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Backroom Briefing: Landing Jobs Via the Launch Pad

June 28, 2019 - 6:30am
Space Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking beyond military benefits as he continues to pitch Florida to house the command headquarters of President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force military branch.

DeSantis envisions Space Force as another cog in renewed growth of the iconic space industry around Cape Canaveral, which has seen a slow resurgence as private companies --- spurred by a space race among billionaires --- look to reduce costs by manufacturing launch vehicles close to the pads.

Suspended Regulator Blasts Patronis in Lawsuit

June 25, 2019 - 8:45am
Ronald Rubin and Jimmy Patronis

Florida’s suspended top financial regulator, in a lawsuit alleging he is the victim of “pay to play --- or else” politics, contends state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is running a “powerful but corrupt enterprise.”

State to Further Examine the Grounds of Dozier Reform School

June 21, 2019 - 7:45am
Only a portion of the scores of bodies unearthed were given marked graves at Dozier

Forensic experts will return next month to the site of a notorious state reform school --- where the remains of more than 50 people were unearthed in 2015 --- to find out what lies in 27 additional sites.

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee said Thursday that once they can determine what the below-ground “anomalies” are at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, officials will then begin to establish “appropriate next steps,” which could include further digging.

Backroom Briefing: Fried's Smiling Face Sticks Around

June 21, 2019 - 7:30am
Nikki Fried sticker on a Florida gas pump

Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s smiling face won’t immediately disappear from most gas pumps, even as Republicans seek to prohibit such displays.

With Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors conducting sweeps statewide for illegal “skimmer” devices intended to steal credit card information, many pumps will have the bright yellow, green and blue stickers well beyond July 1, the start of the upcoming fiscal year.

Fried Rallies Support for the Hemp Industry

June 15, 2019 - 8:00am
Nikki Fried

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Friday encouraged supporters of a new state hemp industry to tell Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign a bill that would lead to a regulatory framework for the crop.

Fried said an envisioned hemp “revolution” needs the governor’s signature on the bill (SB 1020), which would create a hemp program within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Backroom Briefing: Feeling Right at Home?

June 14, 2019 - 7:45am
President Trump gets what he wants in Florida

President Donald Trump has become more than a part-time Florida man since taking office.

At least that’s Gov. Ron DeSantis’ take, as Trump prepares to formally announce his re-election campaign next week at Orlando’s Amway Center.

“The reason they’re in Florida is because, really if you look at it, since he’s taken office, Florida really has been his home,” DeSantis said Tuesday while in The Villages “He’s not spent any time in New York City. Palm Beach has kind of been the place. Orlando is just at the center of so much going on in our state.”

State Task Force on Toxic Algae: Don't Expect a Quick Fix

June 13, 2019 - 7:00am
Algae bloom of 2018 on Lake Okeechobee

Reducing harmful nutrients in state waters, through moves such as more monitoring and staffing, is an expected short-term goal of a new task force set up by Gov. Ron DeSantis to look at toxic algae fouling Florida waterways.

But with a brief timeline for the five-member Blue Green Algae Task Force to reach its initial findings, don’t expect proposals for massive state rule changes related to farming practices or moving away from septic systems.

DeSantis Prepares to Sign Budget, Issue Vetoes

June 12, 2019 - 7:00am
DeSantis in The Villages Tuesday

Gov. Ron DeSantis hopes to sign a state budget and issue vetoes next week, with the spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year expected to arrive on his desk Friday.

Appearing Tuesday at a bill-signing event in The Villages, DeSantis said he and his staff have completed a “first glance” at the line items in the $91.1 billion, 448-page document for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The governor has line-item veto power.

Florida TaxWatch Identifies $133 Million in 'Turkeys'

June 6, 2019 - 7:15am

Florida TaxWatch says $133 million should be slashed from the state’s proposed budget, though Gov. Ron DeSantis should employ a relatively “light touch” when wielding his line-item veto pen for the first time.

The business-backed nonprofit group Wednesday highlighted 109 member projects, known in Tallahassee parlance as “turkeys,” which it contends failed to be properly vetted before being inserted into the record $91.1 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Steube, Rooney Defend Votes against Disaster Aid

June 5, 2019 - 7:00am
Greg Steube and Francis Rooney

Two Florida Republican congressmen pointed Tuesday to irresponsible federal spending as the reason for their votes against a $19.1 billion disaster-relief package that would help portions of the Panhandle still recovering from last year’s deadly Hurricane Michael.

U.S. Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota and U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney of Naples said they took principled fiscal stands against the package, which is designed to assist communities in more than 40 states.

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