On the day U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy announced that he's seeking the Democratic nominationto run for Marco Rubio's seat, the National Republican Senatorial Committee unveiled a website attacking his positions on several topics, including the Affordable Care Act and health care for members of Congress: "Murphy voted to keep Obamacare the law of the land but also voted to allow members of Congress to receive taxpayer-funded health care for life!"...
Gov. Rick Scott's record on the environment has faced renewed scrutiny after a news report stated that administrators in his Department of Environmental Protection were banned from using the terms "global warming" or "climate change."
The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, which broke the story, cited former DEP officials who said they had been told verbally to avoid such phrases....
03/15/15 State Roundup
After rejecting Medicaid expansion in 2013, the Florida Legislature is taking a serious look at it this session. The program pays for health insurance for the very poor.
A state Senate panel last week approved a proposal that would allow Florida to accept $50 billion in federal dollars to expand coverage to about 800,000 low-income residents. The plan would establish a state-run private insurance exchange for residents who earn less than $16,000 a year or $33,000 for a family of four....
Gov. Rick Scott won a second term with a slew of promises to constituents about cutting taxes, spending more on education and improving the environment. In recent weeks, Scott has taken action to make good on his promises by putting forward those ideas for the upcoming legislative session, which opens Tuesday.
PolitiFact Florida is tracking those second-term promises on our Scott-O-Meter. Most of the ideas are part of Scott's 2015-16 budget proposal, a blueprint released Jan. 28 that tells lawmakers how Scott would like to see the state handle its finances and spending priorities. ...
02/22/15 State Roundup
A shooting incident at Florida State University late last year has reopened a debate in the Florida Legislature about whether to allow guns on college campuses.
Myron May, a former FSU student, wounded two students and a library employee before he was killed by police on Nov. 20, 2014.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Florida is one of 20 states that specifically ban firearms on campuses; seven others specifically allow them under state law. The rest leave the decision up to the university....
02/15/15 State Roundup
A key part of former Gov. Jeb Bush's talking points as he explores a presidential bid is to call for giving every child access to a great public education, regardless of where they live. Bush has talked for years about the gains of minority students in Florida.
"Florida's Hispanic kids are the best of any Hispanic group of Hispanic students in the United States — in fact, two grade levels ahead of the average in the United States," Bush said during a speech at the Detroit Economic Club this month....
As U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., considers a bid for president, Democrats are attacking him on his signature issue: immigration.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of South Florida had this to say about her fellow Floridian:
"Marco Rubio needs to first figure out which way the wind is blowing when it comes to committing on his position on any given issue," said the Democratic National Committee chair. "He was for immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship before he was against it. It is really unfortunate that he has chosen the most politically expedient path on issues that matter the most to people here in Florida."...
01/25/15 State Roundup
Florida lawmakers have overhauled many aspects of our elections laws in recent years, but one aspect has remained untouched: Voters can't register online. The statewide elections supervisors association, which represents officials in both major parties, wants lawmakers to change that during the upcoming session.
Supporters of the legislation argue that one of the benefits is it's more secure....
When it comes to solar, the Sunshine State is, well, in the dark, advocates say.
A coalition of folks across the political spectrum ranging from tea party activists to environmentalists have united to launch a campaign to allow the direct sale of solar energy to consumers.
State law only allows utilities to sell power, but a new political action committee, Floridians for Solar Choice, wants to change that. The PAC seeks to get a referendum on the ballot for the 2016 election, needing 683,149 signatures by Feb. 1, 2016....
01/12/15 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — After promising to boost education spending to a record high, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday released a plan to spend $7,176 per student in 2015-16.
His proposed figure is $261 more than what's currently being spent, and $50 more than the all-time high set in 2007-08.
"Because our budget is going up, now we have the highest per-pupil funding for K-12 education in the history of this state," Scott said, drawing applause at Atlantic Technical College in Coconut Creek....
01/02/15 State Roundup
If his campaign promises are any indication, Florida is getting a different Gov. Rick Scott in 2015 than the one it got in 2011.
In 2010, Rick Scott ran on a platform of growing jobs, downsizing government, drug testing welfare recipients and cracking down on illegal immigration. In 2014, he still made job growth his mantra and promised more tax cuts, but Scott also highlighted softer goals of improving education and the environment. ...
Sen. Marco Rubio called it "reckless and irresponsible": the public release of a Senate committee report detailing past examples of alleged torture by the CIA. Rubio argued it could endanger lives of Americans overseas, incite violence and create problems for our allies.
"The one-sided report that will be released by Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence cost U.S. taxpayers over $40 million dollars to produce, and its authors never interviewed a single CIA official," Rubio wrote in a statement Dec. 8, the day before the report was released....
12/07/14 State Roundup
Failing test scores aren't the only problem that has caused the military to reject applicants, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says. Another problem is, well, more colorful: tattoos.
While talking about his push to improve public education at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council event last week, Bush pointed to problems the military has in finding qualified applicants.
Bush mentioned a video in which a military official talked about the challenge:...
In a high-profile summit on education last week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said we shouldn't worry so much about students' self-esteem when it comes to setting grades.
"This morning, over 213 million Chinese students went to school and nobody debated whether academic expectations should be lowered in order to protect their students' self-esteem," he said Thursday at the National Summit on Education Reform. "Yet in Orange County, Fla., last week I read that debate actually did occur at a School Board meeting. The School Board voted to make it impossible for a student to receive a grade below 50. You get 50 out of 100 just for showing up and signing your name. This was done — and I quote here from a local official — 'so that the students do not lose all hope.' "...
The gloves came off in Jacksonville on Tuesday night, as the third and final gubernatorial debate between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist was marked by insults, arguments and accusations.
The governor and the former governor took each other to task over their respective records, charging each other with mud-slinging and twisting the facts.
CNN moderator Jake Tapper brought up topics like Ebola, executions and Florida State football, but the candidates managed to go back to familiar talking points several times. Both Scott and Crist still talked at length about immigration, the cost of living and believe it or not, jobs....