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Florida News

  1. State lawmakers end budget stalemate, but clash with Rick Scott looms

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — State lawmakers reached a tentative deal on an $83 billion budget Tuesday that could end the session on time but could put them on a collision course with Gov. Rick Scott.

    Florida's proposed budget is now in the hands of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart. [SCOTT KEELER | TIMES]
  2. Senate advances bill to let FPL customers pay fracking costs

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Power & Light's quest to have customers pay for natural gas fracking projects in other states overcame a key hurdle Tuesday as the Senate Rules Committee passed the controversial measure and overlooked opposition from residential and commercial customers.

    Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, had his bill on fracking advance in the Senate on Tuesday. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. If Richard Corcoran is anti-hometown projects, why is this project earmarked for $4.3 million?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Nothing is immune from the bruising budget battle between the House and Senate in Tallahassee — not even victims of unsolved murders.

    The Florida Institute for Forensic Anthropology & Applied Sciences, or IFAAS, would provide a range of services to law enforcement and medical examiners around the state. The current initiative is to create a physical space for indoor and outdoor facilities. This will include lab space for research, applied forensic services in case work, education in the areas of forensics, anthropology, geochemistry, legal medicine, forensic intelligence, aviation reconstruction and cyber forensics. [IFAAS]
  4. Aramis Ayala gets prominent backers in death penalty dispute with Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Ex-prosecutors, former state Supreme Court justices, civil rights organizations and families of homicide victims from across the country have filed briefs supporting embattled Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala in her legal battle with Gov. Rick Scott.

    Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced in March that her office will no longer pursue the death penalty as a sentence in any case brought before the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida. [Orlando Sentinel via AP]
  5. As budget talks crash, Corcoran wants 'continuation' budget, no new spending

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A bitter stalemate over spending forced the Legislature to suspend work on a budget Monday, stirring more bad blood among Republicans and putting an on-time adjournment in doubt.

    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes and Florida Senate President Joe Negron, R- Stuart, talk during a joint session of the Florida Legislature in March. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  6. Tampa Bay area business leaders lobby on contentious transit bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — More than a dozen top business local executives went to Tallahassee with an appeal in the days following last week's political showdown between three GOP senators from Tampa Bay over a regional transit bill.

    Keep talking. Please.

    Rick Homans is president of the Tampa Bay Partnership.
  7. Disney's Star Wars Land joins trend of theme parks putting you 'in the movie'

    Florida

    In Star Wars Land, you'll be able to fly Han Solo's Millennium Falcon. You can drop by the Cantina for a drink with a droid. The attraction, coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando in 2019, is being designed to take you out of the theme park and into the Star Wars universe.

    An artist's concept of the new Star Wars land coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando in 2019. It is being designed in such a way that you feel you have left the theme park and entered the Star Wars universe. It will like many of the movies' desert outposts, marked by low, circular buildings with unusual characters walking around. Courtesy of Walt Disney World.
  8. PolitiFact: Does USF invest in oil companies, tobacco companies and private prisons?

    College

    A new video from the USF Divest coalition of students, faculty and alumni urges administrators to stop investing in a number of industries that they don't support.

    Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida president
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  9. Hooters 'calendar girl' and Playboy 'Miss Social' were Frank Artiles' paid consultants

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Just months before his resignation Friday, Sen. Frank Artiles scored a coup in November when he unseated Democrat Dwight Bullard with an aggressive $1 million campaign in a district that favored Democrats.

    Heather Thomas, a waitress and bartender in Tallahassee, was paid $2,000 by Frank Artiles political committee for consulting. Her job application for a previous role showed she had no previous political experience. [Facebook]
  10. Frank Artiles, Miami state senator, resigns after racist, profane remarks

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Legislature on Friday, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar.

    Republican state senator Frank Artiles, R-Miami, resigned Friday for using racial slurs and obscene insults in a private after-hours conversation with African-American colleagues. [Associated Press]