State Capital Briefs: Primary results within a hour of polls close, victory for net fishermen

More than 1.1 million votes were cast in Florida before Tuesday’s primary-election day began, with over 850,000 through absentee ballots and almost 300,000 during early voting, according the Department of State. During a press briefing Tuesday morning, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said polls opened with little trouble. One Orange Country precinct opened late, after an election worker overslept. However, no voters were affected. It was the only reported issue among 6,222 precincts in the state. With the number of early and absentee votes already cast, Detzner said he expects many statewide results to start coming in shortly after 8pm Eastern time, an hour after polls start to close.

Critics of the state’s voter-approved “net ban” have asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up a challenge to the way the commercial-fishing measure has been carried out. The 1st District Court of Appeal last month overturned a decision by Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford that sided with the Wakulla Fishermen’s Association, a bait-shop owner and two mullet fishermen. Those critics argued that the 1994 constitutional amendment that placed strict limits on commercial fishing nets was being improperly applied by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In overturning Fulford, the appeals court found that the issues in the case had been resolved in prior litigation. But in a brief filed last week with the Supreme Court, attorneys for the critics argued, in part, that “new facts have arisen” since the earlier litigation. “New facts demonstrate that the challenged (Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) rules were not promulgated to further a fishery management objective,” the brief said. It is unclear when the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case.

The state’s consumer confidence remains at a post-recession high for the third consecutive month, according to a University of Florida report. On a scale that ranges from two to 150, confidence among Floridians sits at 82, four points higher than in May, the last time the number changed, according to a release Tuesday from UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. The numbers, however, don’t reflect mass optimism in the Sunshine State.

The overall index shows an increasing pessimism in households with incomes over $30,000 a year and also recorded a drop among respondents ages 50 to 65 who may be concerned about their personal finances at they look toward retirement, the UF report noted. “These results suggest the Florida economy is not growing rapidly,” said Chris McCarty, director of the research center. “While it’s good news that the index is not volatile, we would like it to be about 10 points higher given that the recession ended more than five years ago.”

source: The News Service of Florida