Florida Five: Property owners pay for government bait-and-switch, Where is ‘judgegate’?

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

Why does New Jersey have Bridgegate, but there’s no Judgegate in Florida?: In New Jersey, when there was cause to suspect a breach of ethics in the governor’s office, the state Legislature was on it like a kid on a cupcake. But for some unknown reason, it doesn’t work like that in the Florida Legislature. Less than three days after Gov. Chris Christie was accused of sanctioning a payback plot that saw one of his aides order crist adtraffic jams at the on-ramps to the George Washington Bridge, the New Jersey Legislature had convened its Special Committee on Investigations. A week after that, the committee issued 20 subpoenas. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Florida are treating a possible ethics breach by former Gov. Charlie Crist — the selling of judgeships for campaign contributions and/or other special favors — as if it’s none of their business. If they could care less, it doesn’t show. Read more.

Property owners paying high price for government’s bait-and-switch in Palm Beach County: Palm Beach County commissioners are grappling with whether more development should be allowed in the county’s Agricultural Reserve. A bit of history shows how the commission’s faulty decisions and broken promises have led the county down a bumpy road. A 1998 referendum allowed the county to borrow $100 million in bonds to buy land in the Agricultural Reserve “to protect farming.” For this privilege, an owner of a $500,000 home gets to pay an additional $88 a year in taxes.This was a bad idea from the start because . . . Read more.

South Florida business owners discuss prospects of profiting from legal pot : It looked less like a Cheech and Chong movie than a junior chamber of commerce meeting as would-be marijuana entrepreneurs — ganjaneurs, as many of them call themselves — gathered in West Palm Beach on Saturday to plan for the day when weed is legal in Florida. Heartened not only by a proposed state constitutional amendment that would permit medical use of marijuana but by three bills before the Legislature running the gamut from easing restrictions on industrial hemp to outright legalization of the drug, about 100 potential businessmen met to trade tips on the new almost-industry. Read more.

Lois FrankelLois Frankel could cruise to a second term: Lois Frankel faced a strong Republican opponent in 2012 but this year it’s a different story as she appears set for a second term. Hasner was urged to run against Frankel again in 2014 and also pushed to challenge Patrick Murphy in a neighboring congressional district. Bowing out of both options, Hasner is staying on the sidelines this year. With Hasner out of the equation, Frankel appears headed for a second term. While there are three Republicans seeking their party’s nod against Frankel, it’s hard to imagine the likes of Andrea Leigh McGee, Jeremy Rodgers and David Wagie succeeding where Hasner failed. Republicans will probably look at other pick-up opportunities — namely Murphy and Joe Garcia — in Florida while trying to protect Steve Southerland and David Jolly. Read more. 

Scott to sign ‘Florida GI Bill: The News Service of Florida reports: Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign legislation known as the “Florida GI Bill” on Monday.Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, sent a news release late Friday announcing that a bill-signing ceremony would take place Monday morning at a National Guard armory in Panama City. Gaetz, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and other lawmakers are expected to attend. Read more. 

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