Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is throwing his weight behind an effort to undo a provision in a 2013 state ethics law allowing statewide elected officials to place personal financial assets in a blind trust.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott is the only person who’s taken advantage of the rule so far.
A former Democratic state legislator is against the the law on the grounds that creating blind trusts violates the state constitution’s requirement elected officials fully disclose their financial holdings.
“Nearly four decades ago, Florida voters passed the ‘Sunshine Amendment,’ which for the first time required officials and candidates to disclose their finances,” Nelson wrote in an online letter paid for by his Senate campaign. “But, Gov. Scott is skirting public scrutiny of his assets and possible conflicts of interest — even while he’s up for his re-election later this year.”
The letter urges recipients to sign a petition expressing their support for open government.
Supporters of Scott and the law argue blind trusts fit with good government because they prevent politicians from knowing which assets they own and thus prevent conflicts of interest.
Nelson is no fan of Scott, whom he considered challenging in the gubernatorial race this fall. Ultimately, he said he decided against doing so because he viewed the U.S. Senate as a better perch to help his home state.
Jeb beats Hillary
It’s not certain whether Florida Republicans Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio will run for president in 2016. But Bush, the former governor, fared considerably better than Rubio, the U.S. senator and Bush’s protege, in the latest St. Leo University poll.
Asked whom they would support in a head-to-head matchup between the ex-governor and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, 420 likely Florida voters picked Bush over the former secretary of state by 46-44 percent, which is within the survey’s margin of error.
Asked the same question if Rubio were the GOP nominee, Clinton wins 49 percent to 41 percent.
Clinton also beats four other potential GOP nominees: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky (50 percent to 38 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (47 percent to 41 percent), Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (52 percent to 36 percent), and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (50 percent to 40 percent).
The telephone poll was conducted between May 28 and June 4.
Why we’re mellow?
Turns out Florida schools are slightly safer than schools in the nation as a whole.
Federal statistics for 2011 released this week show high school students in the Sunshine State were less likely to have:
• Been in a fight during the previous year (28 percent in Florida vs. 33 percent nationally).
• Carried a weapon at least once during the past month (17.3 percent in Florida vs. 17.5 percent nationally).
• Used alcohol on school property at least once during the past month (37 percent in Florida vs. 39 percent nationally).
One area in which Florida students fared worse was marijuana usage. In Florida, 6.3 percent reported using pot at least once during the previous month, compared with 5.9 percent nationally.