Politics

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Florida Roundup: When Do You Prep For A Storm?

Aug 24, 2015

Last weekend hurricane Danny strengthened to a Category 3 major storm with winds at 115 mph. It's now down to a tropical depression.

While Florida hasn't seen a major storm since Hurricane Wilma blew through in 2005, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon says residents should prepare every year right around May.

Sen. Bernie Sanders drew big crowds again this weekend, but they may not be the right kind of crowd if he hopes to win South Carolina's primary. The Independent senator from Vermont is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, and he'll need black voters to win in the early-voting state.

Jeb Bush isn't pulling punches anymore when it comes to Donald Trump.

The former Florida governor has delicately danced around the billionaire businessman in the 2016 presidential primary so far. But the gloves came off this week when Bush called out Trump as a closet Democrat. He was trying to stunt Trump's rise while attempting to recover his own political mojo.

Redistricting Session Falls Apart Amid House-Senate Battle

Aug 21, 2015

A special session called to redraw state congressional lines was derailed Friday, the latest sign of growing acrimony between Republican leaders of the House and Senate.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature now has two rival maps for Congress.

A plan to redraw Florida's 27 congressional districts overwhelmingly passed the state House Tuesday, inching closer to a potential face off with the Senate over districts in Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area.

Nine Democrats joined with the majority of Republicans in approving the new map on a 76-35 vote. Nine members of the GOP, some of whom fulminated against a Florida Supreme Court decision that prompted the ongoing redistricting special session, joined the majority of Democrats in opposing the proposal (HB 1B).

Miami Herald Staff

A pair of voting-rights groups whose lawsuit led to the state's current congressional districts being struck down by the Florida Supreme Court say that a new proposal appears to be tilted to favor a Republican congressman in South Florida.

Florida Roundup: U.S. Embassy Opens In Havana

Aug 14, 2015
Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press

Just 90 miles south of Key West, the U.S. flag was raised in Cuba to mark the opening of the American embassy in Havana -- 54 years after it was closed.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at a small ceremony, speaking about the island's future and the relationship between the two countries.

"Cuba's future is for the Cuban people to shape," Kerry said.

Meanwhile in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, emotions ran high as critics and supporters of the move clashed at a street protest.

Listen to Kenny Malone's report below:

House Approves Congressional Districts; Senate Ponders Changes

Aug 14, 2015

The battle over boundaries for Florida's 27 congressional districts began in earnest Thursday, with a state House committee approving a plan while senators considered overhauling the same proposal --- and as a congresswoman continued pressing her case that the map would harm black voters.

flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

Changes to a proposed map of Florida's 27 congressional districts emerged Wednesday, a day before key hearings in the House and Senate about how to comply with a court order finding the current map violates the anti-gerrymandering "Fair Districts" requirements.

Meanwhile, a congresswoman whose district has been targeted to be radically redrawn made good on her threat to file a federal lawsuit trying to complicate the process.

Bar Jack / Flickr

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.

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."

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