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State Faces Second Challenge on Amendment 1 Spending

November 12, 2015 - 7:45pm

A Gainesville-based environmental group has launched a second legal challenge to how lawmakers carried out a constitutional amendment that requires spending on land acquisition and preservation.

Scott Budget Chief: State Can Afford Tax Cuts, Incentives

November 9, 2015 - 9:45pm
Rick Scott

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, November 9, 2015.......... The state has more than enough money to cover Gov. Rick Scott's push for business incentives and tax cuts while funding agency requests, his budget chief said in a memo Monday.

As Scott embarked on a statewide tour to push for his proposed $1 billion in mostly business-friendly tax cuts, Office of Policy & Budget Director Cynthia Kelly wrote that rather than the $635.4 million surplus state economists have predicted for the next fiscal year, "a more appropriate 'surplus' " is $1.6 billion.

Speedway, Football Stadiums to Play for State Cash

November 2, 2015 - 10:30pm
Daytona International Speedway

Florida's three professional football stadiums and Daytona International Speedway are seeking millions of dollars from the state to help pay for upgrades that in most cases are already underway.

The applications have been filed despite continued opposition from House leaders to such funding.

Applications submitted Monday --- the deadline to file --- were from Buccaneers Football Stadium Limited Partnership for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and from the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Jaguars for EverBank Field.

State Water-Policy Changes Begin to Flow

October 19, 2015 - 9:30pm

Lawmakers appear closer to patching up differences on new statewide water policies which failed to advance earlier this year.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli told reporters on Wednesday that talks were well underway to solve "minor technical hang-ups." Two days later, measures dealing with the issue were filed in both chambers. The proposals contain most of the elements included in a business-friendly plan approved by the House last year but which failed to win Senate support.

Weekly Roundup: Solving Rubik's Cube and Reading Between the Lines

October 16, 2015 - 10:45pm
Base Senate Map (S000S9070)

Technically, the past week was intended to be a sort of pause between the second and third committee weeks held in advance of the 2016 Legislative session.

But the Capitol's sausage-making machine showed little sign of slowing down in what has been a great year for cartographers.

Overlapping with the legislative committee meetings, lawmakers on Monday will also begin the third special session of the year, this time dealing with Senate districts. The Legislature agreed to craft the new lines as part of a deal to settle a lawsuit challenging the existing districts.

Rick Scott Keeps Pressure on Lawmakers for Business Incentives

October 13, 2015 - 5:45pm
Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott continues telling business leaders to pressure lawmakers for more incentive money to help attract companies to Florida, despite pushback from the state Senate.

Scott on Tuesday reiterated his position that Enterprise Florida, the state's business-recruiting arm, is running short of cash for incentives. He said at the Gulf Power Economic Symposium in Destin that more money must be set aside in next year's budget if the state wants to continue enticing companies to relocate to the state.

Panel Calls for More Online Access to Justice System

October 12, 2015 - 6:00pm

Trying to make legal services more accessible in Florida, recommendations released Monday call for a "robust" website outlining local, state and national legal resources that low- and moderate-income residents could access at home or on an increased number of public computers.

The Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, created by Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, also called in an interim report for additional people providing pro bono services and to draw leftover money from class-action lawsuits to help fund legal-aid efforts.

Weekly Roundup: Firearms, Religious Freedom and the Rebel Flag

October 9, 2015 - 8:30pm

A ruling from Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis late Friday quickly overshadowed a week dominated by guns, religious liberty and the Confederate flag.

Lewis' choice of a congressional map supported by voting-rights groups struck a blow to House and Senate leaders, who argued that maps drawn by lawmakers and aides would better comply with Florida's anti-gerrymandering "Fair Districts" standards.

Backroom Briefing: Manufacturing Tax Pledge Draws Little Ink

October 8, 2015 - 11:15pm
Steve Crisafulli and Andy Gardiner

The Manufacturers Association of Florida wants lawmakers to sign a "pledge" that they will endorse Gov. Rick Scott's effort to permanently eliminate a tax on machinery and equipment.

But even in a Legislature filled with lawmakers who profess to be driven to cut taxes, getting names inked on such a dotted line might not be so easy.

Adam Putnam Calls on Lawmakers to Approve Water Policy

September 28, 2015 - 7:15pm
Adam Putnam

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Monday that Florida lawmakers must approve a water-policy plan floated last spring to avoid the types of shortages being experienced in California.

Putnam, warning of "dark clouds on the horizon" at the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Future of Florida Forum, also spoke of the need to further improve educational options in the state and for a third natural-gas pipeline to be built to further diversify the state's energy sources.

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