Jim Turner

Jim Turner is a reporter for the News Service of Florida.

Florida Power & Light Company

The state's largest electricity provider wants Florida regulators to approve a four-year funding package that would raise the base rate on a typical monthly bill by about $8.50 starting in 2017, with the hike reaching $14 by 2020.

Juno Beach-based Florida Power & Light notified the Public Service Commission on Friday that a proposal will be filed in March asking to increase the monthly charge on a typical customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity from $93 to $107 by 2020.

Susan Stocker / Sun Sentinel via Miami Herald

Regulators decided Tuesday that a $1.3 billion, natural gas-fired power plant --- proposed in rural Okeechobee County by Florida Power & Light --- is needed to meet the demands of the state's growing population.

The decision by the Florida Public Service Commission came after objections from a pair of environmental groups, the state Office of Public Counsel and the Florida Industrial Power Users Group. The Office of Public Counsel represents consumers in utility issues, while the Florida Industrial Power Users Group represents large electricity users.

Springs Backers Seek Water Policy Changes

Jan 4, 2016
dep.state.fl.us

An advocacy group for Florida's natural springs has outlined concerns with a major water-policy bill that is expected to be quickly approved during the upcoming 2016 legislative session.

The Florida Springs Council, a consortium of 35 organizations, is telling lawmakers what changes are needed to get its support for the proposal (SB 552 and HB 7005). But the group isn't hopeful that its requests --- or similar requests from other environmental groups --- will result in changes to the proposal.

C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

Florida has surpassed the 20 million population mark while growing faster than California.

The Sunshine State, adding more than 1,000 people a day, is nearly up a half-million people on New York, which it surpassed a year ago to become the third most-populous state, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday.

Florida, with an estimated 20,271,272 residents as of July 1, is also growing faster than a year earlier, when 803 people a day were being added to the state's head count.

Florida's Orange Crop In 'Free Fall'

Dec 9, 2015
Mark Elias / Bloomberg via Miami Herald

The outlook for production of Florida oranges, the state's signature crop, continues to drop.

For the second consecutive month, the Florida orange-harvest forecast for the 2015-2016 growing season was adjusted down Wednesday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"It's essentially in free fall," Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday while outlining some of his priorities for the 2016 legislative session.

Bob Self / AP via Miami Herald

Florida is reexamining its Syrian refugee policy following the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday that left 129 dead and hundreds of others injured.

On Monday, in a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, Gov. Rick Scott announced he would be opposing the resettling of 425 Syrians to Florida. 

Jared Lazarus / Miami Herald

Floridians permitted to carry concealed handguns would be able to display firearms on the outside of their clothes, under a measure that cleared its first House committee Tuesday.

However, several lawmakers in both parties and an influential business group expressed concerns about the potential impact of the proposal on private property rights.

Florida Attorney General's Office

Attorney General Pam Bondi put added pressure Wednesday on lawmakers to increase funding for crime labs as she detailed a massive backlog of untested rape kits across the state.

"Those need to be tested because, hidden in those estimated thousands of untested rape kits, we have the potential to solve cold cases and lock up sexual predators and make Florida the safest place to live and raise a family," Bondi said during a news conference at The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

The bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, which has stood in the U.S. Capitol since 1922, would be replaced by a statue more representative of Florida, under a bill filed Tuesday by a Republican state lawmaker.

Rep. Jose Felix Diaz said he's been considering the proposal (HB 141) for several years, and the bill comes as people across the country have reconsidered Confederate symbols after the racially motivated slaying in June of nine black church members in South Carolina.

Citizens Insurance CEO: Rate Hike Due To Spike In Water Claims

Aug 25, 2015
maxstrz / Flickr Creative Commons

A "disturbing" rise in water-damage claims in South Florida is driving Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to seek an average 3.2 percent increase in rates for many homeowners, the president of the state-backed insurer said Tuesday.

  Without the surge in reported residential water damage over the past two years, which is causing the agency to alter its approach to such claims,Citizens would be asking for an average statewide rate decrease, Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway said during a rate hearing before the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Bar Jack / Flickr

News Service of Florida

The League of Women Voters of Florida will start building a coalition Thursday to fight newly filed bills that would allow people to carry concealed weapons on college and university campuses.

But Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican who is sponsoring the House version of the bill, remains undeterred. The proposal, which would apply to people who have concealed-weapons licenses, failed to pass the Legislature during the 2015 session.

News Service of Florida

August will be back-to-Tallahassee time for state lawmakers.

Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli sent a joint memo to lawmakers Monday announcing that a court-ordered special session to redraw eight of the state's 27 congressional districts will begin Aug. 10 and run until Aug. 21 or until the completion of the new map.

Mark Wallheiser / Associated Press

News Service of Florida

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush returned Monday to Tallahassee, where he spent eight years as governor, to introduce proposals for fixing the federal government.

Bush, seeking to portray himself as a Washington outsider, laid out plans for civil-service and congressional reforms, including plans to push for constitutional amendments that would require a balanced budget and give the president line-item veto power on appropriation bills.

Bar Jack / Flickr

News Service of Florida

The Second Amendment should supersede a Florida law that bans firearms from state university housing, a gun-rights group argued before seemingly skeptical appellate judges Tuesday.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee heard arguments from Florida Carry Inc., which contends students and other people residing in on-campus housing at the University of Florida should be allowed to maintain possession of firearms as they would at their parents' homes.

401(K) 2012/Flickr

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Nearly a third of state lawmakers are millionaires, with two members of the Senate having net worths that top $20 million, according to newly filed disclosure reports.

Almost half of the Senate is in the millionaires club, and more than two dozen senators saw their net worths grow in the past year. Some reports remain to be filed, but so far no senator sits in the red financially, according to the reports posted on the Florida Commission on Ethics website.

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