron (R-Stuart), chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
“The budget prepared by our conference committees invests an unprecedented amount of funding in K-12 education, increased student access and need-based opportunities across all levels of education, and enhanced funding for maintenance, repair and construction of education facilities across our state,” continued Senator Negron. “We also invested in Florida’s hard-working state employees. Through this legislation, our state court system employees and law enforcement officers will see a pay increases and the state will invest $586 million toward the unfunded actuarial liability of the Florida Retirement System.”
A detailed description of more than $1.3 billion appropriated to Florida’s Child Welfare System is attached by clicking here, http://gallery.mailchimp.com/9744bb4b520d67976590bee0e/files/Child_Welfare_Funding.pdf.
Overall Budget Summary:
Total Budget: Estimated $77.1 billion [$27.9 billion General Revenue (GR); $49.2 billion Trust Fund (TF)].
Total Reserves: $3.1 billion
  • $1.35 billion Working Capital
  • $214.5 million Budget Stabilization Transfer (Fiscal Year 2014-2015 transfer)
  • $923.3 million Budget Stabilization Fund (Estimated June 30, 2014 balance based on anticipated transfers)
  • $607 million Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund (Estimated June 30, 2014 balance)
Total Reserves as a Percentage of General Revenue: 10.3 percent
State Employee Compensation and Benefits
  • Pay increase for State Court System employees: $8.1 million ($5.6 million GR; $2.5 million TF)
  • Pay increase for Assistant State Attorneys, Assistant Public Defenders and Assistant Regional Councils: $11.3 million ($9.5 million GR; $1.8 million TF)
  • Pay Increase for State Law Enforcement Officers: $11.1 million ($2.3 million GR; $8.8 million TF)
Education Capital Outlay
Total: $1.95 billion ($5.3 million GR, $539.6 million in PECO TF, $41.1 million in other TF, $1.36 billion TF in required debt service)
  • Charter School Capital Outlay - $75 million PECO TF
  • Public School critical repairs and maintenance - $50 million PECO TF
  • Public School Special Facilities - $59.7 million PECO TF and other TF
  • Florida College System projects - $107.5 million PECO TF
  • Florida College System repairs and maintenance - $15 million PECO TF
  • University System projects - $159.6 million PECO TF
  • University System repairs and maintenance - $57.6 million PECO TF
  • University funding for capital improvement fee projects - $41.1 million TF
  • University Lab School maintenance - $4.8 million
  • Public Broadcasting maintenance - $2.2 million
  • Vocational-Technical facilities - $3 million
  • School for the Deaf and Blind critical repairs and maintenance - $1.1 million PECO TF
Civil and Criminal Justice
Total Budget: $4.66 billion ($3.87 billion GR; $787 million TF); 44,884.25 Full Time Equivalent (FTE)
  • Funds Guardian ad Litem staffing to support program’s plan to serve all children in dependency - $6.1 million GR, 105.5 FTE
  • Funds Children’s Advocacy Centers services, including medical team services - $3.5 million GR
  • Funds District Courts of Appeal critical maintenance and repairs, security enhancements, and partial construction of new DCA building - $10.7 million GR
  • Funds the Criminal Justice Estimating Conference’s (CJEC) prison population forecast for DOC in FY 2013-14 and FY 2014-15
Department of Legal Affairs
Total: $204.8 million ($52.7 million GR; $152.1 million TF); 1,313.50 FTE
  • Criminal appeals workload - $1 million GR, 10 FTE
  • Civil legal assistance to improve access to justice system - $2 million GR
  • Statewide prosecution - $522K GR, 2 FTE
  • Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Data Mining Initiative - $1.5 million GR
Department of Corrections
Total: $2.30 billion ($2.23 billion GR; $71.3 million TF); 23,729.00 FTE
  • Replacement of inmate transport vehicles - $500K GR
  • Restores critical salary lapse reductions in DOC’s institutions - $9 million GR
  • Officers to manage expected increase in inmate population - $22.3 million GR, 215 FTE
  • Support costs needed to operate DOC facilities to house additional inmates in FY 2014-15 - $17.4 million GR, 273 FTE
  • Electronic monitoring for work release inmates - $3 million GR
  • Automated time and attendance system for DOC facilities - $5 million GR
  • Additional 185 residential substance abuse beds - $3.3 million GR
  • Critical facility maintenance and repair - $5.3 million GR
Department of Law Enforcement
Total: $259.1 million ($98 million GR; $161.1 million TF); 1,769.00 FTE
  • Staffing for the increased workload in the firearm purchase verification program - $1.1 million TF, 18 FTE
  • Forensic equipment upgrade - $880K GR
  • Expand cybercrime capacity and capabilities – $925K, 9 FTE
  • Criminal Justice Standards and Training Trust Fund shortfall - $3.9 million GR
  • Final phase of the Biometric Identification System (fingerprint records system) - $1.9 million TF
Department of Juvenile Justice
Total: $551.4 million ($395.8 million GR; $155.6 million TF); 3,265.50 FTE
  • Provides funds to replace lost federal funds for behavioral health overlay and health services for non-secure residential programs - $18.2 million GR
  • PACE Center for Girls expansion - $2 million GR
  • CINS/FINS expansion in underserved areas - $3.4 million GR
  • Boys and Girls Clubs - $4.5 million GR
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters - $1.1 million GR
  • Critical facility maintenance and repair - $2.9 million GR
Supreme Court
Total: $31.3 million ($12.6 million GR; $18.7 million TF); 272.50 FTE
  • Case processing support - $76K GR, 1 FTE
District Courts of Appeal
Total: $54.6 million ($36.9 million GR; $17.8 million TF); 445.00 FTE
  • Three new DCA judgeships – $1.4 million GR, 12 FTE
  • Critical maintenance and repairs, security enhancements, and partial construction of new DCA building - $10.1 million GR
Trial Courts
Total: $405.5 million ($329.4 million GR; $76.1 million TF); 3,595.00 FTE
  • Enhanced services at Children’s Advocacy Centers - $3.5 million GR
  • Post-adjudicatory drug court - $5.5 million GR
  • Veterans’ courts - $1.0 million GR
Justice Administrative Commission
Total: $93.8 million ($92.9 million GR; $939K TF); 97.00 FTE
  • Staffing to improve timeliness of financial reporting and customer service - $203K GR, 3 FTE
  • Case management system - $375K GR
  • Flat fee increases to eight critical case types - $1.0 million GR
Guardian Ad Litem
Total: $43.4 million ($43.1 million GR; $320K TF); 695.50 FTE
  • Staffing to support program’s plan to serve all children in dependency - $6.1 million GR, 105.5 FTE
State Attorneys
Total: $425 million ($329.1 million GR; $95.9 TF); 6,079.25 FTE
  • Crimes against the elderly prosecution unit - $162K GR, 3 FTE
  • Drug diversion unit - $700K TF, 11 FTE
Public Defenders
Total: $207.6 million ($172.2 million GR; $35.4 TF); 2,801.00 FTE
  • Cross circuit representation pilot project - $205K GR, 2 FTE
Capital Collateral Regional Councils
Total: $8.9 million ($8.3 million GR; $609K TF); 82.00 FTE
  • Workload to address increased cases in CCRC-North - $387K GR, 3 FTE
Regional Conflict Counsel
Total: $41.5 million ($40.5 million GR; $1.0 million TF); 413.00 FTE
  • Due process - $300K GR
  • IT infrastructure replacement - $230K GR
Education
Total Appropriations: $18.8 billion ($14.5 billion GR; $4.3 billion TF)
Total Funding - Including Local Revenues: $29.8 billion ($18.8 billion state funds; $11 billion local)
Early Learning Services
Total: $1 billion ($555.6 million GR; $466.1 million TF)
  • Voluntary Prekindergarten Program - $396.1 million GR; $54 Increase in the BSA
  • School Readiness Program - $625.6 million ($159.5 million GR; $466.1 million TF)
Public Schools/K12 FEFP
Total Funding: $18.9 billion ($10.7 billion state funds; $8.2 billion local)
  • FEFP Increase is $575 million or 3.14%
  • FEFP Increase in Funds per FTE is $176 or 2.61%
  • Enrollment Workload Increase - $54.5 million
  • Additional Funds for Florida Retirement System Adjustments - $46.2 million GR
  • No increase in millage
  • High School and Middle School Industry Certifications – additional $30 million
  • Digital Classrooms Allocation - $40 million
  • Extended Day Program for Intensive Reading Expanded to 300 Elementary Schools – $90 million
  • Funds for Dual Enrollment Instructional Materials - $10 million
Public Schools/K12 Non-FEFP
  • Mentoring Programs - $23.1 million GR
  • Programs to Enhance Schools and Instruction - $30 million GR
  • Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts - $18.4 million GR
  • Superintendent’s Training - $500,000 GR; additional $500,000 for specialized training for student acceleration options
  • School District Matching Grants - $4.5 million GR
  • Florida School for the Deaf & Blind - $50 million ($45.4 million GR; $4.6 million TF)
District Workforce
Total: $538.5 million ($293.5 million GR; $196.1 million TF; $48.9 million tuition/fees)
  • Workforce Development - $369.5 million ($287.1 million GR, $82.4 million TF), all tech centers and adult education programs fully funded
  • CAPE Incentive Funds for Industry Certifications in Targeted Occupational Areas, including Health Science and Information Technology - $5 million GR
Florida College System
Total: $2.0 billion ($892.1 million GR; $254.9 million TF; $840.7 million tuition/fees)
  • Equalization Funding - $5 million GR
  • Compression Funding - $15.5 million GR
  • Florida Retirement System Adjustments - $4.8 million
  • GRAPE Incentive Funds for Industry Certifications in Targeted Occupational Areas, including Health Science and Information Technology - $5 million GR
State University System
Total: $4.4 billion ($2.2 billion GR; $289.9 million TF; $1.9 billion tuition/fees)
  • Performance Based Funding - $200 million
    • $100 million new funds GR
    • $100 million reprioritization of base funds GR
  • Florida Retirement System Adjustments - $7.6 million GR
  • Plant Operations and Maintenance - $6.2 million
  • University Research Preeminence Increase – $10 million GR
  • Florida Institute for Child Welfare - $1 million
Private Colleges
Total: $160 million GR
  • Florida Resident Access Grant - Workload Increase and Student Award Level Increase for Legacy and Newly Eligible Institutions - $22.7 million
  • ABLE Grant - Workload Increase and Student Award Level Increase - $2.4 million GR
  • Embry Riddle - Career Academy Partnerships - $3 million GR
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities - $3.3 million additional funds GR
Student Financial Aid
Total: $476 million ($97.7 million GR, $378.3 million TF)
  • Florida Student Assistance Grant Increase – $15 million ($8.5 million GR; $6.4 million TF)
  • Children/Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans Workload Increase - $219,783
  • Florida National Merit Scholarship Incentive Program - $2.8 million GR
  • Need-based educational benefits to pay living expenses during semester breaks for active duty and honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces - $1 million
  • Rosewood Family Scholarship Program - Workload Increase and Award Level Increase - $196,747
Vocational Rehabilitation
Total: $250.4 million ($61.8 million GR, $188.6 million TF)
  • Additional funds to eliminate the program’s waiting lists for individuals with the most significant disabilities - $44 million ($16.9 million GR, $27 million TF)
Health and Human Services
Total Budget: $31,877.9 million ($8,269.9 million GR; $23,608.1 million TF); 33,088.57 FTE
Agency for Health Care Administration
Total: $24,586.1 million ($5,478.3 million GR; $19,107.8 million TF); 1,644 FTE
  • Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program - $156.6 million TF
  • Personal Needs Allowance - $18.4 million GR; $21.8 million TF
(Individuals in Residential Care from $35 to $105 per month)
Statement from President Gaetz on the 2014-15 State Budget Tripling the Personal Needs Allowance
“For these vulnerable Floridians, $35 a month – $1.16 per day – is the only money they have at their personal discretion. This is the only money they have to call their children, send a birthday card to their grandchildren, buy a candy bar or get a haircut. We can do better, and through this budget we will.
“This appropriation has no special interests behind it, no lobbyists hired to advocate for it, and no campaign to pass it. The personal needs allowance is for our mothers and fathers, our grandparents and elders who built Florida and now look to us for basic decency that allows them to maintain their dignity.”
  • Long-Term Care Managed Care Waiver Program - $5.1 million GR; $7.5 million TF (approximately 823 individuals)
  • Private Duty Nursing Services Rate Increase 5% - $2.2 million GR; $3.3 million TF
  • Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapies Rate Increase 5.3% - $4.0 million GR; $6 million TF
  • Medicaid Assistive Care Services Rate Increase – $3.4 million GR; 5.0 million TF
  • Pediatric Physician Fees Rate Increase - $3.4 million GR; 5.0 million TF
  • Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Centers (PPECs) Rate Increase - $1.6 million GR; $2.4 million TF
Department of Elder Affairs
Total: $294.6 million ($126.5 million GR; $168.1 million TF); 440.5 FTE
  • PACE Program– $5.3 million GR; $7.7 million TF (600 new slots)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Waitlist - $4 million GR (approximately 400 individuals)
  • Community Care for the Elderly Program - $5 million GR (approximately 901 individuals)
  • Local Elderly Meals and Community Based Programs - $5.3 million GR
  • Alzheimer’s Community Services - $1.7 million GR
Agency for Persons with Disabilities
Total: $1,153.5 million ($491.7 million GR; $661.8 million TF); 2,865.5 FTE
  • Transition Wait List Individuals to the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver (approximately 1,260 individuals) – $8.1 million GR, $11.9 million TF
  • Fair Hearings Workload – $2.3 million GR, $2.3 million TF
  • Supported Employment Services for Wait List Individuals – $.5 million GR
  • Adult Day Training 2% Provider Rate Increase – $.5 million GR; $.8 million TF
  • State Facilities Repairs and Maintenance – $2 million GR; $.6 million TF
  • Billy Joe Rish State Park Improvements – $1 million GR
Department of Children and Families
Total: $2,884.9 million ($1,641.7 million GR; $1,243.2 million TF); 11,863.5 FTE
  • Child Welfare System (See attached spreadsheet for complete list):
    • Child Protective Investigations Workload – 270 FTE; $16.1 million GR; 2.5 million TF
    • Sheriff’s Child Protective Investigations – $8.1 million GR
    • Community Based Care Agencies Services – $10 million GR
    • Healthy Families Program Expansion – $5 million GR
    • Family Intensive Treatment Teams – $5 million GR
    • Human Trafficking Victim Services – $3 million GR
    • Data Analytics and Information Sharing Initiative – $2 million GR
  • Maintenance Adoption Subsidies – $20.2 million GR, $8.5 million TF
  • Children’s Mental Health Community Action (CAT) Teams– $11.3 million GR
  • Substance Abuse Services for Pregnant Women – $10 million GR
  • Community Based Care Agencies – $1.3 million GR; $6 million TF
  • Medicaid Eligibility System Technology Improvements – $4.8 million TF
  • Adult Community Mental Health Funding – $4 million GR
  • Adult/Children Community Substance Abuse Funding – $3.6 million GR
  • Mental Health Transition Beds – $3 million GR
  • County Criminal Justice Mental Health Grant – $3 million GR
  • Domestic Violence Services – $2 million GR; $.5 million TF
  • Identity/Asset Verification Services – $3 million TF
  • Healthy Families Program Funding – $2 million GR
  • State Mental Health Treatment Facilities Repairs and Maintenance – $2.3 million TF
Department of Health
Total: $2,844.5 million ($520.9 million GR; $2,324 million TF); 15,171.57 FTE
  • Florida Cancer Center Funding - $35.9 million GR
  • County Health Departments and State Laboratories Fixed Capital Repairs – $5 million GR; $13.8 million TF
  • Medical Quality Assurance Licensure and Enforcement Information Database (LEID) System Upgrade – $4.4 million TF
  • Early Steps Program – $3.6 million GR
  • Alzheimer’s Research - $3 million GR
  • Cancer Research Endowments – $2 million GR
  • Ounce of Prevention – $1.9 million GR
  • Waitlist for Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program Medicaid Waiver – $.2 million GR; $.4 million TF
Department of Veterans Affairs
Total: $114 million ($10.8 million GR; $103.2 million TF); 1,103.5 FTE
  • Construction of New State Veterans’ Nursing Home – $11 million TF
  • Maintenance and Repair of State Veterans’ Nursing Homes and Domiciliary – $7.8 million TF
  • Workforce Training Grant Program – $2 million GR
  • Entrepreneur Training Initiative – $1 million GR
General Government
Total Budget: $5.4 billion ($794.7 million GR; $4.6 billion TF); 20,221 FTE
Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Total: $ 1.5 billion ($185.1 million GR; $1.4 billion TF); 3,582 FTE
  • Wildfire Suppression Equipment $3 million GR
  • Citrus Research and Budwood Program $2 million GR and $4 million TF
  • Florida Agriculture Promotion Campaign $.4 million GR and $4 million TF
  • Hybrid Wetland Treatment Projects $10.5 million GR
  • Lake Okeechobee Restoration Projects $10 million GR
  • Agriculture Best Management Practices $8.4 million TF
  • Agriculture Livestock Markets, Pavilions, and Centers $3.3 million GR
  • Citrus Health Response Program $.1 million GR and $7.1 million TF
  • Rural and Family Lands Protection Program $5 million TF
  • Farm Share and Food Banks $2.5 million GR
  • Oyster Rehabilitation & Best Management Practices $7.7 million TF
  • Child Nutrition Program Grants $2.6 million TF
  • State Farmers’ Markets Maintenance and Repairs $.5 million GR and 1.4 million TF
Department of Business & Professional Regulation
Total: $147.5 million ($.4 million GR; $147.1 million TF); 1,616 FTE
  • Florida State Boxing Commission $.2 million GR
  • Visit Florida $.5 million TF
  • Unlicensed Activity Program 4 positions and $1.1 million TF
  • Pari-Mutuel Laboratory Equipment Replacement $.4 million TF
Department of Citrus
Total: $52.3 million ($.5 million GR; $51.8 million TF); 55 FTE
Department of Environmental Protection
Total: $1.6 billion ($285.8 million GR; $1.3 billion TF); 3,095 FTE
  • Beach Projects $25.4 million GR and $21.8 million TF
  • Springs Restoration $30 million GR (includes $5m in DACS)
  • Florida Keys Wastewater Treatment Plan $50 million TF
  • Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin $232 million GR & TF
(includes $4.2 million Water Projects for Loxahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers and $90 million in the FY 2014-2015 FDOT Work Program for Tamiami Trail)
Statement from Senator Negron Regarding Funding for the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin
“The problems caused by ongoing releases from Lake Okeechobee are a plague on the environment, our economy, and the health of our friends and neighbors, and I am pleased that the Senate and House came together to lay the groundwork for a resolution. The budget passed today exceeds the level of funding originally outlined in our Senate Select Committee Report.
“This critical funding will enable our communities – including those to the North, South, and West of the lake, to address short-term water management initiatives, while continuing to pursue long-term strategies. In addition to funding recommendations of the Senate Select Committee, lawmakers agreed to fund over $2 million for the Loxahatchee River Preservation Initiative as well as more than $2 million for the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon Issues Team. This summer, the Florida Senate will commission a study by the University of Florida Water Institute to evaluate basin wide water management policies and activities and identify options for additional state, federal and local action to improve water management, including alternatives to discharges from Lake Okeechobee.”
  • Florida Forever $10 million GR and $47.5 million TF
  • Petroleum Tanks Cleanup Program $110 million TF
  • Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) $9.4 million TF
  • Drinking Water & Wastewater Revolving Loan Programs $13.5 million GR and $225.2 million TF
  • Small County Wastewater Treatment Grants $21 million TF
  • State Parks Maintenance & Repairs $19.7 million TF
  • Local Parks $3.1 million GR and $.8 million TF
  • Nonmandatory Land Reclamation $4.2 million TF
  • Water Projects $88.5 million GR
  • Dispersed Water Storage $10 million GR
  • Water Management District Operations $5 million TF
  • Management of Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) $3m TF
Department of Financial Services
Total: $325.4 million ($23.3 million GR; $302.1 million TF); 2,613 FTE
  • Fire College and Arson Lab Repairs and Maintenance $3.5 million TF
  • Arson Lab Information System Replacement $.3 million TF
  • Florida Accounting & Information Resource (FLAIR) Replacement 22 positions and $9 million TF
  • Risk Management Information System $2.2 million TF
  • FSU Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center $1 million TF
  • FIU Public Hurricane Model and Wall of Wind $1.9 million TF
Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Total: $361.3 million ($34.4 million GR; $329.9 million TF); 2,113 FTE
  • Boating Infrastructure and Improvement Program $.2 million TF and $5.1 million TF
  • Artificial Fishing Reef Construction $1.1 million GR and $.8 million TF
  • Lionfish Bounty, Outreach, and Control $.4 million GR and $.3 million TF
  • Invasive and Aquatic Plant Management $3 million TF
  • Florida Conservation and Technology Center $3 million GR
  • Red Tide Research $.6 million GR
  • Lake Restoration $6.4 million TF
  • Land Management and Improvements $2.8 million TF
Department of the Lottery
Total: $163.5 million TF; 420 FTE
  • Replacement of Motor Vehicles $.9 million TF
Department of Management Services
Total: $671.3 million ($49.7 million GR; $621.6 million TF); 1,312 FTE
  • Florida Facilities Pool Repairs and Maintenance $21.5 million GR and $8.2 million TF
  • Facilities Management System $4 million TF
  • Florida Interoperability Network and Mutual Aid $3.5 million GR
  • People First Procurement Assistance $.5 million TF
  • Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System Study $1 million TF
  • Non-FRS Pension Benefits $.2 million GR
  • Data Center Operations and Infrastructure $7.8 million ($2.1 million GR)
  • Florida Commission on Human Relations Relocation $.8 million GR
  • Public Employees Relations Commission Relocation $.3 million GR
Public Service Commission
Total: $25.2 million ($25.2 million TF); 283 FTE
Department of Revenue
Total: $559.4 million ($208.7 million GR; $350.7 million TF); 5,133 FTE
  • Fiscally Constrained Counties $23.5 million GR
  • One Stop Business Registration Portal $.8 million GR
  • Aerial Photography $.2 million
Transportation Tourism and Economic Development
Total Budget: $12.17 billion ($207.96 million GR; $11.96 billion TF); 13,561.5 FTE
  • Transportation Work Program - $9.2 billion TF
  • Affordable Housing Programs - $167.7 million TF
  • Economic Development Incentive Programs - $71 million TF
  • Economic Development Partners (EFI, Visit Florida, Space Florida, etc.) - $118.9 million
  • Florida Highway Patrol Law Enforcement Positions - $3.5 million; 28 FTE
  • Library Grants and Assistance - $32.8 million GR
  • Cultural Programs, Grants and Facilities - $55.2 million GR
  • Historic Preservation Grants - $16.7 million GR
  • National Guard Tuition Assistance - $3.4 million
Department of Economic Opportunity
Total: $1.1 billion ($37.4 million GR; $1.1 billion TF); 1,619.5 FTE
  • Economic Development Partners – $118.9 million
    • Enterprise Florida (EFI) - $8.6 million TF
    • EFI – International Trade & Promotion - $6.8 million TF
    • Florida Sports Foundation - $4.5 million TF
    • VISIT Florida - $74 million TF
    • Space Florida - $19.5 million ($2 million GR; 17.5 million TF)
    • Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research - $5.5 million TF
  • Economic Development Incentive Programs - $71 million TF
  • Economic Development Projects and Initiatives - $13.9 million ($1 million GR; $12.9 million TF)
  • Quick Response Training - $12.1 million
  • Workforce Development Projects - $4.8 million ($1.2 million GR; $3.6 million TF)
  • Florida Defense Support Task Force - $3.5 million
  • Military Base Protection & Defense Infrastructure - $2.6 million
  • Affordable Housing Programs - $167.7 million
  • SHIP - $100 million ($96 million allocated to local governments; $4 million allocated for homeless programs through the Dept. of Children and Families)
  • State Housing Programs, including SAIL - $67.7 million (with $10 million allocated for competitive grants for housing for the disabled)
  • Community Planning – Technical Assistance to Local Governments - $1.6 million
  • Housing & Community Development Projects - $42.5 million ($26.7 million GR; $15.8 million TF)
Division of Emergency Management
Total: $230.6 million ($1.9 million GR; $228.7 million TF) 157.0 FTE
  • Federally Declared Disaster Funding (including state match) - $159.3 million TF
Department of State
Total: $162.5 million ($132.4 million GR; $30.0 million TF) 408.0 FTE
  • State Aid to Libraries - $27.4 million GR ($22.3 million recurring)
  • Library Cooperative Grants - $2 million GR
  • State Touring Program - $200,000 GR
  • All Major Grant Program Approved Lists are fully funded:
    • Cultural & Museum Program Grants - $24. 1 million GR ($5 million is recurring)
    • Culture Builds Florida - Project Grants - $1.2 million GR
    • Cultural Endowment Grants - $6.9 million GR
    • Cultural Facilities Grants - $10.8 million GR
    • Historic Preservation Small Matching Grants - $1.8 million GR ($1.5 million is recurring)
    • Historic Preservation Special Category Grants - $14.3 million GR
  • Historic properties maintenance and repairs - $640,000 ($500,000 is recurring)
Department of Transportation
Total: $10.1 billion ($12.0 million GR, $10.1 billion TF) 6,504 FTE
  • Transportation Work Program - $9.2 billion TF
    • Highway Construction - $3.9 billion TF
    • County Transportation Programs - $158 million TF
    • Aviation Grants - $337 million TF
    • Seaport and Intermodal Development Grants - $ 184 million TF; $12 million GR
    • Public Transit and Rail Development - $9 million TF
    • Coast to Coast Connector Trail - $26.5 million TF
Department of Military Affairs
Total: $100.1 million ($24.2 million GR; $75.9 million TF); 459 FTE
  • Tuition Assistance for Florida National Guard - $3 million GR
  • Community Outreach Programs (Forward March and About Face) - $2 million GR
  • Armory Maintenance and Repair - $1.7 million GR (with an additional $12.5 million funded in SB 860, the “GI Bill”)
  • Camp Blanding Construction - Special Forces Headquarters - $2.5 million GR
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Total: $435.5 million TF; 4,414 FTE
  • Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) –
    • 28 New FHP Law Enforcement Officers - $3.5 million TF
    • Replacement of 312 FHP Pursuit Vehicles - $9 million TF
    • Trooper Incidental and Court Overtime Pay - $2 million TF

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Cascading Orgy Of Greed Of Florida Governor Rick Scott

Cuba Journal

The State of Florida, under Repugnant and Republican Rick Scott has declared war on poor people. His administration rejected expanding the state Medicare program for those who have a medical need.
Why?
Because the money would have come from the Federal government and because he and his state GOP serve the interests of capitalist millionaires and billionaires. For him and his shameful party, money should flow to the top of the wealthy elites who bring never-ending-shame to what used to be the Great State of Florida.
Florida Repug Governor Rick Scott
 
You are a despicable character, Rick Scott! Thousands of poor people will die because of your misguided and shameful actions.
One day you will have to answer to a Higher Power, and you will be condemned, forever and ever, to the eternal flames of hell.
In the meantime, we the voters of the State of Florida, will make sure that this coming November you will become a ONE TERM GOERNOR.
We will send you a flying shoe which will be aimed for your ugly bald head.


Monday, April 21, 2014

The Worst Governor In Florida History: Rick Scott!

Florida Governor Rick Scott may have gained less attention than other “Bully” Republican Governors elected in 2010, but he is, in many ways, the absolutely worst governor in America, and easily, the worst Governor Florida has ever had in modern history!
Florida has had some really outstanding Governors, including Leroy Collins (1955-1961); Reubin Askew (1971-1979); Bob Graham (1979-1987); Lawton Chiles (1991-1999); and Charlie Crist (2007-2011). Republican Governors Claude Kirk (1967-1971) and Bob Martinez (1987-1991) both lost re-election and were controversial. Jeb Bush (1999-2007) had his controversies, but did an excellent job dealing with eight hurricanes during his time in office.
Rick Scott came into office with the record of having paid a record fine for his Medicare corruption as the leader of the nation’s largest hospital chain, and should have gone to prison instead, for his misdeeds. He won the Governorship by only 50,000 votes, the smallest margin in Florida history.
Scott spent $73 million of his own money to get himself elected, despite a personality that was and is a turn off to most people who have any intelligence or compassion for others. It was an example of how backward Floridians were, that they would allow a convicted felon to become their Governor.

Scott has done massive damage on voting rights, privacy rights, public schools and higher education, environmental protection, and health care. His party controls three fourths of the seats in the legislature, and has taken Florida backwards at a time when it is about to become the third largest state in population.
Scott has made it harder for Florida citizens to vote; for those who are unemployed to gain unemployment compensation; for renters to avoid eviction; and made it easier for borrowers to be charged high interest rates on short term loans.
Scott has refused to accept Medicaid money for the poor, despite the fact that the federal government will pay all the costs for three years, and 90 percent after that. He fought ObamaCare tooth and nail, and still makes it difficult for citizens to apply for it.
Scott rejected federal money for high speed rail, while creating another state university, Florida Polytechnic University, which undermines the University of South Florida market for students. His administration spends less per public school student than when he took office, and promotes private charter schools over public schools. He has undermined respect for a liberal arts education, and teachers at all levels have been treated with disrespect by his education policies.
Scott has undermined the environment protections put into effect by his predecessors, and sees Florida as equivalent of a corporation that needs to be given freedom to abuse in every way possible, including health insurance rates, higher electric rates, and tax breaks for businesses that have not created the promised number of jobs.
Scott has demonstrated little concern for individual rights, wanting drug testing for state employees and welfare recipients; purging voter rolls, and restricting early voting. Luckily, there has been reaction against these ideas by courts, county elections supervisors, and the public.
The man has no compassion or empathy, and comes across as a cold, calculating individual, and it makes one wonder how Floridians could possibly consider him for a second term, but Scott is willing to spend whatever it takes to fool people, and to keep the vote numbers down by any means he can conjure up.
Scott gains less attention nationally than Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and other “Bully” Governors, all of whom are considered Presidential possibilities, but IF Rick Scott is re-elected, do not be surprised if he tries to bring his corruption, mean spirit, callousness, and lack of empathy or compassion to a national campaign for President.

One might say, wait, there is already Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio as potential candidates for President from Florida! The answer is: So What? Scott has never let ego or ethics get in his way in the past, and do not be surprised he might mount a national campaign if he defeats former Governor Charlie Crist, who has switched parties, and faces a massive challenge to be elected Governor as a Democrat, in a state with such a large Republican dominance in the state legislature!
The problem is that, even if Crist were to win, he is likely to face a hardline legislature, where only his veto might sometimes be effective, as Florida politics now represents one of the most backward agendas of any state, despite the fact that the state has nearly 20 million citizens, including many elderly, poor, sick, and disabled!
This is NOT a state where anyone who has a choice to move would decide to remain. YES, the weather is great, but the future for the elderly, the poor, the sick and the disabled, and for children in general, is gloomy!
Maryland, anyone?
http://www.theprogressiveprofessor.com/?p=22256

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

If Gov. Rick Scott Only Had A Heart


This time four years ago Rick Scott was a stranger to Floridians. Then he spent $73 million on his first political campaign and rode an angry voter wave to the Governor's Mansion. For Florida, this has been a hostile takeover by the former CEO of the nation's largest hospital chain. In three years Scott has done more harm than any modern governor, from voting rights to privacy rights, public schools to higher education, environmental protection to health care. One more legislative session and a $100 million re-election campaign will not undo the damage.
This is the tin man as governor, a chief executive who shows no heartfelt connection to the state, appreciation for its values or compassion for its residents. Duke Energy is charging its electric customers billions for nuclear plants that were botched or never built. Homeowners are being pushed out of the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and into private insurers with higher premiums and no track records. Federal flood insurance rates are soaring so high that many property owners cannot afford the premiums but also cannot sell their homes. The governor sides with the electric utilities and property insurers. He criticizes the president rather than fellow Republicans in Congress for failing to fix the flood insurance fiasco they helped create.
In Scott's Florida, it is harder for citizens to vote and for the jobless to collect unemployment. It is easier for renters to be evicted and for borrowers to be charged high interest rates on short-term loans. It is harder for patients to win claims against doctors who hurt them and for consumers to get fair treatment from car dealers who deceive them. It is easier for businesses to avoid paying taxes, building roads and repairing environmental damage.
Florida's modern political era began in 1954 with the election of Gov. LeRoy Collins, who skillfully steered the state through the early years of desegregation and is widely regarded as the state's greatest governor. Other governors from both political parties had an instinctive feel for Florida and a passion to help its people. In the 1970s, there was Reubin Askew. In the 1980s, Bob Graham. In the 1990s, Lawton Chiles. In the 2000s, Jeb Bush. There were some mediocre and average governors along the way, but even the least of them demonstrated a deep affection for this state and its residents.
Scott, who moved to Naples just seven years before running for governor, treats Florida like another faceless corporate acquisition to be dismantled and repackaged. Collins created the community college system; Scott ordered the colleges to create a gimmick, a handful of bachelor's degrees that can be purchased for $10,000. Askew established the water management districts and reformed the appointment process for judges; Scott gutted the former and injected more politics into the latter. Gov. Bob Martinez pushed ambitious efforts to manage growth and preserve environmentally sensitive land; Scott decimated both.
The state's refusal to accept billions in federal money illustrates how this governor ignores the needs of everyday residents. He fought the federal Affordable Care Act all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost. He stood by as the Legislature turned down $51 billion in federal money to help cover 1 million uninsured residents, and now he refuses to reaffirm even his tepid support for taking the money. Tens of thousands of Floridians are signing up for health coverage in the federal marketplace in spite of a governor who refuses to help them.
Scott's decision to reject $2.4 billion in federal money for high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando was just as callous. At a time when the region was desperate for more jobs, Scott dismissed federal guarantees and let the money go to other states. He called high-speed rail financially risky but then approved far riskier projects to please powerful state legislators. He embraced the expensive SunRail project in Central Florida and the creation of Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, a boondoggle that diminished the University of South Florida and will cost taxpayers dearly for generations.
This governor shows little respect for individual rights. He advocated drug testing for state employees and welfare recipients; the courts ruled against him. He pursued a purge of voter rolls that threatened to disenfranchise minority voters; the county elections supervisors revolted. He signed into law restrictions on early voting; the public outcry forced changes.
Scott sides with developers seeking an easier time building their projects, utilities winning routine approval of higher electric rates and health insurers that now need no state approval to raise rates. For homeowners, there is less protection from leaking septic tanks. For motorists stuck in traffic, the governor's solution is more toll roads.
The state spends less per public school student than when Scott took office. Parents and teachers have lost faith in a school accountability system in chaos. College students hear the governor's disdain for a liberal arts education as he demands results on the cheap. Meanwhile, Scott eagerly promises hundreds of millions in tax breaks to businesses pledging to create jobs in future years. His administration approved nearly 350 job creation deals in his first three years in office, but only four jobs have been created for every 100 promised.
The son of a truck driver and a store clerk, Scott grew up poor, lived in public housing for a time and worked his way through law school. He moved to Florida as the former head of a hospital company that paid a record fine for Medicare fraud, and he got himself elected to the state's highest office. Yet the governor who overcame so much adversity himself shows remarkably little empathy for Floridians and their everyday challenges as they seek a brighter future for themselves and their children. Scott's soulless approach to governing is turning the Sunshine State into a cold-hearted place, where the warm promise of a fresh start and a fair shake are fading fast.
LeRoy Collins, 1955-1961
The native Floridian and former legislator was Florida's greatest governor. The Democrat steered the state into desegregation with a moderate voice, created the community college system, and argued for fair legislative districts and a new Constitution.
Farris Bryant, 1961-1965
The native Floridian and former House speaker led efforts to let the state borrow money for college construction and land purchases. The Democrat was tarnished by controversy over refinancing turnpike bonds and sent Florida backward on racial tolerance.
Haydon Burns, 1965-1967
The Democrat was a former Jacksonville mayor/commissioner. Served two undistinguished years as governor before losing a bid for re-election.
Claude Kirk, 1967-1971
The Florida insurance and investment executive became the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Known for his colorful personality and strong environmental record in a turbulent time of war protests and a teacher strike. Often fought with Democrats controlling Legislature and lost bid for re-election.
Reubin Askew, 1971-1979
Ranked just behind Collins among great governors, the Democrat and former legislator oversaw tax reform, the creation of water management districts and open-government reforms. Completed school desegregation, helped defeat efforts to allow casinos and worked to reform tarnished judiciary by pushing for merit retention of judges.
Bob Graham, 1979-1987
The native Floridian and former legislator led efforts to protect the Everglades, beaches and wetlands. Pushed to elevate higher education and dealt with influx of Cuban refugees. The Democrat served three terms in the U.S. Senate.
Bob Martinez, 1987-1991
The native Floridian and former Tampa mayor pushed environmental efforts to clean up Tampa Bay and other waters and buy sensitive lands. Implemented progressive growth management. The Republican reversed position on a tax on services and forced its repeal. Lost bid for re-election.
Lawton Chiles, 1991-1998
The native Floridian and former U.S. senator championed campaign finance reform and children's initiatives. Guided state through Hurricane Andrew recovery. The Democrat sued tobacco companies and won billions in a settlement.
Jeb Bush, 1999-2007
Active in Miami politics, the son of a former president overhauled public education with high-stakes testing and school letter grades. The Republican pushed school vouchers and record tax cuts. Ably led the state through eight hurricanes.
Charlie Crist, 2007-2011
The former legislator and Cabinet member pushed tax cuts and Everglades restoration efforts. The Republican vetoed bills ending teacher tenure and restricting abortion rights, and championed easier restoration of rights for felons. Signed law gutting growth management. Unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate as an independent and now running for governor as a Democrat.
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/the-tin-man-if-the-governor-only-had-a-heart/2167877