Month: April 2012

FL Supreme Court grants new district boundaires

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog TAMPA — After striking down a previous plan drawn up by state Senate lawmakers in February, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously approved a new map Friday morning, defining the political districts for legislators ahead of state elections this fall. The issue stems from the first lawsuit filed by groups such as […]

Court strikes down drug testing for FL state workers

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog TAMPA — Florida Gov. Rick Scott was dealt a blow Thursday morning when a federal judge declared unconstitutional mandatory drug screening for state employees. The ruling, handed down by U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro in the Southern District of Florida, issues a permanent injunction on the drug tests, which were required by an executive order in March 2011. “The executive order does […]

Connie Mack IV, FL’s not-so-inevitable Senate candidate

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog MIAMI — The past few months haven’t been kind to the fourth-generation Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy.  The four-term Fort Myers Republican congressman, better known as Connie Mack IV, was once considered the conservative favorite in the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. But fresh questions about the congressman’s […]

Rubio wraps up week-long audition in national spotlight

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog TAMPA — Dogged by rumors of a potential vice presidential nomination, the junior U.S. senator from Florida spent the week giving speeches on the campaign trail and in national interviews, boosting his public profile and giving credence to those who view him as the rising star of the Republican Party. As […]

Analysis: Do changes in early voting laws affect minorities?

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog TAMPA — The number 537 forever will be burned in the minds of Florida legislators.   After 35 days of fumbled recounts, disappearing ballots and deliberations by the U.S. Supreme Court, the weight of the 2000 presidential election came down to that tiny fraction of ballots — 537. With that legacy in mind, Florida lawmakers […]

Polls show Florida as key battleground state in 2012

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog TAMPA — Following tradition, the Sunshine State is setting the stage for another unforgettable year of election politics. That’s according to the latest Fox News poll conducted April 15-17, sampling 757 Florida registered voters in a telephone survey. In the expected matchup between Democratic President Barack Obama and likely Republican nomineeMitt Romney, Obama leads by less than two points, […]

Shooting thrusts FL city into epicenter for social activism, justice

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog SANFORD — In more tranquil times, the city of Sanford was known as the Historic Waterfront Gateway City, a tribute to its comfortable position between Lakes Monroe and Jesup. But, since the death of Trayvon Martinin late February, the city has become the volatile epicenter of the battle for justice, social activism and political maneuvering leading […]

Welfare drug tests: Noble effort or needless stigma?

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog TAMPA — The measure was intended to promote “personal responsibility” and put an end to millions in “misused” tax dollars. If welfare recipients expect to receive a check, warned Sunshine State lawmakers last spring, then they must submit their urine to the state and prove their bodies are clean of illegal […]

Loaded with cash, Nelson holds lead in Senate race

by Yaël Ossowski TAMPA — Just three weeks before the filing deadline, Florida‘s U.S. Senate candidates are pulling out all the stops to catch Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. The two-term senator has amassed close to $1.6 million in the first three months of 2012, bulking up the $8.4 million he raised last year, according to his re-election campaign. Read more: Statehouse […]