In the code-name world of Enterprise Florida, it was known as "Project Assassin." Altair Training Solutions Inc. was going to do big things for Hendry County, one of the most economically distressed counties in Florida, and its neighbor to the west, Collier County. Hendry's unemployment rate of 11.6 percent is the highest in Florida.
But in a case that likely will only intensify House Speaker Richard Corcoran's criticism of Gov. Rick Scott's economic incentive programs, Altair's Florida expansion ended up in a quagmire of liens and lawsuits, with just 15 new jobs and not the 150 that it promised, and at lower salaries than promised, as reported by Melanie Payne of The News-Press of Fort Myers. The project was terminated from the incentive program a year ago and it never received any state tax credits....
For the first time since he left the governor's office a decade ago, Jeb Bush is returning to Tallahassee as a strategic consultant to a law firm with a major lobbying presence in the Capitol. Bush and his Rolodex are joining Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, not as a lobbyist, but to drum up business for the firm, particularly in South Florida where the former governor lives and where the firm wants to expand its presence. ...
Here's the complete schedule for House Speaker Richard Corcoran's "Legislator University," the two-day training seminar for House members to be held at the Capitol in Tallahassee on Dec. 6-7.
Attorney General Pam Bondi met in New York on Friday with President-elect Donald Trump, and left Trump Tower smiling but saying very little about whether she's being considered for a White House job.
Bondi said her afternoon meeting with Trump was related to her duties on the executive committee of Trump's transition team.
Asked if she was offered a job, Bondi said: "I'm on the transition team, and we're doing everything we can to help him put the best people in place. So right now I'm attorney general of the state of Florida. I think the whole country should be so proud of how hard he is up there working."...
12/02/16 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Pam Bondi would bring personal loyalty to Donald Trump's future administration — and political baggage, too.
Her meeting today with the president-elect at Trump Tower, ostensibly to discuss a high-level federal post, is the latest milepost in her stunning rise from local Tampa prosecutor to state attorney general to possible White House insider.
Six years ago, Bondi told a campaign rally of tea party activists at a park in St. Augustine what kind of an attorney general she would be....
12/01/16 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott wants to reward 4,000 state law enforcement officers with 5 percent pay raises next year, in a move that signifies a major policy shift.
Scott said Thursday that the officers deserve more money, citing their efforts at the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando in June and in protecting the safety of Floridians during two hurricanes and a tropical storm.
Scott announced his proposed pay raises at an Orlando highway patrol station, and said it would be in the budget he proposes to the Legislature in January....
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott wants the Florida Legislature to approve a 5 percent pay raise for about 4,000 state law enforcement officers in next year's budget.
Scott, who has generally opposed across-the-board raises for all state workers during his six years in office, made the proposal at a Florida Highway Patrol station in Orlando Thursday. He cited their heroic efforts at the Pulse nightclub massacre in June, followed by two hurricanes and a tropical storm....
A motivational speaker who worked in the White House. A mandatory seminar on sexual harassment. Breakout sessions on the death penalty, workers comp, Medicaid, the courts and the Florida retirement system.
It's all part of two days of member training next week in the Florida House of Representatives, with code numbers assigned to each seminar, just like at UF and FSU. The "Legislator University" is part of House Speaker Richard Corcoran's plan to upgrade civility and professionalism in a House where more than one-third of the members (46) are newbies....
If Attorney General Pam Bondi is considering serving as the nation's next drug czar in Donald Trump's White House, she might think twice -- especially if she talks with another Floridian who held the same job nearly three decades ago.
That would be Bob Martinez, the former Republican governor and mayor of Tampa, who held the post in 1991 and 1992 in the last two years of President George H.W. Bush's term. When Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, Martinez headed back to Florida....
Two Florida supervisors of election want the Florida Supreme Court to approve language for a proposed constitutional amendment to make it easier for convicted felons to regain their civil rights.
Supervisors Brenda Snipes in Broward, the state's largest Democrat-dominated county, and Ion Sancho in Leon, in the state capital of Tallahassee, filed their advisory opinion with the court....
11/29/16 State Roundup
For Attorney General Pam Bondi, the good news is that the next president of the United States may be calling with a big job offer in Washington.
The bad news: The price of that job could be an arduous, intrusive and constitutionally vital step of a Senate confirmation hearing.
For a politician who has at times cringed under the spotlight, that could be a deal-breaker.
This is a pivotal moment for Bondi, a former Tampa prosecutor who was elected attorney general in 2010 and re-elected in 2014....
Change never comes easily to Tallahassee, and Richard Pettigrew can attest to that. He was a young and idealistic speaker of the Florida House of Representatives 45 years ago. Now, at 86, the former Democratic lawmaker from Miami is watching as Republican Speaker Richard Corcoran of Land O'Lakes takes aim at the status quo in the state Capitol. The full story is here. ...
BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — Richard Pettigrew knows a thing or two about shaking things up in the state Capitol in Tallahassee.
He did it — 45 years ago.
Like Rep. Richard Corcoran now, Pettigrew was speaker of the Florida House in 1971-72, a time of enormous change and upheaval.
Florida was a very different place. Pettigrew was a Democrat who helped pull Florida out of the era when a rural and conservative bloc of legislators known as pork choppers had disproportionate control....
Attorney General Pam Bondi's absence from Tuesday's one-day organizational session of the Legislature is fueling more speculation that she's a short-timer in Tallahassee. A member of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, she's seen as a likely pick for a White House job. Bondi's office ignored three requests Tuesday to disclose the whereabouts of the state's chief legal officer....
Under new leadership, the Florida Legislature entered a strange new world Tuesday as the House speaker condemned the entrenched power of lobbyists and called for major changes in spending sure to be opposed by the Senate and Gov. Rick Scott.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, described a Capitol controlled by lobbyists and politically-wired vendors, with lawmakers doing their bidding at the expense of taxpayers....