Local, Regional and National Politics …
Editorial Note: The Lehigh Acres Gazette will not endorse any candidates but will provide any opinion section space for the viewers of the Gazette to make their own decisions.
By REP. MATTHEW CALDWELL
As we approach the end of the Florida legislative session, bills are moving from committees to the House floor. To date, we have presented two bills on the floor:
- House Bill 239: Beginning as the “eyeball war,” the bill addresses the disparity between optometrists and ophthalmologists in terms of prescribing medication. Currently, optometrists are only permitted to administer and prescribe topical medications; however, this bill authorizes optometrists to administer and prescribe limited oral medications that are appropriate to treat and diagnose ocular diseases and disorders.
- House Bill 7065: The bill amends the Everglades Forever Act to allow for the final phase of restoration for the Everglades.
After much discussion and deliberation between the parties involved with the two bills, the parties came together to agree and House members unanimously voted in favor of both House Bill 239 and House Bill 7065.
We also have a local bill that directly impacts the East County Water Control District. House Bill 1281 authorizes the East County Water Control District to finance, plan, construct and operate streetlights and sidewalks in Lee County and also provides that the district may levy non-ad valorem tax assessments on a per-project basis.
House Bill 1281 has favorably passed both of its committee assignments and is currently waiting to be heard on the House floor. (more…)
The decision by the Florida Legislation to raise campaign contributions limits from five hundred dollars to three thousand dollars per election cycle is the latest example of politicians tampering with our election laws to gain political advantage. Remember these are the same people, who bought us the infamous presidential election of 2012. The election crisis which had voters standing in line for more than six hour was created because they shortened the early voting period. They also terminated the vote on Sunday before the election and stacked the ballots with lengthy amendments that should have been addressed during the regular legislative session.
So, here we go again. Since, they failed at manipulating the presidential election process to their advantage, they are now attempting to buy the election process. On this issue, I agree with Governor Scott. ”No one has shown a rational reason for raising these limits”.
This bill also allows candidates, to retain twenty- thousand dollars in their campaign accounts for their re-election efforts. As reported in the News Press, this provides a real unfair advantage to anyone who wants to challenge an incumbent. Not only do I oppose this bill, but I think that it gives wealthy donors more influence over the election process and the selection of our representatives. This legislation basically puts our Government up for sale.
Candidate for Lee County School Board,
1832 Hancock Bridge Pkwy, Cape Coral, FL 33990
After weeks of strong-willed debate between farmers, policymakers and environmental groups, a compromise has been reached on a federally mandated Everglades restoration program agreed to with the Obama administration by Gov. Rick Scott last year.
The Florida House has passed a bill that is expected to soon be approved by the Senate and sent to Scott for signing.
The bill establishes the appropriation framework and provides funding for ecosystem restoration project construction intended to bring the phosphorus content to water entering the Everglades from local sugar farms to 10 parts per billion. Those levels were at about 70 when the original program was created 20 years ago as a result of lawsuits by environmental groups. (more…)
Carroll, the first African-American woman to hold the post of lieutenant governor, represented a suburban Jacksonville district in the House before Gov. Rick Scott chose her as his running mate in 2010. She has weathered some controversy in the office, but her resignation came as a surprise.
Click here to read the resignation letter
Steven K. Teuber, a partner in the law firm of Neaher & Teuber, PL, has announced his candidacy for Lee County School Board, District 4, in November 2014. Teuber made this announcement at the weekly meeting of Business United Political Action Committee, a non-partisan action group that facilitates discussion of public issues affecting Southwest Florida.
In a prepared statement announcing his candidacy, Teuber, who had previously served on the Lee County School Board, stated that Lee County witnessed dramatic systemic changes and marked improvement during his eight years in office as a School Board member.
In his statement he said he believes the last two years have been void of any leadership and direction resulting in the current stagnation in academic improvement, that left unchecked, will continue to negatively impact our community for years to come. (more…)
Tucked into the “fiscal cliff” tax package approved by Congress are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make the New Year a lot happier for businesses of many stripes including film producers, race track owners and the makers of electric motorcycles.
In all, more than 50 temporary tax breaks were renewed through 2013, saving businesses and individuals about $76 billion. Congress routinely renews the tax package, attracting intense lobbying — and campaign donations — from businesses and trade groups that say the tax breaks help them prosper and create jobs..
The package passed by Congress this week and signed by President Barack Obama renews the tax breaks retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them on both their 2012 and 2013 tax returns. (more…)
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio broke with his party Tuesday and voted against a bipartisan compromise to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts.
Rubio was one of only eight U.S. Senators who voted against the deal, which passed with 89 votes and had the support of many staunch fiscal conservatives. Florida Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson voted for it.
The measure passed around 2 a.m., two hours past the fiscal cliff deadline.
The House could vote on the legislation today.
Democratic and Republican leaders described the compromise as an imperfect but necessary agreement to prevent serious economic harm to families, businesses and the economy.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was elected as the state’s chief executive as a Republican and then ran for the U.S. Senate as an independent, announced on Twitter on Friday night that he’s switching to the Democratic Party.
Crist sent out a Tweet that said, “Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President (at) Barack Obama!”
The Tweet included a photo of a smiling Crist and an unidentified woman as he held up a Florida voter registration application. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Crist signed the papers changing his affiliation from independent to Democrat at a Christmas reception at The White House.
I have been asked many questions about the legality of the Lee County Sheriff offering bonuses to the employees of the Sheriff’s Office. Members from different aspects of our community, from business leaders to blue collar workers and Republicans to Democrats all have the same question: Is what the current sheriff doing legal? Why is he doing this?
I cannot speak for anyone, but I can tell you what the law says. My Open Star program is designed to shed light into all aspects of your Sheriff’s Office, as you see I am doing in this letter.
Florida Statutes regulate how public employees receive bonuses. The following things must happen in order for the bonus to be legal: The award must be based on work performance, the performance standards and evaluation processes by which a bonus will be awarded needs to be established and known to all employees, the sheriff must notify all employees of the policy before the beginning of the evaluation period on which a bonus will be based, and the sheriff must consider all employees for the bonus. None of these conditions have been met. (more…)
Mitt Romney’s new iPhone app misspells the word “America” and the typo has gone viral.
As Romney clinched the GOP presidential nomination with a victory in Texas last night, his campaign released its “I’m with Mitt” app that allows users to post photos of themselves along with 14 different banners. One of those slogans reads: “A Better Amercia.”
The typo lit up Twitter as various people poked fun at what “Amercia” stood for. One example, highlighted by Mashable, “While #Amercia does have a nice ring to it, Romney’s developers of “his” app may want to begin looking for new jobs.”
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul told MSNBC that “mistakes happen.” She said the campaign has submitted a corrected app to the folks at Apple, which has to approve the new typo-free version.