The Buzz on Florida politics

Hurricane Imra
NFL Protests
State Legislature

Latest Buzz on Florida politics

WASHINGTON - Roger Stone plans to tell House investigators Tuesday that his reputation as a “dirty trickster” may make him a target but he vehemently denies colluding with Russians to help friend Donald Trump.

“While some may label me a dirty trickster, the members of this Committee could not point to any tactic that is outside the accepted norms of what political strategists and consultants do today,” reads Stone‘s opening statement, a copy of which was provided to the Tampa Bay Times. “I do not engage in any illegal activities on behalf of my clients or the causes in which I support. There is one ’trick’ that is not in my bag and that is treason.”

Stone, who lives in Fort Lauderdale and New York, is to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, though not in public session.

Keep reading   2 min. read  

WASHINGTON – Rep. Matt Gaetz is at 35 one of the youngest members of Congress and sits in a very safe district. But the prestige of the job has worn off quick.

“It’s considerably worse than I expected,” says the freshman from Florida.

“After Donald Trump won and we had Republican control of the government there were very high expectations for bold, conservative reform and I believe we’ve fallen short of those expectations,” the panhandle Republican said in an interview.

Keep reading   3 min. read  

If you have any ideas about the future of Florida after the storm, you now have until Oct. 6 to prepare your pitch to the Constitution Revision Commission.

The powerful panel meets every 20 years and has the authority to put constitutional amendments directly on the November 2018 ballot. On Monday, its rules committee tentatively extended the deadline for Floridians to submit ideas. The previous deadline of Sept. 22 was postponed because of Hurricane Irma.

After months of public hearings around the state, the commission has already received more than 1,400 proposals from the public through its public web site,, said Tim Cerio, chair of CRC’s Rules and Administration Committee.

Keep reading   30-second read  

As mountains of storm debris pile up in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott is calling in reinforcements by mobilizing National Guard troops to clear away trash in hard-hit Monroe County in the Keys.

Scott said 400 Guard troops and 40 trucks will help clear away debris in residential areas where Keys residents are blocked from returning to their homes. He said 6,000 roof tarps are also on their way to the Keys.

In Marathon Monday, Scott criticized private haulers for not showing up.

Keep reading   90-second read  

In a special election on Tuesday, voters in southwest Miami-Dade County will determine the successors for two seats in the state Legislature that opened up after a Miami Republican senator was forced to resign last spring when he made racist and insulting remarks in front of fellow senators at a bar near the state Capitol.

The fight for the District 40 Senate seat — formerly held by Frank Artiles, who stepped down in April — has been highly competitive for what it could mean, particularly for Democrats: The chance to flip the seat and narrow Republicans’ current 24-15 advantage in the chamber.

The House District 116 seat is also on the ballot, because Florida’s “resign to run” law required Miami Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz to vacate that seat when he chose to run in the District 40 contest.

Keep reading   30-second read  
Support quality political insight.

Do you like our redesigned Politics Section?

Thank you!

Anything we can do even better?

Oh no.

Please tell us how we can improve.

Improving your reading experience is our goal.

Over the next few months, we will add additional sections. Your feedback will help us do a better job. Thank you.

WASHINGTON - Florida Rep. Brian Mast, a veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan, says any NFL player that takes a knee during the national anthem “should already be gone,” adopting the stance of President Donald Trump.

“The NFL doles out penalties for celebrating a touchdown, but won’t require respect for our flag?” Mast, R-Palm City, wrote Monday on Facebook. “I have taken a knee after jumping out of a helicopter as we looked for the enemy, taken a knee in front of the Soldiers Cross as we mourned a fallen brother and taken a knee in church. Any player who has taken a knee to protest this great country during its anthem should already be gone.”

The post drew a range of reactions.

Keep reading   30-second read  

WASHINGTON - A Florida-led effort on climate change gained new momentum on Monday with the addition of two more House members.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park, joined the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus along with Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., bringing to 58 the number of members in the group.

“Climate change poses a threat to Florida’s economy and our way of life, but it also presents an opportunity for the state to step up and lead on this issue,” said Murphy. “Clean air and water shouldn’t be a partisan issue, which is why I’m proud to join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. By working together across party lines, we’re leading the fight to reduce our carbon footprint, create well-paying clean energy jobs, and support research that addresses the threat to our communities.”

Keep reading   30-second read  

Orlando entrepreneur and Democratic candidate for governor Chris King will visit three Florida college Democrat groups tomorrow to discuss ballot access issues, he announced in a release.

The candidate will meet with groups at Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of North Florida in a whirlwind, National Voter Registration Day mini tour of the state.

Read his full release here:

Keep reading   One minute read  

Beyond the Buzz

Out of sight, out of mind
Aaron Richardson Jr., now 29, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was arrested for carjacking in 2011. While in custody he lost both his sight and hearing.
Hurricane Irma
How the slightest shift kept Hurricane Irma from turning into an even worse disaster

WASHINGTON - Ongoing controversy over the care of senior citizens during Hurricane Irma has triggered a call for a Congressional panel to study ways to provide better care and avoid deaths.

Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, on Monday introduced the “Protecting Seniors During Disasters Act,” to analyze how senior citizens and nursing home residents can be better cared for during natural disasters. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“The shocking reality of 11 gruesome deaths at a South Florida nursing home after Hurricane Irma ripped through our area will spur many changes to procedures and regulations guiding these institutions and we hope that our bill will help to protect vulnerable seniors,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “The bill introduced by my friend and colleague, Lois, and me will mandate that we analyze how seniors can be better cared for during natural disasters and provide recommendations that can be implemented to help save lives. Our bill would ensure that proper disaster plans and responses would be in place for nursing homes.”

Keep reading   One minute read  

Gov. Rick Scott’s office has confirmed that it deleted voicemail messages from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills nursing home ― calls made around a day before residents of the home began to overheat and die.

"The voice mails were not retained because the information from each voice mail was collected by the governor's staff and given to the proper agency for handling," a Scott spokeswoman told the Miami Herald Sunday. "Every call was returned."

The issue of Scott’s response to the calls from the nursing home has already become a political one. Last week Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott’s 2018 Senate opponent ― should the governor decide to enter the race ― took an oblique jab at Scott, mentioning “all the phone calls” in a speech from the Senate floor.

Keep reading   30-second read  

Winner of the week

Ashley Moody.While almost no sane Floridian is paying attention to the 2018 race for attorney general this far out, former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody is crushing the “invisible primary” by pulling in money and early political support. Last week, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Pensacola, endorsed Moody, joining every sheriff in the Tampa Bay area, current Attorney General Pam Bondi and several state prosecutors. Her Republican primary rival, state Rep. Jay Fant of Jacksonville, has raised $179,000 through August and spent $23,000, while Moody has raised nearly $756,000 and spent $22,000. The only Democrat running, Tampa lawyer and political newcomer Ryan Torrens, has raised $34,000 and spent nearly $21,000.

Loser of the week

Keep reading   30-second read