Ex-house leader enters race for the U.S. Senate
Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner has formally entered the U.S. Senate race. The Boca Raton Republican filed a statement of candidacy paper with the Secretary of the Senate a few days ago. Hasner has acted like a candidate for weeks, raising money through an exploratory committee and traveling the state talking to Republican audiences. He's the third major candidate to enter the GOP primary, after former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos. The winner takes on incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
Immigrant groups may sue over bill
Immigrant rights activists plan to sue the state if the Legislature imposes state controls on undocumented immigrants, including one that would make it a misdemeanor crime to be illegally in Florida. Cheryl Little, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center executive director, said her organization and the American Civil Liberties Union are ready to sue the state if an Arizona-style immigration law happens. In the meantime, she added, hers and other immigrant groups will work aggressively to thwart approval of any immigration bill.
Cannon not ruling out special session
House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, ended Thursday's floor session by telling reporters that there has been no progress in budget negotiations, but that he is fairly optimistic the session can end on time in two weeks. "I still am confident that we'll get done on time, but I'm not guaranteeing that we'll get done on time," Cannon said. He also would not rule out a scenario that's gathered some currency among the Capitol crowd, that the House and Senate have so many differences to resolve that they would return later in May for a special session devoted to the budget.
Bill would extend yellow light times
If the Legislature doesn't get around to outlawing red light cameras, Rep. Larry Ahern wants to buy drivers some time with longer yellow lights. Ahern, R-St. Petersburg, has proposed HB 145 to set minimum duration times for yellow traffic lights. The times would range between three and six seconds, depending on the speed limit at the intersection. Ahern's proposal specifically says that traffic infractions for red light running are unenforceable if the intersection doesn't have yellow lights that last long enough. The measure passed its lone committee stop Thursday, with one dissenting vote, Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Fort Lauderdale. The Senate has a similar provision tucked in a large transportation bill.
Connie Mack at rest after surgery
Statement from U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV spokesman David James: "Congressman Connie Mack is resting at home in Fort Myers today after undergoing a minor surgery to repair a hernia at the HealthPark Medical Center part of the Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers on Tuesday afternoon. After a short recuperation, Mack will resume his public schedule in seven-10 days."
Times/Herald staff writers Alex Leary, Steve Bousquet, Alfonso Chardy, Jodie Tillman and Adam C. Smith contributed to this report.