The unique perspective and provocative opinions of Joe O’Neill
Like any state legislature, Florida’s is not committee-challenged. But what it still lacks is a climate change committee. How is it that an obvious and onerous threat to a state defined by coastlines and developed wetlands still hasn’t designated such a committee? Policy creation has largely been left to cities and various agenda groups. Adaptation (building up roads, seawalls and houses) rather than lowering (car and energy producer) emissions has been the priority. But saltwater intrusion and increased flooding have disastrous implications. This is not a partisan issue; this is an existential issue—and should be treated as such from the top down.
So Rick Scott is in the conversation to become the GOP’s next presidential nominee. Imagine, actually saying that? But it’s what can happen when norms and precedents are shattered and a clueless, con-man autocrat-wannabe can become president of the United States. BTW, Scott is now the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is airing a commercial for Georgia voters featuring a Scott voice-over warning riddled with Trump talking points. “(The Democrats) plan to take Georgia so they can change America,” he declares. “Reduce funding for police. Eliminate employer-based health insurance. Pack the Supreme Court. Chip away at our religious and gun rights.”
“We have less revenue, therefore we will have less government. That does not mean all we will do is cut the budget these next two years.”—Florida Senate president Wilton Simpson on the reality of a two-year $5.4 billion budget hole.
At least nine of the 160 legislators–two senators and seven House members–were absent for coronavirus-related reasons as Florida lawmakers convened for the annual swearing-in ceremony in Tallahassee. Absentees had either tested positive or had been close to someone who had. Among the Representatives: Jackie Toledo of Tampa.
Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor will make the speech nominating Nancy Pelosi for re-election as House Speaker. Such assignments are a function of earned respect and senority. Rep. Castor recently won an eighth term.