Florida

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

A recent poll shows presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are neck-and-neck in Florida. As a result, one voter bloc will likely be key to winning the state – and, since this is Florida, maybe the election.

Last week’s Quinnipiac University survey shows presumptive Democratic candidate Clinton leading de facto Republican nominee Trump in Florida by just one percentage point – 43 to 42.

DNGUAH / YouTube

If there’s one parcel of waterfront turf South Florida real estate videos love to gush about, it’s the Sunset Islands.

Located just north of the Venetian Causeway, the four isles feature some of the ritziest properties in Miami – a Planet One-Percent where long yachts are docked next to multimillion-dollar mansions.

Superstar celebs like Shakira have digs there.

And until recently, so did the former head of Brazil’s national soccer federation, Ricardo Teixeira.

Alexia Fodere / El Nuevo Herald

The Caribbean is known for blue water, white beaches – and red ink. The region is home to seven of the world’s 10 most indebted nations.

But the Caribbean’s worst crisis involves a U.S. territory: Puerto Rico, whose debt is a staggering $73 billion.

That burden now threatens to financially sink the island of 3.5 million people – and that in turn promises to drive more migration into Florida. Puerto Ricans are the state’s fastest-growing Latino group, especially in the central I-4 Corridor.

Florida Sees A Record Number of Tourists In 2014

Feb 16, 2015
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.

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.

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.

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:

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

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.

How Effective Are Florida Lawmakers?

Nov 3, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

New Congressional Map Won't Apply In November Elections

Aug 22, 2014
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.

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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