Florida Five: Crist says Obamacare has ‘been great,’ with straight face, Floridians lobby Obama

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

John R. Smith
BizPac Chairman John R. Smith

Danger ahead for Florida residents: Having just returned from meetings in Tallahassee with statewide business leaders, I have a warning for fellow Floridians: There is danger in our state’s future. If you’re at all familiar with statewide politics, you know it is common knowledge that the voting patterns of southeastern Florida are marbled with crazy behavior. Borrowing a word from our Latin neighbors, the voters of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties have given life to too many “loco” politicians.Companies from California, New York and Illinois want to invest big money in Florida, but they are hearing that the political climate here is changing, and they are worried. Their worry is that if the political winds are shifting in the wake of re-districting, business may be entering a political winter. Read more.

Charlie Crist digs in on Obamacare: ‘I think it’s been great’: Running counter to most Democratic candidates these days, Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist embraces the Affordable Care Act, and despite its parade of problems, claims that it’s even “great.”Crist, who was previously a Republican governor and is now running for his old job as a Democrat, made his comments Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” to host Candy Crowley.“I think it’s been great. I know the rollout was difficult, I’m sure the president feels that way too,” Crist told Crowley. “People getting healthcare is like a civil right. People need to have shelter, they need food, they water and they need healthcare and they deserve it. We’re the richest country in the world and we ought to provide it and God Bless [Obama] for doing it.”Read more.

Floridians lobby Obama to approve Keystone XL Pipeline: The Associated Industries of Florida, along with its partner Consumer Energy Alliance submitted more than 24,000 public comments from Florida residents to federal officials on Friday in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The effort is part of a grassroots effort from all 50 states that includes input from over 400,000 people supporting construction of the pipeline. Read more.

Florida considers bills to regulate short-term vacation rentals: Unlike hotels, which are zoned as commercial properties, vacation rentals aren’t subject to bed taxes, but, depending on location, licensing and some taxes may apply.But that could change.Two measures in the Legislature basically eliminate a provision in a 2011 law prohibiting local governments from imposing rules and regulations that restrict short-term vacation rentals.
HB 307 is sponsored by state Rep. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, and Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami. Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, sponsors SB 356. Read more.

Laura Ingraham calls Marco Rubio’s CPAC speech ‘a serious miscalculation’: Turning to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Ingraham said the potential 2016 presidential contender “believes that conservatives will marcorubiomug0303forget their immigration irritation with him because of his muscular, more aggressive stance on foreign policy.”“I think this is a serious miscalculation,” she said. “Americans overwhelmingly respect and support our military; they are not isolationists. But they also want our attention and our money focused on the home front.”Pointing to Syria as an example, she cautioned that Rubio “will follow in the footsteps of John McCain” at a time when most want “a more humble foreign policy that focuses strictly on America’s national interest.”She also reminded viewers that McCain is now the most unpopular senator in America, according to Public Policy Polling. Read more. 

BONUS: Environmentalist questions St. Lucie river estuary flow way project

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