Posts Tagged ‘James Madison Institute’

Federalism message echoed by Florida health subcommittee members

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

A day after Florida’s House Education Committee voted to send a memorial to Congress seeking fewer strings tied to federal education funding, a health policy panel made the same request for health care funding.
The House Health Innovation Subcommittee on Wednesday approved sending a memorial to Congress asking lawmakers to consider giving Medicaid funding to the states in the form of block grants.
“As you know, Medicaid is supposed to be a partnership. In reality, the federal government is in control,” said state Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola, who introduced the memorial at the hearing.
“More than at any time in the past, states have the opportunity to have a serious, thoughtful discussion with the federal government about the nature of federal-state partnerships, like Medicaid, and what those successful block grants in Medicaid and other programs might look like,” White said.
White said effective Medicaid block grants would be based on the number of enrollees and adjusted for health risks and income levels. He argued that the states need flexibility to design programs tailored to their specific demographic and geographic needs.
In the public testimony on the memorial, speakers offered a mix of caution and enthusiastic support.
“In the redesign of health care, would you like to be in charge, as the state legislature? Or would you like a bunch of people in Washington to be in charge, dictating terms, creating more requirements, limiting your ability to manage the utilization of your own Medicaid program?” asked U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a freshman Republican who previously represented the Panhandle in the state House.
Gaetz agreed that there were still details to iron out about how the block grants would work, but cited his previous experience as a state legislator and current experience in Congress as he told the subcommittee members that they were best suited to determining Florida’s needs.
“I can say with

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James Madison Institute says Lake O land buy could cost economy $695 million

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Senate President Joe Negron’s plan to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee could cost the Florida economy 4,148 jobs and $695 million a year, according to a new report from conservative think tank James Madison Institute.
The report, titled “$ticker $hock,” estimates the land buy would have a direct negative impact of $345 million and 1,915 jobs lost, with an additional $350 million and 2,233 jobs lost indirectly.
Negron’s plan, found in SB 10, would have the state purchase 60,000 acres of mainly agricultural land to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges by building a reservoir. The plan would cost the state $1.2 billion.
The plan is most heavily opposed by U.S. Sugar, which owns most of the land in question. Since Negron made the issue a priority, the company has downplayed the role its operations play in the discharges, and offering up its own studies showing that the allegations are not supported by science.
The JMI estimate includes a statewide loss of nearly $110 million in household income and $42 million in tax revenues for federal, state and local governments.
About 45 percent of the job losses would happen in Palm Beach and Hendry counties, while the same counties would absorb more nearly 60 percent of the economic dip.
The towns surrounding the land buy area – Belle Glade, South Bay, Clewiston and Pahokee – would be the hardest hit.
The report emphasized the importance of agriculture as one of the “Big Three” economic drivers in the state while also saying that protecting “our state’s most cherished natural treasure, the Everglades, is vital to Floridians.”
The group concluded that this and a JMI previous study “clearly illustrate that using taxpayer dollars to declare eminent domain on 60,000 acres of agricultural land south of Lake Okeechobee would not only fail to help address the challenges present, but would in fact

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Ridesharing bills could pave the way for transformational changes

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

On the same day an Uber- and Lyft-friendly ridesharing bill passed its first committee stop in the Florida House, state Sen. Jeff Brandes was presenting his vision of where he believes the transportation industry is headed.
“We’re in a generational shift from the horse and buggy to the Model-T,” Brandes said Wednesday evening at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee.
The St. Petersburg Republican was the main presenter at a public event focusing on emerging transportation technologies. He’s also sponsoring legislation similar to the House ridesharing bill.
If successful, the measures would create uniform insurance and background check requirements for participating drivers, and prevent local governments from issuing conflicting regulations.
The reforms could be a first-step in a much larger sequence of changes.
“The industry is evolving,” Brandes said. “Auto manufacturers, tech companies and all kinds of groups are working hard to get into this space.”
As with carpooling, ridesharing allows for multiple passengers to share vehicles during their commutes – often at the touch of a smartphone app.
Cutting transportation costs, such as vehicle maintenance and gasoline, and reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions are just a few benefits.
The higher the ride-sharing occupancy rate, and the more people are allowed to use the services, the less cars would be needed – or so the logic goes.
“I think if the cost per mile continues to go down, and if insurance is a bundled service, it’s going to be pretty compelling for some people to use shared cars as their second cars,” Brandes told Watchdog.org in an interview.
When considering shared driverless cars and electric ridesharing vehicles, the potential for change is even more dramatic.
Brandes explained: Electric vehicle operators won’t pay gas taxes. Fewer vehicles mean fewer title fees for the state. Local governments could lose revenue from fewer traffic citations. Parking revenues would decrease, as would demand for urban parking garages.
“This has

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Sal Nuzzo probably lost his virginity to his Canadian girlfriend

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Put aside what you think of the utility-backed ballot solar amendment on the ballot next month.
Whether you agree or not that the amendment establishes a right for consumers to own or lease solar equipment and helps local and state governments protect consumer rights and public safety really is up to you.
Instead, let’s discuss Sal Nuzzo, the policy director of the James Madison Institute captured on audiotape saying the utility industry is trying to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on solar power by supporting the amendment.
Opponents of Amendment 1 are seizing on Nuzzo’s comments in an attempt to keep the initiative from reaching the 60 percent approval threshold it needs to be ratified into the state constitution.
The League of Women Voters is crying foul.
Environmentalists are up in arms.
Opinion writers are in a froth.
Amendment 1, despite more than $21 million spent in support of it, is in jeopardy of going down at the ballot box.
Make no mistake: if Amendment 1 does die, Nuzzo will be this election cycle’s John Morgan, whose drunken, NSFW rant after a 2014 debate about medical marijuana helped torpedo the pot initiative he spent millions trying to pass.
Except — EXCEPT — who the hell cares what Sal Nuzzo has to say?
Is he an executive at one of the utility companies backing Amendment 1? No. Is he part of the campaign or public affairs team pushing Amendment 1? No.
Is he on the inside in any way about any decision being made about Amendment 1? No.
To quote almost everyone involved with Amendment 1 — from utility executives to the poor shleps who gathered petitions to get the initiative on the ballot — WHO THE FUCK IS SAL NUZZO?
I’ll tell you who Sal Nuzzo is, he is Brian Johnson from the movie “The Breakfast Club.” Remember Brian? He was the nerd with the supposed girlfriend from Canada.
Here’s the dialogue from the scene between Anthony

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Solar power advocates blast “deceptive strategy” behind Amendment 1

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Critics of Amendment 1 on next month’s ballot in Florida teed off on the sponsors of that measure on Wednesday, following an explosive report in the Miami Herald that quoted a policy director with the James Madison Institute as saying that the utility industry is trying to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on solar power by supporting the amendment.
The paper’s Mary Ellen Klas reported on the recorded remarks made of a speech given earlier this month by Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee. Speaking in Nashville, Nuzzo said that the proponents behind Amendment 1 – Consumers for Smart Solar – conceived “an incredibly savvy maneuver “that would “completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road.” (The tape was first obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy and the Energy and Policy Institute).
“The point I would make, maybe the takeaway, is as you guys look at policy in your state or constitutional ballot initiatives in your state, remember this: solar polls very well,” Nuzzo says on the tape.”To the degree that we can use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu and take what they’re kind of pinning us on and use it to our benefit either in policy, in legislation or in constitutional referendums if that’s the direction you want to take, use the language of promoting solar, and kind of, kind of put in these protections for consumers that choose not to install rooftop.”
Amendment One has over $21.5 million in funding behind it, much of it coming from the big four investor-owned utilities in the state: Florida Power & Light, Tampa Electric, Gulf Power and Duke Energy. The proposal says it would grant homeowners the right to own or lease solar panels on their houses. It also says that consumers who don’t

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Florida growing friendlier to criminal-justice reform, poll indicates

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Floridians may be rethinking their throw-the-book-at-’em approach to crime, a poll released Monday suggests.
The survey by The James Madison Institute and the Charles Koch Institute found that 72 percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed it is important to reform criminal justice.
Seventy-five percent agreed or strongly agreed the prison population costs the country too much money.
And almost two thirds believed there were too many nonviolent offenders behind bars.
“The poll solidified what we’ve come to know — Floridians want criminal justice reform,” said Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy at JMI.
“Policymakers should take serious strides toward improving the outcomes of those within the criminal justice system, increasing public safety and continuing to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
The survey comes amid increased attention to Florida’s approach to crime. Organizations including Florida TaxWatch and the ACLU of Florida have called for reform, and state Sen. Jeff Brandes wants to make reform a top priority.
Still, the Legislature refused to add 734 jobs to make the Department of Corrections more secure. The new positions would have allowed prison staff to work eight-hour instead of 12-hour shifts.
Meanwhile, violence has been on the rise within the prison system. On Sept. 8, hundreds of inmates created a major disturbance at a Holmes County prison. This followed an incident in June in which 300 inmates smashed up two dormitories at Franklin Correctional Institution; that was the third disturbance there this year.
Survey Sampling International conducted the poll of 1,488 Florida residents in English and Spanish in July through an opt-in web-based panel. The margin for error was pegged at plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Detailed findings here.
In other findings, 72 percent of Floridians said people convicted of felonies should be allowed to secure licenses to work following their release.
And 74 percent said prisons should focus more on rehabilitation than punishment.
Regarding juvenile offenders,

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Florida growing friendlier to criminal-justice reform, poll indicates

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Floridians may be rethinking their throw-the-book-at-’em approach to crime, a poll released Monday suggests.
The survey by The James Madison Institute and the Charles Koch Institute found that 72 percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed it is important to reform criminal justice.
Seventy-five percent agreed or strongly agreed the prison population costs the country too much money.
And almost two thirds believed there were too many nonviolent offenders behind bars.
“The poll solidified what we’ve come to know — Floridians want criminal justice reform,” said Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy at JMI.
“Policymakers should take serious strides toward improving the outcomes of those within the criminal justice system, increasing public safety and continuing to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
The survey comes amid increased attention to Florida’s approach to crime. Organizations including Florida TaxWatch and the ACLU of Florida have called for reform, and state Sen. Jeff Brandes wants to make reform a top priority.
Still, the Legislature refused to add 734 jobs to make the Department of Corrections more secure. The new positions would have allowed prison staff to work eight-hour instead of 12-hour shifts.
Meanwhile, violence has been on the rise within the prison system. On Sept. 8, hundreds of inmates created a major disturbance at a Holmes County prison. This followed an incident in June in which 300 inmates smashed up two dormitories at Franklin Correctional Institution; that was the third disturbance there this year.
Survey Sampling International conducted the poll of 1,488 Florida residents in English and Spanish in July through an opt-in web-based panel. The margin for error was pegged at plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Detailed findings here.
In other findings, 72 percent of Floridians said people convicted of felonies should be allowed to secure licenses to work following their release.
And 74 percent said prisons should focus more on rehabilitation than punishment.
Regarding juvenile offenders,

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Personnel note: Thomas Griffin joins Smith, Bryan & Myers

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Thomas Griffin, a former chief of staff to state Sen. Rob Bradley, is joining Tallahassee’s Smith, Bryan & Myers lobbying firm.
“Tom has earned a reputation as a trusted and respected voice with key stakeholders throughout Florida,” said Matt Bryan, the firm’s president. “We are excited to be growing our firm with up and coming bright minds like his.”
Griffin previously served in both public and private government relations positions. He has worked extensively on issues related to health care, criminal justice, education, insurance, and finance.
“He has excelled at developing relationships with key decision makers throughout the governmental arena,” a press release said.
Griffin also has managed campaigns and was instrumental in fundraising efforts for political races in the state. He’s an avid runner, and participates in multiple charities associated with long-distance races.
He also sits on the James Madison Institute’s Board of Advisors and is an Awesome Tallahassee Trustee.
A graduate of Florida State University, Griffin lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Shannon.
The post Personnel note: Thomas Griffin joins Smith, Bryan & Myers appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Peter Schorsch: If I owned the Tallahassee Democrat — the “Gerald Ensley proves my point” edition

Monday, September 7th, 2015

The Tallahassee Democrat flatly rejected the first op-ed I tried to publish in a newspaper. Twenty years later, the Democrat still dismisses me.
As an FSU freshman, I submitted an unwieldy piece about college life. It was rejected, but I applied to be a “community columnist.” Then-editorial page editor Mary Ann Lindley let me down gently, saying I should submit something in the future.
Six months later the Democrat published my first op-ed, about a state agency controversy. Then a second op-ed, then a third, then throughout my college years and early career.
One column caught the eye of Dr. J. Stanley Marshall of the James Madison Institute. He offered me a “senior writer” job. Off I went
This past Friday, I cut paychecks to more than two dozen journalists, editors, and writers who contribute to SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and INFLUENCE Magazine. The week started with the Columbia Journalism Review describing me as a “Mini Media Mogul.”
Yet Gerald Ensley, the Democrat‘s leading columnist, says I’m little more than “a blogger who runs an aggregate website about state politics” who “claims to make a six-figure income off cutting and pasting stores from newspapers around the state, including this newspaper.”
He had responded to my blog posts about “If I Owned the Tallahassee Democrat” by denigrating them.
I’ve heard Ensley is an old-school journalist, an opinion columnist and no hack. But he’s supposed to hew to the facts. That’s why I’m surprised he was so wrong about me, our work, and my criticisms of the Democrat.
Ensley uses the word “blogger” as a pejorative. It’s not. Ezra Klein, Erick Erickson, Nate Silver, and Andrew Sullivan are bloggers. Even Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman blogs, as do or did many journalists and writers leading the national debate.
But a condescending Ensley lumps bloggers with people locked in their mothers’ basements.
To describe

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Dan Peterson: Improving Your Private Property? Check with the EPA

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

There’s a surprise coming to Florida property owners at the end of August, one wrapped in the federal government’s signature red tape.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers have positioned themselves to regulate practically every square inch of our state.
How? They have redefined the extent of EPA jurisdiction to regulate water and land through a newly written “Waters of the U.S.” rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA). That should come as a concern for those who own property in the Sunshine State because the rule will affect private property rights, states’ rights and our economy.
First, by broadening the definition of “navigable waters,” the EPA expands its right to regulate virtually all waters, even dry land, in the United States.
Beyond their normal or traditional jurisdictions, the Corps and EPA claim virtually all tributaries are now subject to the Clean Water Act — no matter how remote or inconsequential. It expands waters and lands “adjacent” to waters covered by the CWA and “neighboring” lands such as 100-year flood plains and lands within 1,500 feet of the covered waters.
Own property near a stream or a ditch? If either contribute water to a tributary during rainfall or are located within a half mile of a 100-year floodplain, you may need EPA approval to improve your home or change your landscaping. That means layers of federal bureaucracy and expense will be added to what could have been a simple home improvement project.
Next, the new definition usurps states’ rights to maintain control over local land and water use. There have been 37 lawsuits to challenge the law filed by property owners and groups such as the Pacific Legal Foundation. The James Madison Institute just released a report on jamesmadison.org to encourage Florida property owners to pay close attention to the

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