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Backroom Briefing: A Drop of Courage

August 9, 2019 - 8:30am
Paige Carter-Smith and Scott Maddox

It’s not unusual for people facing rehab, prison or some other situation in which they’ll be on lockdown to seek a little courage before giving up their freedom.

And that’s exactly what suspended Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and his longtime aide and former business partner Paige Carter-Smith did the night before they appeared in federal court this week to enter guilty pleas in a high-profile public corruption case.

To Thwart Fraud, GOP Legislature Makes Petition Gathering Harder

May 4, 2019 - 7:30am
Solar group gathers petitions in 2015

A measure intended to make it harder for citizens’ initiatives to reach the ballot is heading to Gov. Ron DeSantis, after proposed petition-gathering rules were tacked onto a bill in the waning hours of the last full day of the legislative session.

The House added the petition-gathering restrictions to a bill focused on local sales taxes (HB 5) and sent it to the Senate on Friday evening. The Senate then approved it, though a separate bill that included petition-gathering restrictions failed to make it through the Senate committee process during the session.

Backroom Briefing: Making a Settlement Pay?

April 26, 2019 - 7:00am
Andrew Gillum and Adam Corey

Andrew Gillum is making hay out of a settlement in the ethics probe that contributed to his narrow loss to Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.

Insiders hoping for salacious tidbits about the former Tallahassee mayor’s trips with undercover FBI agents and lobbyists were sorely disappointed Wednesday, when the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and an attorney representing the Florida Commission on Ethics reached the settlement.

Backroom Briefing: Game on for Hurricane Relief

April 19, 2019 - 7:00am
 UF football legend Steve Spurrier

As hurricane-weary Northwest Floridians grow more impatient with the financial dickering of state and federal officials, a former lawmaker from the region helped call a disaster-relief audible Thursday.

University of Florida football legend Steve Spurrier, longtime Florida State University assistant football coach Mickey Andrews and Coastal Carolina University basketball coach Cliff Ellis stumped in the Capitol for disaster relief with Robert Trammell, a lobbyist and a former Panhandle lawmaker.

Backroom Briefing: Pot Lawyer Says States Are 'Laughing at Us'

February 15, 2019 - 7:15am

Michael Minardi, the general counsel for Florida NORML, unloaded on a House committee this week over the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana.

Minardi, whose website proclaims he’s “The Gold Standard of the Green Industry,” joined other medical-marijuana smoking proponents in urging the House Health & Human Services Committee to pass a bill that would eliminate the ban.

Backroom Briefing: Confusion? Ageism? Senate Camps Trade Blows

October 4, 2018 - 4:45pm
Rick Scott and Bill Nelson

Confused. Rambling. Incoherent. Those are just a few of the terms Gov. Rick Scott and his team have used to describe U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in Scott’s attempt to unseat the veteran Washington lawmaker.

Backroom Briefing: Maria Anniversary Stirs up Politics

September 20, 2018 - 1:30pm
Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott and Andrew Gillum

On Thursday’s one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, Gov. Rick Scott made his eighth trip to Puerto Rico since the storm left the U.S. territory in tatters.

Gun Rights Ad Draws NRA Rebuke

August 14, 2018 - 6:00am

An NRA-endorsed candidate for agriculture commissioner is “retooling” an ad after the gun-rights group said he made a "mistake" in assigning a failing grade to a primary opponent.

Backroom Briefing: Amendment Supporters Fear Fatigue

May 17, 2018 - 12:30pm

Anticipated “voter fatigue” is already a concern of backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that would extend a property-tax cap, particularly because approval of the measure will require support from 60 percent of voters.

Backroom Briefing: Coolers in the Middle of a Red-Hot Debate

April 26, 2018 - 12:30pm

An all-out feud erupted over social media sites this week, with posts of angry gun owners shooting up pricey YETI mugs and coolers, or repurposing them for less sanitary activities, after the Texas-based company dropped an affiliation with the National Rifle Association.

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