Florida

Tourism
4:47 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Florida Sees A Record Number of Tourists In 2014

Florida saw a 3.9 percent increase in visitors in 2014 compared to the year before, according to Visit Florida, the state's tourism-marketing arm.
Credit http://www.palmbeachculture.com/

  Florida attracted a record number of tourists in 2014, inching closer to an annual goal sought by Gov. Rick Scott.

An estimated 97.3 million visitors came to Florida in 2014, a 3.9 percent increase from the year before, according to information released Monday by Visit Florida, the state's tourism-marketing arm.

Scott, who has asked lawmakers to increase tourism-marketing funding from $74 million in the current fiscal year to $85 million during the budget year that begins July 1, has been pushing for Florida to surpass 100 million visitors a year.

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The Two-Way
6:17 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Florida Police Department Used Black Mug Shots For Target Practice

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 6:56 pm

National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant and her fellow soldiers went last month to a firing range in Medley, Fla. What they saw there made them angry. Not only had North Miami Beach Police snipers who had used the range before them used mug shots of six African-American men as targets, but one of the men pictured was Deant's brother. The mug shots were riddled with bullets.

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Marriage Equality
1:05 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Publix Will Extend Coverage To Employees' Same-Sex Spouses

Publix at 1181 S. University Dr. in Plantation.
Credit Candace West / Miami Herald File

Publix will extend insurance plans to same-sex spouses of employees who are legally married.

The company announced that it will open enrollment on Jan. 1 for any employee who can who show proof of lawful marriage in a state where same-sex unions are allowed.

The couples will get the same health care coverage as any heterosexual couple.

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Cuba
7:08 am
Mon December 29, 2014

How Will Changes In Cuba Policy Affect Florida's Economy?

Credit Stewart Cutler / Flickr

This was originally posted on Dec. 23, 2014 from WMFE.

Impassioned reactions continue to pour in over the political and social implications of President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba. This week, 90.7 economic analyst Hank Fishkind takes Nicole Creston through the economic implications for Florida and for our region. 

On the President’s plan:

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Health Care
6:36 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Florida Is No. 32 in Health Rankings

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:18 am

A new report places Florida as the 32nd healthiest state in the nation.

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Latino Voters
9:49 am
Tue November 25, 2014

How Barack Obama Took Latinos For Granted – And How It Cost Charlie Crist

A Spanish-language election-day sticker: "I voted."
Credit Elle Cayabyab Gitlin / Flickr

So you’re a Florida Democrat. You’re looking for a silver lining to the humiliating Sunshine Shellacking your party took in Tuesday’s midterm elections. 

There really isn't one. But there may be a pewter lining: Your gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Crist, lost to the Republican incumbent, Governor Rick Scott, by only a percentage point. What's more, Crist might have won if not for a dumb political move by President Obama that alienated Latino voters.

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Politics
8:12 am
Mon November 3, 2014

How Effective Are Florida Lawmakers?

This Congress is seen as the least active in history.
Credit Matt Laslo

This Congress is the least active in the nation’s history. In the past two years, the body has passed only 181 bills that were signed into law by the president. Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, doesn’t rate it very highly.

“This is an embarrassing and miserable Congress, really one of the worst I've ever seen,” he says.

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Gay Marriage
11:00 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Attorney General Pam Bondi Asks Judge To Continue Blocking Gay Marriage In Florida

A file photo shows Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Credit Rick Scott/flickr

  Same-sex couples should continue to be prevented from getting married in Florida until a legal battle plays out about the constitutionality of the state's gay-marriage ban, Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a federal-court filing Friday.

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Latin America Report
7:41 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

What The Non-Cuban Latino Vote Means For Florida Politicians

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (center) and running mate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (right) talk with Hector Parra (left) and his daugher Marcela Parra.
Credit Charlie Crist campaign

Latinos, as if you needed more media reminding, are America’s largest minority today. Winning their swing vote matters more than ever – even if means politicians making speeches in really bad Spanish.

In Florida, that exercise used to be a day at the beach. Or rather, an hour at Miami’s Versailles restaurant. Drink a café cubano. Declare your hatred for Fidel Castro. Head to the next campaign stop.

But that was back when Latino in Florida meant almost exclusively Cuban. And Cuban meant Republican.

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Commentary
4:46 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Can Venezuela's U.S. Dollar Restriction Keep $1 Billion Out Of Florida?

Trading U.S. dollars for Venezuelan bolívares
Credit venezuelaanalysis.com

What do you do when your country’s foreign reserves are dropping at a rate that would make avid bungee jumpers nauseous? If you’re left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, you take strong, decisive macroeconomic action.

You withhold dollars from Mickey Mouse.

Yessir, you discourage your countrymen from traveling to Florida, by further restricting the amount of dollars they can spend there with their bank credit cards – from $2,500 to $700.

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Redistricting
6:41 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

New Congressional Map Won't Apply In November Elections

Credit Florida House of Representatives / floridaredistricting.org

  A Leon County judge upheld a second draft of the state's congressional districts in a decision issued Friday, but shelved the new map until after the November elections.

The decision marked a major victory for legislative Republicans, who approved the new plan this month after Lewis ruled that their first draft violated the Florida Constitution's ban on political gerrymandering. The GOP had also pushed for the earlier version of the districts, approved in 2012, to remain in place through this year's elections.

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Redistricting
7:44 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

After Hearing Arguments, Judge To Rule On New Congressional Map

The judge will decide soon if he will accept the newly redrawn map.
Credit Florida House of Representatives / floridaredistricting.org

  Plaintiffs say newly drawn congressional districts still favor Republicans and discourage black representation in Central Florida.

But the defense argued Wednesday before a judge the new districts follow his order and asked for his approval. 

Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis had ruled the districts unlawfully favor Republicans and ordered the Legislature to redraw them. 

David King is a Central Florida attorney for the League of Women Voters and other groups suing over the districts. He rejects the argument the new districts protect black representation.

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Environment
3:49 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Corps Of Engineers Hopes To Accelerate Permit Process To Protect Endangered Species

In South Florida, marine species are at the top of the endangered species list.
Credit Wikimedia / Creative Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a controversial history in Florida -- especially when it comes to the Everglades and the state’s wildlife.  

But now, the agency wants Floridians to know they’re working harder to protect endangered species.  

Each year the Corps of Engineers receives requests for various projects to build on regulated wetlands or the coast.  

The agency tries to issue half of those permits within 120 days.

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Mortgage
3:34 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Florida Homeowners Will Receive Significant Portion of SunTrust Settlement

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

A nationwide settlement between SunTrust Mortgage and a state and federal partnership amounts to over $500 million. Nearly 40 percent of the settlement will go to Floridians who financed their homes with SunTrust.

According to Whitney Ray of the Attorney General's Office, 8,400 Floridians have been targeted for direct cash payments. They are borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 and 2013.

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Voting Rights
2:40 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Locals Testify On Florida's Election Issues

The commissioners from left to right: Leon W. Russell, Dr. Daniel A. Smith, The Honorable Dan Gelber and Lida Rodriguez-Taseff.
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

The National Commission on Voting Rights met Monday at the University of Miami. 

National and local experts on voting law heard witness testimony on topics ranging from felon disenfranchisement, to long voting lines, to restroom access at polling places.

The goal of this commission is to create reports out of the testimony in hopes that Congress will make changes to voting laws. 

Hear what some Florida voters would like to see changed for the 2016 election.

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