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Dems Force Legislative Poll on Post-Pulse Special Session

June 28, 2016 - 6:00pm

Florida Democrats had little trouble rounding up enough members to call for a vote on whether to hold a special session dealing with gun control as a reaction to last month's mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

However, it may be nearly impossible over the next week to gather enough Republican lawmakers willing to make the trek to humid Tallahassee in an election year to discuss a proposed prohibition on gun sales to people on federal terrorism watch lists.

Commission Shoots Down 2016 Bear Hunt

June 22, 2016 - 10:30pm

Florida's growing bear population will be out of the hunting crosshairs for this year.

But a one-year pause may simply help the state build a better case for a hunt in 2017.

After hours of objections from animal-rights advocates and support from hunters, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted 4-3 late Wednesday against a staff recommendation to hold a hunt in October that could have been smaller --- in terms of permits and hunting grounds --- than the 2015 event in which 304 bears were killed over two days.

Backroom Briefing: Bondi, CNN's Cooper Go at It

June 16, 2016 - 7:45pm
Pam Bondi and Anderson Cooper

Making the rounds to friendly media outlets, Attorney General Pam Bondi spent two days this week decrying an interview by CNN's Anderson Cooper that she said will only make it harder for her office to help victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Cooper on Tuesday asked Bondi during a live interview if it was "hypocritical" of her to suggest she was an ally or champion of the LGBT community based on her vigorous defense of the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Gun Measures Expected to Re-Emerge in 2017 Session

June 15, 2016 - 7:15pm

The mass shootings in an Orlando nightclub this week have fueled the already-polarizing issues of gun rights and gun control, with the debate expected to return on multiple fronts during Florida's 2017 legislative session.
 
Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday called for a special session to halt gun sales to people on federal watch lists and to impose new requirements for becoming a security guard. Republican legislative leaders say a special session isn't needed.
 

Citrus Agency Cuts Staff, Keeps Juice Flowing for Visitors

June 14, 2016 - 10:45pm

Free orange juice will continue to be available to travelers at Florida welcome centers as the Department of Citrus squeezes staff to help the embattled industry.

The Florida Citrus Commission on Tuesday approved a preliminary $20.7 million budget that will eliminate 20 of 46 positions at the Department of Citrus, including 14 that are currently filled. Employees who will lose their jobs are in administration, scientific research and marketing.

Putnam: Orlando Gunman Cleared Background Checks

June 13, 2016 - 10:00pm
Adam Putnam

The gunman who carried out a massacre early Sunday in an Orlando nightclub passed all of the legally required background checks for his weapons, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam told reporters Monday.

Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old St. Lucie County resident, had a clean criminal record, passed a mental-health screening to get a security guard job, lawfully purchased guns from a licensed dealer and abided by the state's three-day waiting period to complete the purchase of guns, Putnam said.

Justices Weigh Challenge to Open-Carry Ban

June 8, 2016 - 6:30pm

Law-abiding Floridians should be allowed to openly carry firearms in public, a gun-rights groups argued Wednesday to the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of a man arrested four years ago while strolling with a visibly holstered weapon in Fort Pierce.

Spending Expected to Rise at Florida Ports

May 9, 2016 - 10:00pm

Nearly $3.7 billion is projected to be spent --- through state, local and private dollars --- over the next five years to handle growing international trade at the majority of Florida seaports, according to a report released Monday by the Florida Ports Council.

The spending outline, which comes as the global economy sputters but Florida's ports record growth in cargo tonnage and cruise passengers, is a $140 million increase --- 4 percent --- from a projected five-year capital improvement plan released a year ago

Lisa Edgar Won't Seek Fourth Term as Utility Regulator

May 3, 2016 - 7:15pm
Lisa Edgar

Lisa Edgar, the longest-serving member of the Florida Public Service Commission, will not seek a fourth term on the state's utility regulatory board.
 
Edgar, who did not submit an application for reappointment to the $131,000-a-year position before a Tuesday deadline, said in a prepared statement she intends to use her "regulatory and governmental experience as I pursue new endeavors and other career opportunities.”
 

Scott, Cabinet Go In-House for Insurance Commissioner

April 29, 2016 - 5:45pm
David Altmaier

The impasse over Florida's next insurance commissioner ended Friday.

Remaining in-house, Gov. Rick Scott and state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater --- in their third attempt to reach a joint recommendation on the high-profile job --- agreed to promote Deputy Commissioner David Altmaier to become the state's top insurance regulator.

As commissioner, Altmaier, who a decade ago was working as a high-school math teacher and track coach in Kentucky, will see his salary increase from $115,000 a year to $165,000 a year.

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