Political news

Florida Roundup: Florida Politics In 2016

Jan 8, 2016
flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

An election year like this year means Florida’s politics will be on the national stage -- from our pivotal role in choosing the next president, to the balance of power in the United States Congress, to policy fights in the state Legislature.

All this political intrigue leads back to Florida voters.

Springs Backers Seek Water Policy Changes

Jan 4, 2016

An advocacy group for Florida's natural springs has outlined concerns with a major water-policy bill that is expected to be quickly approved during the upcoming 2016 legislative session.

The Florida Springs Council, a consortium of 35 organizations, is telling lawmakers what changes are needed to get its support for the proposal (SB 552 and HB 7005). But the group isn't hopeful that its requests --- or similar requests from other environmental groups --- will result in changes to the proposal.

Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press

“The year 2015 has seen more firsts than in 50 years,” says Tom Hudson, WLRN’s Florida Roundup host.


He spoke with WLRN’s Tim Padgett and Fusion’s Latin America editor Tim Rogers to discuss the pathway to normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations, the migrant crisis in Central America and Venezuela’s crumbling economy.

The Florida Roundup: Politics In 2015

Dec 30, 2015
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Before ringing in the New Year, we take a look back at 2015 national politics and politics in the Sunshine State.


It was a critical year for Democrats and Republicans running in the presidential race. From spring through summer, more than 20 major party candidates started campaigning as presidential hopefuls. Four of them have personal connections to Florida: Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson.


Eliza Brown/ Flickr

A state Senate redistricting plan favored by voting-rights organizations was approved Wednesday by a Leon County judge in a move that could shake the Republican Party's grip on power in the Capitol.

In choosing the new map, Circuit Judge George Reynolds also rejected a plan put forward by Senate Republican leaders as the best configuration of the chamber's 40 seats. The proposal chosen by Reynolds would lead to a roughly even number of districts favoring each party.

New Water Policy Expected To Flow In Session

Dec 30, 2015
Earl Leatherberry/flickr

A statewide water-policy proposal is poised for the House and Senate floors early in the upcoming legislative session.

It would set water-flow levels for the state's natural springs and guidelines for the Central Florida Water Initiative, a regional water-supply planning effort.

The plan is a top priority of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, and is expected to quickly pass both chambers.

But Putnam hasn't forgotten that last session, the House and Senate passed water-policy bills yet couldn't come to terms.

Lightblb on Flickr

Hundreds of thousands of registered voters in Florida are being asked to update their signatures.

If the signature on an absentee ballot doesn’t match what the elections office has on file, the vote can be tossed out.

Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley sent letters to nearly 200,000 voters who have previously requested ballots by mail.

Steve Bousquet in the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau says absentee voting has become so popular that an effort is underway to re-name it.

It's that time of year to once again cast our gaze on some of the most outrageous comments made by politicians. WUSF talks with PolitiFact Florida's Amy Hollyfield about their latest stocking stuffer - The Lie of the Year.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department / lacounty.gov

  In a key step for supporters of legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would go on the November 2016 ballot.

Justices said the proposal, spearheaded by the group People United for Medical Marijuana, meets legal tests that include dealing with a single subject and having a clearly worded ballot title and summary. The Supreme Court does not consider the merits of proposed constitutional amendments but reviews them, in part, to make sure voters would not be misled.


The Florida Senate rested its case in support of a proposed map during the second day of a redistricting trial Tuesday, as lawyers for voting-rights organizations prepared to grill the chief map-drawer for the chamber.

The main witness Tuesday was University of Utah political-science professor Baodong Liu, who questioned whether plans offered by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida would offer Hispanic and African-American voters a chance to elect candidates of their choice in some districts.

Fish swimming in Miami? And hundreds of thousands of Americans on the FBI's terrorist watch list? To get to the bottom of these allegations, WUSF talks with Katie Sanders from PolitiFact Florida.

The warnings about climate change have been getting a good airing at the Paris talks on global warming, and in this country, Florida has been singled out as potentially the biggest victim from rising sea levels. President Obama went so far as to point out that low-lying Miami is at particular risk.

Florida Roundup: Property Claims In Cuba And U.S.

Dec 11, 2015
Ramon Espinosa / AP

The U.S. and Cuba may have embassies in each other’s countries, but relations are far from normal. Human rights, basic freedoms and an open economy continue to be major areas of friction between the two.

For the first time, negotiators tackled the contentious issue of reparations this week. American companies and Cubans in America want billions for property confiscated two generations ago when Fidel Castro and the communists seized power. Homes, businesses, shops, factories, farms -- they were all just taken by the revolution.

Bar Jack / Flickr

Acknowledging "momentum" behind a proposal that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry guns, the Florida Police Chiefs Association said Thursday its board of directors had voted to back the controversial measure --- as long as changes designed to protect law-enforcement officers are included.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the police chiefs' group had contacted the sponsors of the proposal (SB 300/HB 163), Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who both say they're on board with the changes.

There are a lot of surprising things about Donald Trump's campaign. He has been atop polls almost constantly for nearly five months. Contrast that to GOP primaries of recent past, in which a series of "front-runners" have come and gone before a nominee was chosen.

Likewise, he seems not only immune to fact checks but is helped when he is perceived to be a victim of media targeting — even when he has made blatantly untrue claims and refused to back down.

President Obama is telling global leaders that the U.S. is taking the lead on combating climate change. But Congress would have to approve any money for the effort and Republicans are dead set against it. South Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart says the president knows he's deceiving world leaders.

“This is a president who seems to be, every day, more and more out of touch with the reality of the world. And so, you know, would it surprise me if the president went and promised things he couldn’t deliver? It wouldn’t surprise me,” Diaz-Balart says.