Florida politics

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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.

Andrew Harnik / AP via Miami Herald

The Republican presidential debate drew 24 million viewers on Thursday night, making it the most-watched presidential debate ever.

Was the record viewership thanks in part to Donald Trump? Maybe.

But Florida voters had two homegrown candidates on the stage, and issues like immigration and education were big talking points for both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

"People are frustrated," said Rubio, who called for a border fence and tougher immigration policy. "This is the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration."

Erik (HASH) Hersman / Flickr Creative Commons

A bipartisan group is pushing for all registered voters to be allowed to vote in Florida’s primaries.

In Florida, when a candidate has opposition outside of their party, which is often the case, nonpartisan voters cannot cast a vote.

A proposed amendment called “All Voters Vote” could change that.

John Opdycke, president of Open Primaries, the group promoting the all-vote movement, says no American should have to join a political party to vote. 

flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

Pointing to a time crunch, a Leon County circuit judge Wednesday gave the Florida Legislature little more than two months to draw new congressional districts and to defend them in court.

Judge George S. Reynolds III issued an order that said a special legislative session to redraw districts and a subsequent trial must be finished by Sept. 25. The order came after the Florida Supreme Court last week tossed out eight congressional districts because it found that lawmakers violated a 2010 constitutional amendment aimed at preventing gerrymandering.

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.

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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.

Fammy/ Flickr

Florida’s congressional districts map just got shaken up. Again.

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that eight congressional districts be redrawn before the 2016 elections.

Lightblb on Flickr

"Hmm?" answered Sean Spicer to whether a Republican presidential nominee has to win in Florida in order to win the White House.

Spicer is the chief strategist and communications director for the Republican National Committee. The RNC is not picking a favorite among the growing list of Republicans vying for their party's presidential nomination. But the party, like its Democratic counterpart, knows Florida's growing importance to the 2016 presidential race.

Steve Martin / flickr Creative Commons

  On the Florida Roundup, the date for the special session has been set to organize a budget.

Florida Legislature

After no agreement during the legislative session, lawmakers will meet again on June 1 for budget discussions. They must decide before July 1.

Police behavior

Abe Aboraya / WMFE

Florida Gov. Rick Scott stopped shy of saying he would veto an expansion to Medicaid.

Speaking to reporters in Orlando this week, Scott said the federal government can’t be trusted to pay for Medicaid.

But when pressed, he stopped short of saying he would veto an expansion to the health insurance program for the poor.

Miami Herald

Senator Marco Rubio or former Governor Jeb Bush? That’s a question Republican primary voters in Florida are likely to be asking themselves next year. But many in the state’s congressional delegation are already wrestling with it.

“Jeb Bush. Bush. Bush. Bush,” says Daytona Beach Congressman John Mica. It’s early in the process: only Texas Senator Ted Cruz has officially announced his run. Still, when it comes to Floridians, Mica says he’s firmly a Bush-man.

Murphy For Florida

There's only one declared candidate so far for the Marco Rubio U.S. Senate seat. And he's already earned a vote of "no confidence" from a wing of his own party. 

Patrick Murphy is a former Republican who switched parties in 2012 and defeated arch conservative Allen West for South Florida's northernmost congressional seat.

Michael Rivera (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)] / Wikimedia Commons

The gavel falls Tuesday in Tallahassee, when Florida lawmakers officially begin the 2015 legislative session. The one item they have to do is pass a state budget -- and this year they have a $1 billion surplus, a growing state economy and a governor fresh off a re-election win.

Each spring for 60 days the Florida Legislature tackles a year's worth of state business. On the agenda this law-writing session are reforms to public-education testing, hundreds of millions of dollars of mandated spending on the environment and billions of dollars in federal money for health care.

ALEX CASTRO / AP FILE

Six weeks after President Barack Obama announced efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, former Cuba leader Fidel Castro writes a letter of reserved-approval for the plan.

Cuba President Raul Castro said this week that relations with the United States can only be rehabilitated if  the U.S. returns Guantanamo Bay to the island and the embargo is lifted.

Gov. Rick Scott has rejected a request from Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater to consider a search for a new head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Scott wants the cabinet to consider changes at the departments of insurance regulation, financial regulation, and revenue. The exchange comes as Democratic lawmakers call for an investigation into the ouster of former FDLE head Gerald Bailey.

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