Florida Five: Rubio calls Obama a ‘backbencher,’ School testing glitch blamed on ‘cyberattack’

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

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Photo courtesy: SFGate.com

Marco Rubio: Obama was a ‘backbencher,’ I’m the real deal – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) delivered a harsh review of President Obama’s early political career as the 43-year-old Republican touts his own record in the lead up to a presumed 2016 presidential bid. The junior senator said in a Fox News interview Monday in New York that Obama was merely a “backbencher” during his early career in the Illinois Senate. “President Obama’s – he was a backbencher in the state legislature in Illinois and I was in leadership all nine years that I served there including two as Speaker of the House,” Rubio told Fox host Neil Cavuto, as he highlighted his own record in the Florida legislature from 200o to 2009. Read more

FDLE: Cyberattack responsible for FSA testing malfunctions – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Department of Education are calling technical issues plaguing the writing test of the Florida Standards Assessment a result of a “cyberattack” carried out on the test’s servers by an unknown assailant. Last week thousands of students were unable to complete the writing test while others were unable to log in at all. The two departments announced they would investigate the errors, with the technical malfunctions initially being blamed on an overloaded server. Read more

‘Holy Hell!’ Rumors that Fla. governor banned term ‘climate change’ send shockwaves! – A report published by the Miami Herald on Sunday accusing Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s administration of banning the use of the words “climate change” or “global warming” lit up the Internet and excited Florida liberals still smarting over Scott’s re-election in November. It was also picked up news outlets with a liberal bent – like Huffington Post and Newsweek. But it’s got one problem. Read more

Study: Florida unemployed face longer odds in getting benefits – A study released Monday ranks Florida among the four stingiest states in paying unemployment benefits for those who haven’t had a job for 26 weeks or less. And it’s not just because of problems with the much-maligned online CONNECT system. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington D.C. non-partisan think tank that focuses on issues facing low-and middle-income workers, 81.3 percent of the state’s short-term unemployed didn’t receive benefits last year. Only 18.7 percent —  less than one out of five of Florida’s short-term unemployed — did. Read more

ACLU challenges use of prisoners in Florida district map drawing –The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is challenging a small Florida county’s use of prisoners in the drawing of its political districts. The civil rights group on Monday filed a lawsuit in federal court in Tallahassee, alleging that Jefferson County’s 2013 districting plan amounted to “prison gerrymandering.” The lawsuit alleges that by counting the more than 1,100 inmates at the Jefferson Correctional Institution as residents for redistricting purposes, Jefferson County watered down the voting strength of other districts. Read more

Finally, a little good news – Ten thousand ducks invade West Palm Beach, Florida

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page


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