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Latest Buzz on Florida politics

The Sunshine State may not be ready for a rainy day.

The $1.4 billion that Florida holds in reserves is enough to operate state government for 16.2 days, according to a recent analysis by the non-profit Pew Charitable Trusts.

That’s well below the state average of 23 days and less than half of where Florida was in 2002, when it could have run on its rainy day fund for nearly 33 days.

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Winner of the week

Florida firefighters. It took four years, but it looks like the state’s firefighters will get cancer classified as an occupational hazard that will qualify for full health insurance coverage, including disability and death benefits. Florida House Speaker José Oliva initially opposed the legislation, but relented after a whisper campaign suggested he was playing politics. It still has to pass the Legislature and get signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, but Oliva, is backing it now. “After many many years, this is the year it gets done,” Oliva tweeted last week.

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TALLAHASSEE -- After the Parkland shooting last year, debates erupted in the Florida Legislature and across the state about guns — but one thing on which everyone agreed was the fact that Florida’s students needed greater access to mental health services.

But two late-moving bills in the Florida Legislature have brought to the fore new nuances about how open that access should be.

The legislation would create a new section of Florida law that would create a parental “bill of rights,” which would establish parents’ authority to direct “the education and care” of their child as well as their “moral and religious training.” It would also broadly give parents a say in any healthcare decisions their children make through their schools or even private providers: including if minors seek help from a counselor.

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A question has been lingering in Florida since Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that Russian hackers gained access to a Florida county.

Does this vindicate former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson? He apparently thinks so.

In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, the former Democratic senator said Mueller’s report explains why last summer he sounded the alarm and claimed that Russians “are in” voting records in Florida.

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In filings to the state Supreme Court late Thursday, both the Florida House and Senate said they oppose the petition-driven ballot initiative that would reform how consumers purchase electricity in Florida.

The proposal, put forward by the Citizens for Energy Choices political committee, calls for the customers’ “right to choose” and would loosen the grip of private utility monopolies like Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, Duke Energy and Tampa Electric Co. It would allow customers to pick their electricity providers from a competitive market or give them more options to produce solar energy themselves.

Attorneys for the House wrote that the initiative would have a "deleterious effect" and they consider this change to the state's constitution an "abuse of the initiative process."

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State Sen. Tom Lee wants lawmakers to have oversight over transportation department settlements after news broke that state officials made a secret $3.6 million settlement to get a bidder on the state’s SunPass project to go away five years ago.

The Thonotosassa Republican has been raising questions about the settlement since it was detailed by the Times/Herald earlier last month.

The settlement went to San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems, one of the companies that bid on a an estimated $600 million project to overhaul the state’s SunPass toll system.

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From PolitiFact Florida