TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott today will veto a 3 percent increase in Florida college tuition and approve $65 million in extra Medicaid funding to hospitals that provide much of the care to the poor, including Tampa General and Jackson Memorial in Miami.
As Scott signs a $74.5 billion budget before leaving for a trade mission to Chile, his rejection of a tuition increase was expected. He has criticized the idea for months, calling it a "tax" on middle-class families. ...
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott has accelerated the pace of signing death warrants in Florida by lining up three executions over the next few weeks, the most in such a brief period of time in more than two decades.
Scott and his chief legal adviser say they are doing nothing unusual. But legal experts who oppose the death penalty wonder whether other factors are at work — such as Scott's desire to improve his standing with voters as he seeks re-election next year....
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will lead a state delegation to Chile next week, his eighth overseas trade mission since taking office.
For three days beginning Tuesday, the Florida visitors will meet with U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff and network with business leaders in Santiago. No meetings with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera appear on Scott's preliminary schedule.
Scott says his presence as delegation leader on trips to foreign lands helps forge ties with firms simply by opening doors....
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must soon sign the new state budget, and he's getting intense feedback on all sides: from lawmakers protecting hometown projects, hospitals worried about losing money and a business-backed group criticizing pork-barrel spending.
Scott, who campaigned on a pledge to shrink the size of government, must decide by next Friday how much to prune from the largest budget in state history, $74.5 billion. Already, he has taken the unusual step of asking four possible recipients of tax money to give it back if they fail to meet promises to generate tax revenue for the state....
Florida TaxWatch finds 107 line-item projects in the new state budget totaling $107 million that it says Gov. Rick Scott should veto because they bypassed the Legislature's own standards for transparency and competitiveness.
The organization said the projects it identified "appear in the budget at the last minute, bypassing the legislatively-established competitive process and receiving little or no public review." The flagged projects have nothing to do with the worthiness of the projects, but rather are a statement about the process lawmakers used to craft the budget....
As threats of line-item vetoes by Gov. Rick Scott loom large over the Legislature's recently-approved budget, he's taking the unusual step of forcing some organizations to agree in writing to forfeit taxpayer money if they don't generate the tax revenue they're promising.
Working with chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth and budget director Jerry McDaniel, Scott on Wednesday sent letters to four groups seeking multi-million dollar appropriations in the budget: a St. Petersburg incubator, a rowing center in Sarasota, the IMG Sports Academy in Bradenton and the Florida Horse Park in Ocala....
The "jobs governor" was unable to get his jobs czar confirmed by the Florida Senate in the 2013 legislative session, and that means Gov. Rick Scott must reappoint Jesse Panuccio as head of the state Department of Economic Opportunity.
The Senate also adjourned without confirming two other high-level Scott appointees: John Armstrong, director of the Department of Health and the state surgeon general, and Secretary of Corrections Mike Crews....
Sarasota businesswoman Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder has filed fund-raising papers to seek the Republican Party nomination for governor against Rick Scott in 2014. Cuevas-Neunder, 59, is president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Florida.
Two other Republicans, Timothy Devine of Kissimmee and Joe Smith of Wellington, filed fund-raising papers in recent months as well with the state Division of Elections in Tallahassee....
For the past three decades, Florida TaxWatch has been a self-appointed fiscal watchdog, blowing the whistle on what it considers wasteful pork-barrel spending by the Legislature.
Any day now, TaxWatch will release its annual list of questionable "turkeys" in the 2013-14 budget that awaits Gov. Rick Scott's signature. You can bet that more than a few will be from Tampa Bay.
But TaxWatch president Dominic Calabro sounded Monday like a man who went hunting for turkeys and didn't find as many as he'd hoped....
Another week and another "victory tour" for Gov. Rick Scott.
He will spend Monday and Tuesday hitting key media markets to promote the sales tax break for manufacturers that the Legislature passed in the final days of the session. As was the case with the teacher pay raise, the legislative solution was not exactly what Scott wanted: The tax break won't take effect until next April 30, and it's for three years, meaning it will cease to exist unless the 2017 Legislature keeps it alive....
TALLAHASSEE — The Legislature and the League of Women Voters squared off Thursday before the Florida Supreme Court over the behind-the-scenes politics that led to the 2012 remapping of legislative districts by Republican lawmakers.
The Legislature argues that the Supreme Court should assert its "sole and exclusive jurisdiction" over redistricting and direct a lower court to dismiss a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters. That lawsuit challenges the validity of the House and Senate maps the Supreme Court blessed last year....
State Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, issued a news release Thursday calling on legislative leaders to quickly send the new elections law to Gov. Rick Scott so he can sign it. That will happen soon enough.
Edwards, a first-term lawmaker and member of the House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee, touted the key parts of the bill (HB 7013). They include making early voting mandatory for 64 hours or eight hours a day for eight days with the option of up to 168 hours, or 12 hours a day for 14 days; allowing the option of early voting on the Sunday before Election Day; expanding the potential sites for early voting; and allowing people casting absentee ballots to fix their ballot if they forget to sign the ballot envelope....
The Florida Legislature and the League of Women Voters squared off Thursday before the state Supreme Court as both sides continue an intense legal battle over the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that produced the Republican-crafted 2012 maps of state House and Senate districts.
House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz, represented in court by former Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero, asked the state's highest court to block a lower court from holding a full-blown trial on claims by voting groups that lawmakers, consultants and party operatives schemed to draw districts to partisan advantage in violation of the two "fair districts" amendments to the state Constitution....
Appearing on his favorite national cable program, CNBC's "Squawk Box," Gov. Rick Scott had a lot to squawk about Wednesday.
He highlighted the decision by Hertz to relocate its corporate rental car headquarters, and about 500 jobs, from northern New Jersey to Estero, near Fort Myers. But getting Hertz in the driver's seat in Florida didn't come cheap: The state and local governments are chipping in about $19 million in various economic incentives, Scott said....
It may have escaped your attention, but Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign began in earnest Monday.
The official title: Teacher Pay Raise Victory Tour.
The first stop was Piper High in Sunrise, in the heart of Broward, the biggest Democratic county in Florida. The school rolled out the red carpet for Scott with a performance by its proud marching band.
"What a great school, and what a great band!" Scott told an auditorium filled with cheering students....