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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.

Patronis Wants Rubin Fired at Next Cabinet Meeting

July 13, 2019 - 9:30am
Ronald Rubin and Jimmy Patronis

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is pushing to fire the state’s top financial regulator, who was suspended amid a sexual harassment investigation, at the next Cabinet meeting.

Patronis’ request to consider the termination of Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin at the July 25 meeting was made Thursday, as allegations of misconduct have been levied against both Patronis and the man he once encouraged his Cabinet colleagues to hire.

South Miami to Challenge 'Sanctuary Cities' Ban

July 11, 2019 - 7:45am
When the Legislature passed the ban ...

The city of South Miami is preparing to fight a controversial new law aimed at banning so-called “sanctuary cities,” after commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to hire an attorney to handle the legal challenge.

The ban, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis last month, was one of the most fiercely fought issues of the 2019 legislative session that ended in May. The measure came after after DeSantis vowed during his 2018 campaign to prevent sanctuary cities.

FPL Settlement Approved on Irma Costs

July 10, 2019 - 8:30am

Utility regulators on Tuesday signed-off on a $1.3 billion agreement involving Florida Power & Light’s costs for restoring electricity after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state in 2017.

The Florida Public Service Commission approved the settlement between FPL, the state Office of Public Counsel and the Florida Industrial Power Users Group. The agreement finalizes the costs, which will be covered by the utility’s savings from a 2017 federal tax overhaul.

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