It was a day of announcements at the state Capitol. Morning broke with former legislator Joe Scarborough announcing that Marco Rubio was selling his Tallahassee home. Details here.
Rubio had purchased a three-bedroom/two-bath house with fellow lawmaker David Rivera in 2005. It has been a bit of a headache for Rubio. The two were unable to unload it when the Great Recession created a housing glut and they had left Tallahassee for new jobs in Washington. A bank had started foreclosure proceedings after it hadn’t received mortgage payments for several months.
Matt Gaetz started the week talking about the unsolved mystery that is the Charlotte’s Web law. Gaetz, Rob Bradley and Aaron Bean wonder how the Legislature can inject itself into the rule making process without creating any more delays in getting medicinal oil to sick children.
In separate interviews all three use the same words to describe the legal challenges preventing implementation of the 2014 Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. They are “frustrated,” their frustration is “enhanced,” and they sense an “appetite” for legislative action to free the law from a web of legal challenges so the pot can be planted, the oil processed and epileptic children provided relief.
Bradley expects to have an agenda item for a Regulated Industries Committee meeting within three weeks.
“Sooner than that,” said Sen. Bean as he hurried up a stairwell between committee meetings. “People are frustrated.”
Bean chairs the Health Policy Committee
Not enough has been said about the apparent disconnect between Florida government and citizens. Two ballot initiatives illustrate the different perspectives voters and lawmakers seem to have; while 57 percent of voters approved of a medicinal marijuana proposal lawmakers are unable to get a much more limited proposal implemented. And while 77 percent of voters supported Amendment 1 –- a water and land conservation funding initiative — there’s a budding debate between lawmakers and supporters about what is conservation.
So it was with interest I read Monday a Times/Herald Capitol bureau story showing that no-party affiliated and minor party registration combined are the second largest voting bloc in 11 counties -– surpassing the Republican Party in five and the Democratic Party in six.
Still more interesting is that while a growing segment of the population may be giving up on the two major parties (NPAs and minor party affiliation are now at 26 percent statewide) people are not giving up on the process.
A political action committee called Floridians for Solar Choice has nearly enough signatures to trigger a Supreme Court review of a solar-energy ballot initiative. As Mitch Perry reports, the group needs fewer than 2,000 more signatures to get the justices to review its proposal.
The Seminole Tribe hired a polling company that found that Florida voters really, really like the Compact giving the Tribe exclusivity to Las-Vegas-style gambling. There is more here. A portion of the Compact expires in July. Gov. Rick Scott has been trying to negotiate an extension. Senate President Andy Gardiner is willing to allow it to expire.
Finally Monday, Charlie Crist announced he won’t be a candidate in 2016. The former governor who had floated a trial balloon last week about a possible senatorial candidacy made the announcement on Facebook. More is here.