Florida Five: New poll shows jump for Scott, ‘Dreamers’ bill in play for election

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

rick-scottjpg-3b8556c22e56955d_largePoll: Florida Gov. Scott rebounds against Crist’s comeback: Florida Gov. Rick Scott, widely considered one of the most vulnerable Republican governors facing voters this fall, is on the political rebound against one of the Democratic Party’s prize converts, former Republican governor and newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist. According to a just-completed St. Leo University poll, Crist leads Scott by a margin of 43 percent to 39 percent among likely voters. The latest figures point to a jump for the embattled Scott, who has consistently trailed Crist by larger margins in most polls. In the last survey conducted by St. Leo in December, for example, Crist led Scott by 46 percent to 34 percent. Read more.

Can ‘Dreamers’ bill help Rick Scott in November?: In a brutal GOP primary four years ago, now-Gov. Rick Scott blistered opponent Bill McCollum in a television ad highlighting McCollum’s opposition to an Arizona-style immigration law.”Rick Scott backs Arizona’s law. He’ll bring it to Florida and let our police check if the people they arrest are here illegally,” said a voice-over on an ad paid for by Scott’s campaign in 2010. But that was four years ago, before Republicans lost their attempt to unseat President Obama in 2012, in part because of Hispanic voters. In Florida, Hispanic support for Obama — a 3 percent increase in 2012 over his first bid for president — was crucial in keeping the state blue. Read more.

Power of a few: How the Florida legislature’s view of medical marijuana has turned around: Whatever the outcome of the medical marijuana bills dominating the conversation in the Florida Legislature, marajuanaone thing is certain: More lawmakers are embracing cannabis as a cure than they are as a curse.This is new. It’s downright stunning in a world dominated by conservatives. Looking around the room at the Double Tree hotel in Tallahassee Monday, the crowd that had signed up for the Justin Sayfie “What Is the Future of Medical Marijuana in Florida?” forum showed little sign that many dissenters attended. A few did, but they stayed silent. Read more.

Florida again takes up school-choice bill: An argument over assessment stalled a proposed expansion to Florida’s tax-credit scholarship program, but the proposal was revived — this time alongside another school-choice program.A state House subcommittee approved the bill Friday morning. Lawmakers are waiting for the speaker of the House to refer the bill to committee or to the floor.“The purpose of the raising of the cap (on the tax-credit scholarship program) … is based on over 100,000 people being on a waiting list and or desiring and or demonstrating the desire to be in this program,” said Erik Fresen, chairman of the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Read more. 

Rick Scott: Obama’s ‘not caring about Venezuela’: Gov. Rick Scott met Monday with Venezuelan activists who are becoming increasingly frustrated with President Obama’s relative silence about crackdowns on protesters in the South American country. Ruth Alcalá just wants the president she twice voted for, Obama, to speak forcefully about Venezuela’s crackdown on protesters.On Monday, the 57-year-old Democrat found herself standing next to an unlikely ally: Republican governor Rick Scott, who promised to personally deliver her letter to the White House.”Mr. President, you’ve got to declare economic sanctions. You’ve got to show up,” Scott told an enthusiastic crowd of Venezuelan exiles at the Don Criollito restaurant in Kendall.Scott contrasted Obama’s low-key Venezuela diplomacy and the president’s talks with Russia over its invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.”He cares about Ukraine. But he’s not caring about Venezuela,” Scott said. Read more. 

BONUS: Nine reasons the GOP should say no to Jeb

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