Gay marriage, redistricting mess voted top Florida stories of year
The top news story in Florida in 2015 was the legalization of same-sex marriage, according to an Associated Press poll of newspaper and broadcast editors statewide.
Gay marriage easily beat out the No. 2 story: the long-running battle over the flawed districts the Legislature drew for Congress and the state Senate that had to be redrawn because they violated a voter-approved anti-gerrymandering law. Here, from AP, are the other top stories of 2015, as voted by editors:
3. Former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida both seek the Republican nomination for president.
4. Florida surpasses New York to become the nation’s third-most populous state with about 20.2 million residents, with more than half the growth from three metropolitan areas: South Florida, Orlando and Tampa.
5. Hunters kill 298 black bears on an October weekend as the state allowed the animals to be hunted for the first time in 21 years, as conservationists and animal rights groups tried unsuccessfully to stop the hunt.
6. Gov. Rick Scott takes the oath of office a second time, joining Bush as the only Republican governors in state history to win back-to-back terms.
7. The state House and Senate stalemate over whether to expand the state’s Medicaid program, forcing an April collapse of the regular spring session.
8. Scott and the Cabinet settle a lawsuit by media outlets over the firing of former state law enforcement chief Gerald Bailey with no vote or public discussion. The settlement requires improved transparency in the handling of public records and appointments.
9. The Legislature needs a special session to pass a budget after the House walked out three days early during the regular session in a fight over Medicaid expansion. The June special session ended with a $79 billion budget.
10. Two Palm Beach County teens disappear in July after their boat capsized at sea. The week-long search by the Coast Guard and private boats and planes for 14-year-old neighbors Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos draws national attention, but their bodies are not recovered.