Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Political notebook

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Pelosi to announce her decision today

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says she'll announce today whether she'll continue in her current position or step down after her party failed to gain the 25 seats it needed to win the House majority. When a few undecided races are called, Democrats will gain less than half of that number. But Pelosi, who raised millions of dollars to put Democrats back in power, has refused to say whether she'll relinquish or keep her leadership post, serve out the two-year term to which she was just elected, or retire.

Ryan: Losing election 'a bit of a shock'

The polling and other data and all the smart people watching the election gave Rep. Paul Ryan an optimistic view on the night of last week's election. When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost, his running mate felt "a bit of a shock." "Going into Boston that day, we felt like we had a pretty darn good chance of winning," Ryan told ABC News in an interview broadcast Tuesday. "So as you can imagine, it was a bit of a shock when we didn't win, but that's just the way these things go." Ryan said President Barack Obama deserves to be congratulated for having "a fantastic ground game." "He won fair and square," Ryan said of Obama. "He got more votes, and that's the way our system works, and so he ought to be congratulated for that." Had he been at the top of the ticket, Ryan said, he would have run exactly the kind of campaign that Romney oversaw. Ryan said he and Romney "felt very good about the race we ran."

Jackson no longer a Mayo Clinic patient

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Tuesday, clinic spokesman Nick Hanson said. "He is no longer a patient here," Hanson said. "I don't know where he is." The Illinois Democrat, who is reportedly under federal investigation for alleged misuse of campaign funds, has been on a leave of absence from Congress since June. He won re-election a week ago, issuing a statement of thanks from Mayo. Jackson suffers from bipolar disorder. He re-entered Mayo in October after spending weeks there last summer. He initially was treated at Sierra Tucson in Arizona after beginning his leave of absence.

Leaders introduce newest lawmakers

House and Senate minority leaders Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell surrounded themselves with the triumphant faces of newly elected lawmakers Tuesday. But the glow of victory couldn't hide the leaders' own Election Day failures. Pelosi, the onetime House speaker and the first woman to hold the office, touted the diversity of her caucus, even though her quest to flip 25 seats and gain control of the House failed by two-thirds. McConnell declared his caucus was "ready to get started"— as a minority yet again and under a president whose defeat he had named as his top priority. "The election's behind us," McConnell emphasized with a tight smile. What lay ahead looked to be a bitter end to a presidential and congressional election year that consumed $6 billion in campaign cash, bombarded voters with political ads and changed nothing about who holds the presidency or which parties control Congress. Voters dashed the hopes of out-of-power veterans like Pelosi and McConnell while electing a dozen new senators and at least 82 new House members.

King expects to make caucus choice today

Independent Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine says he probably won't keep people guessing long about which party he will align himself with. The former governor said he's trying to make a decision on which party to caucus with in time for the leadership votes both parties will hold today. It's widely assumed he will caucus with Democrats, especially after GOP and conservative super PACs spent millions of dollars to attack him during the campaign. King is in orientation sessions for freshman lawmakers and has talked to both Democrats and Republicans. King will replace retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, a prominent GOP centrist.

Senate approves whistle-blower bill

The Senate has given final congressional approval to a bill that would significantly expand protections for federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse and make it easier to punish supervisors who try to retaliate against the whistle-blowers. The whistle-blower protection measure was sent to the president Tuesday by a voice vote. The legislation closes loopholes created by court rulings, which removed protections for whistle-blowers. One loophole specified that whistle-blowers were only protected when they were the first to report misconduct. The new legislation, however, would go beyond restoring protections, to expand whistle-blower rights and clarify protections that were not explicitly clear. For instance, the bill would clarify that whistle-blowers could challenge the consequences of government policy decisions.

Times wires

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Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Warren Sapp pointed to the sky. And then he dropped Kurt Warner to the ground.The Bucs had just intercepted Warner for the fourth time. Sapp’s block cleared the way for Derrick Brooks to cross the goal line and clinch the win.Before Tampa Bay p...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Aquarium reopens to divers

Aquarium reopens to divers

Florida Keys News BureauVisitors to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters dive with among indigenous Keys fish Friday in Marathon. The attraction reopened Friday after closing just before Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Although tourism f...
Published: 12/16/17
Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

MIAMI — With burrowing iguanas showing up in people’s toilets and damaging expensive sewer lines, Florida wildlife managers are stepping up efforts to control the state’s booming population of the wild, invasive reptiles. The Florida Fish and Wildlif...
Published: 12/16/17

Fan helps fund Miami Stadium’s historic marker

MIAMI — For thousands of kids who grew up in Miami, going to the old Miami Stadium in the Allapattah neighborhood was a part of coming of age. Opened on Aug. 31, 1949, with a game between the Miami Sun Sox and Havana Cubans, two Class B Florida Inter...
Published: 12/16/17
Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

OCEAN CITY, Md. — Phil Heasley of Naples caught the fish of his life, but the $2.8 million in tournament prize money got away. Heasley reeled in a 6-foot white marlin last year off Maryland’s coast. But in a sign of how concerned some big money tour...
Published: 12/16/17
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Published: 12/16/17

Two die in head-on crash on Gunn Highway in Odessa

ODESSA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a head-on crash on Gunn Highway that killed two and sent a child to the hospital Saturday afternoon.About 12: 45 p.m., Terry Lee Bronschidle, 70, of Tampa was driving his Chevy Traverse south on...
Published: 12/16/17