West Coast

St. Petersburg Times Schools emerge as big winner from Florida Legislature's session

TALLAHASSEE — Not long after the 2014 legislative session came to a close Friday, Senate President Don Gaetz said it had been "a good year for education."

St. Petersburg Times Film commissioner: Tax snub will keep movie project out of Florida

Dale Gordon awoke Saturday to gray, drizzly skies and an immediate future for her industry just as depressing.

St. Petersburg Times Legislators move toward "trauma drama'' fix

TALLAHASSEE — In the waning hours of their annual session, legislators at last appeared poised to take up the matter of how to protect three disputed HCA trauma centers from legal action that threatened to close them.

St. Petersburg Times Pasco schools, college and county win state money for new performing arts center

Sandwiched among millions of dollars worth of special projects in the state budget appeared a $10 million line item for a performing arts education center and convention facility in Wesley Chapel.

St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact: Claim that higher beer production leads to higher consumption is mostly false

The statement "Higher beer production and higher consumption go hand-in-hand."

St. Petersburg Times 'Democrat' and Libertarian file to run against Jolly in Pinellas congressional race

The Democratic Party's candidate for Congressional District 13 is Ed Jany — but, get this, he's not officially a Democratic candidate.

St. Petersburg Times Tampa Bay Rays and others endorse Greenlight Pinellas transit tax

ST. PETERSBURG — The political action group backing the Greenlight Pinellas transit tax referendum trotted out some heavy hitting supporters Friday. Among them: the Tampa Bay Rays.

St. Petersburg Times Tampa Bay local projects in line for legislative largesse

TALLAHASSEE — The $77.1 billion budget that lawmakers will vote on Friday night is studded with hometown projects, the first time this has happened in an election year since 2006.

St. Petersburg Times Historic vote in Florida House clears way for noncitizen to practice law

TALLAHASSEE — In a historic decision, the Florida House agreed Thursday that the state Supreme Court should allow a noncitizen to practice law.

St. Petersburg Times Sembler finances anti-medical marijuana committee

ST. PETERSBURG — The drive for medical marijuana in Florida has attracted prominent, organized opposition.

St. Petersburg Times Pediatricians worry about special-needs kids in Medicaid transition

TALLAHASSEE — Florida pediatricians say an expected legislative move heightens worries about what will happen to young special-needs patients as the state privatizes the Children's Medical Services program over the next three months.

St. Petersburg Times Fla. House rejects unregulated insurance option for Citizens policies

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House has rejected a proposal that could shift homeowners away from Citizens Property Insurance and into unregulated out-of-state insurers.

St. Petersburg Times House prepared to reject agency attempts to revise child welfare bill, sponsor says

TALLAHASSEE — A bill to reform the state's child welfare laws to protect children from abuse and neglect will come up for debate in the House Wednesday, but an amendment drafted by Department and Children and Families and endorsed by the local children's services agencies may be dead for the session.

St. Petersburg Times Budget language on engineering school study protects FAMU

TALLAHASSEE — The biggest budget controversy in higher education this session was the Senate's proposed split of the engineering school shared by Florida A&M University and Florida State University.

St. Petersburg Times Lawmakers agree on legislation to crack down on fraud by Florida charities

TALLAHASSEE — The Senate and House struck agreement Tuesday on legislation to crack down on fraud by Florida charities after agreeing to drop a proposed $50 application fee for criminal background checks on solicitors.

St. Petersburg Times Florida lawmakers approve disclosure bill for subsurface rights

TALLAHASSEE — Builders and sellers must alert buyers if they plan to keep the mineral rights beneath Florida homes, under legislation passed by state lawmakers and now awaiting the governor's approval.

St. Petersburg Times Craft beer regulation likely to go flat in legislative battle

TALLAHASSEE —The Florida Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would allow microbreweries to sell their products in popular half-gallon "growler" containers in exchange for more restrictions on how much they can sell, new rules backed by major beer distributors.

St. Petersburg Times Sen. Joyner's objection kills overhaul of Hillsborough Civil Service Board

TALLAHASSEE — A bill allowing Hillsborough County agencies to opt out of using the county's Civil Service Board for certain services seemed to have momentum.

St. Petersburg Times Two Tampa Bay lawmakers push to help Uber car service

Two Tampa Bay lawmakers are making a last-minute push to help the app-based luxury car service Uber.

St. Petersburg Times USF St. Petersburg is among winners in higher education budget

TALLAHASSEE — Under a budget deal announced Monday, Florida universities will share more than $250 million in state funding for building projects, including $8 million for a business school at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The plan also includes $15 million to expand a college of engineering shared by Florida State …

St. Petersburg Times 'Growler' bill ready for Senate vote, but still opposed by microbreweries

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St. Petersburg Times Jim Greer says it's finally time to tell all about the Republican Party of Florida scandal

Now, he's ready to talk. After the judge put down his gavel, the cameras left the room and the power brokers, presumably, convinced him discretion was in his best interest. Now, Jim Greer is ready to tell all.

St. Petersburg Times House moves to slow drivers license suspensions

TALLAHASSEE — Last year, nearly 1.3 million Floridians had their drivers licenses suspended or revoked — and for about 167,000, the action had nothing to do with their driving.

St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact Florida: Crist's abortion stance has been hard to pin down

Charlie Crist has been attacked for flip-flopping on an array of issues, but there's one topic he says he has been consistent on: abortion.

St. Petersburg Times PunditFact fact-checks the Sunday April 27 news shows

Pundits on Sunday spun two news events — the Supreme Court's 6-2 decision allowing states to effectively ban affirmative action, and racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling — into a discussion melding race and income inequality.

St. Petersburg Times Florida lawmakers' $75 billion spending plan stalls

TALLAHASSEE — State lawmakers stalled in their negotiations Saturday to agree on Florida's proposed $75 billion budget, which includes an all-time high of $11 billion for K-12 education and $500 million in tax and fee cuts.

St. Petersburg Times Senate rejects agency attempts to rewrite child welfare bill

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate on Friday rejected a last-minute attempt by the governor's child welfare agency to rewrite a bill to overhaul the way the state handles child safety and unanimously approved the measure that increases oversight over the troubled agency.

St. Petersburg Times Lawmakers: Gov. Rick Scott close to agreement with Seminole Tribe of Florida

TALLAHASSEE —With a week to go before the end of session, Gov. Rick Scott's deputies are taking the pulse of the Florida Legislature about their interest in coming back to ratify a compact with the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

St. Petersburg Times Senate may halt trauma center 'train' bill

House members found enough to like in a massive health care bill — including provisions to end a lengthy trauma center battle — that the measure was approved 74-42 on Friday. But HB 7113 may have a hard time gaining approval in the Senate in its current form.

St. Petersburg Times Hearing on patient care at VA to be held in Tampa

TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott's election-season push against veterans hospitals system continued Friday as he appeared with two Republican congressmen to announce that a hearing on patient safety at the facilities will be held in Tampa.