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Morning briefing: Early fog and an early spring, and Florida justices hear death penalty arguments

This morning's dense fog was forecast to break up around 9:30 or 10 a.m., according to 10Weather WTSP. Expect high temperatures around 80, then more fog tonight and tomorrow morning.

• Waking up from the Iowa caucuses and ready to think about New Hampshire? So are we. Times political editor Adam C. Smith is on the ground and Washington bureau chief Alex Leary will be soon. Who won last night? Well, the big Republican winner might have finished in third place — and the Democratic caucuses were still too close to call this morning. Follow our live blog for the latest news from the presidential campaign trail.

• The handlers of Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, say the furry rodent has failed to see his shadow, meaning means he's "predicted" an early spring. (Actually, his handlers make the prediction, and they make it ahead of time, but don't get us started.) Records going back to 1887 show Phil has now predicted more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times. (There are no records for the remaining years.)

• Today, President Barack Obama meets with the Republican House and Senate leaders to discuss issues ranging from taxes to criminal justice to national security. Obama, Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected to speak privately about several matters on which they appear to agree, including a sweeping trade pact with Asian countries, battling the heroin epidemic and authorizing the fight against the Islamic State.

• The Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at 9 a.m. this morning on whether the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling striking down Florida's death penalty system means that death-row inmate Cary Michael Lambrix should be granted a stay for his execution set for Feb. 11. The high court's ruling, Hurst vs. Florida, will also be the focus of a Florida Senate hearing today. Follow for the latest developments on that plus other legislative action today — from a new round of debate on the open carry and campus carry gun bills to the sanctuary city movement.

• Pinellas County will announce its Outstanding Educator of the Year award tonight during its annual "Evening of Excellence" at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The event begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door for general admission; students and teachers pay $5. The 10 finalists represent a wide cross section of the school district, hailing from Palm Harbor to Gulfport and from elementary school to high school. Check with this evening for news of the winner.

• Legendary singer-songwriter Graham Nash plays at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre tonight. Our pop music critic talked with the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — both with the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

• Here are the top things to today in Tampa Bay, including free admission at the Glazer Children's Museum and Lion King on stage at the Straz Center.

• Lydia Ko, the hottest thing in women's golf last season, plays this week at the LPGA tournament in Ocala.

[10Weather WTSP]

[10Weather WTSP]

Morning briefing: Early fog and an early spring, and Florida justices hear death penalty arguments 02/02/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 10:33am]
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