Session kicking off with a bawdry bang

Doesn’t it seem too early for the state Legislature to return to session?

 

Seems like only yesterday Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran finished a budget in one weekend behind closed doors that couldn’t be done in three months of the regular session. But, then again, they weren’t hamstrung by pesky House and Senate members messing up the deal with questions, objections or even their presence.

The session has begun exactly where it left off — with scandals and more.

Right off the bat Republican Sen. Anitere Flores and Democrat Sen. Oscar Braynon were targeted for an extramarital affair.

They were caught by a secret camera, aimed at their two rooms located across the hall from one another during the 2017 session.

Timing is everything .

Speculation is rife that the unknown videographer who released the footage in a text, was hired by either Sens. Frank Artiles or Jack Latvala, both of whom were caught with their own pants down last year — and resigned their seats. Both vowed payback form their political takedowns.

Both Flores and Braynon, were quick to admit to the affair Tuesday in a joint statement including: “We do not want gossip and rumors to distract from the important business of the people. That’s why we are issuing this brief statement to acknowledge that our longtime relationship grew beyond friendship. … We have sought the forgiveness of our families, and also seek the forgiveness of our constituents and God. We ask everyone else to respect and provide our families the privacy that they deserve as we move past this to focus on the important work ahead.”

The affair isn’t, on its own, sufficient to remove them from their seats. Flores is Senate president pro tempore. Braynon is Minority Leader.

Both may face ethics charges stemming from frequent travel together — using public money for private gratification.

At the same time Democratic candidate for governor, Gwen Graham, put Gov. Rick Scott in an awkward position as the session opened. She had sought public records in relations to Scott’s action — or non-action — related to the deaths of 12 elderly residents as a Hollywood Hill nursing home last September following Hurricane Irma. She request the related records three months ago, but was unsuccessful. Scott’s office checked later her request with an estimate of $1,200 for costs associated with release of the information.

Monday Graham publicly wrote a check from her private account for the money, effectively checkmating Scott. His office released 41,000 pages of records Monday night.

The House and Senate can barely get the Pledge of Allegiance done in the opening session before “it” hits the fan.

Especially considering the heavy-hitters lining up for a run at governor, if there’s anything out there to embarrass them, it will likely spew out in the coming months.

Floridians deserve so much more. We’re getting so much less.

 

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