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Negron Chosen as Senate President as GOP Seeks Unity

December 2, 2015 - 9:15pm
Joe Negron

Stuart Republican Joe Negron, who until a month ago was locked in a contentious and expensive leadership battle, was formally designated Wednesday as the next president of the Florida Senate.

Members of the Republican caucus, praising Negron's "matter-of-fact style" and offering a video message about leadership from former Atlanta Braves star Dale Murphy, unanimously voted to have Negron take the gavel from President Andy Gardiner after the 2016 elections.

Cities Push to Retain Control of Local Election Dates

November 30, 2015 - 10:45pm

Florida's municipalities intend to fight a proposal now before state lawmakers that would take away their ability to set local election dates and could extend the terms of some current elected officials.

State lawmakers on Thursday will look at a proposal that seeks to improve local voter turnout by requiring every city, town and village to line up their elections the same day each year.

Environmentalists Say Scott Budget Doesn't Go Far Enough

November 23, 2015 - 6:30pm

Gov. Rick Scott is proposing more money for land preservation next year, but environmentalists say the levels fall short of what voters wanted in passing a 2014 constitutional amendment.

As part of his proposed $79.3 billion budget introduced Monday, Scott is asking for $62.8 million for the land-acquisition program Florida Forever, $188 million for work to improve the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee and another $50 million to help maintain the state's natural springs.

Scott called his proposal a "historic investment" as all the numbers top the funding for the current year.

Backroom Briefing: Time to Revisit Term Limits?

November 19, 2015 - 5:45pm

Eight has been enough for more than two decades.

Now, two state lawmakers think expanding term limits to 12 years is needed to reduce the influence of lobbyists and long-term staff.

But the proposal to give future lawmakers more time in office --- time that supporters say is needed to better learn the legislative process and to acquire more experience in handling leadership --- won't be easy.

Judge Rejects Senate Call for Outside Map Expert

November 13, 2015 - 8:30pm

A Leon County judge on Friday quickly rejected a Florida Senate request to bring in an outside expert to redraw the Senate's 40 districts.

Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds III, who turned down the Senate proposal during a 30-minute hearing conducted over the phone, said there wasn't enough time remaining to bring in a "special master" to help draw new district lines.

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.

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