Collier County data confirms that only a small percentage of 287(g) detainees are serious criminals: News. Politics. Media

Recent data released by Collier County's Criminal Alien Task Force reveals that only a small percentage of those detained under Section 287(g) — a federal program that grants Collier the authority to conduct immigration law enforcement — are actually dangerous criminals, a fact cited in a March 2010 Office of Inspector General report as evidence that 287(g) is failing to meet its proponents' stated goals.

Powerful Tampa Bay interests campaign for local light rail funding: News. Politics. Media

With plans for a federally funded high-speed rail line linking Tampa and Orlando on the fast track, some of the Tampa Bay area's most powerful political and business interests are pushing to secure funding for a connecting light rail system. But with local and state governments facing continued budget deficits across the board, those hopes rest on Hillsborough County citizens footing the bill. That means legions of taxpayers and anti-tax groups need convincing.

Longtime Republican allies face off in bitter state Senate primary: News. Politics. Media

The political alliance and friendship between two stalwarts of the Republican Party in the Tampa Bay area is a thing of the past: For now, they are bitter rivals for a state Senate seat. State Rep. Kevin Ambler and Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman have been political allies for 20 years, but now they are not on speaking terms, as they battle with bruising rhetoric for the Senate District 12 seat being vacated by retiring state Sen. Victor Crist. The winner of the Aug. 24 primary is almost assured the seat; no Democrat has entered the fray, and only two politically unknown write-ins will be on the ballot.
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New 527 ad attacks Rick Scott’s past as CEO of Columbia/HCA: News. Politics. Media

Buoyed by another $140,000 this week from Freedom First Committee (state Sen. Mike Haridopolos' 527), Florida First Initiative released Tuesday a new television ad attacking his rival, Rick Scott, on his tenure as CEO of Columbia/HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S. Florida First Initiative has associations with Scott's opponent, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Florida unemployment extension fix fails, state Rep. Rader appeals to Crist: News. Politics. Media

The U.S. Senate made strides Tuesday to approve an extension of unemployment benefits that will give out-of-work Americans till November to enroll in the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, and fully fund Extended Benefits programs in states — like Florida — suffering from high unemployment. But a line in Florida law currently prohibits the Sunshine State from receiving and disbursing the additional E.B. funding promised in the legislation. At least one Florida lawmaker — state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Boynton Beach — called on Gov. Charlie Crist, state House Speaker Larry Cretul and state Senate President Jeff Atwater to fix the issue during this week's special session, but that idea went nowhere. The state legislature called an end to the session after less than three hours. That means that thousands of Floridians who have exhausted their normal state and EUC benefits will be denied the federal government's additional lifeline payments.

Radiance Foundation leader defends group on NPR

The head of the Radiance Foundation, a controversial anti-abortion group, made an appearance on NPR's Tell Me More yesterday. After defending his group's efforts to equate abortion rates in the African-American community with racism, Ryan Bomberger took to his blog and Twitter account to decry the interview for being biased and heavily edited.

Tampa Tribune: Bullying stats all over the map

While some Florida school districts report few or no cases of bullying, other districts show a high number of cases two years after a law to protect Florida’s students took effect. The law, also known as Jeffrey's Law, was named for Jeffrey Johnston — a Cape Coral student who committed suicide in 2005 after being the victim of bullying by a classmate.

Wisconsin group alleges ‘Disney-style’ tactics by United Way, Planned Parenthood

A Wisconsin group is alleging that United Way and Planned Parenthood are in cahoots in an effort to draw young girls into abortion facilities in the state. In an article published on OneNewsNow, Virginia Zignego of Pro-Life Wisconsin says that United Way is helping to further the cover-up of stauatory rape by placing colorful posters at various bus stops throughout the state.

Hasner campaign: Grassroots support counts more than raising green

Senate President Mike Haridopolos has raised millions so far this year despite having to focus his energy on the legislative session, while former Sen. George LeMiuex has assembled a big-name finance team and enlisted the fundraising help of a gang of sitting senators. Former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner's campaign has done neither, and sees that as a selling point.