politics

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.

Emma_L_M/flickr

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.

Matt Laslo / For WLRN

C-SPAN is pretty boring. But flip to it on any given Wednesday and you’ll notice the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives is splattered with red outfits.

That’s the doing of South Florida Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. She’s spearheaded the effort to get lawmakers to wear red on Wednesdays to highlight the kidnapping of girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria. When Wilson was last in Nigeria, the woman who started the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls thanked her for the support she’s drumming up in Congress.

You wouldn’t go there to make an ATM withdrawal but the Export Import Bank is at the center of a fierce debate dividing tea party conservatives and more moderate Republicans. The bank removed officials last year over allegations they received bribes in order to finance contracts with federal money. That’s partly why freshman Republicans like South Florida’s Carlos Curbelo are demanding reforms.

Michael Laughlin / South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Former Gov. Charlie Crist appears likely to run for a Pinellas County congressional seat in 2016, two years after losing a comeback bid for the governor's mansion.

Crist said Monday he will run for Congress if, as expected, he is included in a newly redrawn district that would be friendly to Democrats.

"If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again,'' said Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat who was elected governor in 2006 as a Republican but later switched parties.

WUSF

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage, some Florida clergy members and lawmakers are mobilizing to ensure legal exemptions for religious organizations.

On July 1st, Chris Walker, a pastor at the Cathedral of Power International Church in Clermont, launched a petition on Change.org calling for Governor Rick Scott to sign a "Pastor Protection Act" into law. The petition has garnered over 22,000 signatures.

News Service of Florida

August will be back-to-Tallahassee time for state lawmakers.

Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli sent a joint memo to lawmakers Monday announcing that a court-ordered special session to redraw eight of the state's 27 congressional districts will begin Aug. 10 and run until Aug. 21 or until the completion of the new map.

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