Spring is usually the season for renewal, but new beginnings for state government are underway in the heat of summer.
Everyone seems to be running early in Florida politics nowadays.
Every year, around the middle of the summer, with the Legislature long gone and the governor's office mostly silent, comes a time when courts are the center of the action in Tallahassee.
That season has come.
Courts were dealing this week with everything from quality of schools to the governor's authority to appoint Supreme Court justices to a state abortion law. The earliest decision in any of those matters is probably weeks away, and some will take even longer.
For decades, the orange has been as important to Florida's self-image as sunshine, the beach and perhaps even Disney World.
The Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano once said: "History never really says goodbye. It says, 'See you later.' "
Aside from the occasional hurricane, there are few elements of drama in most Tallahassee summers. The Legislature is out of town. Many of the statewide elected officers spend a lot of time elsewhere. The population drops precipitously as university students take their break.
Relationships are hard to sustain in life, and nowhere is that more true than in politics. All of the usual building, maintenance and occasional rebuilding happen under the glare of public scrutiny.
With 14 months to go before they face their party's voters, the three declared Democratic candidates for governor gingerly began outlining their different approaches to the race during a forum Saturday in front of a packed room of activists.
Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation Wednesday providing across-the-board pay raises to state employees for the first time since 2013, but remained mum on whether he would also approve a wide-ranging and controversial education bill.
In a ceremony for veterans at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Tallahassee, Scott signed the compensation legislation (SB 7022), a key priority of Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.
Hours after a special session about education and economic development seemed on the verge of falling apart, legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Scott on Friday struck a last-minute agreement salvaging their priorities but setting off renewed criticism over backroom dealing.