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Jeff Harrington, Times Staff Writer

Jeff Harrington

Jeff Harrington has been an editor and reporter at the Tampa Bay Times since 1998, primarily working in Business news. He is currently Deputy Government & Politics Editor.

A native Ohioan, Jeff graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a dual major in American Studies and French. He worked at the City News Bureau of Chicago, Toledo Blade and Cincinnati Enquirer before winding his way down Interstate 75 to the Tampa Bay area.

He has received numerous awards for business and metro writing, including recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the Associated Press, among others. He was a past finalist and a winner of a Gerald Loeb award honoring the best business writing in the country and his work has been included in the Best Business Stories of the Year series.

Phone: (727) 893-8242

Email: harrington@tampabay.com

Twitter: @JeffMHarrington

  1. Gov. Rick Scott declares Zika emergency in Hillsborough, Miami-Dade and two other counties


    Gov. Rick Scott today signed an executive order directing Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong to declare a public health emergency in the four counties which have the Zika virus.

    There are currently a total of nine travel-associated cases of the Zika virus across Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee and Santa Rosa counties.

    Here is the executive order...

  2. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says Florida should officially apologize to Dozier victims


    From the Tampa Bay Times:

    TAMPA - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Friday he thinks the state of Florida should issue an official apology to the victims of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, where students were beaten and died, many buried without identification.

    "They and all the families of the ones that we know about and those that we don't know about, they deserve not only an apology, they deserve the heart-felt enormous grief that we should feel about this chapter of our Florida history," he said during a news conference Friday at his office in the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse....

  3. Forecast: Florida lawmakers have $400M less to spend this year


    From the Associated Press:

    Florida legislators are going to have less money to spend in the coming year than they were planning on.

    State economists met Tuesday to draw up new forecasts to predict how much the state will collect in taxes. The forecasts will be used by state legislators to draw up this year's budget.

    Economists predict the state's main budget account will only grow 2.1 percent during the fiscal year that ends in June. Those forecasts estimate growth of 4.4 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
    These forecasts mean the state has about $400 million less to spend....

  4. Texas attorney general declares daily fantasy sports sites likely illegal


    As Florida lawmakers weigh whether to pave the way for fantasy sports sites to operate freely, Texas is already coming down hard on the debate.

    From our friends at the News Service of Florida:

    Amid a debate in Florida about the industry, the Texas attorney general Tuesday issued an opinion that said daily fantasy-sports contests are likely illegal gambling in his state.

    The nine-page opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took issue with the industry's arguments that the online contests are based on skill and, as a result, don't conflict with gambling laws. In fantasy sports, people choose rosters of actual athletes. The winners of the contests are determined by the statistics of the athletes....

  5. Death row inmate Mark James Asay seeks stay of execution


    A second death row inmate in Florida facing execution early this year is seeking a stay.

    But in this case, an attorney for Mark James Asay is citing lack of previous adequate representation for his new client along with questions over the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that strikes down the state's death penalty system.

    Asay, who was convicted of murdering two men in downtown Jacksonville 29 years ago, is scheduled to be executed on St. Patrick's Day....

    Mark James Asay
  6. State senators probe into violence in mental hospitals


    From the Tampa Bay Times' Anthony Cormier :

    A top official from the Department of Children and Families will tell state senators today his plan to stem the violence and chaos inside Florida's mental hospitals, which was first reported in an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

    Read more here...

  7. Orlando lobbyist Fred Leonhardt died from inhaling drug


    From the Associated Press:

    ORLANDO - An autopsy report shows that a prominent Florida lobbyist and lawyer died last year after inhaling a drug similar to poppers.

    The autopsy report released Wednesday said that 65-year-old Fred Leonhardt died last October from ethyl chloride intoxication.

    The recreational inhalant drug is used in manufacturing to make dyes and chemicals, but it can also be used as a topical anesthetic to relieve bug bites and burns....

  8. Advocates launch social media campaign to boost mental health funding


    The Tampa Bay Times' Leonora LaPeter Anton writes about a budding campaign to increase state funding for mental health programs as the state Legislature begins its regular session today:


    Several mental health advocacy organizations have launched a campaign to pressure state lawmakers to restore cuts to Florida's mental health programs, including the $100 million from state mental hospitals that was the focus of investigation this year by the Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald-Tribune....

  9. Keeping up with Florida legislative session


    As the Florida Legislature kicks off its regular session this morning, follow along with our live blog

    To come up to speed:

    * Here are five issues and five people to watch  during the 60-day session (along with a video roundup of key topics)...

  10. Florida Supreme Court to consider warrant-less breath tests


    From our friends at The News Service of Florida:

    The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case challenging the constitutionality of a state law that allows people to be prosecuted for refusing to take breath tests when suspected of drunken driving.

    The Volusia County case focuses on whether it is constitutional to punish people who refuse to submit to breath tests when police do not have warrants, according to a June ruling by the 5th District Court of Appeal, which upheld the law....

  11. How Marco Rubio helped his ex-con brother-in-law get a real estate license


    From the Washington Post:

    When Marco Rubio was majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives, he used his official position to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier, according to records obtained by the Washington Post.

    n July 2002, Rubio sent a letter on his official statehouse stationery to the Florida Division of Real Estate, recommending Orlando Cicilia "for licensure without reservation." The letter, obtained by the Washington Post under the Florida Public Records Act, offers a glimpse of Rubio using his growing political power to assist his troubled brother-in-law and provides new insight into how the young lawmaker intertwined his personal and political lives....

  12. PolitiFact: Comparing the GOP candidates' ISIS strategies with Obama's


    Some Republican presidential candidates have been quick to criticize President Barack Obama's ISIS strategy, but how different are the alternatives they offer? And how detailed?

    Linda Qiu of PolitiFact takes a look:

    How did Republicans describe President Barack Obama's ISIS strategy at the most recent presidential primary debate in Las Vegas? "Wrong," "reckless," "left us unsafe," "leads from behind" and "feckless weakling."...

  13. Past immigration stance still haunts Marco Rubio


    In case you missed it:

    The Washington Post this weekend took a hard look at Marco Rubio's struggle to overcome his previous stance on immigration:

    Sen. Marco Rubio was concluding his remarks about the merits of comprehensive immigration reform when he pointedly defended himself against conservative critics.

    "Leaving things the way they are - that's the real amnesty," he said in April 2013, using one of the dirtiest words in the far-right lexicon to illustrate why he stood there as one of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators unveiling a comprehensive immigration reform bill ....

  14. Florida jobs chief Jesse Panuccio enjoys his swan song


    As swan songs go, this wasn't a half-bad send-off for Jesse Panuccio.

    The exiting chief of Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity, got to discuss a monthly jobs report Friday that was clicking on practically all cylinders:

    • Unemployment fell to 5 percent, the lowest since 2008 and the first time it's as low as the national rate since January.

    • Florida added a net 35,200 jobs last month, with every industry but information and government up compared to a year ago....

  15. Florida's unemployment rate tumbles to 5 percent, with Tampa Bay leading metro areas in job creation

    Working Life

    Tampa Bay's economy just got a few more reasons to celebrate this holiday season.

    The area's unemployment rate fell to a more than eight-year low of 4.6 percent in November as it re-emerged as the biggest job-creating metro in the state, adding 40,500 jobs year over year.

    The monthly report released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity was similarly upbeat statewide with the jobless rate falling to 5 percent, its lowest point since 2008. That marks the first time since January the state rate has dropped as low as the national jobless rate. ...