Politics

The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Polls Show Cuban-American Views On U.S.-Cuba Relations Are Nuanced

Men play chess at the Maximo Gomez Domino park in Little Havana in Miami, where political opinions are shifting.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:07 pm

With news that the United States will work toward re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and easing the embargo, there is already talk about the reaction in the Cuban-American community.

In political terms, this is a major voting bloc in the hugely important swing state of Florida.

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Cuba
2:02 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Cuban Relatives Bring Differing Views To The Dinner Table

Chris Alvarez's entryway displays framed copies of essential American documents.
Credit Maria Murriel / WLRN

Polls have shown most Cuban exiles who fled the island in the '60s and '70s oppose lifting the embargo and don't believe rekindling diplomatic relationships is a smart, or permissible, political move.

But professor Jorge Duany, head of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, says it's different for younger Cuban-Americans.

"In many cases," he says, "they're willing to try a different way to relate to Cuba."

Chris Alvarez, 31, and Arianna Mendez, 22, are dating. They each relate differently to the island of their ancestors.

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Politics
7:36 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Bill Allowing Sex Abuse Victims To Secretly Record Attackers Advancing In House

Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-Miami) filed the proposed committee bill allowing sex abuse victims to secretly record their attackers in his capacity as the chair of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 6:31 pm

A measure allowing sexual abuse victims to use secret recordings of their attackers as evidence in court is moving forward in the Florida House. The proposed committee bill gained initial approval in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Tuesday.

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Politics
7:15 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Next In The Gay-Marriage Debate: Religious Liberty

A federal judge's ruling opened the door for same sex weddings in Florida, like this one at St. Petersburg City Hall on January 6th, 2015.
Credit City of St Pete/flickr

Same-sex marriage is now legal in three dozen states, including Florida. The U.S. Supreme Court may issue a landmark ruling soon that will impact the rest of the country.

Florida’s voter-approved 2008 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was struck down by federal Judge Robert Hinkle as unconstitutional.

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Politics
7:42 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Q&A: What's Next In Same Sex Marriage Cases

FSU law professor Courtney Cahill writes extensively about legal issues surrounding sexuality.
Credit law.fsu.edu

Florida’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was passed by 62 percent of voters in 2008. But various lower court rulings last year found the ban to be unconstitutional, and federal judge Robert Hinkle agreed.

Now, same sex couples can marry in Florida, but four states have gay marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Jorge Ramos: Republicans Have An Immigration Problem

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is pictured in the studio in Miami, Florida on Dec. 14, 2011. (Alan Diaz/AP)

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 3:18 pm

With the Department of Homeland Security’s funding deadline less than a month away, Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for what may be the next stage in Congress’ fight on President Obama’s immigration policies.

House Republicans have already passed their own version of DHS funding that would also block the president’s November immigration orders and deport up to four million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

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Politics
3:34 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Pam Bondi Blames Gov. Scott's Staff in FDLE Case

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks to the press during a pre-legislative news conference on Jan. 28 in Tallahassee

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 1:16 pm

Attorney General Pam Bondi said Wednesday she believes Gov. Rick Scott's staff acted without his knowledge in the way former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey was pushed out last month.

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Politics
6:52 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Bondi Says Same-Sex Couples Suffer Lack Of Consistency

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke Wednesday at an Associated Press media event at the Capitol.

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:10 pm

Same-sex marriage gets a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court this April, and in Florida, the Attorney General is making a familiar argument against a piecemeal approach. 

Florida began issuing same-sex marriage licenses at the beginning of this month.  At the time, officials argued the federal ruling throwing out the state’s marriage ban was narrow and only applied to the couples named in the case.  Wednesday Attorney General Pam Bondi argued the greatest harm is lack of consistency.

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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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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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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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