Rick Scott Archives - Page 3 of 360 - Florida Politics

Rick Scott staffer takes impromptu meeting with Andrew Gillum, clergymen on ‘Stand Your Ground’

What began as an intimate protest at a church in Tallahassee over the state’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law turned into a small march to the capitol and a subsequent meeting between a senior member of Gov. Rick Scott’s staff and some of the state’s high profile critics of race relations and gun violence, including Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum.

At Bethel Baptist Church, just blocks from the Capitol, Gillum, Congressman Al Lawson, local clergymen and Attorney Ben Crump criticized the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, charging, among other things, that the law is unjust and unfairly applied against minorities.

Shortly afterward, Gillum, Crump and Reverends Dr. R.B. Holmes, Julius Harrison McAllister, Jr., and George Proctor, Jr. led a residual group from the church to Gov. Scott’s Capitol office.

A staffer at the entrance informed the group that Scott is in Colombia. This was later confirmed by Scott’s spokesman.

In Scott’s absence, the group requested a representative from Scott’s staff. At one point, Holmes reminded the receptionist that he served as vice chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, launched after the death of Trayvon Martin. Gillum, eager to meet with a member of Scott’s staff, called the Governor’s cell phone number, eventually speaking with an unnamed spokesman. No promises were made and as media left, Gillum and the clergymen sat in the entrance.

McKinley Lewis, Scott’s deputy communications director, told Florida Politics later that Jack Heekin, the Governor’s deputy chief of staff, took a meeting with Gillum, Holmes and two others. 

According to a news release that followed the Wednesday afternoon meeting, Gillum demanded that Scott contact the McGlockton family and Jacobs, consider declaring a State of Emergency over the ‘Stand Your Ground’ provision and convene a statewide clergy to “discuss the dangerous racial implications” of the controversial law.

The rally and march were some of a few to follow in the wake of the fatal shooting of Markeis McGlockton last month in Clearwater and local Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s decision to not pursue charges because he believes the shooter acted within the boundaries of the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ self-defense law.

Joining the faith and government leaders at the church were members of the McGlockton family, as well as Britany Jacobs, McGlockton’s girlfriend. Together they had three young children.

“I’m still going to stand up and I’m still going to fight for what is right,” Jacobs told the small group of people gathered in the church. “My man was right. Markeis was right — he was just protecting us.”

Crump, joined by Clearwater Attorney Michele Rayner, spoke disparagingly of the defense used to justify shooting McGlockton. The two are representing Jacobs and seeking criminal punishment of Michael Drejka, who shot McGlockton. Crump related the case to the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin. He likened Drejka to Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, by dubbing both “self-appointed, wannabe cops.” Crump also represented Martin.

In both cases, Crump charged, “if they just called the police, this never would’ve happened.” Much of the discussion at the church highlighted that Drejka is white and McGlockton is black.

“Can you imagine if the dynamics were reversed,” Crump asked rhetorically, “and there was a white woman sitting in her car with her two children and a black man like Markeis McGlockton came up to some stranger yelling, screaming and cursing at that white mother?

“And the white father came out to defend his family, to defend his property,” Crump continued, “And the black, strange man shot the father who was defending his family …  Does anybody believe the police would not have arrested him on the spot?

He added: That’s “if he had not been executed in that convenience store parking lot.”

Gillum, while at the church, renewed his call for Gov. Scott to declare a State of Emergency over the law, and reminded the audience that if he were elected to Governor, he’d suspend the law immediately.

The ‘Stand Your Ground’ provision “allows vigilantes under the cover of the law to become judge jury and executioner all in their own right,” charged Gillum.

Referencing the shooting of McGlockton, Gillum added, “No action taken on that day that should’ve resulted in a death penalty.”

Democratic PACs hitting Rick Scott on Medicaid, pre-existing conditions

Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA Action PAC are launching a new $1.1 million digital ad campaign to blanket the internet with a new advertisement hitting Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Rick Scott for refusing to expand Medicaid in Florida and charging that he opposes mandatory insurance coverage of people with pre-existing conditions.

The first point, Medicaid expansion, comes from a well-documented debate that has lasted seven years over Florida’s refusal to enroll in the optional federal Medicaid expansion program, a decision Democrats say leaves at least 750,000 Floridians without access to any standard health care coverage.

The second point, the pre-existing conditions, comes in part from Florida’s participation in a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that insurance companies must not deny coverage to new enrollees with ongoing conditions that can include things such as cancer or diabetes. That suit would not necessarily roll back such coverage but could make it a state option on whether to require it. Republicans in Congress last year also introduced a bill that would have eliminated the federal mandate, and Scott voiced support for it.

However, Scott has said he would be in favor of keeping pre-existing coverage requirements as a state rule in Florida.

The 15-second ad, “Worry,” is running statewide in both English and Spanish versions. The ads will run across a broad range of platforms including Facebook, Google, YouTube and Pandora, as well as on online news platforms such as CNN, The New York Times, Univision and Telemundo.

“I worry about how to pay for health care,” a woman says, as the video shows a worried woman talking with a doctor. “But Rick Scott rejected funds to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people, and wants to let insurance companies deny health care to people with pre-existing conditions.”

Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA Action both are independent political organizations supporting Democrats. The ad criticizes Scott but does not mention his opponent, Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Nelson.

Nor does a news release the groups put out Thursday announcing the campaign.

“Throughout his time as governor, former health care profiteer Rick Scott has drastically increased his wealth while at the same time turning away funds that would greatly improve the lives of his constituents — including Medicaid funding that would have covered 750,000 Floridians and over $1 million that would have helped to fight substance abuse,” the release states.

“Meanwhile, Scott has given billions of dollars in tax relief to the rich like himself and big corporations and supported a health care plan that could eliminate coverage for the 8 million Floridians with pre-existing conditions.”

Airbnb releases tips for a safe summer getaway

Vacation rental company Airbnb is out with a list of recommendations to help those heading to the Sunshine State for the run-up to Labor Day have fun while staying safe.

Before diving into the list, Airbnb gave a shout out to Gov. Rick Scott for working with them to help house hurricane evacuees and CFO Jimmy Patronis for his leadership on pool safety.

“Time and again, AirBnB and their hosts have proven an important asset in our state’s emergency response and recovery efforts,” said Wes Maul, director of FDEM. “I’m extremely thankful not only for our continued partnership, but for their dedication to helping Florida’s families.”

The safety tips include recommendations ranging from keeping an outside light on to making sure to practice proper pool safety. Topping the list is a tip that anyone booking something from afar should take to heart: Do your research.

“Just because school’s out, it doesn’t mean you should head out without doing your homework. As you finalize your plans, research your travel route, accommodations, and the local area—and don’t forget to have a backup plan just in case,” the company says.

When it comes to using their platform, Airbnb reminds users that they should always communicate and pay through their service — some unscrupulous hosts may ask guests to wire money or send them their credit card information, but that’s a telltale sign of a scam.

It’s also important, the company says, to give the property a once over before the host leaves. If you need some direction to where things like first aid and fire extinguishers are, reach out to the host. If something seems off, never hesitate to reach out to Airbnb — standing by 24/7 to help with anything from rebooking assistance to refunds or reimbursements.

Darren Soto: Rick Scott is ‘blatantly lying’ in newest ad

Gov. Rick Scott‘s latest attack on Sen. Bill Nelson is a sham, according to one member of the Florida Congressional Delegation.

Orlando-area U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, a Democrat facing a tough primary challenge, called Scott’s Medicare-focused ad bogus and ironic just a few hours after news of the ad spread on Tuesday. The 30-second TV and digital spot accuses Nelson, who Scott hopes to unseat in November, of agreeing to cut Medicare when he voted for the Affordable Care Act.

“Rick Scott is blatantly lying to Floridians,” Soto said in a prepared statement Tuesday evening. “This ad is nothing more than a false attack aimed to divert attention from two key facts: Rick Scott has previously backed a plan to end the Medicare guarantee, and Scott himself made millions of dollars overseeing one of the largest cases of Medicare fraud in history.”

Scott’s ad, titled “Unfair,” claims Nelson’s vote led to a cut of $716 billion from Medicare, but as Scott Powers previously noted for Florida Politics, “PolitiFact sought to check the claim and rated it ‘Mostly False.'”

In alleging the governor is “distracting” voters from his record on health care, Soto references Scott’s tenure as CEO of Columbia/HCA ahead of his transition to elected office. The magnitude of the Medicare fraud mentioned has been rated as ‘Mostly True‘ by PolitiFact.

In alleging the governor “previously backed a plan to end the Medicare guarantee,” Soto cites Scott’s 2015 support of the U.S. GOP budget. A news release accompanying Soto’s statement claims the plan would have turned Medicare “into a voucher program.”

“The irony of Scott claiming ‘stealing from Medicare is unfair’ will not be lost on Floridians, who are keenly familiar of Scott’s prolific history of defrauding Medicare of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Soto said. “The reality is Senator Nelson has worked his entire career to protect Floridian’s Medicare and social security.”

Scott’s ad is below.

Rick Scott ad accuses Bill Nelson of cutting Medicare when he voted for Obamacare

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Rick Scott is launching a new television commercial accusing his opponent, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, of voting to cut Medicare when he voted for the Affordable Care Act.

The 30-second spot, “Unfair,” will be playing on television and in digital internet advertising. It charges Nelson with supporting Medicare cuts and helping put Medicare in financial straits because he voted yes on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in 2009.

The commercial doesn’t actually mention the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, only citing the bill number and vote number. The commercial contends the vote led to a cut of $716 billion from Medicare. It is an allegation that Republicans have been charging, and Democrats refuting, since the Affordable Care Act was first approved in December 2009, though the exact number of the alleged cuts has varied. By 2012 Republicans were consistently citing $716 billion.

That year PolitiFact sought to check the claim and rated it “Mostly False.” PolitiFact, a project operated by the Tampa Bay Times (then the St. Petersburg Times) wrote, “While the health care law reduces the amount of future spending growth in Medicare, the law doesn’t actually cut Medicare. Savings come from reducing money that goes to private insurers who provide Medicare Advantage programs, among other things.”

The new Scott campaign commercial contends the cuts are unfair, and Nelson is to blame.

“You pay for Medicare your entire career,” the commercial’s narrator begins. “Your parents pay into Medicare their entire lives. But Washington is letting Medicare crumble.”

The commercial then uses text to cite news reports that predicted that Medicare could face insolvency in 2026.

“Bill Nelson voted to cut $716 billion from Medicare. No wonder it’s going bankrupt,” the narrator continues. “Nelson and the politicians from Washington are stealing from Medicare to pay for other government programs. Stealing from Medicare is unfair.”

Bill Nelson: Rick Scott is ‘silly’ about debate refusal claims

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Rick Scott‘s claims that Nelson refuses to debate him are “silly.”

Nelson spoke with reporters in Tallahassee on Tuesday, before a ceremony at the Tallahassee Veterans Affairs Health Care Center to name the facility after Marine Corps Sgt. Ernest “Boots” Thomas.

“Obviously, it’s to my advantage to debate him,” the incumbent senator said of Scott, his GOP challenger and the state’s term-limited governor.

“I’m going to wait until after the primary. What he’ll do is, he’ll (suggest) a bunch of debates and then he’ll start backing out on them.” Nelson is unopposed in the Aug. 28 primary.

“We will accept debates in a format that are a real, substantive discussion,” he added, suggesting a CNN debate with the news network’s Jake Tapper or Wolf Blitzer as moderator.  “That would be good … As you know all too well, (Scott) tries to sidestep questions.”

A spokeswoman for the Scott campaign stood by its claim that Nelson is refusing to debate.

“What’s ‘silly’ is that Bill Nelson let 50 days pass before he finally addressed the debates Gov. Scott accepted,” said campaign spokeswoman Lauren Schenone.

Nelson also was asked whether the Scott campaign rhetoric about his being ‘out of touch’ and ‘confused’ was a way to telegraph he’s become too old for the job.

Nelson is 75; Scott is 65.

“Any time he wants to have a contest about push ups or pull ups, we’ll see who’s not up to it,” Nelson said.

And Nelson was questioned about a letter supposedly sent from his office to federal regulators that echoed one sent by Scott shortly after his 2010 election, protesting “onerous (environmental) regulation.”

“Not only do I not recall that, that just simply could not be true,” he said.

(Scott’s campaign later contradicted that as well, providing the text of a letter [posted at bottom] allegedly sent by Nelson in 2010.)

Nelson sponsored the legislation to have the Tallahassee clinic named after Thomas, a Florida native who “took part in the original – and now-famous – flag raising atop of Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi in 1945,” a press release said.

“Thomas was killed in action March 3, 1945, just days after the flag raising, and was posthumously presented a Purple Heart and the Navy Cross for his extraordinary heroism during World War II.”

A Periscope video of his conversation with reporters is below:


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Kubs Lalchandani has skipped voting in more than a dozen elections

Miami Democrat Kubs Lalchandani needs voters to turn out for the House District 113 primary in three weeks, but a look at own voting record shows he’s cast a ballot only sparingly over the past decade.

Since registering to vote in Miami back in 2006, Lalchandani has skipped out on 15 elections. Many of his no-shows were for special elections, though he also skipped out on the regularly scheduled Democratic primaries for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

Though Lalchandani cast a general election ballot in presidential election years, he also failed to turn up during the 2010 general election, which saw Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink lose to then-candidate Rick Scott by 61,550 votes — only a handful of ballots in each Florida precinct would have turned the tide of that race. At the time, Sink blamed lower-than-expected turnout in South Florida for her loss.

It’s unknown whether Lalchandani’s absences at the polls are due to a lack of motivation, or due to him being away at one of his out-of-state properties —per a foreclosure suit, he maintained addresses in Lakewood, Ohio, and New York City until 2011.

Lalchandani is running for the Miami-Dade House seat currently held by outgoing state Rep. David Richardson, who is running for Congress. He faces former Miami Beach City Commissioners Deede Weithorn and Michael Grieco in the primary race.

Grieco’s time as a commissioner ended with him on probation and being barred from running for public office after he was accused of campaign finance violations. That probation has since ended, allowing him to file for the state House race.

HD 113 is a Democratic stronghold covering North Bay Village and Miami Beach. The winner of the Aug. 28 Democratic primary will go up against Republican nominee Jonathan Parker in the Nov. 6 general election.

Rick Scott, Cabinet eye protecting ranch land

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet will be asked next week to spend $5.5 million to help limit future development on nearly 2,500 acres of ranch land in Highlands County.

The proposal, which will go to the Cabinet on Aug. 14, seeks to add the Sandy Gully property to the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, which through the use of “conservation easements” restricts future development but allows owners to continue using land for such things as agricultural operations.

The program, favored by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, has been used 38 times in the past eight years, accounting for more than 47,000 acres across the state being put into conservation easements.

The family-owned Sandy Gully land, originally a dairy operation, transitioned to a cattle operation in 2002. The purchase could help protect wetlands and surface waters that flow toward the Peace River.

The state anticipates that the federal government will eventually cover $3.3 million of the cost through an Agricultural Conservation Easement Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Bill Nelson ad: Florida’s algae crisis is made by Rick Scott

A few days after seeing Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s campaign launch a TV commercial seeking to blame him for Florida’s algae crisis, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is firing back with an internet ad attempting to portray the environmental disaster as entirely Scott’s fault.

The new 30-second video, “Algae,” begins with images of putrid, green waters, dead fish and animals, and declares: “Florida’s algae bloom crisis is a man-made problem, made by this man Rick Scott.”

Last Friday, Scott’s campaign had launched its commercial, “More Waiting More Talk More Algae,” that contended the problem was one that Washington needed to address, and that Nelson had failed to do anything about it in Washington, so it was Nelson’s fault.

Scott and Nelson are heading for the Nov. 6 showdown for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat.

This time, the campaign declared that it is ridiculous for Nelson to try to blame Scott “for an issue that’s been neglected by the same federal government Nelson has been a part of for decades.”

Nelson’s new video ad includes quotes from opinion pieces published in the Miami Herald and the Orlando Sentinel, and from Florida Conservation Voters, all explicitly blaming the two-term governor for the crisis that has erupted again this summer with massive amounts of polluted water released from Lake Okeechobee feeding devastating algae blooms on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

“This problem has a name: Gov. Rick Scott,” the Herald’s editorial is quoted.

“He’s rolled back every common-sense safeguard in the books,” quoting Florida Conservation Voters.

“Rick Scott cut environmental protections. Rick Scott gave polluters a pass,” the commercial’s text declares, with a picture of Scott in a Tuxedo, raising a glass.

“It is … fair to blame Gov. Rick Scott,” the Orlando Sentinel’s opinion piece is quoted as stating. “This governor has undermined our natural resources for eight straight years.”

“The water is murky but the facts are clear,” the commercial concludes. “Rick Scott caused this problem.”

The reply from Scott’s campaign:

“It’s ridiculous for Bill Nelson to try to blame Gov. Scott for an issue that’s been neglected by the same federal government Nelson has been a part of for decades. In fact, Bill Nelson himself pledged “to save Lake Okeechobee and make polluters pay for the cleanup” in campaign ad thirty years ago, but clearly, he failed to keep his word. No amount of misleading and negative attacks will hide the fact that Bill Nelson is -and always has been- all talk and no action.

“However, Governor Scott has invested record amounts in Florida’s environment and has stepped up time and time again when Washington politicians like Bill Nelson failed to meet their commitment to our state. It was Governor Scott who secured state funding for repairing the Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee, supported legislation to accelerate the EAA reservoir, received a commitment from the president’s administration to speed up dike repairs and secured funding through the Army Corps of Engineers to complete dike repairs by the Governor’s goal of 2022.”

Delay in federal approval trims Medicaid savings

Nearly $100 million the state assumed would be saved by changing a policy about patient eligibility for Medicaid won’t come to fruition this year.

Tom Wallace, assistant deputy secretary for Medicaid finance and analytics at the Agency for Health Care Administration, told members of the Social Services Estimating Conference on Monday that Florida hasn’t gotten necessary approval from the federal government to move ahead with the change.

Instead of a July 1 start date, the change in policy will likely go into effect Jan. 1. A projected $98 million reduction was included in the new state budget, which took effect last month. Now, the Scott administration says the savings should be about half that amount.

But Wallace said the state isn’t deterred.

“We are confident that we will get federal approval, we just don’t know when that would be,” Wallace told the Social Services Estimating Conference, comprised of House and Senate staff members as well as staff from the governor’s office and the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

Wallace said Florida Medicaid officials have been in correspondence with the federal government about how the policy change would be implemented.

Federal law requires states to cover the costs of medical bills incurred by people for up to three months before they apply for Medicaid. So long as people qualify for Medicaid and the services are covered, hospital, doctor and nursing-home bills that accrue during that period will be absorbed.

The longstanding policy, officially known as “retroactive eligibility,” protects poor people from unpaid medical bills that they cannot afford and helps ensure that hospitals and nursing homes are paid for services they offer to Medicaid-eligible people.

The policy change would eliminate the requirement that people have three months to apply for Medicaid and make them apply the same month as they need care.

AHCA projects that 39,000 people would be impacted by the change, which does not apply to pregnant women and children. That means the policy change would heavily impact seniors and people with disabilities, and the move has come under fire from critics, including Democrats.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time the Scott administration has revised the estimated savings from the change.

In a March 2017 letter to former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, AHCA Secretary Justin Senior said Florida could save $500 million if the policy were eliminated. Months later, the Scott administration floated the proposal to the Legislature for consideration during the 2018 session. Ultimately, the $98 reduction was included in the state budget that began July 1.

While the full savings lawmakers anticipated won’t be realized, Wallace told budget conferees that overall costs for the Medicaid program this year should be nearly $732 million less than what was appropriated in the budget. Nearly $228 million of that surplus is general revenue. The lower cost is due in part to a continued dip in Medicaid enrollment.

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