Florida Five: Dems putting Sink in for rematch, Bush, Jindal team up in GOP rebranding

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

CNN: Dems betting on Obamacare supporter Alex Sink again after embarrassing Fla. loss:Democrats picked themselves up after the devastating loss of the CD 13 special election in Florida and decided they Sinkwould keep their money on the same race horse for November.CNN’s “Inside Politics” reported:The DCCC chairman, New York Rep. Steve Israel, has said so publicly. But he is also directing an aggressive private campaign to help Sink get over her reservations about running again. That effort includes bringing Sink to a recent DCCC strategy session in New York, and sending staff to the district this past week.The reason for the renewed love for Sink strongly hinges on the post-election analysis that showed former Republican, turned Independent, turned Democrat governor, Charlie Crist’s name on the ballot in November, according to CNN. Read more.

Florida Democrats have a thin bench despite Charlie Crist’s fool’s gold: Allison Tant promised her fellow Florida Democrats she would recruit candidates to run against Republicans holding Cabinet office, but with two and a half months to go until qualifying ends, no major opponent has yet taken on Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam.Florida Democrats appeared to have the wind at their backs as Amanda Murphy picked up a Florida House seat from Republicans and Rick Kriseman won the St. Petersburg mayor’s race. But David Jolly’s upset win over Alex Sink in a special congressional election short-circuited that surge. Read more.

As lawmakers pass session’s halfway point, here’s where issues stand: Florida lawmakers have crossed the midpoint in their 60-day march to craft new laws, amend existing ones and agree on a roughly $75 billion budget for the next fiscal year.And they’ve done so mostly without controversy.With the two chambers working in tandem on most issues, Gov. Rick Scott was able to sign a series of bills into law this week. They included a bill, dubbed the “Florida GI Bill,” aimed at making the state more military-friendly; a package of bills aimed at keeping sexually violent predators locked up; and a bill that will roll back motor-vehicle registration fees.Meanwhile, the vast majority of the 1,826 bills, resolutions and Memorials filed by members and committees as of Friday morning had already died with barely a murmur.
Here’s a look at where a dozen major issues stand as lawmakers head toward the homestretch of the 2014 session. Read more. 

New Rep 5Bush, Jindal team up in GOP rebranding campaign: Think like a ‘new Republican’:“Rebranding the Republican Party” isn’t just a smart-sounding line in a political speech anymore.Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal have kicked off a campaign for NewRepublican.org with a TV ad encouraging people to think like a new Republican. The 30-second spot will air nationally, during Fox News Sunday for starters, according to sources. Read more.

Lawmakers seek to draw medical tourists to Florida: Forget Mickey Mouse. Florida lawmakers are hoping tourists will come to Florida for the doctors.Florida lawmakers have a new vision for the tourism industry.It’s not just Mickey Mouse and the beaches. Their goal is to make Florida an international destination for people seeking top-notch medical care.Proposals in the Florida House and Senate seek to pump $5 million into efforts to promote the state’s healthcare industry to potential patients worldwide. That is welcome news to healthcare providers like Broward Health, a public health system that already sees thousands of so-called medical tourists each year. Read more.

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