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Jose Garcia

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Member since: Fri Dec 2, 2016, 12:17 PM
Number of posts: 1,923

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Scott playing budget hardball over repeal of EFI, Visit Florida, members say

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott’s staff is sending an indirect but unmistakable message to Florida lawmakers, according to several House members: If you support legislation abolishing two economic development entities strongly backed by the governor, you can kiss your budget items goodbye.

The governor’s office says the notion that it is tying the fate of House members' pet projects to how they vote on legislation that would shutter Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida is “absolutely false.” None of the lawmakers interviewed by POLITICO Florida have indicated that their discussions were held directly with the governor.

"The word ‘threat’ was not used, but the message was clear,” said a House member lobbied on the economic development reform bill. “It’s a pretty hardline approach so early in the process. If they want the House to work with them [governor’s office] in the future, they might want to rethink it.”

For veteran political observers, a governor using his line-item veto pen as leverage to muscle policy priorities out of the Legislature is nothing new.

more: http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2017/02/some-house-members-say-they-are-feeling-scott-squeeze-over-repeal-of-efi-visit-florida-109540

Corcoran weighs potential suit against Scott administration over massive Florida Lottery contract

TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran is considering suing the Scott administration because he says a new massive lottery contract worth more than $700 million violates the state law that gives the Legislature budget writing authority, according to a draft complaint reviewed by POLITICO Florida.

In the potential lawsuit, Corcoran says that the Florida Department of Lottery’s agreement with Nevada-based International Gaming Technology would force the Legislature to fund a big increase in certain types of ticket terminals. Department officials have made the case that the new deal will boost overall sales and state revenues.

Though the Legislature is responsible for crafting the state budget, House General Counsel Adam Tanenbaum says that the contract should be found “void” because it represents an executive agency binding lawmakers to provide a funding boost, according to a complaint being drafted by House attorneys.

“Simply put, the Florida Lottery cannot enter into a contract that obligates the agency to pay more in subsequent fiscal years than its current budget authority allows,” reads the complaint.

more: http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2017/02/corcoran-considering-suing-scott-administration-over-massive-lottery-contract-109580

DOJ asks to postpone district court proceedings on travel ban

Source: The Hill

The Trump administration is seeking to delay district court proceedings on the president’s travel ban until after an appeals court decides whether to rehear the case, suggesting that the government may not ask the Supreme Court to step in just yet.

A three-judge panel on the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided last Thursday not to reinstate Trump’s executive action on immigration and refugees while the policy works its way through the legal system.

But an unknown judge on the appeals court has requested that the entire court vote whether to rehear the case through “en banc” review. That process would task an 11-judge panel to review the case and could result in another hearing. A majority of the active judges would need to agree to review the case.


The Ninth Circuit asked both the defendants and plaintiffs to file briefs by this Thursday about whether they think the case should be heard en banc.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/319284-doj-asks-to-postpone-district-court-proceedings-on-travel-ban

TSA employees arrested for cocaine smuggling operation in Puerto Rico

Source: The Hill

A dozen airport and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a massive cocaine smuggling operation in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

The defendants are accused of helping smuggle approximately 20 tons of cocaine through Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport over the course of 18 years, from 1998 to 2016.

The investigation was initiated by the TSA as part of an ongoing effort to target employee misconduct and reduce insider threats.

The operation allegedly involved employees smuggling suitcases through TSA checkpoints at the airport and onto flights, with as many as five mules on some flights and with each mule checking two suitcases in some cases.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/319246-tsa-employees-arrested-for-cocaine-smuggling-operation-in-puerto-rico

IBM leader defends role on Trump advisory council

Source: The Hill

The head of IBM is defending her role on President Trump’s business advisory council.

In an internal letter to employees, CEO Ginni Rometty stressed that IBM “does not espouse a partisan or political point of view.”

“Some have suggested that we should not engage with the U.S. administration. I disagree,” Rometty wrote in the letter, obtained by The Hill and first reported on by TechCrunch, which was distributed shortly after a meeting with Trump earlier this month.

“Our experience has taught us that engagement — reaching out, listening and having authentic dialogue — is the best path to good outcomes.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/319257-ibm-leader-defends-role-on-trump-advisory-council

Trump cancels reported bill signing in Ohio

Source: The Hill

President Trump will not be in Ohio this week, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Monday.

Though the White House had never officially announced the trip, the administration had issued an advisory last week suggesting Trump would make a visit to Vienna, Ohio, according to the newspaper.

The Youngstown Vindicator reported over the weekend that Trump was planning to sign a bill overturning an Obama administration regulation known as the “Stream Protection Rule,” which sought to prevent coal companies from depositing waste into streams.

The Vindicator also reported on Monday that the trip would not happen, citing a spokesman for the 910th Airlift Wing of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station. The spokesman told the paper that the unit was not given a reason for the cancellation.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/319259-trump-cancels-ohio-visit-report

Trump: Well be tweaking NAFTA

Source: The Hill

President Trump on Monday said his administration will be “tweaking” the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in a way that will be a boon for both the United States and Canada.

During a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a Canadian reporter asked Trump if the country can expect big or small changes to the trade agreement and how it relates to Canada.

“We’ll be tweaking it,” Trump said at Monday’s press conference. “We’ll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries."

"Our relationship with Canada is outstanding,” he added.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/319280-trump-well-be-tweaking-nafta

200 patient groups ask Price to keep protections for those with pre-existing conditions

Source: The Hill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) chided Senate Democrats on Monday, arguing they should apply the "Ginsburg standard" to Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination.

"No hints, no forecasts , no previews that is what has become known as the Ginsburg standard," he said from the Senate floor. "Supreme Court nominees of presidents of both parties have adhered to it."

McConnell pointed to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's opening statement during her 1993 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing outlining what kinds of questions she would not answer.

"A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecast, no hints for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of a particular case it would display disdain for the entire judicial process," she said at the time.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/319282-mcconnell-dems-should-follow-ginsburg-standard-on-trumps-supreme

Mark Cuban on potential presidential run: 'We will see'

Source: The Hill

Billionaire Mark Cuban is leaving the door open for a potential presidential bid, according to a new report.

“We will see,” Cuban told Business Insider when the businessman and television personality was asked if he would run for president one day.

Cuban’s comments come after a Twitter battle with President Trump on Sunday morning over Cuban's fitness for the White House.



Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/319278-mark-cuban-on-potential-presidential-run-we-will-see

Native tribes to urge judge to block final link in Dakota pipeline

Source: Reuters

Native American tribes seeking a halt to construction of the final link in the Dakota Access Pipeline will argue in federal court on Monday that the project will prevent them from practicing religious ceremonies at a lake they say is surrounded by sacred ground.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week granted a final easement to Energy Transfer Partners LP, the company building the $3.8-billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), after President Donald Trump issued an order to advance the pipeline days after he took office in January.

Lawyers for the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux will urge Judge James Boasberg in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. at 2:00 p.m. ET to block construction of the project with a temporary restraining order.

"We are contending that the waters of Lake Oahe are sacred to Cheyenne River and all of its members, and that the very presence of a pipeline, not only construction but possible oil flow through that pipeline, would obstruct the free exercise of our religious practices," Matthew Vogel, a legislative associate for the Cheyenne River Sioux, told reporters in a conference call ahead of the hearing.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-north-dakota-pipeline-idUSKBN15S22S?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social
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