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State Capitol Briefs

Afternoon Edition: Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The News Service of Florida

 

CRIST: EFFORTS TO MAKE IT HARDER TO VOTE ‘IMPEDING’ DEMOCRACY

Efforts to remove voters from the rolls because of possible ineligibility, reduce early voting and other moves that may make it harder to vote are “unconscionable,” former Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday during an appearance on MSNBC. Crist, an independent who was a Republican for most of the time he was governor, said “it’s a great concern” that the administration of Gov. Rick Scott, which followed him, has aggressively been trying to push for removal of ineligible voters through a check of records seeking to find people who may be in the country illegally. Crist noted the Scott administration also reversed a move that Crist championed to automatically restore the voting rights of former felons, and that Scott signed a law that, among other things, reduced the number of days during which people can vote early. “In Florida, we have a history of having some pretty close elections,” Crist said. “The idea of making it more difficult to exercise this precious right … is just unconscionable to me,” said Crist, who also agreed with criticism of a Pennsylvania requirement that voters have driver’s licenses. “If you make it more difficult … you’re not doing democracy a favor, you’re impeding that process,” Crist said. He said he hasn’t decided whether to support either presidential candidate yet, but that he is following the election closely. Crist, who was defeated in a bid for a U.S. Senate seat by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, declined to comment much on what he thought of Rubio’s rise to stardom and place as a vice presidential contender, other than to say “I think he’s a real nice guy.”

 

BOCA ASKING STATE TO HELP PAY FOR PRES DEBATE SECURITY

The mayor of Boca Raton is asking Gov. Rick Scott for the state to pitch in a quarter million dollars to help with security around a presidential debate planned for later this year at Lynn University. Mayor Susan Whelchel appealed to Scott for the $250,000 after initially being turned down for money to help with the October debate security costs. “Much of the long-term positive benefits of having a Presidential Debate in Florida would be erased if there were to be a security incident,” Whelchel wrote to Scott, according to a report Wednesday in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  The city is facing a $5 million budget shortfall, and officials there are set to debate a proposed increase in the local property tax rate later this summer.

 

JUDGE DENIES GAG ORDER REQUEST

Circuit Judge Frank Sheffield on Tuesday denied a request by State Attorney Willie Meggs to bar attorneys in the case of Carletha Cole from talking to the media. Sheffield has set a Sept. 25 for a status conference in a case against Cole, a former aide to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll who faces felony charges for disclosing tape recorded conversations to a Jacksonville reporter. The case has gained attention after Cole made allegations that she was fired after she walked in on Carroll and another female aide in a sexually compromising position in Carroll’s office, an allegation the lieutenant governor vehemently denies. Meggs requested the gag order after Cole’s attorneys gave repeated interviews earlier this month. Cole’s attorney, Steven Andrews, said the judge admonished both sides in a private meeting in his chambers, telling them to adhere to the rules of the Florida Bar. “I’m certain the state attorney felt like they weren’t getting a fair shake,” Andrews told reporters after the meeting. “We felt like we weren’t, but now the playing field seems to be balanced from our standpoint.”

 

 

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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