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  1. Legislators make few repairs to Florida's safety net but push back on tax cuts

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Something strange was happening in the halls of the Republican-led Legislature as it passed the halfway point of its annual session.

    Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, R- Orlando talks with the Tom Lee- R- Brandon, Senate Appropriations Chairman. (SCOTT KEELER   |   TIMES, 2015)

  2. Donald Trump promises his Tampa rally will be family-friendly

    State Roundup

    TAMPA — The Donald Trump show comes to Tampa on Friday night, and the star promises it will be family-friendly.

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump thanks photographers Thursday as he greets the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally in Baton Rouge, La. [Associated Press]
  3. Rep. Erik Fresen's close ties to charter schools continue to raise questions of conflict

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A familiar face is back at the center of a perennial tug-of-war in the Florida Legislature between privately-managed charter schools and district-run public schools over taxpayer money for construction projects:

    State Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, confers with colleagues on the floor during the debate on the House budget bill Thursday. [Associated Press]

  4. Florida Senate proposes reforming charter schools' capital funding

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Responding to a controversial plan fast-tracked by Miami Republican Rep. Erik Fresen, a Florida Senate subcommittee is proposing its own reforms to how much school districts can spend on capital costs and what access the state's 650 charter schools should have to state and local dollars.

  5. Florida House and Senate approve budgets at odds with each other and Gov. Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Senate and House on Thursday passed differing versions of a state budget but with the common theme of opposition to Gov. Rick Scott's biggest priorities.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott, appearing at a news conference earlier in February at the Hillsborough County Health Department, has been pushing for $1 billion in tax cuts. (ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times)
  6. Florida Rep. Alan Grayson's double life: Congressman and hedge fund manager

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — The hedge fund manager boasted that he had traveled to "every country" in the world, studying overseas stock markets as he fine-tuned an investment strategy to capitalize on global companies' suffering because of economic or political turmoil.

    Rep. Alan Grayson stands on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington on Feb. 4. Grayson's highly unusual dual role - a sitting House lawmaker running a hedge fund, which until recently had operations in the Cayman Islands - led to an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics. [Zach Gibson | New York Times]
  7. Tampa Bay market has higher-than-average percentage of vacant homes

    Real Estate

    Even as Realtors bemoan a dearth of homes for sale, Tampa Bay has a higher-than-average percentage of houses and condos sitting empty.

    This Shore Acres home at 1867 Nevada Ave NE in St. Petersburg has been abandoned for years. "Zombie'' homes are houses in foreclosure limbo whose owners have abandoned them. (LARA CERRI  | Times)
  8. Stripped of momentum, vulnerable Marco Rubio heads into South Carolina

    State Roundup

    Rick Santorum started it. Chris Christie kicked down the door. And the voters of New Hampshire finished the job.

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio holds a campaign town hall at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center Feb. 10, 2016, in Columbia, S.C.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
  9. Adam C. Smith: Five things we learned in Iowa, New Hampshire

    State Roundup


    Contrary to expectations that Iowa and New Hampshire would bring clarity, the topsy-turvy 2016 presidential race looks as muddled and volatile as ever and neither primary appears to be winding down soon.

    Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks to his supporters at a primary night gathering, held at Alpine Grove Banquet facility on Feb. 9, 2016, in Hollis, N.H. Cruz finished third in the New Hampshire primary behind Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.  (Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)
  10. Couple falls for the biggest game at the fair

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — At the edge of the midway, where the air tastes like turkey legs, the young couple keeps kissing behind their booth: Fool the Guesser.

    Kiersten Copon and Josh Bennett kiss at their Fool the Guesser booth Tuesday at the Florida State Fair.