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CASH POURS INTO SCOTT, PUTNAM POLITICAL COMMITTEES
JIM SAUNDERS |
At least at this point, Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam haven't announced plans to be on the ballot in 2018... Story

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: READY TO SETTLE DOWN?
BRANDON LARRABEE |
There was uncertainty in the air this week in Washington, but things were settling down a bit in Florida... Read the Roundup

ADVANCES: WEEK OF JANUARY 22, 2017
STAFF |
Continuing to prepare for the 2017 legislative session, House and Senate committees will meet during the coming week and take up issues such as a Senate proposal to make major changes in the higher-education system... Read the Advances


BACKROOM BRIEFING: TO GO OR NOT TO GO
BRANDON LARRABEE AND JIM TURNER |
Boycotting Donald Trump's inauguration might be all the rage among Democrats in Washington, D. C. , but so far only three of Florida's 12 congressional Democrats have announced they'll skip the swearing-in of the 45th president... Read the Briefing

SENATE LOOKS TO REVAMP STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Florida state colleges would be placed under a separate 13-member governing board and face new restrictions on offering baccalaureate degrees under a Senate bill filed Thursday... Story

STATE URGES JUDGE TO REJECT ABORTION LAW CHALLENGE
JIM SAUNDERS |
With a federal judge poised to hear arguments, the state has fired back at a lawsuit that seeks to block part of a controversial abortion law approved last year by the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott... Story

SENATOR OFFERS ROADMAP FOR MARIJUANA CHANGES
DARA KAM |
A key senator Thursday released the Legislature's first attempt at carrying out a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana, with the proposal calling for a growing number of marijuana licenses and making it easier for doctors to order the treatment for patients... Story

COURT WEIGHS STATE FARM TRADE SECRETS
JIM SAUNDERS |
An appeals court Thursday dug into a dispute between regulators and State Farm Florida about disclosure of information that shows where the company is selling property-insurance policies... Story


BONDI GOES TO COURT FOR TOBACCO PAYMENTS
JIM TURNER |
Attorney General Pam Bondi on Wednesday asked a Palm Beach County circuit court to resolve a dispute about whether two tobacco companies have improperly avoided paying tens of millions of dollars to the state under a landmark 1997 settlement with the tobacco industry... Story

COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES SPEND BIG ON LOBBYISTS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
State universities, colleges and related organizations are spending at least $2 million a year on lobbyists, according to new disclosure records required by the Florida House... Story

SUPREME COURT SCUTTLES CHALLENGE TO VOUCHER PROGRAM
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a last-ditch appeal challenging the state's de facto school-voucher program, essentially ending the battle over a program that pays for the private educations of nearly 100,000 children... Story

COURT UPHOLDS CHARTER SCHOOL APPEAL LAW
JIM SAUNDERS |
In a dispute stemming from a proposal to add a charter school in Palm Beach County, an appeals court Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of a law that allows the State Board of Education to overturn local denials of charter-school applications... Story

PERSONNEL FILE - PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, JANUARY 18, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
STEPHEN JAMES has been named director of the Office of Water Policy at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection... Read the Personnel File

BREAKING NEWS: JUSTICES TURN DOWN VOUCHER CHALLENGE
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to take up a constitutional challenge to the state's voucher-like Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which helps pay for tens of thousands of low-income children to attend private schools. A Leon County circuit judge and the 1st District Court of Appeal had earlier rejected the lawsuit, which was spearheaded by the Florida Education Association teachers union. The News Service will have a full story later Wednesday.


LAWMAKERS SEEK REQUIREMENTS ON RAIL OPERATORS
JIM TURNER |
Treasure Coast lawmakers, concerned about a passenger railroad service that will travel through their districts, want high-speed operators to pay for safety upgrades... Story

NEW MEDICAL MARIJUANA RULES DRAW FIRE
DARA KAM |
Authors of Florida's voter-approved constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana are blasting proposed rules to regulate the cannabis industry... Story

HEALTH CARE REGULATION DEBATE GETTING REFUELED
JIM SAUNDERS |
Florida lawmakers could be preparing for a renewed debate about easing regulations in the state's health-care industry... Story


DEMS PICK PROMINENT FUNDRAISER AS NEW PARTY CHIEF
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Florida Democrats on Saturday picked a prominent fundraiser from Miami-Dade County to lead their party for the next four years, turning aside four other challengers... Story

INGOGLIA WINS SECOND TERM AS STATE GOP CHAIR
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Following the state GOP's strong performance in the November elections, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia overwhelmingly won a second term Saturday at the party's annual meeting... Story


COLLEGES GEAR UP FOR LEGISLATIVE BATTLES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Florida state colleges are preparing for a renewed legislative fight this spring over how the 28-college system is governed and the number of bachelor's degrees they can award... Story

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: GETTING READY FOR THE SEASON
BRANDON LARRABEE |
On Monday night in Tampa, the Clemson Tigers dethroned the Alabama Crimson Tide in college football's national championship game... Read the Roundup

ADVANCES: WEEK OF JANUARY 15, 2017
STAFF |
With Florida's annual legislative session starting March 7, lawmakers are holding county delegation meetings across the state to gather public input and consider local bills... Read the Advances


MAJOR GAMBLING PROPOSAL EMERGES IN SENATE
DARA KAM |
A senator instrumental in the passage of the Legislature's last major gambling bill released a massive proposal Thursday that would allow slot machines in eight counties where voters have approved them, let South Florida pari-mutuels run blackjack games, and give tracks permission to do away with greyhound racing while keeping lucrative cardrooms and slots... Story

HOUSE WON’T CONSIDER USING BP MONEY FOR INCENTIVES
JIM TURNER |
Don't expect settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster to be used directly to attract tourists or new businesses, House lawmakers said, as they consider how to flow the cash into Gulf Coast counties... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


SANTIAGO PLANS 2018 HOUSE RE-ELECTION BID

After cruising to re-election in November, state Rep. David Santiago, R-Deltona, has become the latest incumbent lawmaker to open a campaign account to run again in 2018, according to the state Division of Elections website...

PLAN WOULD MAKE IT HARDER TO CHANGE CONSTITUTION

A House Republican on Friday proposed making it harder for voters to amend the Florida Constitution...

STEUBE SEEKS TO PROTECT STATUES, MEMORIALS OF HEROES

Defacing a statue or memorial that represents a soldier, astronaut or other hero could result in a third-degree felony under a bill proposed Friday by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota...

TRUMP, PENCE SWORN IN TO LEAD COUNTRY

Republican President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were sworn into office Friday during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, D. C. Trump replaced President Barack Obama after defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election...

STATE APPEALING SEMINOLE GAMBLING DECISION

Gov. Rick Scott's administration has given notice that it is appealing a federal judge's ruling in a gambling dispute between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida...

STATE ENDS YEAR WITH 4.9 PERCENT JOBLESS RATE

Florida ended 2016 with an unemployment rate that was unchanged in December and 0.2 percentage points lower than at the start of the year...


NEW SENTENCING ORDERED FOR COP KILLER

Pointing to a major U. S. Supreme Court decision about the constitutionality of Florida's death-penalty sentencing system, the state Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new sentencing proceeding for a man convicted of murdering a Broward County sheriff's deputy in 1990...

HOUSE MEMBERS EYE RED-LIGHT CAMERAS

A proposal that would eliminate red-light cameras is scheduled to go before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Wednesday...

LAWMAKER SEEKS TO PROTECT 'VULNERABLE' ROAD USERS

Motorists who cause bodily injury to bicyclists or "vulnerable” road users could, in addition to other charges, get slapped with fines up to $2,500, under a bill filed Thursday by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples...

LEGAL FEES SOAR IN FLORIDA-GEORGIA WATER WAR

Legal fees in Florida's costly water war with Georgia have escalated to $41 million, with the Department of Environmental Protection asking for a $13 million transfer to cover some of the expenses...

AGENCY SEEKS MONEY AMID RISE IN CONCEALED WEAPONS

A continued increase in the number of people seeking concealed-weapons licenses will require an additional $2.61 million to cover costs of licensing and background checks, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services...

BRODEUR PREPARES FOR 2020 SENATE RUN

House Health Care Appropriations Chairman Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, opened a campaign account this week to run for a Central Florida Senate seat in 2020, according to the state Division of Elections website...


DUKE PAYS $600K TO SETTLE POWER PLANT ANTITRUST CASE

Duke Energy has agreed to pay $600,000 as part of a settlement with the U. S. Department of Justice in a case about whether the utility followed antitrust requirements in the purchase of a Polk County power plant...

SEPTIC TANK INSPECTIONS SOUGHT AS PART OF SALES

Pointing in part to water-quality problems in the Indian River Lagoon, a Brevard County House member Wednesday proposed requiring septic-tank inspections as part of the sales of homes and other types of real estate...

LAWMAKERS READY FOR 2018, 2020 RACES

Little more than two months after winning their 2016 elections, state House and Senate members continue lining up to run again in 2018 and 2020...

GAMBLING PLAN, ECONOMIC INCENTIVES GO BEFORE SENATORS

Florida senators next week will take up hot-button issues when committees consider a major gambling bill and receive presentations about economic-development programs...

SUPREME COURT TURNS DOWN APPEAL IN BRIBERY CASE

The U. S. Supreme Court has turned down an appeal in the bribery conviction of a former member of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority who was accused of improperly trying to steer business to subcontractors...

FORMER FDLE CHIEF UP FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT HALL OF FAME

James "Tim" Moore, who headed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for 15 years, is among five nominees Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will consider Tuesday for the Florida Law Enforcement Hall of Fame...


ALABAMA WARY ABOUT FLORIDA-GEORGIA WATER TALKS

As Florida and Georgia try to settle a complicated water-use dispute this month, Alabama has filed a letter saying it may need to intervene if its water resources are impacted...

SIERRA CLUB TAKES FPL RATE HIKE TO SUPREME COURT

The Sierra Club wants the state Supreme Court to block a decision by regulators to approve $811 million in base-rate increases for Florida Power & Light...

VETERANS COULD GET SALES-TAX HOLIDAY

Honorably discharged U. S. military veterans would get a sales-tax break when buying clothes during the Veterans Day holiday, under a measure filed Tuesday by state Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Destin...

COMPUTER CODING PITCHED TO MEET LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

A House Republican on Tuesday filed legislation that would allow high-school students to take computer-coding courses to satisfy two credits of foreign-language requirements...

SOUTH FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN TO BOYCOTT INAUGURATION

U. S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla...

SCOTT JOBS 'SUMMIT' SET FOR EARLY FEBRUARY

Gov. Rick Scott is rounding up businesspeople and educators for a jobs "summit" next month as he continues to push reluctant lawmakers to approve $85 million for business-recruitment incentives...

SENATE PANEL TO TAKE UP 'STAND YOUR GROUND' BILL

The Senate Judiciary Committee next week is expected to take up a proposal that would shift the legal burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases --- but the panel is not slated to consider a controversial measure that would expand the ability of people to carry guns in public...

TAMPA ELECTRIC FINISHES POWER PLANT EXPANSION

Tampa Electric Company has finished a $660 million expansion project at a Polk County power plant as it seeks to meet customer growth, the utility said this week...


HOUSE BILL CRACKS DOWN ON BOATING, DRIVING WHILE STONED

A motorist operating a car or boat could be arrested if they got too stoned, under a measure filed by state Rep. David Silvers, D-West Palm Beach...

DEMS NARROW RACE FOR STATE PARTY CHIEF

The political intrigue over the election of a new leader for Florida Democrats continued Friday, as one top contender survived a rules challenge while another was eliminated...

SENATE SETS COURSE FOR ST. JOHNS RIVER PLAN

A proposal to steer money toward protecting the St. Johns River, along with its tributaries or lakes in the Keystone Heights region, may be set for smooth sailing in the Senate...

STAND YOUR GROUND MEASURE FILED IN HOUSE

A controversial proposal to shift the burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases is back this year in the Florida House...

FPL PLANS FOUR ADDITIONAL SOLAR CENTERS

Florida Power & Light, the state's largest energy provider, plans to build four solar plants this year, the Juno Beach-based company announced Friday...

FOUR COMMITTEE STOPS SET FOR SENATE ENTERPRISE FLORIDA REFORM MEASURE

A Senate Democrat's proposed reforms for Enterprise Florida, the state's business-recruitment agency, may have to clear more than the usual hurdles before getting an up-or-down vote from the full chamber...

CLEMONS, TOLEDO PLAN 2018 RE-ELECTION BIDS

After capturing open House seats in the November elections, Republicans Chuck Clemons and Jackie Toledo have taken the first steps toward running again in 2018...


STEALTH FIGHTERS LIKELY HEADED TO TEXAS

Texas beat out Florida and several other states as the U. S. Air Force announced Thursday that its preferred location for a base of new F-35 stealth fighters will be in Fort Worth...

NON-PARTISAN RACES SOUGHT FOR STATE ATTORNEYS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS

Two Jacksonville Democrats filed identical bills Thursday that would lead to state attorneys and public defenders being elected in non-partisan races...

AGREEMENTS REACHED ON LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE

State regulators and two insurers have reached agreement on 10-year plans that include rate increases on long-term care insurance policies, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said Thursday...

RUTHERFORD RECOVERING AFTER 'SIGNIFICANT DISCOMFORT'

Freshman Congressman John Rutherford, a Jacksonville Republican, was recovering in a Washington, D. C. -area hospital after what his office said was "an acute digestive flare" Wednesday night...

LAWMAKER SEEKS TO SPEED UP REDISTRICTING CASES

After long-running legal battles in recent years about state Senate and congressional districts, a Republican lawmaker filed a proposal Thursday that could speed up redistricting court cases and set guidelines for determining which districts would be used when disputes are pending...

AVILA, YARBOROUGH PLAN 2018 RE-ELECTION BIDS

Two Republican House members from Miami-Dade and Duval counties opened campaign accounts this week to run for re-election in 2018...


SENIOR SHEDS INTERIM LABEL AS AHCA SECRETARY

Justin Senior was named Wednesday as secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, after serving as interim secretary for nearly four months, according to Gov. Rick Scott's office...

COURT SIDES WITH VILLAGES DISTRICTS IN SIGN-LANGUAGE CASE

A federal appeals court Wednesday sided with two community-development districts at The Villages in a dispute about providing sign-language interpreters for residents who are deaf...

BILL WOULD NAME ROADWAY FOR GOLF LEGEND

A Central Florida lawmaker on Wednesday proposed naming part of an Orange County expressway in honor of golfer Arnold Palmer, who died in September at age 87...

PROPOSAL WOULD HELP FOSTER KIDS GET DRIVER'S LICENSES

Two Republican lawmakers are seeking to make permanent a pilot program that helps foster children get driver's licenses and auto insurance...

AG OFFICIALS SEEK TO PREVENT SCREWWORMS IN MIAMI-DADE

The state is taking steps to try to make sure New World screwworms do not threaten livestock in Miami-Dade County, after a stray dog was found in Homestead with screwworm, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Wednesday...

DUKE PLANS NORTH FLORIDA SOLAR PROJECT

Duke Energy Florida will build a solar power plant in Suwannee County that it plans to have in operation by the end of 2017, the utility announced Wednesday...

STATE GOP ENDS YEAR WITH MONEY EDGE

The Republican Party of Florida raised nearly $849,000 from Nov. 4 to the end of 2016, more than double the amount raised by the Florida Democratic Party, according to newly filed finance reports...

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADERS CONTINUE RAKING IN MONEY

A political committee led by Senate Republican leaders raised about $688,000 from Nov. 4 to Dec. 31 --- bringing the total raised since the committee formed in October 2014 to $24.8 million, according to a newly filed finance report...

LAWMAKERS BACK BID TO DRAW F-35 JETS TO JACKSONVILLE

State senators expressed support this week for the Florida Air National Guard's effort to attract a squadron of military F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Jacksonville...


AHCA, NURSING HOMES DISAGREE ON MANAGED CARE CHANGE

A top official at the Agency for Health Care Administration on Tuesday objected to a nursing-home industry proposal to exclude some seniors from the state's Medicaid managed-care program...

NELSON BACKS BITTEL IN RACE FOR DEMOCRATIC CHAIR

The only Florida Democrat holding statewide office endorsed a major fundraiser from Miami-Dade County for the chairmanship of the state party on Tuesday...

STEUBE, MASSULLO TEED UP FOR RE-ELECTION BIDS

After moving into their seats in November, state Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, and Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, have opened campaign accounts to run for re-election in 2018, according to the state Division of Elections website...

 
 
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The Back Room: The News Service of Florida Political Blog

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