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Arriving Democratic Candidates Out to Woo Floridians Ahead of the Debates

June 25, 2019 - 12:45pm
Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke and Jay Inslee

Twenty Democratic presidential hopefuls are about to square off in Miami during two nights of nationally televised debates, as they get an early chance to stand out in the crowded primary.

But some candidates also are visiting political hotspots in Florida, a swing state that will be crucial for any of them to win the White House.

So far, the Homestead migrant detention shelter, the Everglades and Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood have been among the places picked for visits by candidates such as former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Court Fight Looms over New Vouchers Program

June 25, 2019 - 8:45am

Thirteen years after Tallahassee attorney Ron Meyer successfully challenged the state’s major school-vouchers program, he is preparing to sue the state again, this time over its newest taxpayer-funded scholarships.

A number of organizations want Meyer to represent them in a case to try to strike down the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, which was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis last month.

Rain Doesn't Dampen Supporters' Enthusiasm for a Trump Second Term

June 19, 2019 - 7:15am
resident Trump Tuesday night at Amway Center in Orlando

Thousands of adoring fans, taking shelter in an Orlando arena from torrential rain, welcomed President Donald Trump on Tuesday night and gave him the backdrop he craved as he officially launched his 2020 “Keep America Great” campaign.

“As long as you keep the steam in place, we have a tremendous way to go. Our future has never looked brighter or sharper,” Trump said. “The American Dream is bigger, stronger than ever before.”

Cabinet Meeting in Israel a 'Go' in Spite of The Sunshine Law

May 29, 2019 - 6:30am
Ron DeSantis in Israel

A Tallahassee judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought against Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet by open-government advocates, who made a last-ditch effort to stop a Cabinet meeting in Israel because they argue it will violate the state’s open-meeting laws.

The lawsuit, filed by the First Amendment Foundation and four major news organizations, accused the governor and Cabinet members of “willfully violating the law” for trying to hold a Cabinet meeting Wednesday at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, about 6,000 miles from the state Capitol.

Weekly Roundup: Washington (County) and the Russians

May 18, 2019 - 8:45am
Ron DeSantis drops a bombshell

When Gov. Ron DeSantis held a quickly called news conference Tuesday, he dropped a bombshell: Two Florida counties were hacked by Russians before the 2016 elections.

DeSantis said he received the information during a briefing with the FBI, confirming longstanding speculation and reports about Russians trying to get into Florida voting systems.

But the governor emphasized that the hacking did not involve “manipulation” of voting results.

State Seeks to Bolster Human-Trafficking Fight

May 14, 2019 - 8:15am
Heather Fitzenhagen

Gov. Ron DeSantis could soon sign legislation that creates a statewide registry for pimps and johns in an effort to crack down on human trafficking. But Florida officials are not stopping there.

With their eyes on the Super Bowl and WrestleMania, both of which the state will host in 2020, officials are looking for new ways to ensure victims are not trafficked for sex or labor.

DeSantis Signs Bill Allowing Armed Teachers

May 9, 2019 - 8:45am

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed legislation that expands the controversial school “guardian” program to allow armed classroom teachers.

DeSantis’ office announced the signing shortly after 6 p.m. without ceremony or comments about the bill, which was widely backed by House and Senate Republicans and heavily opposed by gun-control activists, Democrats and some students who survived the mass shooting last year at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The governor signed the bill (SB 7030) hours after it was sent to his desk.

House, Senate Still Grappling with 'Sanctuary City' Differences

May 1, 2019 - 9:00am

House and Senate Republicans support passing a ban on so-called sanctuary city policies, but differences between the chambers are stalling final passage of one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ top legislative priorities.

The House late Tuesday night was preparing to take up the issue, but Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, had made clear the House does not support a Senate version of the bill. The House was expected to substitute its version for the Senate bill. Such a decision, however, could potentially send the “whole thing up in flames,” said Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine.

Senate Republicans Give Voucher Expansion a Big Day

April 26, 2019 - 7:00am
Manny Diaz, sponsor of SB 7070

Florida senators on Thursday passed legislation that would allow more students to use taxpayer-funded scholarships to pay for private-school tuition, a major step toward expanding school choice in the state.

Voting 23-17 along party lines, the Senate signed off on a wide-ranging education proposal that would also restructure a controversial teacher-bonus program, tweak other voucher-type scholarship programs and make it cheaper for teachers to get certified by the state.

Five Questions for Session's Bulldog, Randy Fine

April 23, 2019 - 8:00am
Randy Fine

This legislative session, state Rep. Randy Fine has become one of the Florida House’s most-fierce and eager debaters.

Whether it be discussions on expanding school choice, holding higher-education officials accountable for misusing state funds or championing legislation to battle anti-Semitism, the Brevard County Republican is no stranger to headlines.

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