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Weekly Roundup: Looking for Peaceful Resolution

August 14, 2015 - 5:45pm
The U.S. Embassy in Cuba

What happened this week at the Florida Capitol obviously pales in comparison to Friday's historic hoisting of Old Glory in Cuba.

But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's words, delivered 90 miles away from the Sunshine State Friday morning, were apropos to the Legislature's challenge about where to draw the lines for Florida's congressional districts.

Kerry, in Havana to reopen the U.S. embassy in Cuba for the first time in more than half a century, called the occasion an opportunity "for pushing aside old barriers and exploring new possibilities."

Florida Bar Faces Controversy over Out-of-State Lawyers

August 4, 2015 - 6:30pm

In his first speech as president of The Florida Bar a little more than a month ago, Ramon Abadin urged his colleagues to "go far and do big things."

Six weeks later, Abadin is at the center of a controversy over a proposal that would allow out-of-state lawyers to practice in Florida without taking the state's Bar exam, considered to be one of the nation's most rigorous.

Opponents of the plan have accused Abadin of pushing the idea, the result of a two-year study that is part of the "Vision 2016" agenda launched in 2013 by then-Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis.

Gambling Regulators Make Concessions to Industry

July 29, 2015 - 5:45pm

Gambling regulators have backed down on a number of proposed changes to the state's pari-mutuel rules after a legislative oversight panel and industry representatives challenged the Department of Business and Professional Regulations' authority to issue the mandates.

Opponents Call Compromise Confederate Flag a Cop-Out

July 28, 2015 - 6:45pm

After nearly three hours of emotional testimony Tuesday about a Confederate flag rippling just outside, the Walton County Commission decided on a "compromise" that will do away with the banner but left one side fuming.

In a surprise move, the commission opted to remove the Confederate battle flag --- bearing the iconic Southern Cross --- from the lawn in front of the county courthouse and replace it with the "first flag of the confederacy," a flag bearing three stripes and 13 stars representing the states that seceded from the Union.

Rejected Medical Pot Applications Likely to Be Challenged

July 25, 2015 - 10:15pm

Even before selecting five nurseries to become Florida's first legal pot producers, Department of Health officials will face a challenge from at least one grower whose application was tossed out because it was late.

The department's Office of Compassionate Use staff rejected two of the 30 applications from nurseries hoping to get chosen as one of the five coveted "dispensing organizations." Both were tossed because they were received after a 5 p.m. deadline following a frenzied scene during a torrential downpour July 8 at the agency's headquarters.

Proposed Gambling Rules Headed for a Showdown?

July 20, 2015 - 8:00pm

At least two years in the making, proposed pari-mutuel regulations continue to leave industry operators divided, with some saying the rules don't go far enough and others complaining that the plan will put them out of business.

Backroom Briefing: Kinder, Gentler Approach to Immigration, but not Cuba

July 2, 2015 - 8:00pm

GOP presidential candidates may want to temper the hard-line stance toward immigration reform embraced by the far right if they want to make it to the top of the ticket next year, according to a recent poll touted by a variety of current and former Hispanic elected officials from Miami on Thursday.

A recent survey of voters in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina found that, at most, one in five GOP voters supported deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Proposed Gambling Rules Could Face Challenge

June 30, 2015 - 9:30pm

After almost two years in the works, state gambling regulators on Tuesday released the latest version of proposed pari-mutuel regulations governing everything from how much jockeys can weigh to the shape and size of horse tracks.

But industry insiders predict that the rules face a challenge if they aren't revised.

Weekly Roundup: A Budget Starts to Blossom

June 12, 2015 - 6:30pm

Like the flora speckling the Capitol grounds, tensions between GOP House and Senate leaders appear to be wilting as lawmakers prepare to finalize a budget before the special session ends next week.

Appropriations subcommittee chairs congratulated one another on jobs well done before passing unresolved "bump issues" to the budget chiefs, who cordially took up the mantle midweek with no apparent memory of who would be left without a dance partner.

Lawmakers Pump Up Prisons Budget

June 10, 2015 - 7:30pm

While slicing and dicing other areas of the budget, lawmakers plan to boost the state's spending on prisons by $43 million to address needs such as replacing vehicles and fixing leaky roofs and to wipe out a years-long deficit.




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