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Backroom Briefing: Seal for Approval

January 14, 2016 - 9:15pm

It looks like the official seal of the Florida Senate will soon be losing a few more flags.

Last year, in the wake of racial unrest and a nationwide rejection of the Confederate battle flag, the Senate dropped the banner from a set of flags that served as the background for the chamber's seal. The move came just a few months after a man with white supremacist views opened fire at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine people and sparking a debate about the iconography of the Old South.

Weekly Roundup: Scott Plays Trump Cards

Scott's Budget Plans Could Face Squeeze

January 6, 2016 - 9:00pm
Rick Scott

An election-year budget that includes huge tax cuts, record funding for public schools and a new initiative to bring jobs to Florida might be good politics for lawmakers. The question is whether they can afford it.

When lawmakers start the 2016 legislative session Tuesday, it will have been years since the House and Senate were in the depths of the fallout from the global financial meltdown that forced painful cuts to schools and politically perilous increases in tobacco taxes and motor-vehicle fees.

New Senate Numbers Set off Tampa-Area Scramble

January 5, 2016 - 7:30pm

A random renumbering process Tuesday for the newest version of state Senate districts could force lawmakers across Florida into critical decisions --- including a decision that might create a high-profile match-up between incumbent Republicans in Pasco County.

Corrine Brown Files New Challenge to District Changes

December 29, 2015 - 7:15pm
Corrine Brown

Arguing that an east-west configuration for her district "combines far-flung communities worlds apart culturally and geographically," lawyers for U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown asked a federal judge Tuesday to void Florida's latest congressional redistricting plan.

Weekly Roundup: A Political Science Symposium and Lots of Pot

December 18, 2015 - 9:30pm

Much of state government might be done for the year, but the judiciary spent the week still getting through the last bits of its 2015 workload.

The highest-profile case --- at least to those who work in the 10 square blocks surrounding the Florida Capitol --- was Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds' review of proposed redistricting plans for the state Senate.

Trial Ends with Speculation Judge Could Draw Senate Map

December 17, 2015 - 7:30pm
Judge George S. Reynolds III

The final state redistricting trial in a nearly four-year legal battle over Florida's political boundaries ended with both sides trading charges of partisan gerrymandering, some of them the same accusations that have been hurled in court since the beginning.

In closing arguments Thursday before Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds, lawyers for the state Senate and a coalition of voting-rights groups made final pitches for their versions of a map for the Senate's 40 districts.

Backroom Briefing: Jolly and Not-so-Jolly Words for Trump

December 10, 2015 - 6:15pm
David Jolly

Republican Congressman David Jolly, who's running for Florida's open U.S. Senate seat in 2016, thinks businessman Donald Trump should step out of the presidential race. But Jolly also agrees with him on something. It just depends on which Jolly message you focus on.

Weekly Roundup: Closing Time

December 4, 2015 - 7:45pm

With the legislative committee weeks coming to a close, and the end of the year in sight, there were plenty of finales showing up in Tallahassee this week.

One phase of a nearly four-year-long legal battle over the state's congressional districts reached its conclusion. A race for the Senate presidency that at times threatened to tear the chamber apart was finally, definitively set aside. And the head of Gov. Rick Scott's economic development agency bowed out.

Backroom Briefing: The Ever-Growing State Budget

November 27, 2015 - 4:45pm

According to Gov. Rick Scott, his budgets are only getting better --- even as they keep getting bigger.

"What's great about this is, it's way better than my first budget," Scott said Monday as he unveiled his $79.3 billion spending plan for the year that begins July 1. The governor noted that the state was facing a shortfall when he took office in 2011, prompting cuts.

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