SCOTT SIGNS GROWTH MANAGEMENT BILL
Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed the first in a series of growth management bills designed to respond to a court ruling last year that threw out a 2009 bill. SB 7001 relaxes requirements for developers to pay for new roads and schools and exempts larger developments from state review. The 2009 bill was declared unconstitutional by Circuit Judge Charles Francis in August because it included more than one subject and it imposed unfunded obligations on local government without getting a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, as required by the state Constitution. Environmental groups did not oppose the bill this session, focusing their attention instead on a broader overhaul of the state's growth management laws, which is expected to be passed by both the House and Senate.
Former justice urges against court revamp
Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero was in Tallahassee on Wednesday to persuade Republican senators to reject a House proposal to expand and split the Supreme Court into criminal and civil divisions. The overhaul of the court is a top priority for House Speaker Dean Cannon, and it has become a bargaining chip in negotiations between the House and Senate. Judges and attorneys throughout the state have panned the proposed changes to the court, which Cannon and supporters say are necessary for efficiency. Cantero says the court has no efficiency issues. "The Florida Supreme Court in particular is operating very efficiently right now. Its caseload has decreased every year or just about every year since 2001."
Scott heading to a party in Washington
Gov. Scott will attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on Saturday. He will be a guest of the Washington Post, according to his press office. Who else did the Post invite? Donald Trump. Scott has proved himself a fan of swanky D.C. affairs. In March, he attended the Gridiron Club dinner as a guest of Scripps. In January, it was the 98th annual dinner of the Alfalfa Club, a 200-member exclusive club whose event is closed to the press.
Company tied to Haridopolos is bankrupt
Appliance Direct, the central Florida appliance chain whose subsidiary pays Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos $60,000 a year for consulting services, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Florida Today reports. A subsidiary of Appliance Direct, Market Share Systems, since 2007 has paid Haridopolos $5,000 per month to advise Appliance Direct's founder, Sam Pak, on economic, business and political matters. The bankruptcy filings make no mention of Market Share or Haridopolos, a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Times/Herald staff writers Janet Zink, Katie Sanders, Mary Ellen Klas and Adam C. Smith contributed to this report.