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Florida News

  1. Five budget fights to watch as Scott, lawmakers collide on spending $83.5 billion

    Legislature

    By STEVE BOUSQUET

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

      Students take their seats before the start of the USF St. Petersburg fall commencement ceremony at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 13, 2015. Universities are in the House's crosshairs for the 2017-2018 state budget. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  2. Florida loses 5,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate is unchanged

    Business

    Florida's economic recovery is slowing down.

    There are signs Florida's economic recovery is slowing down. Gov. Rick Scott released the latest jobs and unemployment data today.
[Associated Press file photo]
  3. Lawmaker to Rick Scott: Restore order in privately run women's prison

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Warning that inmate health and safety is at risk at the state's largest privately run women's prison, Rep. David Richardson asked Gov. Rick Scott this week to use his emergency powers to replace the top officers and take state control of Gadsden Correctional Facility.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, is asking Gov. Rick Scott to declare an emergency about the conditions at Gadsden Correctional Facility, the state's largest women's prison. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Florida Senate takes 'stand for liberty' in passing religious freedom bill for schools over Democratic concerns

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's public schools would have to let students lead religious prayers during the school day and at school-sanctioned events under a controversial proposal that the state Senate approved Thursday.

     Cambridge Christian and Clearwater Academy players join in prayer after the game between Clearwater Academy and Cambridge Christian at Skyway Park in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. A Clearwater player had to be evacuated late in the fourth quarter of the game after possibly suffering a spinal injury. Cambridge beat Clearwater 44-34.
  5. Florida Senate advances bill that tries to limit 'gotcha' public records lawsuits

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a compromise proposal aimed at cracking down on "gotcha" public records requests while preserving the attorney fees leverage the public has against public officials who violate Florida's Sunshine laws.

    Barbara Petersen of the First Amendment Foundation said that this year her group plans to grade Florida legislators to guage their support for the state's open government laws. [Steven Cannon    |  AP]
  6. Disney, Universal target property appraiser in battle over taxes for Florida theme parks

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — It takes a lot of land to accommodate Cinderella's castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Epcot's 11-country World Showcase — and a hefty purse to pay the property taxes on it.

    Cars travel one of the roads leading to Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista. Orlando's top tourist destinations, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and several resorts are in legal battles about how much they're worth with the local property appraiser and tax collector. [John Raoux | Associated Press]
  7. Florida Senate approves bill to let grocery outlets sell hard liquor in stores

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Floridians are one step closer to being able to buy whiskey, rum or vodka in a grocery store.

    The Florida Senate on Thursday approved a measure which would allow grocery stores like Publix to sell hard liquor on the shelves next to beer and wine instead of in a separate liquor store. [TImes file photo]
  8. Caught in crossfire between Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran, group fights for survival

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — While the prospect of another round of military base closures is getting more talk in Washington, the Florida Legislature is taking steps to kill off a non-profit created to help keep Florida bases off the chopping block.

    A flight crew boards a KC-135 R Stratotanker at the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Airforce Base. [Scott Martin | Associated Press]
  9. Future of medical pot in Florida still cloudy after Senate discussion

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — What began as a decisive instruction from voters that patients who need medical marijuana should have access to it is shaping up to be a complex and contentious fight in the Florida Capitol.

     Some of the medical marijuana products on display in the “Garden” at Surterra Wellness Center, 2558 E Fowler Ave., Tampa, on Feb. 27. Surterra Holdings is one of seven companies in Florida licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana products in the state.
  10. With GOP health care bill teetering, Florida Rep. Dennis Ross worries failure will splinter party

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Amid the bustle of afternoon votes, Rep. Dennis Ross came bounding around the corner with news. "We're getting closer. Neal Dunn is now on board," he said, referring to a fellow Florida Republican House member.

    Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, discusses the GOP’s efforts to pass an alternative to Obamacare. Ross is one of a few senior deputy majority whips trying to bring on reluctant Republicans.