Three Pinellas County legislators who voted against accepting federal Medicaid money defended their heavily subsidized state health plans Tuesday but said they were open to footing more of the bill.
Reps. Larry Ahern, Ed Hooper and Kathleen Peters were among eight Pinellas legislators grilled Tuesday by members of Suncoast Tiger Bay about the legislative session. The health insurance juxtaposition, highlighted by the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday, was the focus of a couple questions at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater hotel luncheon....
Here's a cool concept for our on-the-go culture: a designer boutique that fits in a highway lane.
Mobile boutiques, long spotted in mega cities like Los Angeles, are getting some love in Tampa Bay.
Times retail reporter Susan Thurston brings us a great story about Zakia Carter, a 40-year-old Lithia entrepreneur who founded White Tent Runway last year. Carter runs the women's boutique from a 37-foot, 1985 recreational vehicle that used to house victims of Hurricane Katrina. She made the RV a chic space and stocks it with one-of-a-kind pieces from designers in LA, all under $100....
Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Allison Tant attacked Gov. Rick Scott as a feckless chief executive who let the Legislature steamroll his session priorities.
"He boasted that his No. 1 priority for the 2013 session was a $2,500 across-the-board raise for classroom teachers," Tant wrote in a column on April 30. "Seven weeks later his abject failure to defend his top issue has allowed Republican legislators to cut that raise by 60 percent with a multitude of strings attached."...
Mom's big day is nigh. Are you ready?
Being of the human race and sharing its fondness for procrastination, we're going to guess for some of you the answer is "nerp, not yet, working on it, get out of my grill." And that's okay! We have some ideas.
*ARTPool Gallery near downtown St. Pete is offering 25 percent off vintage purchases, which excludes local art, vinyl and food. Stop in from noon to 6 p.m. today and Saturday. The offer applies to clothing, jewelry, shoes, boots, purses and hats....
05/05/13 State Roundup
Gov. Rick Scott declared victory after legislative leaders announced they included $480 million in the 2013-14 budget for teacher pay raises.
Scott made a $2,500 pay raise for every teacher one of just two priorities this legislative session. So he announced the news on his Facebook page on April 29 with can't-miss-it, all-caps text: "EVERY FLORIDA TEACHER GETS A PAY RAISE! IT'S WORKING."...
TALLAHASSEE — In the last gasps of the 60-day legislative session, lawmakers moved to impose new requirements on unlicensed children's homes Friday after a Tampa Bay Times investigation uncovered abuse last year.
A priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford, HB 7129 passed the Senate and House and is on its way to Gov. Rick Scott.
It was the last bill lawmakers passed and was entangled by unrelated amendments added at the last minute....
A crackdown on unlicensed religious children’s homes in response to a Tampa Bay Times investigation is one vote away from being sent to Gov. Rick Scott.
HB 7129 passed the Senate unanimously Friday. But the addition of three amendments means it must go back to the House, a move that could endanger its chances of being heard as session’s end draws near. Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, allowed the amendments to be added onto her bill, which calls for more oversight of the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies, the private, nonprofit accreditor of homes that have opted to take advantage of a religious exemption from licensing....
Senators approved a slew of Gov. Rick Scott appointees on Thursday and are slated to do more today. However, a few notable names will not make the cut.
Unconfirmed appointments include state Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, Florida A&M trustee (and former Pinellas County school board member) Glenn Gilzean, and the entire Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees. ...
The Senate gave the final stamp of approval Wednesday on a scaled-back measure that weakens a 2006 law allowing utilities to charge customers for nuclear projects in advance.
The unanimous vote came just hours after the Florida Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit challenging the state's nuclear cost recovery law....
A scene from a very long day in the Florida House:
House Democrats gathered behind closed doors on the floor late Wednesday to talk strategy.
They were interrupted by a bright flash from outside -- from Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz's iPhone.
Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, left the bubble and confronted Gaetz in the middle aisle of the House floor. He whipped out his own phone and took video of Gaetz. (Rouson sent us the video, which even features a kiss to the camera from Gaetz.)...
For weeks, metallic heels, sandals, flats and wedges have glared out at me from the Internets.
You know how it goes with shiny things. You can't look away. You just think, I want that. No more questions....
Roaming the Capitol with his sketch pad and shading pencil, Times news artist Don Morris set out to illustrate the closing days of session from the perspective of the super-lobbyist to the shoe shiner.
Click here to browse a slideshow of his sketches, which were featured in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times....
The House pulled out all the stops Monday to honor teary-eyed Sergeant at Arms Earnest "Ernie" Sumner, who will retire this summer after a long career in the Legislature.
Speaker Dan Webster appointed Sumner, 61, to the post in 1998. He started working for the House in 1971.
The recognition on the House floor was marked by no fewer than four standing ovations, with members approving a resolution and playing a video highlighting his accomplishments. Finally, Speaker Will Weatherford announced that a House meeting room, Room 404, will be named Sumner Hall. Sumner dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief as he stood inside the doors he has guarded for decades....
The weatherman says it's going to storm all week long up here in Tallahassee.
Know what? I DON'T CARE.
It's the final week of the intensive 60-day legislative session, so things are looking pretty bright in my book.
To celebrate, I chose this bright vintage blouse that ties at the neck and flares forgivingly in the arms....
04/28/13 State Roundup
Florida lawmakers are poised to pass voting law changes after being mocked for long lines and delayed results during the 2012 presidential election.
But in the waning days of the legislative session, Senate Democrats are criticizing the plan as not going far enough to address problems at the polls last year.
"This bill mandates only two things that will address concerns from the last election," said Sen. Chris Smith, the Senate Democratic leader from Fort Lauderdale. "It allows persons to correct an absentee ballot if they did not sign it and requires an extra two hours a day for early voting. Everything else in this bill is discretionary."...