Politics

Politics
5:18 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Does Medical Marijuana On Amendment Two Still Have A Chance?

A marijuana plant grows in a front yard in Dark View Falls in St. Vincent in the eastern Caribbean March 10, 2014. As the use of marijuana becomes legalized in some parts of the United States, there is growing debate and division in the Caribbean over loosening restrictions on the popular crop. St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is leading an effort to have Caribbean leaders study the issue. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

    

If voters approve Amendment Two, legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Legislature will have the final say in how the amendment is carried out.

Lawmakers have the power to keep tight controls over how the drug is cultivated and dispensed.

Below, read an edited version of a conversation between WLRN's Tallahassee reporter Gina Jordan and Mary Ellen Klas of the Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau.

What aren't the medical marijuana ads telling voters? 

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Politics
4:58 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

The Final Gubernatorial Debate Might Lack Controversy

The final gubernatorial debate takes place at WJXT-TV in Jacksonville.
Credit MARC CAPUTO MCAPUTO@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Governor Rick Scott and opponent Charlie Crist will debate Tuesday for the final time before the Nov. 4 election.

CNN will host both candidates at the WJXT-TV studios in Jacksonville.

Co-moderator Jake Tapper, from CNN's "The Lead," says unlike the debate last week at Broward College in Davie, this debate will take place in a space with no audience and few reporters.

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The Governor's Race
6:45 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Republicans Try To Turn Out Early Votes In Miami

Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio urged GOP voters to cast their ballots early.
Credit John O'Connor / WLRN

It’s about two weeks until voters choose the next governor of Florida.

Absentee votes started being counted last week. And today is the start of early voting in South Florida. Other counties will follow soon.

It’s why Gov. Rick Scott and a slate of Republican candidates met at a Miami park next to a polling place Monday – to cast their early votes and encourage others to do the same.

The race between Republican Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist is tight. Scott says the first votes cast could be the difference in the end.

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South Florida Elections
6:29 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Do You Understand What You're Voting For?

Early voting runs from October 20th through November 2nd. Donna Bloom casts her vote at Miami Beach City Hall on the first day of early voting on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, for the Nov. 5 Miami-Dade County special election.
Credit MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Floridians have the opportunity to choose a governor, as well as numerous other state and congressional leaders, in this year's midterm election. There are also three constitutional amendments up for a vote, and numerous other county questions, depending on your ballot.

It's easy to see why some questions or ballot measures overshadow others. But, does that excuse voters from not being informed?

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It's All Politics
3:16 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

A Guide To Third-Party Candidates

Florida Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie told the Miami Herald, "I'm a middle-class guy. I face the same problems that Floridians are facing. I'm not living in an ivory castle like Rick Scott and Charlie Crist."
Brendan Farrington AP

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 8:29 pm

Third-party candidates are often written off as long shots or unrealistic. But this November, observers are expecting them to do better than usual.

Polls show voters are tired of both parties. As NPR's Tamara Keith reports, that could be creating an opening for third-party candidates in statewide elections.

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Politics
11:57 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Florida Roundup: The Debate That Almost Wasn't

Gubernatorial candidates caused a nationwide stir when Rick Scott delayed their debate start due a fan Charlie Crist had at his podium.
Credit Michael Laughlin / South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Governor Rick cott and former Governor Charlie Crist met for their second debate this week, but only after a delay over one candidate cooling down hot air.

Attorney General Pam Bondi wants the Florida Supreme Court to decide if same-sex couples can get married here.

And in college football, police and amateur athletes on campus are under scrutiny at Florida State.

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The Governor's Race
3:47 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Florida Governor Candidates Disagree About Changing Stand Your Ground Law

Democrat Charlie Crist says he wants to change Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense law. Republican Gov. Rick Scott would leave it be.
Credit Michael Laughlin / South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist disagree on a controversial self-defense law that allows Floridians to kill if they feel their lives are threatened.

When asked if justice was done in the 2012 shooting death of Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin, Crist, a Democrat, referred to his days as a prosecutor.

"I understand that judging from afar is not a very good idea," Crist said. "What I do know though, is this Stand Your Ground law needs to be fixed.”

Crist said the law allows someone to instigate a confrontation, then kill the other person and be exonerated.

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The Governor's Race
11:44 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

What Just Happened? #Fangate At The Scott-Crist Gubernatorial Debate

Former Gov. Charlie Crist is known for bringing a small fan to speaking engagements.
Credit Michael Laughlin / South Florida Sun-Sentinel

It seemed like a joke at first. Sounding slightly perplexed, debate moderator Eliott Rodriguez of CBS Miami said, "We have been told that Gov. Scott will not be participating in this debate."

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Latin America Report
7:41 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

What The Non-Cuban Latino Vote Means For Florida Politicians

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (center) and running mate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (right) talk with Hector Parra (left) and his daugher Marcela Parra.
Credit Charlie Crist campaign

Latinos, as if you needed more media reminding, are America’s largest minority today. Winning their swing vote matters more than ever – even if means politicians making speeches in really bad Spanish.

In Florida, that exercise used to be a day at the beach. Or rather, an hour at Miami’s Versailles restaurant. Drink a café cubano. Declare your hatred for Fidel Castro. Head to the next campaign stop.

But that was back when Latino in Florida meant almost exclusively Cuban. And Cuban meant Republican.

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Politics
6:19 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Why Education Is A Top Issue In The Governor's Race

Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic opponent Charlie Crist are making education a top issue during the campaign.
Credit John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Polls show Governor Rick Scott and former Governor Charlie Crist are polarizing. Voters are as likely to dislike the candidates as they are to approve of them.

So both candidates are talking about schools, colleges and scholarships -- to motivate their supporters.

“Education is an issue that is helping to appeal to the base," says Sean Foreman, a Barry University political science professor and chairman of the education committee for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

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Governor's Race
8:38 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Chris Christie Doesn't Want You To Think Rick Scott Can Debate Charlie Crist And Win

GOVERNORS: Campaigning for Rick Scott, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Scott opponent Charlie Crist is probably the better debater.
Credit Rick Stone / WLRN

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday will meet his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, for the first of three October debates.

And Crist, of course, will mop the floor with Florida's Republican governor. Says who? Says Scott's new best friend, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The chairman of the Republican Governors Association. That's who.

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Politics
12:37 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

How Campaign Finance Laws Make Florida Governor's Race Unique

Expect airwaves to be flooded with campaign ads in the final weeks leading up to Election Day.
Credit fotographic1980/freedigitalphotos.net

Florida’s campaign finance laws make for a unique governor’s race. In an analysis of television advertising through late September, the Rick Scott and Charlie Crist campaigns hadn’t spent much on TV advertising. Political parties and political action committees known as PACs have done most of the spending.

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Latin America Report
11:01 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Haiti's Crucial Question: Would Baby Doc Have Gone To Jail If He'd Lived Longer?

The late Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1975.
Credit Flickr user a-birdie

As Haiti’s national police director from 1996 to 2002, Pierre Denize had a mission: to help the country’s fledgling democracy build a more professional and humane justice system.

Denize had seen too much of the polar opposite in his youth – especially when his parents were jailed, brutalized and exiled during the three-decade-long reign of cruelty and corruption known as the Duvalier dynasty.

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Supreme Court
5:06 am
Tue October 7, 2014

How Justice Sotomayor Is 'Busting' The Supreme Court's Steady Rhythms

Joan Biskupic, author of a new book about Justice Sonia Sotomayor, says she was "intrigued by the fact that ... the arc of her life was actually the same trajectory of the rise of Latinos in America."
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 11:07 am

What do salsa dancing and the Supreme Court have to do with each other? A lot, according to author Joan Biskupic, whose new book about Justice Sonia Sotomayor is now out in bookstores.

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Politics
7:12 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Veterans Secretary Wants VA Whistleblowers

VA Secretary Bob McDonald (left) watches as paralyzed Navy Veteran Dwayne Scheuneman (right) demonstrates the Exoskeleton during the new leader's visit Wednesday at the James A. Haley VA Polytrauma Center.

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 3:01 pm

Secret patient waiting lists, delayed medical care, retaliation against whistleblowers  are all reasons why trust in the VA hit an all-time low this spring especially on Capitol Hill.

The new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert “Bob” McDonald is trying to restore that trust. He’s started by visiting as many VA facilities as possible during his first 90 days in office.

McDonald toured several Florida VA facilities this week and he invited U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee of Veterans Affairs, to come along.

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