The Buzz on Florida politics


Latest Buzz on Florida politics

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday directed the state's top insurance regulator to freeze any potential property-insurance rate increases for 90 days as homeowners and businesspeople grapple with massive damage from Hurricane Michael.

Scott also directed Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to require rescinding for 90 days all policy non-renewals or cancellations that had been issued in the days leading up to Michael to give policyholders more time to find coverage. In another move, insurance policyholders will be given an extra 90 days to provide required information to insurers.

It was not immediately clear how many policyholders could be affected by the directives. But state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, in a statement released by Scott's office, pointed to the massive damage caused by Michael, which made landfall Wednesday in Mexico Beach as a Category 4 storm and pounded Panama City and other areas of the Panhandle and the state's Big Bend.

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This won't shock a lot of people who have seen former U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Belleair Bluffs, on MSNBC and CNN all the time criticizing President Donald Trump, but he has left the Republican Party. He and wife Laura quietly registered under no-party affiliation weeks ago, Jolly said, spurred in large part by the pending birth of a daughter for whom they wanted to set an example and not be part of of the Trump party.

"It's also just a personal rejection of partisanship. It's a very comfortable place for us to be," said Jolly, who had initially vowed to stay in the GOP and try to help steer it back to traditional conservatism.

Leaving the GOP, by the way, also would make it easier for Jolly to run in his old south Pinellas County congressional district, which was re-drawn to lean strongly Democratic. It's an intriguing thought, two former self-described conservative Republicans, Charlie Crist and Jolly, running against each other.

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Hurricane Michael is not entirely preventing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum from attending a fundraiser tonight at Tropicana Field. He plans to address the donors via Skype, and running mate Chris King will be there.

But the invite is noteworthy because the host list is considerably broader than we usually see in Tampa Bay, which has never been particularly fertile territory for Democrats to raise money. Among those lending their name to the event are a number of prominent business leaders, including Tampa Bay Rays President Brian Auld, former Tech Data CEO Steve Raymund, Tampa developer Bowen Arnold, and former C1 Bank CEO Trevor Burgess.

In addition to "special guest" Charlie Crist, the host list included:

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President Donald Trump will be in Florida today to observe the devastation left behind from Hurricane Michael last week.

Trump is scheduled to arrive at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, just northeast of Fort Walton Beach, by mid-morning and is expected to tour those areas.

Trump also plans to visit Georgia, a day after he declared a state of emergency there late Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

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TALLAHASSEE —As yet another day of recovery was under way Sunday, there were signs that a long slog lay ahead for those towns in Hurricane Michael's direct  path.

Just under 183,000 Floridians remained without power on Sunday evening. But as this number has decreased from its peak of about 400,000, the progress has remained concentrated in the lesser-hit areas like Tallahassee's Leon County while the hardest-hit counties in the Panhandle remained largely in the dark.

State emergency officials said it will take at least five more days to see progress in these stricken areas, but that estimate could be highly optimistic for places where buildings were reduced to rubble.

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