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CRC Tackling Question of Who Chooses Appointments to Judiciary

January 15, 2018 - 8:00pm
Bill Schifino and John Stemberger

The Constitution Revision Commission is considering a measure that could settle future disputes over the appointment of Florida Supreme Court justices, but the proposal will do nothing to resolve a constitutional crisis looming early next year.

At question is whether Gov. Rick Scott or his successor, the winner of the 2018 governor’s race, will pick the replacements for three justices ---  Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince ---  whose terms end as Scott’s tenure comes to a close in early January 2019.

Lawmakers Look to Boost Scholarship Programs

December 29, 2017 - 5:15pm

(This is the fourth in a series of stories previewing issues for the 2018 legislative session.)

For Florida residents, attending a state university or college is a bargain.

This academic year, in-state students at Florida's 12 universities will pay an average of $6,091 in tuition and fees for 30 credit hours, which is nearly 40 percent below the national average of $9,970 for four-year public schools, according to the College Board.

State Officials Wary of Bond Change in Federal Tax Bill

December 13, 2017 - 6:30pm
Ben Watkins

Florida could be on the verge of losing a key financial tool that helped the state reduce the amount of money it owes by $1.4 billion last fiscal year.

Through June 30, Florida had cut the debt it accumulated to build schools, roads and other infrastructure over the last seven years by some $5.5 billion, Ben Watkins, director of state Division of Bond Finance, told Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Panel Supports Making It Harder to Raise Taxes

December 12, 2017 - 8:00pm

A measure that would require future tax or fee increases to be approved by two-thirds votes of the Legislature is ready for consideration by the state Constitution Revision Commission.

Florida Bond Deals Could Take Hit in Tax Overhaul

December 6, 2017 - 5:00pm

Florida taxpayers could lose billions of dollars in future savings under part of pending federal tax-reform legislation that would limit the ability of states and local governments to refinance bonds.

“This is down in the weeds, but it is extraordinarily important,” said Ben Watkins, director of the state Division of Bond Finance, after briefing aides to Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members on Wednesday.

Judge Weighs Legality of Abortion Waiting Period

November 21, 2017 - 6:45pm

Lawyers for the state asked a Leon County circuit judge Tuesday to order a trial about the constitutionality of a 2015 state law that would require women to wait 24 hours before having abortions.

But lawyers representing a Gainesville abortion clinic asked Judge Terry Lewis to issue a summary judgment finding the waiting-period law is an unconstitutional violation of women's privacy rights.

Weekly Roundup: From Eustis to Jacksonville

Democrats Campaign for Governor but Field Could Grow

October 30, 2017 - 6:00am
Chris King, Andrew Gillum and Gwen Graham

The three top Democratic candidates for governor sat on a stage Saturday night in the Fiesta Ballroom at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and answered more than an hour's worth of questions on issues facing Florida.

Democrats Look for Momentum Going into 2018 Elections

October 29, 2017 - 11:00am

Buoyed by a win in a special election for a state Senate seat last month, Florida Democrats are using a three-day party conference to prepare plans for the critical 2018 election year when they hope to retain a U.S. Senate seat and reclaim the governor's mansion.

Bill Galvano Brings Policy Skills to Top Senate Post

October 23, 2017 - 3:30pm
Bill Galvano

Sen. Bill Galvano, a 51-year-old lawyer from Bradenton, will be designated Tuesday by Senate Republicans as the next president of the Florida Senate.

The Republican lawmaker will lead the 40-member Senate for the two years after the November 2018 general elections, assuming the Republicans hold their majority --- now at a 24-16 margin --- in the chamber.




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