YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: Scott's political tweezers, Brown's redistricting woes, your rich politicians

WHO KNEW RICK SCOTT OWNED A PAIR OF TWEEZERS? “Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed into law the largest budget in state history, a $77 billion spending plan crafted to enhance his re-election prospects, as well as the Republican legislators who crafted it. Scott didn’t use a scalpel for vetoes, it was a pair of tweezers: $69 million in vetoed spending is less than half his previous low. Scott did not hold a public bill-signing ceremony— a clear sign that he did not want to draw any more attention than necessary to his decision to veto such little pork-barrel spending. It was Scott’s most delicate use of the veto pen since he took office in 2011. He vetoed $142 million from the budget in 2012, and $368 million last year. “He was in a precarious position,” said Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, who championed a number of line-item projects throughout the state. Hooper said Scott could not afford to alienate his fellow Republicans in the Legislature when he’s in a tough fight for re-election, but he may rile conservatives by his support of more government spending.” (via Tampa Bay Times)


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BECAUSE IT’S NOT ABOUT FAIRNESS, IT’S ABOUT SAVING YOUR OWN ASS: “With her district essentially on trial in a Tallahassee courtroom, Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown on Monday ripped into a lawsuit brought by a coalition of voting-rights groups challenging the state’s congressional districts. Brown, whose sprawling district has emerged as the central focus of arguments against the map drawn by the Legislature in 2012, appeared in a Leon County courtroom as the trial in the lawsuit continued for a 10th day. “If they called your names as many times as they’ve called mine, you would show up,” Brown told a reporter who asked why she had decided to attend. The organizations challenging the congressional districts approved two years ago say the map violates the “Fair Districts” amendments that voters adopted in 2010. Those constitutional standards bar the Legislature from using the once-a-decade redistricting process to craft political boundaries that help or harm political parties or candidates. The groups have highlighted Congressional District 5 — Brown’s district — which winds through eight counties from Duval to Orange, wrapping in enclaves of black voters to create a district likely to elect a candidate favored by African-Americans. In 2012, lawmakers boosted the African-American share of the district’s voting-age population to more than 50 percent. Map-drawers have testified that doing so strengthened the protections extended to the district under the Voting Rights Act.But opponents argue that it also makes surrounding districts friendlier to Republicans by putting Democratic-leaning voters on Brown’s turf.” (via Florida Times-Union)


IN WHICH BIG ENERGY PROMISES TO PASS THE COSTS ON TO YOU IN ORDER TO MEET EPA GUIDELINES. WOULDN’T WANT TO TRIM THE FAT FROM WITHIN, WOULD YOU?: “Florida’s heavy reliance on natural gas could make cutting carbon pollution under an ambitious plan unveiled Monday by the Obama administration easier to swallow.  The complex rule, touted as the strongest federal effort yet to combat climate change by regulating power plant carbon emissions for the first time, calls for reducing emissions nationally by 30 percent by 2030. The rule covers all fossil fuel-powered plants, which generate about 6 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gases, but chiefly targets the nation’s biggest polluters: coal-fired power plants. Florida, which gets about 68 percent of its power from plants running on natural gas, would have to reduce emissions by 38 percent, according to calculations by the Environmental Protection Agency.  While the proposed rule has been generally praised by environmentalists, some Florida and national industry groups argue it will drive up fuel and consumer costs. “These new onerous regulations will weigh down businesses and make it more difficult for them to expand here in Florida,” said Tom Feeney, CEO of the Associated Industries of Florida. “There are more cost-effective and sustainable solutions to create energy efficiency.” But environmentalists say the regulations are long overdue. “Up until this point, polluters could just put as much carbon in the atmosphere as they wanted with no limit, and the fact of the matter is we all pay for that,” said Susan Glickman of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.” (via Miami Herald)


BECAUSE NOT KNOWING WHAT YOU’RE LEGISLATING ALWAYS BRINGS THE MOST COMPASSIONATE SOLUTIONS: “There were a dozen eggs, three mangoes, and six black plums, and that was a problem. The family in the bodega line would have to cut something from the bags waiting on the check out belt—the modest haul overspent the Women, Infants, Children food-assistance voucher good for only a portion of their appetite. The clerk removed three plums and placed them on the far side of the register, declining an offer of safekeeping from a family member she deemed had other intentions. Perhaps you’ve seen a similar case of nutritional triage; perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself. In the age of increased economic segregation, though, there’s a good chance you haven’t. If you grow up in suburbia and live in higher-income urban enclaves, as I have, EBT food purchases—and the resulting sacrifices—are likely alien. Following deliberations about food assistance and other poverty programs is no substitute for watching human need contend with stark reality. But my personal understanding is mostly inconsequential. Whether the officials in charge of poverty policy understand it is more important. Given the acceleration of economic segregation and monetization of elections, the chances are slim. On issues of the most basic needs, politicians have the least experience—and that comes at a cost.” (via The Atlantic)

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