Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The State House goes home ... the Senate fills in the blanks ... the people are screwed ... by gimleteye

The only event worth noting in Fortress Tallahassee is that the lobbyist class -- working by the hour on the clock -- is going to have pad its accounts with clients until Gov. Rick Scott convenes a special session.

One would think that with the House canceling its work, that lobbyists would have to be truthful with clients about the time they are billing. That probably won't happen either.

Yesterday, the emails were flying about two incredibly bad bills sought by the oil and gas industry to permit fracking in the state of Florida. The effect of the House walking away was to temporarily shelve the bills, but the bills will be back and you can assume that the lobbyists pushing those bills are pursuing House and Senate doubtful with redoubled intensity.

The lobbyist class is hoping the hiatus provides even more billable hours at rates of $500 to $1000 per hour. Conflict is good for business!

Environmental advocates breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when the House threw its temper tantrum. But as those emails flew yesterday, I was reminded how much energy is expended by the public during the legislative session to STOP elected officials from doing the wrong thing. You can't do the RIGHT thing because there aren't enough votes.

There is a good reason that environmentalists can't be proactive in Tallahassee: whatever they propose is fodder for well funded and politically connected Republicans whose profit models depend on exploiting taxpayers.

It doesn't matter that the environmental side tries to mount Republican-friendly, business-centric arguments. On public radio the other day, Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg talked about the imperative for funding the purchase of US Sugar lands in exactly the terms that Republicans hear: it is good for business. It increases the water "pie", so there will be more water to go around.

All falls on deaf ears in the Capitol.

I also heard, on public radio, one of the names proposed to run as a Republican successor to Marco Rubio, who is yielding his US Senate seat to run for president, that Florida voters "want a business friendly, conservative Republican who reflects the conservative values of the state."

With the Florida legislature being governed with the efficiency of a trailer park condo association, why would anyone want a repeat of what we are now have?

When 75 percent of voters endorse buying environmentally sensitive lands, and the Republican legislature runs the opposite direction, looking to line the pockets of the lobbying class and big donors to political campaigns, -- while the very symptom of what they are avoiding is visible in the rampant toxic algae bloom coating the shore of Lake Okeechobee -- don't you think it is time to hold someone accountable? Hello?

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