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House Members Warned about Marijuana Dangers

October 16, 2019 - 6:00am

With two looming ballot proposals that would legalize recreational marijuana in Florida, state House leaders are going on offense on the issue.

The House Health & Human Services Committee on Tuesday heard an hour-long presentation from Harvard Medical School psychobiologist Bertha Madras, who issued dire warnings about the dangers of marijuana use, particularly for youngsters.

“Marijuana is not benign. It is not safe. It is addictive. … It interferes with learning and memory,” cautioned Madras, who specializes in substance use disorders.

State Leaders Could Change Course on Gambling

October 15, 2019 - 6:00am
Bill Galvano

After the loss of roughly $350 million a year in payments from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, House and Senate leaders are rethinking the state’s approach to gambling, one of the Legislature’s most-complicated and elusive issues.

The shift in direction could be good news for the state’s pari-mutuel operators.

“What we need to start doing is looking at what’s available to us on the private side of the equation, versus just the compact,” Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, told The News Service of Florida.

Parkland Parents Back DeSantis in Sheriff Debate

October 5, 2019 - 7:00am
Ryan Petty, father of slain 14-year-old Alaina

Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing a showdown about one of his highest-profile decisions: the ouster of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, whose fate now rests in the hands of the Florida Senate.

The Republican governor’s legal team failed to persuade a Senate special master that Israel’s suspension was warranted, but DeSantis has a cadre of allies who might have the power to do what his lawyers could not.

DeSantis Ally Tapped to Lead Administrative Judges

September 27, 2019 - 6:00am
John MacIver

In one of his earliest --- and most far-reaching --- actions as the state’s chief executive, Gov. Ron DeSantis reshaped the Florida Supreme Court, with the appointment of three justices who have cemented a decidedly conservative majority.

And now, with the help of two fellow Republicans who serve on the Florida Cabinet, DeSantis has delivered the same brand of conservative jurisprudence to an administrative court system that has been a go-to place for citizens and businesses to redress grievances against state agencies.

Special Master: DeSantis Failed to Make His Case, Reinstate Scott Israel as Broward Sheriff

September 26, 2019 - 6:00am
Scott Israel at his June hearing

Delivering a stunning blow to Gov. Ron DeSantis, a special master has recommended the Florida Senate reinstate suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, after finding the governor failed to prove allegations of neglect of duty and incompetence that sparked the law enforcement official’s suspension.

After the recommendation, Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, called a special session next month for the Senate to consider the removal or reinstatement of Israel.

Ex-Director Sues over Losing Job at Transportation Commission

September 25, 2019 - 9:00am
Ron Howse, Jay Trumbull and Mike Dew

A former executive director of a state transportation commission has filed a lawsuit alleging she was forced to resign in retaliation for exposing a $5.5 billion budget “irregularity” proposed by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Teddi Pitts also accused the chairman of the Florida Transportation Commission of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the lawsuit filed last week in Leon County circuit court.

Weekly Roundup: Big Man on Campus

September 21, 2019 - 7:00am
Richard Corcoran

Richard Corcoran liked to stir the pot when he served as speaker of the Florida House, and he’s equally bold since taking over as the state’s education czar.

Corcoran has brought his firebrand style to the Florida Department of Education after Gov. Ron DeSantis picked the Land O’ Lakes Republican --- who branded public schools as “failure factories” during his tenure as House speaker --- to head the agency.

Corcoran Pushes Changes in State College System

September 19, 2019 - 8:00am
Richard Corcoran

Florida education czar Richard Corcoran bristles at being called a disrupter.

He prefers the gentler label of "transformer," a brand Corcoran burnished during his two-year tenure as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

As speaker, the Republican father of six pushed through a series of what were touted as “transformational” education policies that included major expansions of charter schools and private-school vouchers.

And now, as Florida’s education commissioner, Corcoran is aiming to make changes in the state college system.

Contributions Pour in for Assault Weapons Ban

September 13, 2019 - 6:00am

In the wake of two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio last month, contributions flooded into a political committee seeking to ban possession and sale of assault weapons in Florida, according to a new campaign-finance report filed at the state Division of Elections.

Ban Assault Weapons NOW, the political committee behind the proposed constitutional amendment, drew more than 28,000 contributions totaling $595,000 in August, by far the largest amount in a single month since the committee was launched in March 2018.

DeSantis Seeks to Put Felons' Voting Lawsuit on Hold

September 12, 2019 - 6:00am
Ron DeSantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration want a federal judge to put on hold a challenge to a state law carrying out a constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

The Republican governor and Secretary of State Laurel Lee on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to put the federal lawsuit on hold until the Florida Supreme Court rules in a related case.

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