11/23/14 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Republican consultants worked side-by-side with Republican lawmakers in guiding them on drawing new Florida congressional districts that intentionally favored incumbents in violation of the Fair District amendments to the state Constitution, according to documents and emails contained in a long-running redistricting lawsuit.
The Scripps-Tribune Capital Bureau first obtained the lengthy documents, posting all 538 pages on its blog, Political Fix Florida, on Sunday. The Times/Herald obtained the same documents....
11/22/14 Human Interest
TALLAHASSEE — Matt Pave showed up at Lot 6 on Saturday like he's done on every game day since 1995 — five hours before kickoff, as soon as tailgating is allowed outside Doak Campbell Stadium.
He's never considered canceling his tailgate, not even when he learned that Myron May, a 2005 Florida State alumnus, had opened fire on campus Thursday, wounding two students and a library employee before being killed by police. In fact, Pave considered it even more important that the tailgate go on....
The U.S. Supreme Court won't keep secret documents used in Florida's redistricting case out of the public eye.
Gainesville political consultant Pat Bainter had asked the high court to keep the documents sealed while he appeals a Florida Supreme Court ruling mandating their release. But Justice Clarence Thomas denied the request Friday....
11/21/14 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — In the same room where students once jeered his claim to the presidency of Florida State University, John Thrasher won praise Friday for providing reassurance in the aftermath of Thursday's campus library shooting.
Thrasher attended his first meeting with his new bosses, the FSU trustees who hired him. Weeks ago, they were criticized by students and faculty members for hiring a veteran legislator, former lobbyist and leader of conservative causes at odds with liberal academia....
TALLAHASSEE — The first bullet hit Elijah Velez's bicycle.
It was just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday and the Florida State University freshman was at the library finishing up an English project. He stepped outside into the freezing night to get his bike.
That's when he spotted the gunman.
"He attacked the two people who were standing in front of me, and after that, he went toward me," Velez recalled....
The clock is running out on political consultant Pat Bainter.
The Florida Supreme Court has ordered the release of emails and trial transcripts used in the recent redistricting case -- documents Bainter considers private and has been battling to keep out of the public eye. ...
TALLAHASSEE — As more than a thousand students gathered for a candlelight vigil Thursday, Florida State University president John Thrasher vowed a return to normalcy in the wake of a campus shooting that rocked the state.
"We're going to get to the point where we do not allow any individual to divide us, to conquer us, and to make us anything less than what we are, and that is Florida State University Seminoles," Thrasher said....
At their first joint press conference since becoming the state's top lawmakers, Republican Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli touted a new parenting program that started in Brevard County....
11/18/14 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Residents of Carrollwood, Citrus Park, Oldsmar and Safety Harbor won't have a representative in the Florida House — for now.
State lawmakers voted Tuesday to throw out the results of the House District 64 election, creating a vacancy in the Tampa Bay area. Gov. Rick Scott is expected to call a special election.
Lawmakers admitted that Tuesday's vote was unusual....
Residents of Carrollwood, Citrus Park, Oldsmar and Safety Harbor won't have a representative in the Florida House -- for now, at least.
State lawmakers voted Tuesday to throw out the results of the House District 64 election, creating a vacancy in that district.
Gov. Rick Scott is expected to call a special election.
State Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, had already raised questions about the integrity of the Nov. 4 contest, which he won comfortably. Earlier this month, he pointed out that an appellate judge deemed the election unconstitutional....
11/13/14 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that secret documents used in the high-profile redistricting case should be unsealed.
"We affirm the trial court's ruling requiring production of the 538 pages of disputed documents," the justices wrote in a rare unanimous ruling. "For all these reasons, and in accordance with the overriding public interest in openness to judicial proceedings and records, we direct that the sealed portions of the trial transcript, as well as the sealed documents themselves, should be and hereby are ordered unsealed."...
The state Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that secret documents used in the high-profile redistricting case should be made public.
"We affirm the trial court’s ruling requiring production of the 538 pages of disputed documents," the justices wrote in a rare unanimous ruling. "For all these reasons, and in accordance with the overriding public interest in openness to judicial proceedings and records, we direct that the sealed portions of the trial transcript, as well as the sealed documents themselves, should be and hereby are ordered unsealed."...
State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, has been named deputy majority leader and whip, Florida House leaders announced Wednesday....
The state representatives who lost their seats last week had more in common than their political party.
Three of the six Democrats were classroom teachers who supported the teachers union — and who opposed plans to expand the school voucher program.
Voucher advocates say they invested "substantial" resources to topple the three incumbents — former state Reps. Karen Castor Dentel of Maitland, Mark Danish of Tampa and Carl Zimmermann of Palm Harbor — as well as former state Rep. Joe Saunders of Orlando....