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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.

Marriage Ruling Spurs Change in Car, Boat Title Paperwork

September 23, 2015 - 8:15pm

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is the latest state agency preparing to update paperwork to reflect continuing ripple effects from the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The agency on Tuesday will go to Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet with a proposed rule change related to transfers of titles on cars and boats --- with a revision replacing a reference to "husband and wife."

Rick Scott to Begin Two-Day Recruiting Trip to Kentucky

September 21, 2015 - 9:30pm

Gov. Rick Scott will fly to Kentucky early Tuesday for two days of private meetings in Lexington and Louisville with unidentified business owners about moving or expanding to Florida.

There won't be any warm welcome from the top executive of the Bluegrass State for Scott, who has already has lined up at least one Kentucky company to say it's bringing jobs to Florida.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, will be busy the next two days, said his spokesman Terry Sebastian.

Jack Latvala: 'Lower the Rhetoric' on Enterprise Florida Funds

September 16, 2015 - 8:30pm
Jack Latvala

A key senator wants Gov. Rick Scott's office to tone down how it has publicly pushed for more economic-development money, as lawmakers seek to revamp the state's business-incentives program.

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, got an apology Wednesday from Bill Johnson, Scott's top business recruiter, as a committee overview of Enterprise Florida led to discussions that focused heavily on a growing debate about funding for the economic-development agency.

Senate Questions Business Recruitment Program

September 14, 2015 - 6:00pm

Florida's top business recruiter might face a tough crowd this week when he goes before a Senate committee to push Gov. Rick Scott's desire for more money to entice companies to the state.

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, sent out a memo Monday reaffirming his chamber's stance that lawmakers have adequately funded Enterprise Florida, a public-private agency that Scott says is running short of recruitment dollars, and saying a current business-incentive program needs to be revamped.

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