Mitch Perry Report for 10.20.15 -Friction begins immediately between House and Senate in special session

Mitch Perry

Last week in Tallahassee, we heard Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli say sort of a remarkable thing. Referring to the conflict between his House of Representatives and the Senate that has dominated Florida politics in 2015, he said it was a  “extraordinary” that anything gets passed between the two bodies.

The latest fissure between the House and Senate began immediately after the gavel dropped for the beginning of Special Session C, the third special session of the year, and this was geared exclusively towards creating new, constitutionally approved Senate Districts.

Under the Florida Constitution, senators serve staggered four-year terms, with 20 up for election in a given election cycle. In 2016, only odd-numbered districts are scheduled to be on the ballot. But in redistricting years, all senators are up for election, and any districts that are changed force the incumbent senator to run for re-election again. Although 2016 isn’t a normal redistricting year, the redrawn maps could significantly alter nearly every district throughout the state. And thus, Crisafulli said, it only makes sense that they all go up for election.

Not so fast, countered Senate Reapportionment Committee Chairman Bill Galvano. The Bradenton Republican says that his legal counsel says that only senators up for reelection next year should run for reelection. “It’s a supportable legal argument,” he argues.

Oh, boy. Here we go again.

Not only does the House dispute the Senate here, but so do Senate Democrats. “The law in this case is crystal clear,” said Max Steele, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party. “The Senate Republican leadership’s transparent effort to protect their incumbents and bypass the Fair District amendments will fail just like every other legal roadblock the GOP has attempted to use in the redistricting process.”

A lone Republican senator sides with the Dems and Crisafulli on this: Tom Lee from Brandon, who says the GOP needs to “get out of denial.”

Day 2 begins in a few hours.

In other news..

Charlie Crist is expected to announce his candidacy for Congress later this morning. It’s his third major announcement speech from a St. Petersburg Park, but he hopes the outcome is different than the last two occasions.

An NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll published last night shows Marco Rubio the only Republican other than front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson with double-digit support (at 13 percent). And Jeb Bush, languishing in 5th place with just 8 percent support, a considerable downfall from the same poll taken back in June.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn unveiled his selections to the much talked about citizens review board that will provide some accountability to the Tampa Police Department. Perhaps predictably, his critics (or at least one) bashed the choices.

In the wake of that Tribune report about local governments spending money on advertorials or sponsored content on the local news site 83 Degrees, HART board member Karen Jaroch questioned the effectiveness of that effort at a HART board meeting on Tuesday.

Critics wish that Nuclear Recovery Cost recovery was a thing of the past, but it ain’t, and Florida Power & Light exploited that now discredited law yesterday when they asked for and was granted $34.2 million by the Public Service Commission for their two nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point plant south of Miami.

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected].


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