Welcome to

Capitol News Service

Florida's Best Political Television Coverage




Latest Video from Capitol News Service

Star Power

Even Opponents Say it Will Pass

Ready to Vote

It’s about Your Rights

Ebola Answers

Recent Posts

RSS Quote of the Day

Categories

Archives

Amendment One; Even Opponents Say it Will Pass

October 30th, 2014 by Mike Vasilinda

You haven’t seen a negative ad on Amendment one this year. It is one of the least controversial measures on the ballot this year, setting aside a tax already being collected for land conservation, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, even its few opponents say it will pass.

One every sale of every property, the state collects what is known as a documentary stamp tax. Beginning in 1990, A portion of the money…three hundred million a year, has been used to buy conservation land under the Florida Forever Program. Until the bottom fell out.

Environmentalists collected more than a million petitions to let voters decide if the funding should be restored.

The amendment was born out of frustration. Money for land buying and conservation has dropped more than 90% over the last five years.”  Will Abberger from Yes on One

Says the amendment is needed to create green spaces as teh state grows. “This is an existing funding source. It has been used for decades for water and land conservation. It was diverted. And what we are doing is restoring it back to its original purpose” says Abberger.

The Amendment has token opposition. The Florida Chamber doesn’t want the funding written into the constitution, but even its polling shows the amendment a slam dunk. Chamber Vice President David Hart says even environmentalists should vote against it.

“It appears to be hovering in the mid 70’s of support so it will likely pass, but that doesn’t mean its the right thing to do” says Hart.

Without big bucks for TV, the campaign has been mostly by mail. But environmentalists did enlist the help of Jim Fowler. He’s the former host of one of TV’s longest running animal programs. “The number of tourists that come into Florida because of you open space, wildlife, and wilderness, is probably one of the greatest revenue producers of anything” says Fowler.

In its first year, the amendment is expected to allocate more 600 million to land and water conservation.

Posted in State News | Comments Off

Florida Chamber Poll Outside Margin of Error

October 30th, 2014 by Mike Vasilinda

A new poll by the Florida Chamber, conducted Monday and Tuesday among 500 likely voters show Rick Scott beating Charlie Crist 44-39. With a margin or error of four percent, it is one of the first polls to predict a Scott lead outside the margin of error.  The  Chamber is a Scott Supporter. Vice President Dave Hart says a lot can still happen before Tuesday night.

“For Governor Scott supporters who view this poll as encouraging news, The work can’t let up. We believe Florida Chamber members and other Scott supporters around the state need to keep pushing hard to the finish line” says Hart.

The poll also shows Libertarian Adrian Wyllie at four percent. The first poll to show the Libertarian below 7 percent.

In 2006, Frustrated voters also ordered lawmakers to resume funding for anti tobacco programs, using money from the states settlement with Big Tobacco. It was the first any only time voters have restricted spending, although

 

Posted in State News | Comments Off

Star Power

October 30th, 2014 by Matt Galka

The silly season of election time is almost over, and as Matt Galka tells us, candidates are bringing out the big guns, and big names, in a last second effort to drive voters to the polls.

They were wasting away in Tallahassee-ville Wednesday night. The premiere Parrothead, Jimmy Buffett, stumped for Democratic Congressional Candidate Gwen Graham.  Her campaign against incumbent Steve Southerland is one of the most watched in the country.

“It’s pretty simple: enemy of the ocean, or Gwen Graham? Oh, duh!” said Buffett before launching into song.

Southerland used star power of his own last week. He campaigned with Florida Senator, and possible future presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

“I came here to do two things, Number one is to give testimony to what a great Congressman Steve Southerland has been,” said Rubio.

The two frontrunners for Governor are hoping some big names push their campaigns over the top, too. Former president Bill Clinton is trying to give Charlie Crist a boost in the days before the election. The Governor is countering with Jeb Bush. Both political figures have cut ads for their candidates.

Experts say all this star power adds up to…not much. Voter enthusiasm might increase but there’s nothing to indicate numbers are swayed. The recent celebrity rallies were meant to remind people to participate in early voting which ends this weekend.

Posted in State News | Comments Off

Amendment Three is About Your Rights

October 29th, 2014 by Mike Vasilinda

Whether you are for or against abortion, gay marriage, or voters rights, Mike Vasilinda tells us you should be concerned about Amendment three on this years ballot.

Whether or not  a fetus has rights will soon be a question before the courts. High profile decision like pulling the feeding tube from Terri Shiavo make news, but decisions made here affect your taxes, voting rights, even whether your insurance company has to pay you.

And who sits in judgement here, liberal or conservative, activist or not, depends on who is Governor.

Fast forward four years. Three judges leave the bench on the same day a new governor takes office in 2019.  But lawmakers want you to decide this year, via amendment three, who will appoint those judges. State Senator Tom Lee of Brandon sponsored the legislation and says  “This is a crisis in waiting”.

The amendment seeks to let the Governor elected next week make the appointments on his way out the door, instead of who’s  is elected in 2018. The idea rubs former Governor Bob Graham the wrong way. “Whoever gets elected in 2018 should be the person, with the immediate support of the people of Florida, to make that decision.”

And retired Justice Harry Lee Anstead is suspicious of the motives.  “That this is sort of a gamble that Governor Scott will get reelected, and then that he’ll get to make these three important appointments and then leave” says the retired Justice.

A conflict over who appoints has only happened once…in 1998 when Jeb Bush and Lawton Chiles decided not to fight…but to choose the same person.

Ironically one the the three justices leaving in 2019 is Peggy Quince…who was the joint choice of Governors Chiles and Bush.

Posted in State News | Comments Off

Ebola Answers?

October 28th, 2014 by Matt Galka

Following an executive order requiring monitoring for people coming back to Florida from Ebola stricken countries, the State’s Senate President wanted some answers.  As Matt Galka tells us, the Governor continues to press the issue on Ebola, but the state’s Department of Health remains silent.

Florida’s Governor remained confident the state could handle a case of Ebola if it came to that. A conference call briefing allowed Rick Scott to continue taking charge on the health scare.

While the Governor has put his face on Ebola preparedness for the state, we haven’t heard from the state’s top doctor.

“During the Governor’s briefing, there will be a telephone number that will be emailed to each of our Senate and House representatives,” said Senate President Don Gaetz. The media did not receive the number to talk to the Surgeon General.

We have been asking the Department of Health about Ebola since August. We again asked for an interview on Tuesday. Again we were told the Surgeon General wasn’t available.

State Representative Alan Williams says Floridians aren’t hearing enough from health officials.

“I haven’t heard a lot from the Department of Health. I’ve been communicating with them but, obviously, the Governor’s running for re-election. So any chance you get to look like a leader, you take it,” said Williams (D-Tallahassee).

Williams is hosting an Ebola town hall Tuesday night to address his constituent’s concerns. Legislators from around the state were encouraged to pass on information from the conference call to Floridians in their parts of the state.

There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the state and no one considered to be at high risk of contracting the virus.

Posted in State News | Comments Off

The Second Most Watched Race in Florida

October 28th, 2014 by Mike Vasilinda

Polling suggests the campaign to legalize medical marijuana will get more than half of all votes cast…but will it meet the sixty percent needed to be in the constitution?  As Mike Vasilinda tells us win lose or draw, medical marijuana is likely to be an issue for state lawmakers next spring.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and Washington DC. The most recent poll released Monday in Florida shows marijuana at 50-42 with 8 percent undecided. Six of every ten votes cast are needed for approval. Sponsor United for Care says it’s internal polling shows it close, but with Marijuana getting above 60 percent.

“It’s nuts, no prescription” Chimes a No on 2 spokesperson on a web ad that has been effective. They campaign has seen a decline in support from over 80 percent after millions have been pumped in by a casino billionaire.

“Any other medical condition” was a phrase Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford uses frequently.  Rutherford is on the stump for Florida Sheriffs, trying to sway undecided voters.

“It’s for anything a doctor want to give it to someone for, and that is the fraud in this thing” says the Sheriff.

Both sides say the plain language should determine your vote. Supporter Jim Eaton says there are no loopholes. “It’s only for a debilitating medical condition. You have to get a licensed Florida doctor to certify that you have that condition. So, I think it’s fairly clear.”

One school of thought is that if amendment two comes close, but doesn’t hit the 60 percent mark, lawmakers will still have to take it up.

Lawmakers have in the past made changes in law after a constitutional amendment got close to the 60 percent threshold.

And if they don’t take action, another ballot initiative is almost a certainty.

This past year, lawmakers approved Charlotte’s web, allow THC form of marijuana. If Amendment two doesn’t get to sixty percent, some are suggesting the Charlotte’s web law could be expanded to treat more diseases. Any ballot campaign would have to wait until at least 2016.

 

 

 

Posted in State News | Comments Off

Travelers Could Be Quarantined

October 27th, 2014 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida has become the fourth state to require monitoring and potential quarantine of people traveling from Ebola infected nations. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,several travelers are currently being monitored.

The executive order requires anyone who has traveled from an Ebola Impacted nation to have their temperature taken by state health officials twice a day. Travelers who were in contact with an infected person will be quarantined for 21 days.

The Governor’s office says there are currently Four people in Florida  who have traveled from Ebola Infected nations.

At the Department of Health, no one was talking about the order. We began asking for interviews at 7:30 Monday morning. A confirmation email was sent at 9:17.  The Surgeon General’s parking place was occupied at the Department but we were told he would not be available.

At 1:17 DOH said no one would be talking about the order but referenced the Governor speaking out it on campaign stops across the state. A 1:42 email from the agency called the four being monitored “low risk”. One of the questions we couldn’t ask is where those patients are located.

Late this  afternoon, the Department of Health increased the number of people being monitored from four to six and told us information about the location of  those individuals is not available.

 

Posted in State News | Comments Off

The Rush is on…to Win Your Vote

October 24th, 2014 by Mike Vasilinda

As of this morning, more than 1 point 4 million voters have already cast a ballot, and  If you haven’t already voted, expect more mail and phone calls from both major parties between now and election day.

More than a quarter million mail pieces like this one are showing up across the state. It contrasts your voting record over the last four cycles with your precinct. Sponsored by organized labor,Rich Templin of the AFLCIO says the message has been proven to boost turnout. “With just a little bit of social pressure, that nudges people, you know, into I should vote to I am voting.”

Winning November 4th is all about turnout. More mail is on the way.

“Hi, this is Kaitlin, and I’m calling on behalf of the Republican Party of Florida” is how one call to an absentee voter started out. At State Republican headquarters, spokeswoman Susan Hepworth saysthe chase is on for absentee ballots that have yet to be returned. “We have offices like this all across the state, obviously full of volunteers, all day every day. Making those phone calls, getting those absentee ballots returned and knocking on doors.”

By the end of the week, more than 1.5 million ballots will have been cast.”

Early and absentee voting is expected to surpass the 2.3 million votes cast before the 2010 election. Republicans hold a ten percent lead in party registration for votes already cast this year. Secretary of State Ken Detzner expects early and absentee voting to surpass election day turnout. “Yesterday I saw some numbers for South Florida, and the turnout rate for early voting was higher than it was in 2010. In one county by 40 percent. So, there’s a lot of people engaged in this election” says Detzner.

Elections officials are being told to expect the unexpected, That includes the potential for a governor’s race so close it triggers a recount.

Recounts are required when the vote totals are less than half a percentage point apart. If five million people vote, a recount would occur if the candidates were within 25 thousand votes of each other.

 

Yourvoteflorida.com is the official state web site for answering questions about when, where and how to vote as well as dozens of other voting topics.

 

Posted in State News | Comments Off

Scott Deposition

October 24th, 2014 by Matt Galka

A battle over the Governor’s private email accounts and whether or not they were being used to conduct state business had a new twist today.  As Matt Galka tells us, the Governor skipped out on a deposition.

Attorney Steven Andrews attempted to depose the Governor Friday but all he got was an empty chair.

Andrews wanted to question the Governor under oath in relation to a lawsuit Rick Scott filed in California.  Private email accounts have allegedly been used to conduct state business, but were not available when public records requests were made.  Scott’s lawsuit is trying to block information from being released.

“I can understand his reticence to appear, but on the other hand, he is the Governor, and he did pick this fight with me,” said Andrews.

The Governor has admitted to having at least one private email, but the violation occurs if those emails aren’t being turned over.

A hearing on the case isn’t scheduled until late November, and the Governor’s people say that’s why Scott didn’t have to show up.

Andrews has been accused of having a personal vendetta against the Governor. He said he only met him once in the 80’s and he has no vendetta.

Former legislator and Scott appointee for Pasco county Tax Collector Mike Fasano called for an investigation in the email accounts at a press event in Tampa.

“He is simply not being honest and straightforward with the citizens of the state of Florida,’ said Fasano.

Instead of attending the deposition, Scott went to campaign events, and a big money fundraiser.

The Governor could be held in contempt of court for missing the deposition, but that will be up to the judge overseeing the case.  We reached out to Governor Scott’s lawyers but they have yet to return our messages.

Posted in State News | Comments Off

Not Dropping the Suit

October 23rd, 2014 by Matt Galka

The state’s biggest teacher’s union has refilled their lawsuit against the state saying that an expanded voucher program is unconstitutional. As Matt Galka tells us, a campaign asking the union to drop the suit has revved up the last couple of weeks.

The Florida Education Association hasn’t wavered on their stance against a school choice expansion bill passed earlier this year.

“We believe the Florida legislature has overstepped their bounds, stepped on the constitution, and somebody has to hold them accountable,” said FEA Vice President Joanne McCall.

The FEA filed a lawsuit over the summer challenging a bill that expanded vouchers.  Social Studies teacher Tom Fassee was named as a plaintiff. But that case was tossed because a judge said he couldn’t prove he was harmed by the legislation. The FEA has refiled the case with parents as plaintiffs.

School choice advocates are putting the pressure on using social media, and released a television ad slamming the lawsuit.

A commercial with the line “#dropthesuit” aired during the Governor’s debate.  Powerful Florida legislators and school choice supporters have been using it on twitter.

Voucher advocate Lane Wright says the FEA should let it go.

“Union bosses are clearly trying to do anything they can to dismantle this law that they just don’t like, and frankly it hurts kids,” said Wright.

McCall says the ad, which was funded by D.C. based Black Alliance for Educational Options, and the campaign only means one thing.

“If they thought that we were absolutely wrong, why would you spend all this money on a big media campaign to try and pressure the FEA to drop our suit?” she said.

The voucher program serves nearly 70,000 low income students by giving taxes to businesses who fund scholarships. The teacher’s union has another lawsuit pending against the entire voucher program, not just the way it was expanded. A hearing in that case is scheduled for early December.

Posted in State News | Comments Off

« Previous Entries

copyright © 2013 by Capitol News Service | Powered by Wordpress | Hosted by LyonsHost.com