Newspapers across the state are weighing in with editorials on Gov. Rick Scott's $79.3 billion proposed budget for Florida's upcoming fiscal year.
Not all of it in a favorable way.
Among the reactions: an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times says Scott's spending plan "is aimed at generating headlines to use in his next campaign rather than investing in a state government facing systemic failure in nearly every corner."...
From the News Service of Florida:
TALLAHASSEE - More children are coming into Florida's foster-care system after a sweeping child-welfare reform law went into effect 19 months ago, but officials say the state is trying to focus on what's best for kids in difficult situations.
"You write laws to respond to the issues of the day, and those change at least annually," said state Sen. Nancy Detert, a Venice Republican and sponsor of a number of foster-care reforms. "So our focus in today's world is the best interests of the child in every way - safety, quality of life, the best location - and that's all we can do."...
From our friends at the News Service of Florida:
TALLAHASSEE - The state would set aside $230,000 for bear-resistant trash cans and outreach programs to reduce conflicts between humans and bears, as part of Gov. Rick Scott's proposed $79.3 billion budget.
The money would be used to partner with residents, local governments and businesses as a way to prevent bear attacks, according to a press release that accompanied Scott's budget on Monday. The funding request will be considered during the 2016 legislative session that begins in January....
Just days before he brings his presidential campaign to Sarasota, Donald Trump beefed up his Florida team with four new hires.
Trump is slated to hold a rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds on Saturday.
Here's the full news release today from Team Trump:
Donald J. Trump today announced the addition of four staff members joining his operation in Florida as he continues to lead all state polls by wide, double-digit margins. Jennifer R. Locetta will serve as Deputy State Director, Ken Mayo has been named Director of Field Operations, John Ross Pughe is joining as the Southeast Regional Field Director, and Craig Bachler will serve as Director of Coalitions....
Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano writes about a desire to educate voters about a time they got it wrong in the polling booth:
Let's talk about the time Florida voters screwed up.
It was done with the best of intentions, and with the blessing of editorial boards and voter education groups. But it was a blunder, nonetheless.
This was back in 1998 when voters passed a constitutional amendment giving the governor more power by shrinking the size and scope of the state's Cabinet....
Amid a push by some lawakers in Tallahassee to pave the way for fantasy sports sites to operate freely in Florida, litigation elsewhere in the state is challenging the legality of the popular pasttime.
Tampa Bay Times staff writer William Levesque chronicles the Florida suit here:...
Florida remains ensconced as the third-largest creator of private sector jobs nationwide behind California and Texas.
However, the number of private jobs added statewide last month — 15,400 — is relatively unchanged from a month ago and remains far shy of the pace of a year ago.
Moreover, a dominating 97 percent of the jobs are in the traditionally lower-paying service-providing sector and only 500 jobs are in the goods-producing category. ...
Tampa Bay Times' columnist John Romano looks at the striking similarities between the country's third-largest state and its biggest retailer:
Turns out, the similarities have been staring us in the face for years.
Price cuts = tax cuts.
Uninsured employees = uninsured residents.
No-frills merchandise = no-frills infrastructure.
Low wages = well, low wages....
From the News Service of Florida:
Two Democratic lawmakers filed bills Tuesday that would direct the Florida Department of State to preserve historical resources from the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys and to provide money to help families reinter bodies of children found at the Jackson County site.
The bills (SB 708 and HB 533), filed by Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, and Rep. Ed Narain, D-Tampa, come after extensive excavation work by University of South Florida researchers at the former reform school....
Presidential candidate Ben Carson came to Tampa today, kicking off his visit at a prayer breakfast where he kept politics off the menu. Tampa Bay Times staff writers Tracey McManus and Kattie Mettler followed his visit here:
In his first of two stops in Tampa Bay on Tuesday, GOP presidential frontrunner Ben Carson steered clear of talking politics at the YMCA of the Suncoast's 10th annual prayer breakfast and instead reflected on his life story and personal values that have driven his success....
On the education beat, Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times writes about a push in Florida to let students substitute foreign language requirements with computer language courses:
Sunlake High School sophomore Chris Collins sees little value in his Spanish language courses.
"I was bored out," said Collins, 15. "If I want to travel in the future, I'd probably want to learn the language. I'm not planning to travel."...
10/16/15 State Roundup
By the numbers, just how strong is Florida's economy?
Home in on the popular bottom-line number that many gravitate to — the unemployment rate — and there's reason for encouragement.
Florida's jobless rate fell from 5.4 percent to a seven-year low of 5.2 percent in September, according to figures released Friday. In Tampa Bay, unemployment dropped from 5.3 percent to 5 percent, a level last seen more than a year before George W. Bush turned over the Oval Office to Barack Obama. ...
Jeb Bush's presidential campaign today released a list of people who have helped him raise money, but with a twist.
While "bundler" names do not have to be disclosed (unless they are lobbyists) the former Florida governor used a much lower threshold. So while Democratic frontrunner Hilllary Clinton identifies bundlers who have raised at least $100,000, Bush is naming anyone who raised $17,600 -- the trigger for disclosing lobbyists. That makes it harder to determine the big fundraisers for Bush....
Some Florida Senate leaders in both parties are openly critical of Gov. Rick Scott's plan to give more money to Enterprise Florida for job incentives. And they've laid out priorities that differ from his during the upcoming session.
So is Scott confident the two chambers will support the two-pronged legislative agenda he laid out this week of jobs incentive money and a tax cut package that trumps the $427 million approved last year?...
The Tampa Bay Times' Katherine Snow Smith recently talked with Carole Crist, wife of Charlie Crist and a former Florida first lady, about the grand opening of her women's clothing store Goddessey Boutique in downtown St. Petersburg.
Crist was coy in addressing whether her husband should run for Congress as widely anticipated:
'At the end of the day whatever he decides to do I'm behind Charlie 100 percent because he's my husband and I love him," she said. "I believe 'be your dreams' and the same goes for him. I'm his No. 1 supporter and No. 1 cheerleader."...