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Florida News

  1. Chronic prison woes reveal Florida Legislature's priorities

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The two DVDs were only minutes long but they depicted deplorable conditions in the state's prison system: uninhabitable dorms, inmate-on-staff assaults and roofs that were so porous that prison staff rigged sheets of cardboard to serve as makeshift gutters.

  2. State audit highly critical of Florida's unemployment system CONNECT

    Gubernatorial

    TALLAHASSEE — Ever since the troubled launch of the state's unemployment website in October 2013, Gov. Rick Scott and his team have staunchly defended the lifeline for hundreds of thousands of jobless Floridians.

  3. Florida's craft beer industry poised to win long-sought changes

    State Roundup

    ST. PETERSBURG — At 2 in the afternoon, Green Bench Brewing is empty but for a bearded bartender and a dark-brown dog named Porter. Within a few hours, though, this brewery transforms into a packed nightspot, with bartenders serving pints and flights of craft brews made on-site over the din of a live band.

    Green Bench Brewing owner Nathan Stonecipher at his establishment in St. Petersburg. The number of breweries statewide has about doubled since 2011 and microbrewery evangelists see this spring's legislative session as a critical opportunity to foster faster growth. (LARA CERRI  | Times)
  4. Jeb Bush exploits non-candidate status to rewrite campaign finance playbook

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — As Jeb Bush continues a torrid fundraising schedule across the country, he is pushing new boundaries of campaign finance law, exploiting his status as a non-candidate to avoid contribution limits and amass a cash pile already in the tens of millions.

    FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2015, file photo, former Florida Gov. Jeb. Bush speaks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in Chicago. Let s say that America has given you the job of picking the perfect candidate for president. There are all sorts of things to start the list: leadership, vision, charisma, communication skills and foreign policy cred. And more: fundraising prowess, authenticity, empathy, a keen understanding of the presidency and maybe a little familiarity with running for the office. Most voters don t really care about campaign finance, but raking in cash is an essential skill for any successful candidate., and Bush is in a position to do just that. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File) WX407
  5. Falling prices and fewer workers cause Florida strawberry farmers to doubt future

    Agriculture

    PLANT CITY — Three aerial photographs hang on the wall of strawberry farmer Carl Grooms' office, each a testament to years of expansion.

    Farm worker Berna Venegas carries just picked strawberries on Fancy Farms in Plant City on Feb. 26. The berries will be sold under the Wish Farms label. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
  6. Governor's budget cuts funding for hundreds of health care workers

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Nutritionists who advise poor families, health counselors and family support workers are among hundreds of health care positions that would be cut under Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget.

  7. Jeb Bush faces the heat at CPAC and stands ground

    State Roundup

    OXON Hill, Md. — Jeb Bush walked into a hostile swarm of conservative activists here Friday but, backed by scores of supporters who often drowned out boos with cheers, stood his ground on immigration and Common Core while touting his time as governor.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush fielded questions from moderator Sean Hannity.
  8. Finding Fletcher: A man's search for what became of his troubled childhood best friend

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER

    A single spotlight illuminated one end of an otherwise dark room at the Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner's office. William Pellan sat behind a computer, eyes fixed to the image of a dead man. Everything I needed to know was on that screen, glowing on his face. But Florida law forbids non-family …

    Andrew Meacham is encouraged that others are now involved in 
the search for Fletcher, including St. Petersburg police.
  9. Gov. Scott faces big hurdles to push his legislative agenda

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE

    On the night he won re-election in November, a beaming Gov. Rick Scott bolted on stage to rowdy chants of "Four more years!" Dismissed by pollsters as a likely loser, Scott clawed his way to victory, using his personal fortune to pay for a pounding barrage of TV ads that doomed rival Charlie Crist. …

  10. Universal Orlando follows Disney in breaking $100 ticket barrier

    Florida

    As expected, once Disney broke the $100 barrier for ticket prices, Universal Orlando followed, on Thursday hiking a one-day, one-park ticket price to $102 from $96. A two-park ticket is now $147, an $11 increase.

    Cheering fans prepare to rush the entrance of Diagon Alley during the grand opening at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida in July. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)