politics

Politics
12:15 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

GOP Lawmaker Files Medical Marijuana Bill

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:42 am

There's a new push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, and a Republican lawmaker is leading the charge.

Though a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana failed in November, Republican lawmaker state Sen. Jeff Brandes has filed a bill to make medical marijuana legal for Florida residents.

"Amendment Two really was kind of a take-it-or-leave-it offer," said Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. 

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Politics
9:55 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Calls Escalate For Outside Investigation Into FDLE Chief's Departure

Happier times: Gov. Rick Scott seems relaxed on a visit to FDLE as Commissioner Gerald Bailey laughs in the background.
Credit Rick Scott/flickr

Watchdog groups want an outside investigation into the apparent ousting of well respected Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, and now a private citizen is asking the FBI to investigate claims that Gov. Rick Scott tried to meddle in the affairs of the state’s top law enforcement agency.

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Roberta Jacobson
1:24 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Cuba Talks: Capitalism Vs. Communism, Rights Vs. Repression

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson speaks with journalists at the Miami Herald newsroom on Saturday.
Credit Roberto Koltun / El Nuevo Herald

This past weekend, the top U.S. negotiator in the talks to normalize relations with communist Cuba stopped in Miami on her way back from Havana.

She briefed journalists from the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and WLRN about the historic negotiations – but she seemed more impressed by what she saw at lunch.

Roberta Jacobson is the assistant U.S. secretary of state for the western hemisphere. Last week in Havana, she and her delegation kicked off talks with Cuban officials to restore diplomatic ties, which were severed 54 years ago. 

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News
10:56 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

State Rep. Kristin Jacobs Files Bill Banning Kratom

Federal officials say kratom acts like a stimulant at low doses and a sedative at high doses.
Credit kratomonline.org

Last year, debates over legalizing marijuana dominated Florida’s legislative session. But during the Legislative session 2015, a different substance could be taking center stage as a freshman state representative from Broward County takes on the feel-good herb called kratom.

Under a bill filed by Kristin Jacobs, kratom would become what’s known as a “Schedule 1” controlled substance. That puts it in the same category as bath salts and other street drugs that have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

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Politics
5:37 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Legislative Democrats Call For Investigation Into FDLE Bailey Ouster

Former FDLE Secretary Gerald Bailey says he was forced to resign by Governor Rick Scott.

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 11:31 am

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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Politics
5:13 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Voters Said Yes, But D.C. And Congress Continue To Spar Over Pot

Adam Eidinger, chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, puts up Initiative 71 posters in October. The measure to legalize possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana was approved by a wide margin of local voters.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:00 pm

More than 115,000 District of Columbia residents voted in favor of a marijuana legalization ballot initiative in November, putting 70 percent of the city's voters behind the measure that permits residents to possess up to 2 ounces of pot and grow their own.

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Politics
4:03 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

A Few Familiar Guests At The State Of The Union Address

Credit Wikimedia Commons

President Obama’s annual State of the Union address aired Tuesday night. It’s customary for the president, the first lady and congresspeople to invite guests to the address, and Florida viewers may have recognize a few names and faces. The guests ran the gamut from former political prisoners to activists.

ALAN AND JUDY GROSS

The president invited aid contractor and recently freed Cuban political prisoner Alan Gross and his wife, Judy, to Tuesday evening’s address.

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Environment
1:56 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

South Florida Researcher To Sit With Michelle Obama For SOTU Speech

Nicole Hernandez Hammer, Florida Field Manager for Moms Clean Air Force
Credit whitehouse.gov

A South Florida sea-level rise researcher will have one of the best seats in the house for the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Nicole Hernandez Hammer of Boca Raton will be one of First Lady Michelle Obama’s invited guests.

Hernandez Hammer says her research shows that cities and regions most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea-level rise also have large Hispanic populations.

“Most people don’t know about our vulnerability. That was really eye-opening and encouraged me to go into advocacy,” she says.

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News
5:44 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

New Push for Parental Paid Leave

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 7:57 am

Renewing a push for paid leave for workers, President Barack Obama on Thursday will call on Congress, states and cities to pass measures to allow millions of workers to earn up to a week of paid sick time a year, the White House said.

He'll also ask Congress for more than $2 billion in new spending to encourage states to create paid family and medical leave programs.

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Education
4:55 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Democrats' Free Tuition Strategy: Unleash Eager Parents Against Reluctant GOP

THEY WANT TUITION BREAKS South Florida Democratic State Representatives Jose Javier Rodriguez, left, and David Richardson sound out Miami Dade College students.
Credit Rick Stone

President Obama's America's College Promise would provide free community college tuition for two years to students who keep their grades up, stay in school and show progress toward graduation.

As he introduced it this month, the president presented it as a logical extension of the nation's free public school system, updated for the education requirements of the modern economy.

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Politics
12:16 am
Fri January 16, 2015

As Obama Rushes To Post New Cuba Trade And Travel Regs, Will Havana Reciprocate?

A car in Havana sports Cuban and U.S. flags in advance of talks there to normalize relations between the two countries.
Credit Day Donaldson / Flickr Creative Commons

On Thursday President Obama finalized a big part of his efforts to normalize relations with communist Cuba. And they take effect Friday, much earlier than expected. They include loosening travel and trade restrictions – but the question from those who know the Havana regime well is: Will Cuba loosen up too?

The new regs make it much easier for Americans to travel to Cuba and spend money there. They can even use U.S. credit cards. They can also do more business with Cubans – export capital goods like telecom equipment and help finance small Cuban enterprises.

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Politics
5:44 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Fact-Checking Marco Rubio's New Book

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 3:53 pm

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio hasn't said if he's running for president in 2016.

But if you want a peek at what some planks of his presidential platform might look like, just crack open Rubio's new book, "American Dream: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone."

PolitiFact Florida did just that and has fact-checked a couple of claims in Rubio's book.

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News
1:35 am
Thu January 15, 2015

New Push To Repeal Florida's Foreign Landowner Ban

Florida is the only state that hasn't repealed its law relating to foreign land owners.
Credit Jarek Radimersky/flickr

A new push is underway to get some anti-immigrant language out of the Florida Constitution. The law relates to foreign property owners.

People who aren’t eligible for American citizenship can't own property in Florida. It’s written in Article 1 of the state Constitution.

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News
3:34 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Young Miamians Amp Up Annual Protests Against Guantánamo

Young Protesters in orange suits line up along the fence at United States Southern Command in Doral, FL, to protest the U.S. prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Credit Julia Longoria / WLRN

It's been 13 years since the first prisoners arrived at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. To mark that anniversary, this past Sunday protesters took to the streets in cities across the country.

But among all those cities, 64-year-old Miamian Linda Belgrave said Doral was one of the most important places to protest and demand that President Obama make good on the promise he made in 2009: to close the Guantánamo Bay prison.

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Environment
1:46 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Florida Lawmakers Seek Public Input On Conservation Amendment

Weeki Wachee Springs, FL
Credit George/flickr

Florida voters passed the Water and Land Conservation Amendment in November. It requires one third of documentary stamp revenue – a tax on real estate transactions - to go toward environmental initiatives.

The Florida Legislature must spend a portion of the documentary stamp money on environmental programs, like buying land and preserving springs.

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