Updated at 11:25 a.m. ET

Secretary of State John Kerry presided over a ceremony reopening the U.S. Embassy in Havana, including a flag-raising ceremony — an event that will mark the first time the Stars and Stripes have flown over a diplomatic compound there in 54 years.

Kerry, speaking before assembled dignitaries, remembered the strained history of U.S.-Cuba relations, including the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Soviet Union was discovered to be siting nuclear rockets on the island nation.

Joyce Tenneson

When President Obama was sworn into office for his second term in January 2013, it was Miami-raised writer Richard Blanco who read the inaugural poem.

He was the first Latino and first openly gay inaugural poet in U.S.  history. And now Blanco, a child of Cuban immigrants, will put his poetic stamp on another historic event -- the re-opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba.

Blanco, now a resident of Maine, was chosen to read his new poem during the re-opening ceremony before a crowd of Cuban officials and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, still angry at being forced into action by the state's highest court, launched yet another bid on Monday to reshape the state's congressional districts.

Legislators returned to the Capitol to kick off a 12-day special session to draw a new map that could make it difficult for several incumbent members of Congress to get re-elected. This is the third time lawmakers have worked on a congressional map since 2012.

Medical Marijuana Group Collects $770K

Aug 11, 2015

A group seeking to ask voters in 2016 to legalize medical marijuana raised more than $770,000 in July, buoyed by contributions from its leader, Orlando attorney John Morgan, according to a newly filed finance report.

"People United for Medical Marijuana" raised $770,534 during the month and spent $756,419, as it tries to collect enough petition signatures to get on the November 2016 ballot.

The Morgan Firm PA contributed about $704,000 of the July total, with Coral Gables retiree Barbara Stiefel chipping in another $40,000, the report shows.

Where Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Change

Aug 11, 2015

Last week, President Obama released a plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Climate change has also been cropping up on the presidential campaign trail — both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have released their own proposals.

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."

Florida officials say three of the 16 Planned Parenthood facilities inspected last week were performing procedures beyond their licensing authority, and one facility was not keeping proper logs relating to fetal remains.

However, none of 16 clinics were found to be illegally selling or transferring fetal tissue or parts.

Screenshot / West Miami City Commission

Before Marco Rubio was debating Pacific trade deals or normalizing relations with Cuba in the U.S. Senate, he was arguing car wash rules and which trees to plant on the West Miami City Commission.

Tonight in Ohio, he'll debate nine other Republicans running for president. But Washington Post reporter -- and Miami Herald alum -- Robert Samuels thought it would be interesting to look at Rubio's time representing the town of about 6,000.

This post was updated at 7:15 p.m.

The final polls are in and the stage is set for Thursday night's first Republican presidential debate.

Those who made the cut, according to Fox News: businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Rubio: Planned Parenthood Should Not Get Taxpayer Money

Aug 4, 2015

Florida Senator Marco Rubio said Planned Parenthood should have its federal funding cut.

In an op-ed published Monday, the Republican Senator and presidential candidate says, “Planned Parenthood should never receive another dime from American taxpayers.”

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (d-Florida) voted Monday evenbing to not to take federal money away from Planned Parenthood.


UPDATE, Aug. 3, 4:30 p.m.: The South Florida Management District board reversed its decision against tax cuts.

The board held a special meeting on Friday, July 31, where they approved to cut a property tax rate for the fifth year in a row.

Two weeks ago, the board voted 6-2 to maintain the tax rate that would’ve prevented having to rely on the agency’s reserves.

The final vote on the proposed budget will take place in September.

The largest Florida corporate donor to a super political action committee backing former Gov. Jeb Bush's presidential run is NextEra Energy Inc., the company that owns electric utility giant Florida Power & Light.

Tallahassee Insiders Take Aim At Pot License

Aug 2, 2015
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department / lacounty.gov

Influential Tallahassee insiders --- and a former lawmaker who is the grandson of one of Florida's most-renowned citrus barons --- have banded together with the owner of an abortion clinic to get in on the ground floor of the state's burgeoning medical-marijuana industry.

Legislative leaders announced Tuesday they will hold a special session to redraw the state's 40 Senate districts after the chamber acknowledged it violated the state constitution by creating maps that benefit Republicans and incumbents.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ordering state health officials to inspect Planned Parenthood offices to ensure they are obeying the law when performing abortions.

In a statement Wednesday, Scott called recent videos troubling and said it's against the law for any organizations to sell body parts. The Republican governor said the state will take quick legal and regulatory action against any of the 16 facilities found in violation.