It’s Day 46 of the 60-day legislative session, and Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders are both set to announce plans to address school shootings. House and Senate leadership are appearing together, suggesting they have agreement on a single plan, which means if Scott’s ideas are much different, they’re likely to get cast aside as the Legislature tries to avoid hitting any snags that would stop them from passing a bill this late in the game.
As for the Legislature’s plan, here’s my story on what you can expect to see. In the meantime, the adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School return to the school today — all except the school resource officer who resigned yesterday after the Broward Sheriff’s Office found he had stood outside the building where the shooting was happening for about four minutes, never entering. The students will be going back to school next Wednesday.
While we await details of state government’s plans, let’s talk about one of the reasons they won’t be going too far — the NRA.
Lawyers, guns and money: The Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual meetup in D.C. for the rightiest of the right-wing, is ongoing. And NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre appeared there to deliver a fiery oration attacking the media, the left, socialists — all the usual bogeymen, the Washington Post’s Mark Berman and David Weigel report.
Here in Florida, much was made, especially among conservatives, over this story by the Tampa Bay Times’ Langston Taylor, which showed that the NRA hasn’t actually made a contribution to a state politician in Florida since 2000.
Here’s a typical — and delightfully smug — example of the form from Republican political strategist Anthony Pedicini:
But thing is, the NRA doesn’t have to. They’ve got Marion Hammer instead. Hammer is the NRA’s lobbyist in Tallahassee. She was president of the organization in the early 1990s, has been involved since the late 1960s, and has an email blast that goes out to hundreds of thousands of voters, many of whom treat her word like gospel. And she uses that email to cut the throats of anyone who steps out of line.
The New Yorker’s Mike Spies spent a year investigating Hammer and produced a piece that reveals just how much the legislative process is dominated by lobbyists like her — well, really, just by her. There’s no lobbyists like her, no lobbyists that have thousands of voters behind them ready to do their bidding.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who previously served in the Florida House and was about as gun-friendly a politician as you could hope to meet, told the New Yorker, “If you’re with Marion ninety-five per cent of the time, you’re a damn traitor.”
So, no, the NRA does not contribute to Florida state politicians. It doesn’t have to. It can get them for free.
Guess they don’t have a Marion Hammer in Oregon: The Associated Press’s Andrew Selsky reports that Oregon appears to be the first state to pass a gun control measure since the Stoneman Douglas shooting.
The bill passed in Oregon would ban anyone convicted of stalking or domestic violence and anyone under a restraining order from buying or owning firearms.
Surprised the Florida Legislature didn’t try this: Just as happened in Florida a few years ago, the state supreme court in Pennsylvania overturned a partisan, gerrymandered congressional redistricting plan and, after the Republican-led state legislature and the Democratic governor couldn’t agree on a new one, the court drew one up and ordered it to be put in place. Now, the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham reports, the state legislature is looking to impeach justices on the court.
The governor of Missouri was arrested: I feel like this barely made the news, and would have been a really big deal before the News Comes Every Five Seconds Post-Trump Era in which we now live. Nevertheless, the Associated Press’s Jim Salter reports that Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was arrested on a felony invasion of privacy charge.
More charges: The Washington Post reports that former Donald Trump presidential campaign chair Paul Manafort and his long-time business partner Rick Gates have been hit with another 32-charge indictment related to bank fraud. Gates’ lawyer announced today that Gates would plead guilty to conspiracy against the United States and charge of making a false statement. That plea likely involves cooperation against Manafort.
Immigrants? What are those? The Los Angeles Times’ Joseph Tanfani reports that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has a new mission statement.
Old one: CIS “secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers.”
New one: CIS is “protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”
Whoops: Hundreds of Fort Lauderdale voters received their mail-in ballots too late to vote in the January city elections, the Sun Sentinel’s Larry Barszewski reports.
As always, I’m @Daniel_Sweeney. Troll me there.