Tallahassee

Margie Menzel/News Service of Florida

A 6-foot pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans is making news around the world as it stands in Florida’s Capitol building.

Maker Chaz Stevens and his beer-can pole have been featured on the Colbert Report, the Huffington Post, and the major networks.

samsungtomorrow/flickr

Florida drivers are required to carry proof of insurance.

Those who are pulled over in Miami-Dade County and can’t show proof of coverage will get a $129 ticket. (It drops to $10 if proof is provided with 30 days that the driver had insurance at the time of the citation.)

Florida Governor's Office

Florida’s economy is improving, and soon voters will have to decide whether Gov. Rick Scott deserves enough of the credit to be reelected next year.

Scott made jobs his top priority. He said his administration would make efforts leading to 700,000 new jobs over seven years – a number above the economic growth forecast by state economists.

Anti-Church And State Group Adds Seasonal Banner To Capitol

Dec 6, 2013
Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia Commons

The Madison, Wis., group Freedom From Religion Foundation has brought in a seasonal display for the first-floor rotunda of the Florida Capitol, days after the Florida Prayer Network put up a privately funded nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus Christ.

The foundation, a non-profit that advocates for non-theists and promotes the separation of church and state, proclaimed its "Bill of Rights nativity" banner as a counter to the nativity scene.

Florida Sets Record For Tourism

Nov 18, 2013
Florida Governor's Office

The three-month period ending in September brought almost 23 million visitors to Florida. That's the highest number ever for a third quarter.

The state is on pace to welcome about 95 million tourists in 2013. That would be a record, but shy of the 100-million goal the governor’s office was hoping for this year.

And it’s not just about the theme parks. Many visitors are hitting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach from international destinations.

Tallahassee Silent On Sea-Level Rise

Nov 18, 2013
Ahurey eM/flickr

If the state uses projections from the Army Corps of Engineers, policy leaders should be planning for a possible two-foot sea-level rise by 2060.

But so far, it’s largely been up to local governments to figure out how to handle higher water.

“Sea-level rise is something that will impact millions of people throughout the state,” said Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach. “It’s preposterous to think we wouldn’t think about that, but in reality, we’re not doing a damn thing.”

Jordan Michael/WLRN

Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit government watchdog group, is out with its annual list of ways the state can cut costs and be more efficient -- without cutting services.

The report, called Modern Management & Sensible Savings, found $1.2 billion that could potentially be returned to state coffers. Lawmakers could act on the recommendations when they convene for the annual legislative session next spring.

floridajobs.org

Florida’s new unemployment claims system isn’t perfect yet, but state leaders say it’s less bug-prone.

The Florida Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee got an update Monday on problems with the new system, which launched three weeks ago.

Executive Director Jesse Panuccio runs the Department of Economic Opportunity, which oversees the program for jobless benefits.

He says the kinks have mostly been worked out.

Reilly Shiarella/flickr

Florida has a new website for unemployment claims, and much like the federal government’s health insurance website, it’s plagued with problems.

The Reemployment Assistance Connect System – known as CONNECT – is where jobless Floridians must go to file their claims. It’s overseen by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Eric Broder Van Dyke/flickr

Legislative leaders are joining the fight against an effort to get a medical marijuana proposal on the ballot next year.

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, say they will file a brief with the Florida Supreme Court opposing the initiative.

Gaetz sent a memo to the Florida Senate saying he doesn’t think the proposal meets legal requirements.

Gray Swoope
chooseosceola/flickr

Florida’s public-private economic development agency is holding a two-day meeting in Coral Gables this week.

Enterprise Florida (EFI) is a partnership between business and government to lure companies and jobs to the state. It’s funded by Florida taxpayers as well as private-sector businesses.

The meeting will include updates from Gov. Rick Scott, EFI President & CEO Gray Swoope, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad and “jobs success stories.”

Tia Mitchell/Herald-Times Tallahassee Bureau

Forums are being offered around the country about the Affordable Care Act.

A group calling itself the Obamacare Enrollment Team is providing information and answering questions.

But the people on the team do not work for the federal government, and they’re pushing products sold by a South Florida insurance company.

Leon Brown/FSU

Wendy Nader remembers when her mom started showing obvious signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

“I would talk to her on the phone and she would repeat what she had just told me two or three times in one conversation,” Nader said. “When she started doing that, it was a huge red flag. It wasn’t too long after that, that she started getting lost.”

Nader’s mom, in her early 70’s at the time, would drive to a Miami mall or bank where she was a regular – only to forget where she was.

Grant Cochrane/freedigitalphotos.net

A study measuring the potential economic impact of gambling casinos in Florida has been delayed a month. It was due October 1.

In a letter to legislative leaders, Spectrum Gaming Group requested a new deadline of November 1 to complete the study.

Their request came after state economists questioned the economic models used in the report.

RELATED: Florida Lawmakers Delay Highly Anticipated Gambling Study

Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment

Now that “Burn Notice” has wrapped up seven successful seasons, will a new show step in to send the world a postcard of Miami every week?

The USA Network production ended its run recently while ratings were still strong. Thanks to a worldwide audience, it’s likely to live for years in syndication.

But the end of the show, as well as A&E’s The Glades and Starz’ Magic City this summer, leaves a void in Miami’s economy. A lot of folks made money off these productions selling props, renting cars, catering food, cleaning costumes and working on-camera.

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