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Questions Linger after Hacking Revelation

May 17, 2019 - 6:45am
Rick Scott and Bill Nelson

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott and other members of Florida’s congressional delegation on Thursday backed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statement that election records in two unidentified counties were hacked by Russians during the 2016 campaign.

But questions continue to linger.

Scott, who was governor from 2011 to early this year, said in a statement that he --- like DeSantis --- is unable to reveal the counties. The inability to identify the counties has upset lawmakers from both parties.

Russians Hacked Two Florida Counties in 2017, Says DeSantis

May 14, 2019 - 2:45pm
Ron DeSantis

Two Florida counties were hacked by Russians prior to the 2016 elections, but there was no “manipulation” of voting results, Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Tuesday morning.

DeSantis said the FBI recently briefed the governor and other members of his administration on what he called an “intrusion” into the two unidentified counties.

President Trump Pledges Help for the Panhandle, Air Force Base

May 9, 2019 - 8:45am
Donald Trump rally Wednesday in Panama City Beach

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed Tyndall Air Force Base will be rebuilt after sustaining massive damage in Hurricane Michael, and he will approve the state’s request to boost federal funding for storm recovery in Northwest Florida.

Trump, during a campaign rally in Panama City Beach, said the federal reimbursement levels for hurricane recovery in the region will be boosted from 75 percent to 90 percent “in many circumstances.”

Backroom Briefing: All Eyes on Venezuela

May 2, 2019 - 10:30am
Rick Scott

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has become a big booster of putting U.S. military might behind efforts to topple embattled President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

But as Scott says President Donald Trump needs to “pre-position” military assets around the South American nation, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Scott’s successor in the Florida governor’s mansion, appears to be taking a more-measured approach in his support for replacing Maduro with opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Senate Cool to Tax Changes for Hospitals, Charter Schools

May 2, 2019 - 8:00am
Kelli Stargel

The Florida Senate could eliminate controversial proposals about charter schools and hospitals from a tax package that was approved last week by the House.

Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican who is overseeing tax negotiations for the Senate, said Wednesday the Senate’s goal is to keep the package “to the ideas of what a tax package has historically been.”

Visit Florida Could Get a Temporary Reprieve

April 27, 2019 - 7:30am
Ron DeSantis and Dana Young

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desire to look at the effectiveness of the state’s tourism-marketing arm could save Visit Florida for at least a year.

House Speaker Jose Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican who is among the leading critics of the tourism agency, signaled Friday he may be willing to go along with the governor’s request as time runs down on the legislative session.

House Back Tougher Texting-While-Driving Ban

April 24, 2019 - 7:00am

Law-enforcement officers could pull over motorists they see texting and driving, under a measure approved Tuesday by the House despite concerns the change could increase racial profiling.

However, the Senate is set to vote Wednesday on a different proposal that would only allow motorists to use hands-free wireless devices when they are traveling on Florida roads, a restriction that House leaders haven’t supported.

Enviros Rattle Earth Day in Hopes of Derailing Toll-Road Plan

April 22, 2019 - 6:15pm
Sierra Club protests Monday

Environmentalists used Earth Day to ratchet up criticism of a proposal going before the Senate to expand and build toll roads through hundreds of miles of the state.

Sierra Club Florida Director Frank Jackalone said during a news conference Monday in St. Petersburg that his group will “declare war” on lawmakers who sponsor the bill (SB 7068), which is a priority of Senate President Bill Galvano.

DeSantis Downplays Chances of Offshore Drilling

April 16, 2019 - 9:00am

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday downplayed growing concerns that President Donald Trump is putting Florida’s coastal waters back in play for oil exploration.

Senate Poised to Extend Life of Visit Florida

April 11, 2019 - 7:00am
Debbie Mayfield

Visit Florida would stay in business for at least eight more years under a measure the Senate is set to approve next week.

But as lawmakers approach budget talks, the House continues to support closing the embattled tourism-marketing agency this fall.

The Senate on Wednesday positioned a bill (SB 178) for a vote on April 17 that would allow the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, better known as Visit Florida, to continue operating beyond Oct. 1. Under state law, the agency must be reauthorized or it will go away on that date.

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