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Weekly Roundup: Third Time No Charm for Lawmakers

November 6, 2015 - 6:30pm

There is no joy in Mudville --- mighty Casey has struck out.

Florida lawmakers quit the Capitol this week without completing their assignment, proving that the third time isn't the charm, at least as far as Sunshine State politics is concerned.

Unlike the poetic protagonist's denouement, the failure of the two chambers to agree on a new Senate map came as no surprise to anyone who's been paying the slightest attention to the goings-on in Tallahassee this year.

Backyard Briefing: Seminoles Put Gambling Pitch on Air

November 5, 2015 - 10:00pm

With dueling lawsuits about the future of casino blackjack games pending in federal courts in Tallahassee and Tampa, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is once again going on the air with its pitch for a new gambling deal with the state.

The tribe released a new television ad in Leon County, where lawmakers have been gathered for committee meetings and a special session on redistricting.

Disney Draws Democrats, Just Not the A-List

October 31, 2015 - 10:30pm
Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort

While it was far from spooky, the Florida Democrats' annual fete at the Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort was less than magical for many of the delegates in attendance.

Party faithful from across the state snapped selfies beside Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but standing next to life-sized cardboard figures of the candidates, who didn't show up at this weekend's party convention, left some feeling flat.

Fighting Words Further Fracture Senate GOP

October 29, 2015 - 8:30pm

Name-calling that erupted on the Senate floor Wednesday has deepened the divide within a Republican caucus embroiled in an acrimonious feud over who will lead the chamber after next year's elections.

A 17-minute diatribe by Sen. Don Gaetz against Sen. Jack Latvala has prompted some disgruntled Republicans to call on Senate President Andy Gardiner to postpone a Dec. 2 caucus vote to designate the next president.

Latvala, R-Clearwater, has been pitted against Sen. Joe Negron in a years-long battle over who will lead the chamber starting in November 2016.

Tribe Goes to Court amid Gambling Talks

October 26, 2015 - 6:45pm

The Seminole Tribe of Florida sued the state Monday, setting in motion what could be a protracted legal fight over the tribe's exclusive rights to offer "banked" card games like blackjack at most of its casinos.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tallahassee, comes even as the Seminoles for the first time said they have made "significant progress" in negotiations with Gov. Rick Scott's office and legislative leaders toward a deal that sources close to the talks say could allow the tribe to add craps and roulette.

Weekly Roundup: Squid Ink and Mumbo Jumbo

October 24, 2015 - 2:00am
Andy Gardiner

Nobody thought the Legislature's latest attempt at crafting new Senate districts was going to be easy.

But this week's intraparty Republican fighting at the opening of a special session --- in a year that sadly might best be characterized as the "Session That Never Ended" --- foreshadowed what could be another grim two weeks of drawing maps, chased by an equally foreboding regular session in a few months.

The contentiousness wasn't restricted to the Legislature's domain, however, even if another painful controversy did wind up inside the Capitol.

Senate President Targets Fantasy Sports

October 21, 2015 - 10:00pm
Andy Gardiner

Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner is exploring what the state can do to shut down daily fantasy sports, even as federal prosecutors are probing the online industry that has taken the nation by storm and drawn accusations of illegal gambling.

Gardiner has asked his lawyers to look into fantasy sports, in which players pay entry fees to draft "teams" that compete against each other for cash prizes based on the actual performance of players.

Weekly Roundup: 'Whistling Past the Graveyard'

September 25, 2015 - 6:00pm

Evidence of widespread Republican angst cast a shadow from the nation's capital to the Sunshine State this week.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Friday rocked the political world with his announcement that he is resigning from his seat late next month.

Succumbing to pressure from conservatives, Boehner's decision to call it a day came at the height of an intraparty GOP Game of Thrones over a possible government shutdown.

Weekly Roundup: That Pesky Third Branch

September 4, 2015 - 5:45pm
Florida Supreme Court Justices

An off-election summer in the capital city usually provides a tempting opportunity for idle hands to pursue thrills in far-flung climes more palatable to the senses than Tallahassee's oppressive heat.

For the fortunate, this sweltering season was one like any other, full of indulgences in travel and esprit. But for others, the Florida Supreme Court put the kibosh on even Thurberish escapes, replacing fantasy with drudgery and casting a lugubrious pall over an already pudding-like ambiance.

Iran Deal Puts Florida Democrats in a Fix

August 21, 2015 - 10:15pm
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

A looming vote on a nuclear deal with Iran, one of President Barack Obama's top priorities, has Florida Democrats in a bind.

More than a month after Obama announced the agreement, veteran U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is Florida's sole Washington lawmaker openly backing the plan.

Other Democrats --- including U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who also serves as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee --- are biding their time. Exceptions are U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings, who condemned the accord.




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