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Florida News

  1. FPL's fracking investment bill passes committee despite objections

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A House committee overlooked opposition by residential and commercial utility customers Tuesday and approved a proposal sought by Florida Power & Light to allow the company to expand its rate base by charging customers for investments in natural gas fracking operations in other states.

    Fracking.
  2. Hoodwinked! Lawmaker says prison privatization is scamming Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Numbers don't lie and Florida's private prisons are not saving money as promised, according to an investigation by Rep. David Richardson, a retired forensic auditor.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, has become a one-man wrecking crew in forcing the state to provide more oversight of its state prisons. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Medical marijuana bill moves in Florida House, but draws critics for being too restrictive

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A powerful Florida House Republican said Tuesday he'll consider revising his plan for medical pot after drawing criticism from marijuana supporters.

    The medical marijuana legislation being shepherded by House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, includes bans on smoking, vaping edibles. Pictured is vials of medical marijuana oil. [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Parents want daily school recess. The Florida House won't give them that.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida parents seeking more recess time for their children suffered a setback Tuesday, when state lawmakers significantly watered down a proposal that was supposed to require 20 minutes of daily recess for all public elementary students.

    Fifth grade students at John M. Sexton Elementary School, St. Petersburg, participate in field games during a 15 minute recess, each school day. The students also have Physical Education class three times a week at the school. In Miami-Dade County, elementary children are supposed to get it at least two to three days a week, with a few schools testing out the five-day model. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Should vacation rentals be regulated by local government? House bill says no way.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Despite opposition from a group of beach communities across the state, a Florida House subcommittee on Tuesday passed a bill that prevents cities and counties from passing new ordinances that restrict vacation rentals of private homes.

    “Individuals’ private property rights have been violated.”
Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud, sponsor of HB 425
  6. Fake Florida doctor who 'enhanced' buttocks with cement, caulking gets 10 years for manslaughter

    Criminal

    From a Florida prison in November 2011, Shatarka Nuby penned a letter to the state's health department about her cosmetically enhanced buttocks.

    A fake Florida doctor was sentenced to 10 years in prison for injecting a woman with a formula of cement, mineral oil, bathroom caulking and Fix-a-Flat tire sealant. The woman later died and Oneal Ron Morris was charged with manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license. [Local 10]
  7. Florida House won't count computer coding as foreign language for high school students

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House isn't supporting a controversial proposal to let high school students count computer coding as a foreign language course, likely stalling the concept for the second straight session.

  8. Fighting City Hall: Push for more state control angers cities and counties

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — You can fight City Hall. The state Legislature does it all the time.

    Cities and counties are fighting legislation this year that would dramatically limit their home rule powers. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Wesley Chapel, left, says states have powers over local governments that are guaranteed in the Constitution. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, is pushing legislation that would increase the homestead exemption on property taxes from $50,000 to $75,000. If passed, it would cost cities and counties in Florida about $700 million. ([

Steve Bousquet | Tampa Bay Times]
  9. Florida surfer okay after shark bites foot

    Wildlife

    NEW SMYRNA BEACH — Beach patrol officials say a shark bit the foot of a surfer along Florida's Atlantic coastline.

  10. Adam Putnam facing questions about spending in expected run for governor

    Politics

    TALLAHASSEE — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has raised more than $9.4 million for a 2018 governor's race he has yet to announce and, in the last two years, spent $1.8 million of it on a Lakeland-based political consulting firm that has failed to disclose how the expenses were paid.

    Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam gives the keynote address at the Fresh from Florida Summitt held at the Port Tampa Bay in Tampa's Channelside on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times