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Don Gaetz: Six Floor Down ‘So Far So Good’

As the second committee week wound down, Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said things are going as well as expected.

Asked Friday at the Capitol about how legislation and the legislators were shaping up for the regular session that begins March 5, his simple response:

Like the guy who jumped off the 10th floor of the building, and as he passed the sixth floor, he said, So far so good'.

Additional pre-session committee weeks are set for the weeks of Feb. 4, Feb. 11 and Feb. 18.

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Rick Scott Promotes UF’s Algebra Nation

Gov. Rick Scott continued his school visits for a third day on Friday.

On Wednesday and Thursday it was to announce his $2,500 pay hike plan for teachers. Friday was to mark the start of the University of Floridas program to assist teachers and students with algebra.

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Rick Scott Orders Flags Lowered for National Guard Specialist

Gov. Rick Scott has ordered U.S. and Florida flags lowered to half-staff outside the Alachua County Courthouse, Gainesville City Hall and Capitol on Friday for Army National Guard Specialist Arandall L. Shears, of Gainesville.

Shears, assigned to A Company, 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 83rd Troop Command, Army National Guard, Gainesville, died in a single-car crash while driving to Guard headquarters in Jacksonville on Jan. 15.

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Democrat’s Bill Ties Teacher Merit Pay to Common Core Standards

State Rep. Mike Clelland, D-Lake Mary, has filed a bill, House Bill 377, to delay until the 2016-2017 school year implementation of the 2011 merit pay law for teachers that was linked to the FCAT test scores.

Clellands bill ties the law to new Common Core Standards that are being implemented in place of the FCATs.

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Rick Scott Adds Gainesville High Visit in Call to Hike Teacher Pay

Gov. Rick Scott has added a visit to Gainesville High School this morning to announce his call to boost teacher pay by $2,500 across-the-board in Florida.

Scott announced the planned funding hike will be part of his legislative agenda for the 2013 session on Wednesday at Ocoee Middle School and will repeat the call this afternoon at Twin Lakes Elementary School in Tampa,

Scott will release his agenda for the session next week.

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Florida Council of 100 Backs $2,500 Plan for Teachers

The Florida Council of 100 commended Gov. Rick Scotts proposal to increase the pay of full-time teachers $2,500 in the next fiscal year.

Having a quality teacher in every classroom is key to student learning, Marshall Criser III, chair of the Council of 100, stated in a release.

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Florida Businesses May Still Be Eligible for BP Claims

Many Florida businesses may still be due a piece of the BP spill settlement, Patrick Juneau, the court-appointed claims administrator for the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center, told the Florida Cabinet on Wednesday.

We have already sent out $1.7 billion, Juneau said.

There is not much subjectivity in what were asking for, if you give us what were asking for. If you fall within the definition of that claim, we will process your claim and see that you get paid.But you have to give us the essential documentation,

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Tiger Woods: Tax Rates Drove His California to Florida Move

While the Florida Senate majority office is busy trying to lure golfer Phil Mickelson to Florida via Twitter, they could add the comments of a notorious Jupiter Island resident to the sales pitch.

Fellow golfer Tiger Woods told reporters at a press conference Tuesday at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, Calif., that he moved from the Golden State to the Sunshine State in 1996 in search of better tax rates.

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Tony Bennett: Florida Students Face Growing Technology Gap

The states new education czar highlighted the need to prepare technologically savvy students and advised everyone to get behind the new Common Core education standards that are being crafted for Floridas schools.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Education, Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett said Florida must be able to prepare students to meet an expected cultural divide on technology.

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10th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony Planned for Columbia

The Astronauts Memorial Foundation is planning a public 10th anniversary remembrance ceremony for the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 at the Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Feb. 1.

The crew -- Commander Rick D. Husband, Pilot William C. McCool, Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson, Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, and Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown and Laurel Blair Salton Clark -- perished when the Columbia broke apart during re-entry on the morning of Feb. 1, 2003.

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