Florida state Senator Joe Negron is poised to talk about his ersatz Medicaid expansion proposal that he's dubbed "Healthy Florida" later today, and apparently some Democrats in the Legislature already like what they've heard about it. His announcement comes a day after a new poll showed that by a 50-40 percent margin, Floridians want the Legislature to go along with Governor Scott and agree to the plan offered by the feds on the Medicaid portion of the Affordable Care Act. That doesn't surprise us at all, as we've consistently maintained that Tallahassee based Republicans like Will Weatherford and his colleagues are out of the mainstream when it comes to their fervent opposition to the federal government's cost-sharing arrangement plan that would expand health care coverage for up to a million Floridians.
Another fissure between Rick Scott and his GOP colleagues in the House and Senate is his intention to offer one-time $2,500 bonuses to all public school teachers. An appropriations committee in the Senate yesterday voted to include the $480 million that it would cost to fund that expenditure, but the chairman, Bradenton's Bill Galvano, says he won't support Scott's across the board proposal, wanting to make it merit-based. This is a potentially explosive issue as the legislative session continues, since the governor has said there are only two items he absolutely wants to see accomplished during the session (the other is a tax break on manufacturing equipment).
Meanwhile in Tallahassee yesterday the "Florida Unborn Victims of Violence" act passed through a committee. Pro-choice advocates are aghast at this legislation, which they call a fetal personhood amendment.
Meanwhile, in the 'been down so long it looks like up' category, transit advocates are atwitter because the Hillsborough BOCC is...wait for it....going to begin talking about how to improve transportation in the county.
Also at the County Center yesterday, the issue of a domestic partner registry was raised once again. Saying he wanted to address the issue of helping out unmarried couples when it comes to designating a health care surrogate, Commissioner Al Higginbotham offered a plan that would help out those with such a need. Commissioners who voted down a DPR two months ago quickly embraced Higginbotham's proposal, though the board was informed it doesn't offer all the benefits (six in all) that such a registry would. That's why the three board members who support such a DPR could not get behind their colleague's proposal yesterday, but again they were on the losing end.