West Coast

St. Petersburg Times Charlie Crist's sister and former campaign manager Margaret Crist Wood dead at 60

ST. PETERSBURG — Margaret Crist Wood, a sister of former Gov. Charlie Crist who managed his 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate, died of cancer Tuesday at Bayfront Health System, her family said. She was 60.

St. Petersburg Times Critics warn cuts will harm services for toddlers

TALLAHASSEE — Blaming a budget shortfall, the Florida Department of Health has laid off most of the administrators at the Early Steps program, which serves babies and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays.

St. Petersburg Times Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspends 11th grade tests

TALLAHASSEE High-school juniors across Florida rejoiced Tuesday upon learning that Gov. Rick Scott had suspended the new 11th grade test in language arts.

St. Petersburg Times Carlton: Predicting a pathetic turnout in an election that matters

Call me cheesy, but I vote on election day.

St. Petersburg Times Union backs one candidate, then another for Tampa council

TAMPA — Who is the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 123 supporting in Tampa City Council District 6? Jackie Toledo?

St. Petersburg Times Florida news outlets suing Gov. Rick Scott want emergency order protecting public records

TALLAHASSEE — Florida news outlets and First Amendment advocates want a judge to order Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members to safeguard all relevant materials in an open meetings lawsuit, even their aides' cell phone text messages.

St. Petersburg Times Romano: Here's a novel idea -- openness and transparency in government

In another era, this probably wouldn't qualify as news.

St. Petersburg Times Bousquet: Gov. Rick Scott cuts state losses in long voting fight

Gov. Rick Scott doesn't like to lose. But he lost an important court case dealing with voting rights and last week he decided to cut his losses, along with those of Florida taxpayers who have footed the bill for more than 2½ years.

St. Petersburg Times Appeals court rejects challenge to Florida's blind trust law

TALLAHASSEE — An appeals court Monday tossed out a constitutional challenge to a 2013 law that allows public officials to put their assets into blind trusts, pointing to the "speculative nature" of the case.

St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact Florida: Suicide statistics used in guns on campus debate

A statement that 200,000 attempts are made on campuses every year needs more study.

St. Petersburg Times The Buzz: James Carville's predictions for Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio

The campaign pro isn't counting Bush out, but says a New Hampshire win is critical.

St. Petersburg Times Florida prisons chief to seek revamp of health care contracts

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones announced Friday that she intends to rebid contracts worth about $1.4 billion with private companies to provide health care services to the state's 100,000 inmates.

St. Petersburg Times Jeb Bush's private investments in fracking dovetail with public advocacy

In the summer of 2013, well before he became an all-but-declared presidential candidate, Jeb Bush spoke to conservatives gathered in New York. He talked up the promise of education reform, immigration and policies to boost America's economy — standard lecture circuit talk for which the former Florida governor often commanded $40,000 a …

St. Petersburg Times Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz denies office offered to reverse medical pot stance

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston on Friday denied a published report that her office had offered this week to change her position on medical marijuana if a major Democratic donor recanted his withering criticism of her.

St. Petersburg Times Florida lawmakers punt on stadium funding decision

TALLAHASSEE — A much-anticipated decision about divvying up sales-tax dollars to sports-stadium projects was handed-off to the full Legislature on Thursday.

St. Petersburg Times Critics in party view Christie as in 'bubble'

He does not return phone calls. He does not ask for support. He arrives late for meetings. And he acts as if he has all the time in the world.

St. Petersburg Times Tampa City Council incumbents enjoy fundraising advantage

Tampa City Council's sitting members enjoy fundraising advantages, some decidedly so.

St. Petersburg Times Overhaul of water policy on fast track in Florida House

TALLAHASSEE — A bill pushed by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to overhaul the state's water management system won bipartisan approval Thursday from the House Appropriations committee.

St. Petersburg Times Gov. Scott won't appeal rejection of his voter purge program

Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that his administration won't appeal a federal court ruling that the state illegally tried to purge the voter rolls of suspected noncitizens too close to the 2012 presidential election.

St. Petersburg Times Legislators drafting bill to set Florida's 2016 primary for March 15

Florida Republicans are ready to ditch the first-up status in the 2016 presidential preference primary and are drafting legislation to move the date back to the third Tuesday in March.

St. Petersburg Times Legislators roll out bill to snuff damages for tobacco victims

TALLAHASSEE The powerful cigarette industry re-ignited Florida's tobacco wars Wednesday with a one-sentence bill that would strip away the right of thousands of Florida victims from collecting millions in damages.

St. Petersburg Times Putnam looks to increase oversight of state waterways

TALLAHASSEE -- In another sign of frayed relations between the state's top Republican leaders, a tug of war is unfolding between Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam over arguably the state's most valuable commodity: water.

St. Petersburg Times Tampa council candidates forum focuses on transportation

TAMPA — Transportation played a leading role Wednesday in the Tampa Downtown Partnership's City Council candidates forum, with speakers gravitating toward two schools of thought.

St. Petersburg Times Jeb Bush declares "I am my own man" in foreign policy speech

Jeb Bush sharply criticized President Barack Obama for an "inconsistent and indecisive" foreign policy during a speech Wednesday in Chicago, while trying to distance himself from his brother, former President George W. Bush, declaring "I am my own man."

St. Petersburg Times Bush, Rubio remaining in the political spotlight

Sen. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush will spend another week on the invisible primary campaign trail. Here's a rundown: Rubio will continue his book tour.

St. Petersburg Times DCF highlights systemic changes as Jonchuck's mental competency hearing is set

TALLAHASSEE — If not for a systemic problem and protocol being neglected in the Department of Children and Family hot line call center, Phoebe Jonchuck might still be alive.

St. Petersburg Times Execution stayed pending Supreme Court ruling on lethal injection

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court has postponed the execution of a man convicted of murdering four women, pending a ruling on lethal injection from the U.S. Supreme Court.

St. Petersburg Times Commissioner Jim Norman, again? Even with Housegate, it could happen

He was all but ousted from politics because of the questionable provenance of a certain lovely lakeside vacation home in Arkansas.

St. Petersburg Times Municipal elections set for April 14 in Port Richey, Zephyrhills, San Antonio

Incumbents in New Port Richey, Zephyrhills and St. Leo have held on to their seats, going unopposed as qualifying ended Tuesday for the April 14 municipal elections in Pasco County.

St. Petersburg Times Prison reform legislation pushing ahead in Senate

TALLAHASSEE — A Senate committee gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill to create an independent commission to investigate wrongdoing in Florida's troubled prison system and increase sanctions against prison staffers accused of crimes.