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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.

Impasse Remains over Insurance Commissioner

April 20, 2016 - 5:15pm
Jeff Bragg and Bill Hager

Palm Harbor resident Jeffrey Bragg and state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, have been asked back to interview again with the Florida Cabinet for the state insurance commissioner job next week.

But there still doesn't appear to be a consensus between Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who must jointly recommend the replacement for outgoing Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty.

Scott, Atwater Mum on Insurance Commisioner Picks

April 18, 2016 - 7:30pm
Rick Scott and Jeff Atwater

After failing to reach agreement last month, it remained unclear Monday whether Gov. Rick Scott and state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater will be able to find common ground on the appointment of Florida's next insurance commissioner.

The state has attracted 16 additional candidates for the position, bringing to 71 the number of applicants. Cabinet aides are expected to discuss the latest recommendations from Scott and Atwater during a meeting Wednesday.

Jacksonville Lawmaker Faces Federal Indictment

April 16, 2016 - 11:00am
Reggie Fullwood

State Rep. Reggie Fullwood, a three-term Democratic lawmaker from Jacksonville, was indicted Friday on federal charges that allege he used campaign donations for personal use at grocery, jewelry and liquor stores.

United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley III announced in a news release that Fullwood was charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and four counts of failure to file federal income-tax returns for 2010 through 2013.

To conceal the embezzlement of campaign funds, the indictment alleges that Fullwood submitted fraudulent campaign expenditure reports to the state.

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