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Security Spending up for Governor, Dignitaries

August 20, 2019 - 9:00am
Florida Governor's Mansion

Florida taxpayers spent just over $4.3 million in one year to protect the occupants of the governor’s mansion and various visiting dignitaries, according to state records released last week.

The total for the fiscal year that ended June 30 is a $1 million jump from the previous year, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement report shows.

More than half of the increase --- $549,063.70 --- can be attributed to the cost to cover Gov. Ron DeSantis, as he transitioned into office following the November election.

DeSantis Directs FDLE to Conduct Epstein Probe

August 7, 2019 - 6:30am
Ron DeSantis, Ric Bradshaw and Jeffrey Epstein

Pointing to a request from the Palm Beach County sheriff, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to oversee an investigation into the handling of high-profile sex offender Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago.

Galvano: Florida Can Learn from Weekend's Mass Violence and White Nationalism

August 6, 2019 - 7:00am
Bill Galvano

In the run-up to the 2020 legislative session, the Florida Senate will review acts of mass violence such as the deadly shootings this weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, along with factors such as white nationalism.

Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, on Monday directed Senate Infrastructure and Security Chairman Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, to lead efforts to determine if any further action is needed after laws were enacted in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Weekly Roundup: Guns in the Crosshairs

August 3, 2019 - 7:15am
Ashley Moody

August’s arrival means getting the kiddies ready for school, and the state’s helping out with a sometimes-annual sales tax “holiday” on clothes, supplies and electronics needed for classrooms and campus halls.

The activity in the Sunshine State this week wasn’t just focused on back-to-school matters, however.

Lake County Commission Gives Confederate General Statue a Home

July 31, 2019 - 8:15am
Statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith

Lake County commissioners backed a local historical society’s plan to house the statue of a Confederate general whose likeness has represented Florida in the U.S. Capitol for nearly a century.

After hearing two hours of mostly emotional objections from area residents, the commission voted 3-2 on Tuesday to support relocating the bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith from National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. to the Lake County Historical Society and Museum, a county facility in Tavares.

Backroom Briefing: Democrats Gear Up for Florida Fight

July 26, 2019 - 6:00am
Guy Cecil

Priorities USA, a major Democratic super PAC, formally declared Florida one of the battlegrounds for the 2020 election, which means digital campaign ads are coming soon and won’t ease up until after a  president is picked.

Florida, along with Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, will be flooded with digital ads in the ramp-up to the election that will pit Republican President Donald Trump against the eventual Democratic nominee, Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Ronald Rubin Fired, but Florida May Not Have Seen the Last of Him

July 26, 2019 - 6:00am
CFO Jimmy Patronis got his wish Thursday

Florida’s top financial regulator was fired Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Cabinet members, after a controversy sparked by an employee lodging a sexual harassment complaint.

But that isn’t expected to end two months of public skirmishing between ousted Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, whose handling of the harassment complaint has also led to an investigation.

Lauren Book Seeks State Probe in Epstein Case

July 24, 2019 - 6:00am
Lauren Book

State Sen. Lauren Book, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, wants the state to investigate how the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office handled sex offender Jeffrey Epstein while he was in its custody more than a decade ago.

The Plantation Democrat asked Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday to direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to check an allegation that Epstein, a politically connected wealthy financier, had sex with at least one woman while on work release supervised by sheriff’s deputies.

Confederate General Statue Draws Opposition

July 20, 2019 - 9:00am
Statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith

Mayors from across Lake County want Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent the statue of a Confederate general that has represented Florida in the nation’s capital for nearly a century from being displayed in their community.

Mount Dora Mayor Nick Girone became the latest mayor to sign a letter opposing the plan to bring the 9-foot bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith to the Lake County Historical Society and Museum in Tavares.

Patronis Under Investigation for Releasing Rubin's Sexual-Harassment Complaint

July 18, 2019 - 8:30am
Jimmy Patronis

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is facing a state law enforcement probe for releasing a sexual-harassment complaint against Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin to the public.

But Patronis is refusing to back down from his call that Rubin be fired from the post, and instead on Wednesday intensified his demand that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet consider the termination next week.




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