West Coast

St. Petersburg Times Rep. Aaron Schock under fire for 'Downton Abbey' office redo

WASHINGTON — A watchdog group Tuesday asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to examine whether Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., acted improperly by accepting free services from an interior designer who redid his offices with a Downton Abbey motif.

St. Petersburg Times Sen. Marco Rubio on book tour in Iowa next week

In another sign he is headed for a presidential campaign, Sen. Marco Rubio will begin a book-signing tour next week in Iowa and follow it with visits to other key states.

St. Petersburg Times Sheriffs come out against Florida medical marijuana bill

Florida's sheriffs — including Pinellas County's Bob Gualtieri — announced on Tuesday that they oppose a medical marijuana bill being pushed by a leading Republican lawmaker.

St. Petersburg Times Florida lawmakers to revisit sexting law to fix inadvertent loophole

TALLAHASSEE — In 2011, Florida lawmakers made sure young people who sent racy pictures to each other via cellphone wouldn't be labeled sex offenders.

St. Petersburg Times FDLE controversy: Detailed timeline shows who said what when

TALLAHASSEE — Between conflicting accounts, FAQs and changing stories, it's hard to keep track of the unfolding narrative regarding Gerald Bailey's ouster from the top job at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Fear not, we've got you covered. Here's a detailed recounting of who said what when. (Editor's note: Click on green …

St. Petersburg Times He's got a 'Downton Abbey'-inspired office, but Rep. Aaron Schock won't talk about it

WASHINGTON — The Rayburn House Office Building is a labyrinth of beige offices.

St. Petersburg Times Sen. Marco Rubio sharply criticizes President Barack Obama's Cuba policy at hearing

WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio sharply criticized President Barack Obama's effort to open diplomatic ties with Cuba, saying during a hearing Tuesday that he does not believe it will lead to positive change.

St. Petersburg Times Two longtime Democrats announce interest in running for state Senate

A current and past member of the state House of Representatives have formally announced their intentions to run for the same state Senate seat in 2016.

St. Petersburg Times Senate committee expresses skepticism over Florida prison chief's report

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St. Petersburg Times Gov. Rick Scott proposes repeal of hospital funding law

TALLAHASSEE — A recommendation tucked into Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget could help Tampa General Hospital avoid a $15 million budget cut.

St. Petersburg Times Gov. Rick Scott's new version of FDLE ouster called 'absolutely untrue' by Gerald Bailey

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Monday issued yet another account of Gerald Bailey's ouster from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Bailey broke a self-imposed silence to call it "absolutely untrue."

St. Petersburg Times Senate leaders propose fix for Florida's testing troubles

TALLAHASSEE — An influential lawmaker on Monday proposed what may signal a shift in Florida education policy and at least some relief for students, teachers and parents: Less, not more, testing.

St. Petersburg Times Gov. Rick Scott refusing to disclose financial information

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a wealthy former businessman who put up millions of his money to help his two campaigns, is refusing to hand over detailed financial information that could answer whether he is violating a state ethics law.

St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact Florida: How much do the uninsured cost the insured per hospital visit?

It's not possible to exactly quantify how much that is, despite a new report's $2,000 figure.

St. Petersburg Times PunditFact: Fact-checking claims about al-Qaida, measles outbreak

Super Sunday brought talk about the spread of terrorists abroad and the spread of measles back home.

St. Petersburg Times Governor ignored alarms about rundown prisons, ex-chief says

BY JULIE K. BROWN AND MARY ELLEN KLAS Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau TALLAHASSEE — It was July 10, 2014. Mike Crews, then-secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, was in the thick of a public firestorm over allegations that a mentally ill inmate had died in a scalding shower as part of a …

St. Petersburg Times GOP heavy on potential U.S. Senate candidates, while Democrat are light<br /><br />

An open U.S. Senate seat is usually a once-in-a-generation opportunity for ambitious politicians. With Marco Rubio moving toward a presidential run and vowing he would not use his Senate seat as a fallback, 2016 is shaping up to be another huge cycle for political dominoes to tumble in Florida — a state with countless credible …

St. Petersburg Times Romano: A lack of integrity hangs over the Bailey affair

Based on what we currently know, there seem to be two possible conclusions about Gerald Bailey's departure as head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Either:

St. Petersburg Times Analysis: Romney's absence in GOP race shines spotlight on Jeb Bush

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney's decision not to jump into the 2016 president campaign gives an immediate boost to former Florida governor Jeb Bush's candidacy, but over time it could have an even greater impact by opening up the nomination contest to some of Bush's rivals.

St. Petersburg Times U.S. Rep. David Jolly: 'I'm excited about a Jeb candidacy'

ST. PETERSBURG — It's no surprise that U.S. Rep. David Jolly wants to see a Florida Republican move into the White House in 2017, but if the GOP nomination came down to a race between Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, the Indian Shores Republican says he's behind the former governor.

St. Petersburg Times Elián case proved early test for Jeb Bush as governor

Late at night on Good Friday a decade and a half ago, Jeb Bush was glued to his email.

St. Petersburg Times Perspective: It's our Cabinet, and it's a mess

TALLAHASSEE A country preacher opened a recent meeting of the Florida Cabinet with a simple prayer for the state's top elected officials.

St. Petersburg Times Jeb Bush's bond with Barack Obama on education poses 2016 challenge for him

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St. Petersburg Times Ethics complaint filed over FDLE controversy

A day after State Attorney Willie Meggs took a pass on investigating the ouster of Gerald Bailey as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a Villages resident asked the Florida Commission on Ethics to take a look at what happened.

St. Petersburg Times Florida League of Women Voters pushes for Medicaid expansion

A drive for Medicaid expansion grew Thursday with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Florida — one of the state's oldest political groups — calling on legislators to find a "unique and flexible Florida solution" to cover an estimated 750,000 uninsured people this year.

St. Petersburg Times Jeb Bush staffs up for presidential campaign, hires Mitt Romney adviser

From Florida's capital to early voting Iowa, Jeb Bush dramatically beefed up his political committee this week making it the largest GOP presidential campaign-in-waiting.

St. Petersburg Times Mayor faces challenger in Treasure Island

Two commission seats are uncontested.

St. Petersburg Times Agriculture Secretary says Cuba trade could grow by hundreds of millions

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack predicts U.S. trade with Cuba could rebound from its current $300 million to close to $500 million with Florida among the states capitalizing the most.

St. Petersburg Times Governor defends staff in wake of Bondi accusation

TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott expressed confidence in his staff Thursday, dismissing the notion that they are responsible for the controversy caused by the hurried dismissal of former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

St. Petersburg Times Panel recommending changes to military health care, benefits

WASHINGTON — An independent commission is recommending broad changes to the military's retirement and health care systems that could save more than $20 billion over the next four years, the Associated Press reports.