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TAXWATCH: FEWER TURKEYS, LESS TRANSPARENCY
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Reforms to the way the Legislature puts its budget together lowered the number of "turkeys" wedged into the spending plan, but there are still some items Gov. Rick Scott should consider vetoing, a Tallahassee-based think tank said Friday... Story

TAXWATCH TARGETS HIGHER ED `TURKEYS'
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Polk State College had been trying since 2005 to get state funding to fix its Winter Haven campus chiller system with no luck... Story

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: RIPPLE EFFECT
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The end of the legislative session each spring is rarely the end of the story... Read the Roundup

STATE COLLEGE CUTS SPUR CALLS FOR BUDGET VETO
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Upset over a $30 million cut in remedial education funding, state-college advocates are asking Gov. Rick Scott to veto a $1.2 billion portion of the state budget, forcing lawmakers to revamp the spending plan for the 28 colleges... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MAY 28, 2017
STAFF |
Florida's luck ran out last year, when it got hit by a hurricane for the first time in more than decade... Read the Advances

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, MAY 26, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
JOHN TUPPS has been named communications director for Gov. Rick Scott... Read the Personnel File


BACKROOM BRIEFING: FROM RUSSIA WITH TURNOUT FIGURES
BRANDON LARRABEE AND JIM TURNER |
Floridians are used to news stories that might have a connection to St. Petersburg... Read the Briefing

HEALTH OFFICIALS MOVE AHEAD WITH POT PROCESS
DARA KAM |
After state lawmakers failed to act, health officials on Thursday laid out a framework for adopting regulations required by a voter-approved constitutional amendment that could make Florida one of the nation's largest medical-marijuana markets... Story

NEW COLLEGE AWARDS FIRST GRADUATE DEGREES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
For the first time in its 57-year history, New College of Florida will award graduate degrees to students on Friday... Story

SCOTT SIGNS PACKAGE OF TAX BREAKS
JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott signed a tax-cut package Thursday that --- while vastly scaled back from what he wanted --- eliminates the so-called “tampon tax” and offers tax holidays for back-to-school shoppers and Floridians preparing for hurricane season... Story

SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH COUNTY IN PROPERTY DISPUTE
JIM SAUNDERS |
The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments that a property owner should receive $38 million in compensation because of a county land-use decision that allowed a phosphate mine to operate near a neurological-rehabilitation center... Story


SCOTT VETOES BILL TO TEAR DOWN `LIQUOR WALL'
JIM TURNER |
Pointing to concerns about preserving small-business jobs, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday vetoed a heavily debated and lobbied measure that supporters said would repeal a relic of the nation's emergence from Prohibition... Story

USF LOOKS TO ADD FACULTY, BOOST STANDING
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
With the goal of becoming one of the top public-research institutions in the country, the University of South Florida is being guided by a plan to hire 300 new faculty members over the next five years... Story

MANAGEMENT OF MARIJUANA OPERATION CHANGES HANDS
DARA KAM |
A Canadian-backed firm will take over management of Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, one of Florida's seven medical marijuana operators, the companies announced Wednesday... Story

LOBBYIST FILE --- DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, MAY 24, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
RALPH ARZA has registered to lobby for Lincoln Marti Community Agency... Story


JUDGE BACKS TWO MORE MARIJUANA LICENSES
DARA KAM |
In a long-awaited decision, an administrative law judge Tuesday called for the state to issue two new licenses to medical marijuana operators, saying competing businesses --- which lost out to another operator selected by Florida health officials in 2015 --- were virtually tied... Story

STATE HMO CONTRACTS SPUR CHALLENGES
JIM SAUNDERS |
An administrative law judge will hear arguments next month as three health insurers challenge the way state officials want to divvy up contracts for HMO coverage for state employees... Story

`CAT FUND' HEALTHY HEADING INTO HURRICANE SEASON
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is in its strongest financial position ever as the state heads into the annual storm season next month... Story

VALENSTEIN CHOSEN AS STATE ENVIRONMENTAL CHIEF
JIM TURNER |
With Gov. Rick Scott describing him as “passionate about the environment,” Noah Valenstein was named Tuesday as Florida's next environmental secretary after a short interview with Scott and members of the state Cabinet... Story


FPL SEEKS APPROVAL OF PLAN TO SHUT DOWN COAL PLANT
JIM SAUNDERS |
Florida Power & Light on Monday asked state regulators to give approval by Dec. 1 of a plan to shut down a jointly owned coal-fired power plant in Jacksonville... Story

TEMPORARY PROTECTIONS EXTENDED FOR HAITIANS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Temporary “protected status” has been extended for another six months for thousands of Haitians who fled to the United States after their island was ravaged by an earthquake in 2010... Story

JUSTICES WON'T HEAR DEATH PENALTY UNANIMITY CASE
DARA KAM |
Bolstering a state law requiring unanimous jury recommendations in death penalty cases, the U. S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider an appeal by Attorney General Pam Bondi on the issue... Story

SCOTT FACES DECISION ON `LIQUOR WALL'
JIM TURNER |
Opponents have mobilized to try to convince Gov. Rick Scott to veto a bill that would a repeal a decades-old law requiring hard spirits to be sold in separate facilities from groceries and other goods --- an issue that has become known as the “liquor wall... Story


WEEKLY ROUNDUP: DECISIONS, DECISIONS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The weeks after the legislative session are typically a decision season for the governor, who has to plow through dozens of bills and hundreds of spending items sent to him by lawmakers and pick which ones become law and which ones don't... Read the Roundup


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


THREE FLORIDA PORTS GET MONEY FOR PROJECTS

Three Florida sea ports moved closer to advancing projects to make harbors deeper, following the release of a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers spending plan earlier this week...

BERUFF: CRC TO START OVER ON RULES

After a panel of the Constitution Review Commission bogged down in discussions of the rules for the once-every-20-years overhaul of the state's basic law, the full commission will meet June 6 to hammer out a final proposal...

RUBIO, NELSON SEEK MORE FEDERAL JUDGES FOR FLORIDA

Florida would get 11 new federal district court judges under legislation filed this week by U. S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson...

DEADLINES LOOM FOR DOZIER MEMORIALS, BP SETTLEMENT FUNDS

Gov. Rick Scott has until next week to decide on a proposal to create memorials for the victims of the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys...

SCOTT SETS SPECIAL ELECTIONS FOR CENTRAL FLORIDA HOUSE SEAT

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday scheduled a special election to fill the Central Florida House seat of Orlando Republican Eric Eisnaugle, who was appointed earlier this month by the governor to serve as a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal...


MAN'S DEATH SENTENCES UPHELD IN MURDERS OF WIFE, CHILDREN

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a Death Row inmate who was convicted in the brutal 1994 murders of his wife and two children in Okaloosa County...

SCOTT SIGNS ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURE

Terrorism charges can be applied to list of crimes in Florida later this year, under a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott...

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION BACKS FIGHTER JET BID

Florida's congressional delegation sought Thursday to bolster Jacksonville's bid to become home to F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft...

DEATH SENTENCE UPHELD IN 1979 CLERK SLAYING

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a man sentenced to death in the 1979 murder of a Marion County convenience-store clerk...

PANEL TO REVISIT PIGMAN ETHICS CASE

The Florida Commission on Ethics is scheduled June 9 to again consider an ethics case involving allegations that state Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, acted improperly in dealings with the Okeechobee County school district...

SENATE SPECIAL ELECTION DRAWS ANOTHER DEMOCRAT

With a two-day qualifying period starting Tuesday, the special election to replace former state Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, continues to draw candidates...


PALM BEACH BOARD CHALLENGES CHARTER SCHOOL LAW

The Palm Beach County School Board has taken a first step in asking the Florida Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional a law that allows the State Board of Education to overturn local denials of charter-school applications...

DANIELS FIGHTS CAMPAIGN FINANCE ALLEGATIONS

State Rep. Kimberly Daniels, D-Jacksonville, is challenging allegations by the Florida Elections Commission that she violated state law in 2014 by using campaign funds for personal expenses...

ARRESTS MADE IN ALLIGATOR HARVESTING PROBE

In a case that involved the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission establishing an undercover alligator-farming business, nine Southwest Florida men have been arrested for illegally harvesting alligators and alligator eggs, Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Wednesday...

JUDGE REJECTS CHALLENGE TO SILVER SPRINGS STANDARDS

An administrative law judge Wednesday sided with the St. Johns River Water Management District in a dispute about minimum water flows and levels for Silver Springs in Marion County...

SCOTT GETS TERRORISM, TRANSPORTATION BILLS

A measure to create statewide criminal offenses for terrorism and a wide-ranging transportation bill were sent to Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday...

HUMANE SOCIETY SAYS SHARK FIN LAW NEEDS MORE TEETH

A day after Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a measure (SB 884) targeting the practice of shark “finning,” the Humane Society of the United State said Wednesday that lawmakers need to do more...


SCOTT SIGNS OFF ON BARAHONA COMPENSATION

More than six years after the body of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona was found in a pickup truck along Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday approved a measure to pay $3.75 million in the child-abuse case that drew national attention...

SCOTT SIGNS PUBLIC RECORDS, BOATING SAFETY BILLS

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed 16 bills into law, including a measure stemming from a debate about legal fees in public-records cases and a measure aimed at increasing boater safety...

DELACENSERIE TO LEAD KENTUCKY LOTTERY

Tom Delacenserie has been named president and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, days after submitting his resignation as Florida top lottery official...

FPL MOVES FORWARD ON NEW BROWARD PLANT

Florida Power & Light is moving forward on seeking regulatory approvals for an estimated $888 million project to build a power plant in Broward County...

ATWATER EXIT AWAITS BUDGET ACTION

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said Tuesday he is waiting for action on the state budget before leaving the Cabinet post for a job at Florida Atlantic University...

CABINET BACKS OKEECHOBEE, HIGHLANDS LAND DEALS

Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet agreed Tuesday, with little comment, to spend about $8.5 million to conserve thousands of acres of land owned for decades by two ranching families in Okeechobee and Highlands counties...


HOSPITALS APPEAL RULING ON OUTPATIENT PAYMENTS

Dozens of hospitals across the state have appealed an administrative law judge's decision in a dispute about reimbursement rates for outpatient care of Medicaid beneficiaries...

DEADLINE WEDNESDAY FOR BARAHONA, RECORDS BILLS

Gov. Rick Scott faces deadlines Tuesday and Wednesday for taking action on 17 bills, including a measure (SB 18) that calls for paying $3.75 million in the 2011 child-abuse death of Nubia Barahona and injuries suffered by her twin brother, Victor...

DEMOCRAT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RUN FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

Hillsborough County Democrat Ryan C. Torrens has opened a campaign account to run for attorney general in 2018, becoming the first Democrat to take the initial step toward trying to succeed term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi, according to the state Division of Elections website...

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT HIT BY DATA BREACH

Nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services...

SPECIAL ELECTION SET FOR DIAZ HOUSE SEAT

With Miami-Dade County Republican Jose Felix Diaz running for an open Senate seat, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday scheduled a special election to replace Diaz in the Florida House...

WILDFIRE RISKS REMAIN HIGH IN PARTS OF FLORIDA

Though parts of Florida got rain over the weekend, numerous counties in North Florida, Central Florida and South Florida remain in “high” or “very high” danger of wildfires, according to information from the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services...

`LOCAL' BILLS TEED UP FOR SCOTT

The potential for a new municipality in Martin County, a change in board-membership requirements at the power company owned by Key West and the ability of businesses to sell alcohol off-site during special events within Jacksonville's Stadium District were among 31 “local” bills sent to Gov. Rick Scott on Monday...

TWO PRISON GUARDS CHARGED IN CHEMICAL SPRAYING INCIDENT

Two Northwest Florida correctional officers face charges after authorities said an inmate was sprayed with a chemical agent and placed in a supply closet...

ANOTHER HOPEFUL EMERGES FOR EISNAUGLE SEAT

Candidates continue to line up for an Orange County House seat that opened when Orlando Republican Eric Eisnaugle was appointed this month as a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal...


COURT BACKS CORRECTIONS AGENCY IN RETALIATION CASE

An appeals court Friday sided with the state Department of Corrections in a dispute about whether retaliation played a role in the firing of a Northwest Florida prison warden and an assistant warden...

LOTTERY SECRETARY DELACENSERIE STEPS DOWN

Florida Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie, a longtime official at the state agency, submitted his resignation Friday, effective June 2, Gov. Rick Scott's office said...

NELSON BACKS SPEEDING UP DIKE REPAIRS

U. S. Sen. Bill Nelson has followed Gov. Rick Scott, a potential 2018 election challenger, in imploring President Donald Trump to speed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee and to fund other Everglades restoration projects...

READING TEST SCORES IMPROVE FOR THIRD-GRADERS

Florida third-graders showed improvement on a key reading test this spring, with 59 of the state's 67 school districts reporting increases in scores, according to the state Department of Education...

BAEZ DROPS OUT OF MIAMI-DADE SENATE RACE

State Rep. Daisy Baez, D-Coral Gables, announced Friday she is withdrawing from a special election for a vacant Miami-Dade County Senate seat...

JOBLESS RATE IMPROVES AMID SCOTT WARNINGS

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday continued to warn Florida's economic growth could be hindered by actions of the Legislature, as the state's unemployment mark hit its lowest figure since September 2007...


SCHOOL BOARDS CALL FOR FUNDING VETO

The Florida School Boards Association asked Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday to veto the state's main funding stream for public education, a move aimed at forcing lawmakers to reconsider a decision to increase per-student spending by just 0.34 percent in the budget for the year beginning July 1...

DOZIER MEMORIAL BILL GOES TO SCOTT

A bill authorizing the creation of memorials for the victims of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys was sent to Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday...

SCOTT READY TO CONSIDER BP SETTLEMENT PLAN

A proposal to open the tap on BP oil-spill settlement money for Northwest Florida counties hard hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster has reached Gov. Rick Scott's desk...

NEW SENTENCING ORDERED IN MURDER OF 13-YEAR-OLD GIRL

A divided Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new sentencing proceeding for a Death Row inmate convicted in the murder and sexual battery of a 13-year-old girl in 2008 in a Panama City motel room...

DEATH ROW INMATE GETS NEW SENTENCING IN DOUBLE MURDER

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday vacated the death sentence of a man convicted of taking part in the murders of two people whose bodies were found in 1997 in a burning home in Wakulla County...

CHAMBER EXECUTIVE TO SEEK EISNAUGLE SEAT

The president and CEO of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce said Thursday he will run for a state House seat that opened when Orlando Republican Eric Eisnaugle was appointed this month as a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal...


TAX CUT PACKAGE GOES TO SCOTT

The Legislature's $91.6 million tax-cut package for next fiscal year was formally sent to Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday...

APPEALS COURT OVERTURNS SENTENCE IN DEMENTIA CASE

A state appeals court Wednesday overturned a sentence that would have allowed a woman to stay out prison after being convicted of taking $1.6 million from investment accounts of her dementia-suffering stepfather...

CORRECTIONS HONORS EMPLOYEES WHO DIED IN LINE OF DUTY

With department Secretary Julie Jones saying each name “represents a hero,” the Florida Department of Corrections on Wednesday held an annual wreath-laying ceremony to honor fallen officers and employees...

STATE CHALLENGED OVER TRAUMA CENTER REJECTION

A St. Petersburg hospital is challenging a state Department of Health decision blocking it from opening a trauma center, the latest in a series of legal battles across the state about trauma facilities...

INSURER SPENDS HEAVILY ON LEGISLATIVE LOBBYING

Amid a debate about revamping workers' compensation insurance laws, Sarasota-based FCCI Insurance Group appears to have spent more than any other company or group on legislative lobbying during the first three months of the year...

CABINET WEIGHS HIGHLANDS CONSERVATION PLAN

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet next week will consider a proposal to spend $1.58 million to help conserve about 1,000 acres of land in Highlands County...


JUSTICES TO HEAR AVENTURA RED-LIGHT CAMERA CASE

With similar legal questions raised in various parts of the state, the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to take up a case that challenges a red-light traffic camera program in the city of Aventura...

 
 
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