BSO starts campaign against domestic violence

The Broward Sheriff's Office today is launching a campaign it hopes will reduce domestic violence against women. 

The campaign -- called "You Are Not Alone" -- will include a 30-second video, billboards, posters and purple lapel pins. 

Women in Distress of Broward County Inc., which helps domestic violence victims, has joined with the Sheriff's Office. 

Officials planned a news conference at Sheriff's Office headquarters to discuss the campaign. 

In 2007, Broward County saw a 300 percent increase in domestic-related homicides against women, according to the Sheriff's Office. 

For more information about domestic violence prevention, visit

Allen West Pens Op-ed Calling 'Obamacare' Unconstitutional

Freshman Rep. Allen West (R-FL), an outspoken conservative, penned an op-ed Friday in the Washington Times explaining why he thinks the health care reform law's individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The crux of his argument:
The 2012 Supreme Court must determine whether the Founders had any intention of mandating the behavior of private enterprises and individuals.
To me, the answer is obvious: absolutely not.
The op-ed echoes the commonly made conservative arguments against the law's requirement that Americans purchase insurance.

DNC Chair: Stand Your Ground 'Needs To Be Repealed'

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), the chair of the DNC, is calling for the repeal of Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which has become the center of the political discussion following the death of Trayvon Martin. 
From a statement Wasserman Schultz tweeted Saturday:
This case is further evidence that Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground Law,’ which passed in 2005, needs to be repealed. The failure of the Sanford police to further investigate this crime as a result of their interpretation of this law is an injustice to Trayvon’s family and to all Floridians.
National Republicans have already begun defending Stand Your Ground, a law passed at the urging of the NRA.

Wasserman Schultz Statement on the Death of Trayvon Martin

"Trayvon Martin’s death is a tragedy and that has rightly spurred a national conversation and calls to action.

"This case is further evidence that Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground Law,’ which passed in 2005, needs to be repealed. The failure of the Sanford police to further investigate this crime as a result of their interpretation of this law is an injustice to Trayvon’s family and to all Floridians.

"I am pleased that the Department of Justice is looking into this incident and that a special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate this case. I am hopeful that federal, state and local coordination will ensure a complete and thorough investigation. My thoughts and deepest sympathy are with Trayvon Martin’s family and friends during this difficult time."

New proposed Florida Senate map released

The chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee unveiled a new proposal for his chamber's legislative districts Saturday in an effort to answer criticisms from the Florida Supreme Court, which rejected the original plan last week.

Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said the new maps would meet the rules laid out in the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts Amendments approved by voters in a 2010 referendum.

"The districts were redrawn, along with any affected districts, in accordance with constitutional standards as defined by the Supreme Court," Gaetz wrote in a memo accompanying the release.

The Supreme Court threw out the plan because of problems in eight districts, though Gaetz's plan would also shift other lines to offset population changes in districts struck down by the ruling. All Senate districts are supposed to have relatively equal populations under both the Fair Districts standards and the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In Southwest Florida, the new map would create a more compact district for Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples. It would remove part of Cape Coral from his constituency, and add snippets of southwest Immokalee and all of south Lee County, including Bonita Springs. It also would relabel his current District 37 as District 30.

“My district no longer looks like an upside-down alligator,” Richter joked Saturday of the new map, which he had read about but not yet seen.

The 2002 lines, while concentrated in western Collier County, have appendages that extend into Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Golden Gate Estates, and Marco Island, creating a jagged district.

“I’ve stayed out of the discussions, and it was intentional,” Richter said of the redistricting debate. “I believe it’s my duty to represent Southwest Florida. I don’t pay tremendous attention to where a line is drawn.”

Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples
“My district no longer looks like an upside-down alligator,” Sen. Garrett Richter joked Saturday of the new map, which he had read about but not yet seen.

The plan announced Saturday wouldn’t change his demographics, he said.

Richter gave the example of Immokalee, which he said he still feels like he represents, although it hasn’t been in his district since he was elected.

The new map would dismantle much of District 27, which runs from Bonita Springs across the state to Palm Beach County. The portion of Lee County currently in that district would either go to Richter — like the southern part — or be integrated into a greatly altered District 23, which now covers the area around North Port.

District 21, now part of Lee County, would no longer exist in Southwest Florida and instead become the new label of a Tampa-area district.

The map would shift the partisan balance of the initial plan slightly, appears to throw at least two incumbents together and unites the city of Lakeland -- something the court had asked but not ordered lawmakers to do. It also compacts two minority-friendly districts thrown out by the Supreme Court, watering down their percentages of black voters, and substantially shifts the lines in Southeast Florida.

Under the plan unveiled by Gaetz on Saturday, 25 of the Senate districts would have been won by Gov. Rick Scott in the 2010 election; Alex Sink, his Democratic opponent, would have carried 15. The original map had a 26-14 edge for Republicans, who currently hold a 28-12 advantage in the upper chamber.

Discarded by the new plan is "an odd-shaped appendage," in the words of the Supreme Court, in one Central Florida district that opponents said was meant to prevent Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, an Orlando Republican slated to become Senate president in 2014, from facing Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland. The new map appears to draw the two incumbents together, meaning that one of them would have to move in order to avoid a faceoff.

The Panhandle districts of Gaetz and Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, were struck down for being drawn horizontally instead of vertically. The new map would align the two districts more vertically, but would keep Gaetz, the Senate president-designate, and Evers from a faceoff by splitting Okaloosa County in half horizontally.

A minority-influence district in Northeast Florida, criticized by the Supreme Court for sprawling across several counties, would instead be contained within Duval County. That district, currently represented by Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, would see its black voting-age population drop from 47.7 percent to 42.9 percent. District 34, a majority-black seat in Southeast Florida, would see it's black voting-age population fall from 55.8 percent to a bare majority of slightly less than 50.1 percent.

And Lakeland would be combined into one district, forcing the Senate to reconfigure a large inland district south of the city and pushing a district that had surrounded Bradenton and then run northeast to Lakeland to instead run more toward the southeast.

Gaetz also said that the numbering system for Florida districts -- thrown out because it would have given many of the chamber's members up to 10 years in office instead of the constitutionally-mandated eight -- would be determined by a pair of public, random drawings.

The Florida Democratic Party, which argued against the maps at the Supreme Court, blasted the new plan.

"The map Sen. Don Gaetz has proposed brings us no closer to complying with the court's ruling and is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by the GOP Senate leadership to stall the implementation of Fair Districts and cling to their gerrymandered power," said Chairman Rod Smith in a statement issued by the party. "Not only have they thwarted the will of 63-percent of Florida voters, they are now thumbing their nose at Florida's Supreme Court."

Gaetz said lawmakers should offer any amendments to the plan by noon Monday; the Senate Reapportionment Committee is set to meet Tuesday.

State Integrity Investigation - Live Webcast

State Integrity Investigation - Live Webcast
Thursday, March 22 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Register Today - Space Limited 

Join us for an interactive discussion about the State Integrity Investigation, our latest partnership with Public Radio International and Global Integrity. The project is the culmination of more than a year of unprecedented investigative work in which our reporters were deployed in every state capitol, digging in and uncovering the answers to 330 questions about how their state handles transparency and accountability. 

What did we find?
  • The risk of corruption remains high at state capitols across the country.
  • Not a single state received an “A” on our report card.
  • Some states have few accountability mechanisms, while others have laws on the books that are implemented poorly, if at all.
Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to hear from our reporters and get your questions answered. 

Register Now 

Campaign Meet& Greet Reception to Retain Judge Nicholas “Nick” Lopane



Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate; and


Cordially Invite You To A Campaign Reception to
Judge Nicholas “Nick” Lopane
Broward County Circuit Court Judge, Seat 5
Friday, March 30, 2012
5:00 - 7:00 pm
At the Seminole Hardrock
5751 Seminole Way, Hollywood, FL 33314

RSVP’s required so we know how many meatballs to make!

Please RSVP via email or U.S. Mail to Retain Judge Lopane Campaign Offices, P.O. Box 350223, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33335

All contributions are greatly appreciated but may not to exceed $500 per person/entity, and should be made payable to the Retain Lopane Campaign

Dear Colleagues and Friends of Nick,

   Thank you so much for the outpouring of support you have given Judge Lopane, his first campaign rally as you know, had over 300 volunteers sign up to the campaign. Things are looking great! Although he does not have an opponent, his campaign committee is active and vigorously promoting his candidacy.  This will be the Final Campaign Event prior to the end of qualifying, on April 20.  With your help and support, we are hopeful that Judge Lopane will be retained without opposition.
   This is an open event, so please feel free to invite whomever you would like to accompany you, and to forward this email freely.

Thank you.


Committee to
P.O. Box 350223
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33335

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Nicholas "Nick" Lopane, Non Partisan, for Circuit Court Judge, Group 5.

Two Broward Senate Seats To Be Redrawn

Florida’s Supremes last week ordered two Broward state Senate districts redrawn. Depending on how the new districts will look after a redistricting special session, it could give challengers a better chance against two entrenched Fort Lauderdale incumbents – state Sens. Chris Smith, a D, andEllyn Bogdanoff, a R.
Bogdanoff’s district should include more Democrats, according to a Tallahassee source who has been through three redistrictings.
Smith’s new district will most likely contain fewer blacks and more whites, the same source said.

Source:  Buddy Nevins

Join us for a fundraiser in support of Joe Saunders Candidate for Florida House District 49

Chuck Loring and Our Host Committee (In Formation):

Ted Adcock and Ken Keechl, Marie Bristol, Phillip Dearborn, Meryl Friedman and Mary Wheatley, Nate Klarfield & Grover Lawlis, Thom Leffler, Chuck Loring, Ron Mills, De Palazzo, Mona Pittenger, Stratton Pollitzer & Christopher Boykin, Tom Runyan, Nadine Smith and Andrea Smith, Jim Stepp & Peter Zimmer, Tony Timiraos & Arthur Crispino, Bill Vayens & Robert Guida, B. Rodney White & Michael P. Williams

Invite you to join us for a fundraiser in support of 

Joe Saunders 
Candidate for Florida House District 49
Tuesday, March 27th
6:00 - 7:30pm

At the home of Chuck Loring 844 North Victoria Park Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
(Parking available behind Gateway Plaza)

Suggested Contribution: Friend - $100, Partner - $250, Host - $500 
(Maximum contribution allowed per person or corporation - $500.00)

Joe will give an overview of the race, and refreshments will be served.

To RSVP or to Join the Host Commitee, Contact: / 954-682-6094

To Contribute Online visit

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Joe Saunders,
Democrat for Florida House District 49

CEO Of Penthouse May Run In Florida 22

Boca Raton investor Marc Bell, CEO of the company that owns Penthousemagazine, is considering a run for Congress. Bell is registered with no party affiliation but says he’d run as a Democrat.  

He’s eyeing the Palm Beach-Broward District 22 seat, where Democrats Lois Frankel and Kristin Jacobsand Republican Adam Hasner have opened campaigns. U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, represents the district now but plans to run in a new District 18 to the north.

“The way I look at the world, like most Americans I’m middle-of-the-road,” Bell said today. He says he hasn’t set a timetable for making a decision.

“I don’t want to be just another politician,” Bell said. “The question is, can I make a difference?”

Bell is managing director of Marc Bell Capital Partners and chief executive officer of FriendFinder Networks Inc., which owns Penthouse as well as a variety of social networking sites. He’s involved in a variety of other business ventures and has been an investor and co-producer of several Broadway plays, including the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys andAugust: Osage County.

Florida Supreme Court Shoots Down Senate Redistricting Plan

Florida Supreme Court Shoots Down Senate Redistricting Plan, Setting Up Special Session  
On Friday, last day of the legislative session, the Florida Supreme Court offered a split decision to the state Legislature's redistricting plan, ruling unanimously that the plan for the House seats passed constitutional muster but the plan for the Senate lines failed to do so.    

'Anti-Sharia' Bill Dies in Senate

Assailed by Muslim groups and quashed by Senate President Mike Haridopolos, an "anti-Sharia" law bill died in the Florida Legislature on Friday.      

Rick Scott to Sign PIP Reform Law 'Very Soon'

Rick Scott to Sign PIP Reform Law 'Very Soon'  
Gov. Rick  Scott made a quick visit to the Senate floor late Friday after a bill to revamp personal injury protection auto insurance was sent to his desk.
Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, called the bill an insurance agency “bailout” and urged senators to reject the bill because of the House requirement for a $2,500 cap on treatment despite the supposedly low-cost insurance program providing $10,000 in coverage.
Read More 

The Florida House of Representatives began voting on the proposed budget for the 2012-13

The Florida House of Representatives began voting on the proposed budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year. As a reference to Members, staff and the general public, please find attached an updated summary of all House proposed conforming bills related to the budget. The summary may also be viewed on the Florida House of Representatives website or by selecting the link below:

You may also find this refresher on Florida's budget process helpful.

The ACLU of Florida is hosting a Know Your Rights Training.

The ACLU of Florida is hosting a Know Your Rights Training.
Participants will:
  • Develop an awareness and understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) diversity issues.
  • Develop an awareness and understanding of U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s guidance to school districts on bullying and harassments
  • Learn about their legal requirements to report bullying and helpful tips to form GSA
  • Lessons learned from past GSA cases and how schools can comply and prevent legal action
  • Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Recommendations for Schools

Dinner will be served. The event is Free and everyone is encouraged to attend!
Please share this information with your local community!


Dr. Robert Watson of Lynn University on President Obama and his support of Israel.

Dr. Robert Watson of Lynn University has created a fact based and cited presentation on President Obama and his support of Israel.
Click on the link provided to view the slideshow.

Breaking Unemployed Stays At 8.3

U.S. employment showed sturdy growth for the third straight month in February, demonstrating that the recovery continues to chug along at a modest pace.
The Labor Department reported Friday that employers added a larger-than-expected 227,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent. Economists had expected the economy created 210,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey
It marked the first time since early 2011 that payrolls have grown by more than 200,000 for three months in a row.
The economy created 61,000 more jobs in December and January than previously thought, and the jobless rate held steady even as more people returned to the labor force.
Although the job market is gaining some muscle, the pace of improvement remains too slow to do much to absorb the 23.5 million Americans who are either out of work or underemployed.
Fed Chairman Bernanke last week described the labor market as "far from normal" and said continued improvement would require stronger demand for U.S. goods and services.
Still, he suggested the outlook would have to deteriorate for the U.S. central bank to launch another round of bond buying to drive interest rates lower. Officials said in January they expected growth this year to be no higher than 2.7 percent.
The jobs report, which sets the tone for financial markets worldwide, added to the list of data highlighting the U.S. economy's underlying strength.
It also provided a hopeful sign for the global recovery at a time that growth is slowing in China and the euro zone appears to be sliding into recession. The jobless rate in the 17-nation euro zone area rose to 10.7 percent in January, the highest since the euro started circulating in 2000. 
In contrast, the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped 0.8 percentage point since August, providing some relief to President Barack Obama, who faces an election battle in which the economy has been center stage.
Economists predict the jobless rate could fall below 8 percent by November, even if the recent firming in the jobs market lures Americans who have given up the search for work back into the labor force.
The labor force participation rate - the percentage of working-age Americans either with a job or looking for one - rose to 63.9 percent from 63.7 percent in January.

The separate survey of households that is used to measure the jobless rate showed even brisker hiring in February.
While some parts of the jobs market have benefited from unseasonably warm winter weather, economists say a genuine improvement is under way, even though they expect a slight pull back in March.
Private companies again accounted for all the job gains in February, adding 233,000 positions. Government employment fell a modest 6,000, declining for a sixth straight month.
Manufacturing, which in January recorded the largest gain in a year, dominated job creation in February, hiring 31,000 new workers. The sturdy job gains reflect stepped up auto production.
Most auto companies are taking on new workers and adding shifts and overtime to meet pent-up demand after production was disrupted early last year following the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.
Average hourly earnings increased three cents in February. Average hourly wages have increased 1.9 percent in the 12 months through February.
The overall workweek held steady at 34.5 hours - holding at the highest level since August 2008.
Earnings are being closely watched for signs of wage inflation after unit labor costs grew much more strongly than initially thought in the third and fourth quarters of 2011.
Outside manufacturing, construction payrolls fell 13,000, the first decline in four months.
Although hiring has quickened, the economy faces persistent long-term unemployment. In February, about 43 percent of the 12.8 million unemployed Americans had been out of work for more than six months.
Reuters contributed to this report.

Obama Campaign Needs Housing For Organizers

Obama - Biden

We are stepping up our ground game in Florida -- we've got a lot of organizers starting soon and volunteers from throughout our region will also be making trips here to work side by side with local volunteers and help prepare for November in our state.

They will be coming here because they believe in the work we're doing, and they know the stakes in next year's election. Many of these organizers are arriving on short notice in areas that are new to them, and they will need temporary places to stay.

Do you have an extra bedroom or a foldout couch you could use to host an organizer for a few days?

If you can't provide space, but know someone in the area who might be able to, please forward them this note.

I know this is a big favor to ask, but as someone who has stayed with supporters like you before, I can tell you that it means a lot to the folks you host, and it is enormously helpful to this movement.

So if you have the space, will you sign up today to host an organizer?

After you sign up, we'll be in touch with more details.

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) For Vice President


Allen West On VP Speculation: 'I Am Always Willing And Ready To Serve My Country'

In an interview Tuesday morning on CNN, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) was asked about the prospects for fellow Floridian Marco Rubio to become the Republican nominee for Vice President this fall. West spoke favorably of Rubio — and then, the hosts asked West about himself as the potential running mate.
West jokingly cited his military experience to refer to the question as an "ambush."
"As far as the vice president thing, you know, who knows what the future lies — because it wasn't too long ago, you know, I was sitting in the desert of Kandahar, Afghanistan, and now I'm here talking with you. But, you know, I am always willing and ready to serve my country in whatever capacity that the American people would desire."

We need you to take action right now.

We need you to take action right now.
In a surprise move, the so-called "Parent Empowerment Act”/SB 1718 did not get enough votes today to move to the floor for a full vote.  Now there's a full-court press to pass this bill at all costs.  It's up to us to say no.

Click here to visit our sister site at to quickly send an email to the Florida Senate or click here for a list of phone numbers for each Senator.  Urge them to vote No on SB 1718. 
Some politicians are questioning their choice to listen to the Parent Revolution lobbyists from California instead of us. 
In an effort to move the bill to the floor, Senate leadership called for a  Budget Committee meeting tomorrow morning at 8a.m. with the plan to quietly vote and move this bill to the floor., 50th No More, Citizens for Strong Schools, Florida PTA, Marions United for Public Education, Save Duval Schools and Support Dade Schools issued a widely-published joint statement clearly stating that we do not support the so-called “Parent Empowerment Act."
Instead of empowering parents, this infamous “parent trigger” scheme does the following:
Uses parents’ concern for their children as a tool to pull the “trigger” and give their neighborhood school to a private for-profit charter management corporation
·         Strips power from parents and voters
·         Removes all local control from taxpayers
·         Destroys democratic process by taking neighborhood schools away from the jurisdiction of duly elected district officials
·         Allows a small group of people to make a major fiscal and education decision for everyone else’s child
·         Robs Florida taxpayers of a significant capital investment
For-profit charters answer to no elected official, profit off our children and do not “empower parents.”
Click here and send an email to the Florida Senate. Tell them that Florida parents oppose the "Parent Empowerment" bill.

Our children cannot afford profit-driven reforms that do not work.  Speak up today.  Give our children a voice at the table.

Senate panel passes anti-sharia bill during ‘Muslim Day’ at Capitol

A Senate panel ended emotionally today after a group of people attending “Muslim Day” at the Capitol were shut out of speaking against a bill aimed at outlawing “foreign law” in family court cases. The measure, and past incarnations of it, have been touted by right-wing activists as an attempt to “stop the spread of Sharia in Florida.”
The bill, which is sponsored by state Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, would regulate the “application of foreign law in certain cases.” It has been called “unnecessary” by critics.
A representative of the Family Law section of the Florida Bar argued that the bill is a “solution for a problem that does not exist” during a House committee’s consideration of the bill. She said there are already laws in place that safeguard against the intervention of laws that do not apply.
Groups including the Council on Islamic-American Relations and the Anti-Defamation League have said the bill would restrict religious freedom. Some have denounced the bill, a piece of model legislation written by anti-Islam leader David Yerushalmi, for its ties to extremism.
The bill was brought up during the last few minutes of a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting today. A motion to vote on the bill was requested as the committee chair, state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, listed the many Muslim speakers hoping to testify against it.
Many hoping to testify against the bill told Bogdanoff that the motion was a “pre-planned” effort to “shut down” those who were against the bill.
Bogdanoff told the bill’s detractors that she would be willing to hear them out once the committee had already voted the bill forward. She also told the upset speakers that, if they wanted another committee hearing for the bill, they could take their concerns to Senate President Mike Haridopolos.