Florida Five: Governor sues feds for access to veterans’ hospitals, Crist blames Scott

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

Fla. Governor Scott sues feds for access to veterans’ hospitals: Governor Rick Scott wants the federal government to get out of his way when it comes to Florida vets. Today, Governor Rick Scott announced plans to file a lawsuit establishing the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) authority to inspect federal VA hospitals in Florida, and to stop the federal veterans affairs agency from obstructing state actions. Governor Scott said, “As the chief health policy and planning entity for the state that licenses, inspects, and investigates consumer complaints, AHCA should be allowed access to federal VA hospitals to inspect their processes and their facilities. On seven separate occasions at six federal VA hospitals, however, state inspectors have been blocked by federal officials from carrying out their mission of ensuring facilities in Florida meet the healthcare needs of our veterans. I have asked AHCA to sue the federal veterans affairs agency to shine a light on their activities and protect the lives of our heroes who have earned nothing short of access to the best care possible.” Read more.

miamirebuildingMiami-Dade easily brings home most money in budget: Miami-Dade County has the most money on the line among Florida’s counties as Gov. Rick Scott decides what to veto from a record election-year budget.Unlike in sparsely populated counties, where officials can count their budget projects on one or two hands, South Florida lawmakers were able to pack 323 separate line items into the spending plan for Miami-Dade, according to a list of county-by-county allocations released by the House. Read more.

Bainter now asks the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the release of docs by Florida’s court: Not so fast. The ball has some bounce left. GOP political consultant Pat Bainter has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the order by the Florida Supreme Court over the release of documents in the ongoing redistricting trial.Florida’s high court ruled 5-2 late Tuesday that 538 pages of emails, maps and planning documents of Bainter and his Gainesville-based political consulting firm must be allowed into the record – but only if the courtroom is closed. The ruling came even before a written opinion had been completed by the First District Court of Appeal and Bainter claims the forced disclosure of what he considers “trade secrets” will have a chilling effect on his First Amendment rights. Read more.

Crist makes a claim about veterans lack of access to Medicaid expansion and pins the blame on Scott: As Memorial Day approached, both Gov. Rick Scott and his anticipated Democratic rival Charlie Crist called on Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign amid news reports that VA staff falsified documentation about how long veterans were waiting to receive health care. But then Crist pointed the finger at Scott in a series of tweets. Read more.

Miami trial-lawyer chief loses cool, smacks camera out of GOP tracker’s hands before Crist event.: A warning to anyone who holds an event for a major candidate for Florida governor: There will be trackers, the video camera-wielding politico-paparazzi on the lookout for gaffes or drama. And they’re always recording. Read more.

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