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Nelson backing federal elections proposal capping voting waits at one hour

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 by Dara Kam

Reacting to Floridians who stood in line for up to eight hours before casting their ballots last year, Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is pushing a measure that would set a national goal of a maximum of a one-hour wait at any polling place during federal elections.

Nelson is co-sponsoring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s “LINE, or Lines Interfere with National Elections act, filed by the California Democrat last year in reaction to long lines in Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

In Palm Beach County, some voters waited more than seven hours at the Lantana Road Branch Library on the last day of early voting.

“In the interest of fairness and to avoid undermining the credibility of our elections, we should be making voting more convenient, not more difficult,” Nelson said in a press release today. “People should not have to stand in line for hours to exercise a basic right, not in a Democracy like ours.”

President Obama is expected to highlight the need to address voting problems in his State of the Union address tonight, where a 102-year-old Florida woman who waited more than three hours to vote will be a guest of the First Lady.

In his inaugural address, the president said: “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”

The Boxer bill would require the U.S. attorney general to issue new national standards by Jan. 1, 2014 regarding the minimum number of voting machines, election workers and other election resources necessary to hold federal elections. And it would require that minimum standards take into account the number of eligible voters, recent voter turnout, the number of new voter registrations, Census data for each polling place and the socio-economic makeup of the voting population.

In 2011, the GOP-dominated legislature shortened the early voting period from 14 to eight days despite long lines in 2008 that prompted then-Gov. Charlie Crist to extend the number of early voting hours. Former GOP officials, including Crist (who is now a Democrat) said the law was intentionally designed to inhibit Democratic turnout in 2012.

Mack leads Nelson in new poll

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 by Dara Kam

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack has opened up a 46-37 percent lead over incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll.

The statewide telephone survey of likley voters also found seven percent of voters preferred another candidate and 10 percent were undecided.

The latest numbers show a reversal of an April poll when Nelson edged out Mack by 47-36 percent. Since then former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux dropped out of the GOP contest.

Rasmussen Reports put the race into the “leans Republican” category because of the new poll.

Nelson’s drop may be attributed to the high-dollar ads launched by conservative groups who’ve spent more than $7 million so far blasting the Democrat. And American Crossroads, founded by George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove, announced it has reserved another $6.2 million in air time to run attack ads against Nelson, who raised about $1.8 million this quarter and has about $11 million in the bank, according to his campaign.

Mack supporters demand LeMieux go away to ‘benefit the entire party’

Friday, April 20th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Political and financial heavy-weights backing U.S. Rep. Connie Mack are asking George LeMieux step out of the U.S. Senate race, a “difficult and selfless step toward unifying our party now.”

Mack supporters sent a letter to LeMieux saying that with Mack leading in the polls, it’s time for LeMieux to drop out.

“Your withdrawal from the election and endorsement of Connie would be of great benefit to the entire Party as we turn now to the fall elections and unify behind our shared goal of stopping President Obama and Senator Nelson from doing any more damage to our state and country. We thank you for your dedicated service to our Party, and hope that you will not only recognize how important it is for conservatives to win in November, but that you will take the difficult and selfless step toward unifying our Party now,” the group wrote.

The ask comes just days after Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said some influential GOP’ers are trying to convince him to throw his hat into the race because they’re dissatisfied with both LeMieux and Mack and are worried that neither can oust incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

LeMieux spokeswoman Anna Nix responded with a swipe at Mack.

“With Mack the Fourth’s history of violence and financial misconduct, voters will no doubt realize he lacks the maturity to be a United States Senator. George LeMieux is the only candidate who can defeat Bill Nelson in November and end Harry Reid’s reign as Majority Leader,” Nix said in a statement.

Read the entire letter after the jump.
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Snakes alive! Scott supports Salazar snake sanction

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott supports U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar‘s ban on the importation of Burmese pythons and three other non-native constrictive snakes, the governor said this afternoon.

MSNBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd asked Scott and Salazar about the snake ban at an Everglades Summit in Tallahassee this afternoon.

“People laugh about this but…it’s crazy,” said Todd, a Miami native. “This issue of my idiot old neighbors in South Florida. They import these pets then get scared of them and dump them in the Everglades.”

The pythons are “injurious and they are dangerous,” Salazar said.

Salazar said the python ban is part of a comprehensive approach to cleaning up the Everglades.

“We need to make sure the investments that we’re making…that they’re not for naught,” he said.

The invasive snakes are killing native habitat and wildlife, Salazar said.

“We need to make sure that what we are doing is comprehensive,” he said. “We need to look at the Everglades as an entire ecosystem.”

Critics said Salazar’s ban doesn’t go far enough because he only targeted four of nine dangerous snakes.

“We tailored our regulation to go after the present danger that we have in the Everglades and right now it’s the Burmese python, which is making up habitat with tens of thousands of Burmese pythons that are out there,” Salazar said after the meeting.

Salazar said his agency his “going after those species that present the greatest threat right now” and that five other species are being scrutinized scientifically and for the economic implications of banning those as well.

“But these four are the first step and we have the other five under consideration,” he said.

Scott said he supports the new federal rule, especially because Congress has failed for three years to pass U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s legislation that would have outlawed pythons.

Nelson praised Salazar and blasted critics for trying to “delay and obstruct” the new rule.

“These giant constrictor snakes do not belong in the Everglades and they do not belong in people’s back yards. Not only are they upsetting the ecological balance because they’re at the top of the food chain. They even attack alligators and consume them,” Nelson said.

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Endorsement reversal: Haridopolos backs pal Connie Mack in U.S. Senate race

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 by Dara Kam

One-time U.S. Senate candidate and Senate President Mike Haridopolos is backing long-time friend U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV in the GOP primary, Haridopolos told editors and reporters this morning.

Haridopolos said he’s supporting Mack because he’s disappointed in the negative campaigning that’s dominated the GOP race thus far.

“I was not exactly pleased in the direction in which the senate primary was moving,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, told a gathering of reporters and editors at the Associated Press Florida Legislative Planning Session shortly before noon. “I think he’d make an outstanding senator, not just candidate…I want to see us elevate the political discussion. What has disappointed me…is there’s a lot of finger-pointing. Let’s elevate the debate…as opposed to the negative campaigning that’s been done to this point.”

After initially saying he would not get into the race, Mack has now thrown his hat into a crowded GOP field. Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former state representative Adam Hasner of Delray Beach, businessman Craig Miller and Mike McAllister are all vying to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat. The four declared GOP candidates have been plagued by underwhelming poll numbers and fundraising.

Early this spring, Mack, a Cape Coral Republican who served in the Florida House alongside Haridopolos, endorsed Haridopolos, who dropped out of the race this summer.

Feds say they’ll look into FL elections law changes

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 by Dara Kam

The U.S. Department of Justice will “carefully consider” changes to Florida’s elections laws under a bill Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign into law this week.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson complained to the feds before the bill was passed that the measure would impose severe restrictions on Floridians’ voting rights. Democrats are convinced the measure is aimed at suppressing Democratic votes in next year’s presidential election in the swing state considered crucial by both parties.

Nelson drew flak with his comments at the time likening the fight against the elections overhaul to the the years-long covert operation that culminated in the death of Osama bin Laden.

The bill (HB 1355) would force voters to cast provisional ballots if they change their address at the polling place, make it harder for third-party groups to register voters and shorten early voting days. Nelson asked U.S. Attorney Eric Holder’s office to investigate the elections changes. Five counties in Florida remain under federal scrutiny because of discrimination against minority voters decades ago.

“We appreciate your bringing your concerns to our attention,” Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote Nelson in a letter dated yesterday. “The Department of Justice will carefully consider the information you have provided in the course of our enforcement and administrative review work under the Voting Rights Act. If you have any more information you wish to share, the Department would be pleased to receive it from you.”

Florida’s Congressional Democrats also today asked the justice department’s civil rights division to check out the bill.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and others wrote that the bill “seriously undermine the basic voting rights” of Floridians.

“We are confident that any honest examination of this legislation will determine that it is in clear violation of the Voting Rights Act,” they wrote.

After the GOP-dominated legislature passed the measure, the League of Women Voters of Florida announced they would no longer conduct voter registration drives. The ACLU and others are expected to challenge the law in court if Scott signs it as expected. He has until May 21 to act on the bill.

Senate president drops by press gallery: Nelson’s old and Scott’s a rock

Friday, May 6th, 2011 by Dara Kam

As the Senate began debating the budget in anticipation of a vote late this evening, President Mike Haridopolos dropped into the press gallery to chat with reporters at the close of the 60-day legislative session.

Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, boasted that he’s achieved the goals he set out at the onset of the 60-day legislative session: a balanced budget, no new taxes, Medicaid reform, and passing “Smart Cap,” the proposed constitutional amendment limiting how much government can spend he’s championed for 11 years.

The result is “hopefully that people will be able to see Florida as a business-friendly state,” he said. “That was my goal and I’m happy to report on the final day of session we met those goals.”

But cutting $3.6 billion from the state budget without raising taxes and creating sweeping new policies on Medicaid, education and pensions wasn’t easy, Haridopolos said, .

“This was a very difficult year, a very trying year in many cases,” he said.

The biggest – if not only – issue left undone is immigration, Haridopolos said. The Senate passed its measure but House Speaker Dean Cannon said the proposal is dead because it doesn’t go far enough for the super-majority of his 120 members needed to take it up.

Haridopolos said he hoped the House would consider what he called solid, common-sense legislation that would deport criminals after their sentences are served and would have required anyone receiving state or federal benefits be a legal resident of the state.

“Too often politicians operate through bumper stickers,” Haridopolos said. “This is what the legislative process is about…
It’s not just a public opinion poll that says do this. We’ll come back next year with more information.”

Asked how much influence Gov. Rick Scott – who Senate budget chief JD Alexander said earlier should take a “victory lap” – had on the session, Haridopolos said: “He was a rock” because “you knew he was not going to raise taxes” and would veto any measures that did.

The Senate president, also running for U.S. Senate in the GOP primary, took a couple of campaign-related questions as well.

Democrats are using a coloring book based on the single-copy book Haridopolos wrote and was paid more than $150K for as a fundraising tool on the last day of session.

Haridopolos shrugged it off and even signed a copy for Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo.

“Welcome to the NFL. I guess I’m in the NFL now and I’m playing on the field. Look, it says something if they’re constantly attacking me. So I must be doing something they don’t like if they spend so much time and attention on me,” Haridopolos said.

Then came a little bashing of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

“I think the contrast is pretty darn clear between me and Bill Nelson. Bill Nelson’s been in office since I was two years old.
And other than getting a ride on the shuttle, name me something major in this building, in Washington, D.C., that he has accomplished since I was two years old,” the 41-year-old said. “I like to think I get things done. He’s a person who holds a press conference….a press conference is not legislation.”

Nelson uses bin Laden operation to slam GOP elections overhaul

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 by Dara Kam

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson used the years-long covert operation that culminated last night in the death of the country’s No. 1 enemy to slam a GOP-backed elections overhaul the Senate is slated to vote on today.

“We have cut off the head of the snake,” said Nelson, joined in the Capitol by a host of fellow Democrats, voters rights groups and civil rights advocates at a previously-scheduled press conference about the elections package.

After congratulating President Barack Obama and the White House administration for killing Osama bin Laden, Nelson paralleled the fight for democracy overseas to Democrats’ fight against the elections package.

“Now in an effort of 10 years, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, protecting our democracy, protecting us from those that would do harm and who provide this protection because our democracy is unique, we find ourselves gathered in our Capitol city of this state again here to protect our democracy,” he said. “Now we are here for another reason of protecting our democracy and that is to keep the right to vote. Don’t make it harder to vote. Don’t make it harder to register to vote and don’t make it harder to try to count your vote. And that’s what we have in front of the legislature right now.”

Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, the bill’s sponsor, file a 154-page strike-all amendment bringing his plan (SB 2086) more in line with the House proposal (HB 1355), already approved by a partisan vote. Democrats object Republicans crafted both bills to suppress voter turnout in the 2012 election.

Among the most contentious components of the bills are rigorous new standards on third-party voter registration groups that helped drive Democratic turnout in 2008.

Swing state Florida, and the 29 electoral votes it will have in 2012, is considered by many a must-win for President Obama next year, intensifying the partisan divide over the bill’s changes to early voting, third-party registrations and provisional ballots.

The measure would force voters who have moved from one county to another to cast a provisional ballot on election day if they have not already changed their voter registration.

Nelson said that could have a chilling impact on the very men and women who helped bring bin Laden down.

“What about the armed services member overseas whose name has been changed because they got married?” Nelson said, adding that 55 percent of provisional ballots cast in the 2008 presidential election were not counted. “This is a personal attack on the people of Florida.”

Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth also used the national news to drum up opposition to the elections revamp.

“When you take so many nations on the globe, this planet Earth and compare them to the us, the big difference is that we respect the rule of law,” Butterworth, a Democrat, said.

Butterworth predicted the bill would be challenged in court if it becomes law and may not pass the U.S. Department of Justice pre-clearance requirements.

Florida bullet train dead – again

Friday, March 18th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Florida is out of the running (again) for $2.4 billion for a high-speed rail system linking Orlando, Tampa and Miami, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said this morning.

A coalition of state, local and federal officials’ plan to get the federal funds – again – after Gov. Rick Scott turned down the money last month has failed, Nelson said in a statement this morning.

The plan hinged on getting Amtrak to join in as an end-run around Scott. But Amtrak officials said no.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reopened bids for the grant money last week to give Florida a second shot at drawing down the stimulus funds.

But that would have required an existing rail authority – like Amtrak – to participate. With Amtrak out of the picture, the coalition doesn’t have enough time to come up with another proposal to meet LaHood’s April 4 deadline.

Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said in a letter to Nelson that the federally funded train system would help out in the future, but not now. He said that Florida and Amtrak could work together to try to get some of the $8 billion included in President Obama’s budget proposal (which Congress hasn’t yet approved).

Nelson tosses ‘Hail Mary’ for high-speed rail

Friday, March 4th, 2011 by Dara Kam

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is making a last-ditch effort to keep Florida in the running for a high-speed rail project even after proponents of the Tampa-to-Orlando line say it’s dead.

Nelson said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is considering re-opening the grant process for the $2.4 billion in federal funds awarded to Florida but which Gov. Rick Scott turned down.

The new process could allow the money to then be awarded directly to a new regional rail coalition comprised of local governments including the cities of Tampa, Orlando, Lakeland and Miami.

“If it can’t be done, then we’re done,” Nelson said in statement. “Meantime, there’s an old proverb: fall seven times, stand up eight.”

The Florida Supreme Court ruled this morning that Scott acted within his authority in turning down the funds. And the governor once again told LaHood – who twice extended the deadline for Florida to take the money after Scott rejected it last month – no thanks.

UPDATE: High-speed rail suit on high court fast track

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: Gov. Scott issued this statement about the lawsuit:
“My position remains unchanged, I’ve yet to see any evidence that Florida taxpayers would not be on the hook. Senators Altman and Joyner’s disrespect for taxpayers is clear by their lawsuit trying to force the state to spend this money.”

The Florida Supreme Court gave Gov. Rick Scott until noon tomorrow to respond to a lawsuit filed today by two state senators challenging the governor’s authority to reject $2.4 billion in federal funds for a high-speed rail project.

Sens. Thad Altman, a Republican from Melbourne, and Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat, filed the lawsuit today asking the court to order Scott to accept the money or issue an immediate injunction keeping the White House from giving the money away to other states.

Their lawsuit alleges that Scott exceeded his authority by rejecting the money that his predecessor Charlie Crist had already accepted and that lawmakers had already spent a portion of.

It’s all about the constitutional separation of powers, the bipartisan pair said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“This is not a monarchy. He is not a king,” Joyner, a lawyer, said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson asked U.S. Transportation Department Ray LaHood to wait while the lawsuit proceeds before giving the money away. He’s already given the state two delays to give Scott more time to reconsider.

UPDATE: Florida gets more time for high-speed rail

Friday, February 25th, 2011 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: Lest there be any confusion about where Gov. Rick Scott stands on the issue, the governor used the Web’s social networks to make it clear.

@FLGovScott directed followers to his Facebook site with this Tweet: “My position remains the same on High Speed Rail http://on.fb.me/eaEoiD”

Here’s Rick Scott’s Facebook message:
“My position on High Speed Rail remains unchanged. I believe High Speed Rail is a federal boondoggle, as I said more than a week ago. This morning I communicated to Secretary LaHood that as long as Florida remains on the hook for cost overruns, operating costs and paybacks in the case of default, I will vigorously oppose this project.
Since that time, Secretary LaHood has extended his own deadline for coming up with a way to alleviate Florida’s risk on High Speed Rail. While I appreciate his continued efforts to keep the project alive in Florida, it is important to note that I have yet to see any proposal that accomplishes my goal of eliminating risk to Florida’s taxpayers.”

Florida’s still on track to get $2.4 billion in federal funds for a high-speed rail project from Tampa to Orlando, the latest twist in a tea party-related transportation tale.

Gov. Rick Scott, who rejected the money last week, met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood this morning in Washington.

Today was supposed to be the deadline for Scott to change his mind and accept the funds, something he insisted he would not do up – until today.

After the meeting, LaHood agreed to give Scott another week to consider alternate proposals.

“This morning I met with Governor Rick Scott to discuss the high speed rail project that will create jobs and economic development for the entire state of Florida. He asked me for additional information about the state’s role in this project, the responsibilities of the Florida Department of Transportation, as well as how the state would be protected from liability,” LaHood said in a statement.

“I have decided to give Governor Scott additional time to review the agreement crafted by local officials from Orlando, Tampa, Lakeland and Miami, and to consult with his staff at the state Department of Transportation. He has committed to making a final decision by the end of next week. I feel we owe it to the people of Florida, who have been working to bring high speed rail to their state for the last 20 years, to go the extra mile.”

Scott said he refused the funds because he remains convinced that the state would be on the hook for some – if not all – of the costs of the $2.7 billion project. He’s relying in part on a conservative think tank’s ridership analysis. And he’s come under pressure from tea party activists who see the project as symbolic of government waste.

Read reactions from Florida lawmakers and officials scrambling to come up with a proposal that meets Scott’s muster.

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Fla senators ask LaHood for more time on rail

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 by Dara Kam

A bipartisan coalition of Florida state senators asked U.S. Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHood to give them more time to come up with a way to take advantage of the $2.4 billion in federal funds Gov. Rick Scott rejected yesterday.

Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, convinced 25 of her Republican and Democratic colleagues, including Sens. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Wellington, and Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, sign her letter to LaHood.

They say the Florida Rail Enterprise or the Florida Statewide Passenger Rail Commission, both created by the legislature in 2009, are possible entities to draw down the money to go around Scott, who heads the state’s transportation agency that originally sought the funds under Gov. Charlie Crist. The commission is comprised of nine members – three each appointed by the governor, the House Speaker and the Senate President.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and other members of Florida’s Congressional delegation are meeting with LaHood in a last-ditch effort to keep the money set to be distributed to the states tomorrow.

GOP prez candidate Pawlenty gets his Tally on next week

Friday, February 11th, 2011 by Dara Kam

As promised by Senate President Mike Haridopolos yesterday, GOP lawmakers will get a visit from one of the likely 2012 presidential contenders – former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – next week.

Tea party darling Pawlenty, slated to speak Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., will be the first of the presidential candidates to come to what the Merritt Island Republican, who’s running statewide for U.S. Senate, calls ground-zero in the 2012 race.

“T-Paw,” as he calls himself on his Website, has set up a political committee called “Freedom First” backing conservative candidates like himself, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott and new U.S. Reps. Daniel Webster and Steve Southerland.

Perhaps Haridopolos, hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in what may be a crowded field, will get his endorsement (although Haridopolos was a Mike Huckabee supporter three years ago.) Haridopolos happily labels himself Florida’s most conservative senate president ever.

Haridopolos said that Florida is “the most important state in the presidential election” and will also likely determine who the next GOP nominee is.

“I think it will be beneficial for Florida to find out some of the ideas because we face a multitude of problems in the state and if a person is seeking the presidency I think they should come to Florida and let us know what they think,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, told reporters yesterday.

BP claims czar agrees to appear before House committee

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 by Dara Kam

BP claims czar Ken Feinberg will appear before the House Economic Affairs Committee on Feb. 18, his office confirmed to committee chairwoman Dorothy Hukill.

Hukill, R-Port Orange, and other lawmakers want Feinberg to explain why tens of thousands of Florida business owners, most of them in the Panhandle, are having so much trouble having their claims paid after the massive oil spill last spring created an economic catastrophe in the region.

Feinberg, in charge of the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility, has been the target of attack by numerous lawyer, lawmakers, Florida residents, and, most recently, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who’s demanding a White House investigation into Feinberg’s process.

Among the complaints: applicants are paid a fraction of what they believe they should receive, with no explanation; individuals are unable to speak with anyone directly about the details of their claims or where they are in the process; a seemingly willy-nilly approach to payment of claims that are nearly identical.

Feinberg insists he’s doing the best he can with the more than half million claims he’s received, and he continues to promise to improve his system.

The public can comment on Feinberg’s draft protocols, released last week, for handling interim and final payments by e-mailing: MethodologyComments@gccf-claims.com.

The methodology for determining eligibility and payment can be viewed here.

Senate prez officially launches bid for U.S. Senate

Friday, January 14th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Senate President Mike Haridopolos started organizing his U.S. Senate bid with a campaign committee to raise money for the 2012 race.

Haridopolos’ committee – “Friends of Mike H” – launched a Website to accept contributions for the Merritt Island Republican.

Haridopolos is inviting big Republican donors to a “private strategy meeting” in Orlando next month and asking them to bring $10,000 checks, according to an e-mail a GOP fundraiser sent out yesterday.

Haridopolos and what is expected to be a host of others have targeted U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the state’s statewide-elected Democratic holdout. Others who’ve expressed an interest in running against Nelson include former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, an attorney with the West Palm Beach-based Gunster law firm and former aide to Gov. Charlie Crist.

Republicans swept the governor’s seat and the Florida Cabinet and nailed down veto-proof majorities in the state House and Senate in the November elections.

Nelson: Sink will win by a wide margin

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 by Dara Kam

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, on the stump with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink this afternoon, exuded confidence over the chief financial officer’s chances of defeating GOP opponent Rick Scott next month.

Although recent polls have showed the candidates neck-and-neck, Nelson insisted Sink would win.

“I think she is ahead now. She is ahead in the polls. And I think by the time all these ballots that have been counted on election night…She’ll win by seven points or more,” Nelson said.

Nelson files bill to raise oil spill liability

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by Dara Kam

U.S. Sen Bill Nelson is pushing an effort to up the amount oil companies must pay for economic damages caused by oil spills like the massive Deepwater Horizon blast spreading through the Gulf of Mexico.

Currently, oil companies like BP are responsible for paying the costs of cleanup. But federal law caps liability at $75 million per incident.

Nelson and New Jersey Democratic U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg want to increase oil companies’ liability to cover lost business revenues and cap it at $10 billion.

BP officials have pledged to pay whatever it takes to clean up the oil leak, expected to reach Florida’s Panhandle beaches Thursday.

“BP says it’ll pay for this mess. Baloney. They’re not going to want to pay any more than what the law says they have to, which is why we can’t let them off the hook,” Nelson, D-Fla., said in a statement.

HUD secretary, state elected officials to tour drywall-tainted Boynton home

Monday, October 12th, 2009 by Dara Kam

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will join U.S. Reps. Robert Wexler, Ron Klein and Mario Diaz-Balart tomorrow on a tour of a Boynton Beach doctor’s home contaminated by Chinese drywall.

The entourage, which includes state Sen. Ted Deutch, will visit Steve and Jennifer Robert’s home in Cobblestone Creek. The Roberts’ daughter has been afflicted with frequent respiratory infections possibly caused by the toxic drywall.

Palm Beach County officials, including Wexler and Klein, have pushed Congress to do something about the tainted building product, as has U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

s had on the lives of the Roberts family, who own a home in the community of Cobblestone Creek. Dr. Steve Roberts and his wife Jennifer Roberts have struggled with their 16 month-old daughter’s frequent respiratory infections, and the fact that their home has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in value as a result of this toxic product.

WHO:
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan
Congressman Robert Wexler
Congressman Mario-Diaz Balart
Congressman Ron Klein
State Senator Ted Deutch

WHAT:
Press Availability Following Tour of Home

WHERE:
The home of Dr. Steve Roberts and Jennifer Roberts
10013 Cobblestone Creek Drive, Boynton Beach, FL

WHEN:
Tuesday, October 13, 10:30-11:30 am

Game on: Crist orders python purge

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 by Dara Kam

A python posse armed with clubs and machetes will start combing the Everglades for the supersized serpents this weekend.

Gov. Charlie Crist ordered the python bounty hunt Wednesday at the urging of two Florida congressmen who were in an uproar after one of the exotic snakes strangled a 2-year-old girl July 1 near Ocala.

That python was a pet and didn’t live in the Everglades. But the case called new attention to the plague of the oversized reptiles that have spread throughout South Florida’s marshes, gobbling wading birds and posing a danger to native wildlife.

Estimates of the python population in the Everglades range between 10,000 and 150,000. They can reach up to 20 feet in length and have long, curved teeth, along with the ability to squeeze their prey to death.

(more…)

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