Friday, June 22, 2018

Writers

Steve Contorno

Steve Contorno

Steve Contorno is a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times covering Hillsborough County. He previously worked for PolitiFact in the Times Washington, D.C. bureau. Prior to joining the Times, he covered Congress and Virginia politics for the Washington Examiner as well as state and local governments in Wisconsin for the Green Bay Press-Gazette. A native of the Chicago suburbs, Steve graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor's degree in news-editorial journalism and a minor in political science, and holds a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield, where he covered the Illinois legislature for the Chicago Sun-Times.



Republican gubernatorial candidates Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis [Broward Republican Party Facebook page]

Putnam, DeSantis will accept publicly financed matching for campaign contributions

The two Republican candidates running for governor in Florida have decided to accept public matching of campaign contributions, a program long criticized by conservatives as a taxpayer-funded freebie for politicians.Agriculture...
Published: 06/21/18
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis speaks on Fox News about impeaching Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller for the special counsel investigation into Russian collusion. | Facebook screen grab

Adam Putnam wants to know: ‘Where’s Ron?’

Agriculture Commissioner and Republican governor candidate Adam Putnam has mostly taken veiled shots at his opponent's lack of appearances in Florida.On the campaign trail, Putnam says things like, "If you want to be governor of Florida,...
Published: 06/18/18
Democrats reach out to rural voters in some of Florida’s strongest Republican counties

Democrats reach out to rural voters in some of Florida’s strongest Republican counties

The Democratic Party of Florida this week launched a tour into parts of the state that most heavily voted for President Donald Trump and have long skewed Republican in statewide elections.The goal of the tour is to reach out to voters...
Published: 06/13/18
Florida State University's campus. LARA CERRI | TIMES

Florida universities should charge ‘Chapel Hill’ prices for out-of-state students, Putnam says

TAMPA — Republican governor candidate Adam Putnam said Tuesday that the state is "selling Florida universities cheap to out-of-state students" and suggested tuition should be higher for non-residents."We're now a world class...
Published: 06/12/18
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (left) released an ad in his race for governor featuring Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Grady Judd lends immigration tough talk to Adam Putnam for ad

Republican governor candidate Adam Putnam released an ad Monday featuring outspoken Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, an illegal immigration hard-liner who said Putnam "has our back.""Adam believes we have a responsibility to keep our...
Published: 06/11/18
A previously unreported Office of Inspector General investigation found that in February 2016 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, led by Commissioner Adam Putnam, stopped using a FBI crime database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that ensures applicants who want to carry a gun do not have a disqualifying history in other states.

Senate Democrats call for investigation into state concealed weapons permit program

Two Florida Senate Democrats are calling for a special Senate investigation into the state Department of Agriculture for issuing hundreds of concealed weapons permits to people who were ineligible to carry firearms in...
Published: 06/11/18
Adam Putnam, Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture, and Gov. Rick Scott attend a joint session of the Florida Legislature on Jan. 9. (SCOTT KEELER | Times)

‘Disturbing’ state didn’t review concealed carry background checks, Rick Scott says

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday said it was "disturbing" and "concerning" that the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued concealed weapons permits to hundreds of ineligible people."I expect everybody to...
Published: 06/11/18
Adam Putnam talks with Republican supporters at a rally hosted by the Sun City Republican Club on Saturday. (Steve Contorno | Times)

Putnam blasts Times report, but acknowledges office’s failure to review background checks

SUN CITY CENTER — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Saturday said a Tampa Bay Times report that his office didn't background check concealed weapons applicants for non-criminal offenses for more than a year was "flat wrong...
Published: 06/09/18
Updated: 06/11/18
A previously unreported Office of Inspector General investigation found that in February 2016 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, led by Commissioner Adam Putnam, stopped using a FBI crime database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that ensures applicants who want to carry a gun do not have a disqualifying history in other states.

Adam Putnam’s office stopped reviewing concealed weapons background checks for a year because it couldn’t log in

For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to review national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits, potentially allowing drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/09/18
Adam Putnam touts his efforts to expand concealed carry gun permits in Florida in a Facebook ad. [Facebook]

Democratic candidates: Putnam ‘failed,’ should ‘drop out’ for department’s failure to conduct background checks

Democratic candidates for governor responded swiftly Friday to a Tampa Bay Times
Published: 06/08/18