The Buzz on Florida politics

U.S. Census Citizenship question
Hagan v. kriseman

Latest Buzz on Florida politics

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan told his fellow commissioners Wednesday that he was going to be blunt in his remarks about his old political nemesis, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

Then he pulled out a rhetorical switchblade, slicing at Kriseman’s stance against any further cross-bay talks between the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa and Hillsborough County.

First Hagan announced that “everyone knows” that St. Petersburg can’t support a baseball team after reciting a long list of depressing attendance figures from this season. Kriseman, for the better part of a decade, has consistently said he thinks Florida’s fifth-largest city is the best place for baseball in Tampa Bay.

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President Donald Trump covered little new ground in his 80-minute campaign kickoff speech Tuesday night in Orlando. That was just fine for supporters who love hearing Trump’s greatest hits and came out full force to hear the president’s spin on his 2016 campaign and his first two and a half years in office.

It also made the job easier for the fact-checkers at PolitiFact, who have heard many of these lines before.

“African-American community, how much progress has been made, the lowest unemployment numbers in the history of our country.”

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TALLAHASSEE -- A top attorney for Gov. Ron DeSantis last week refused to answer questions during a congressional interview about the “key role” he played in adding a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census while working in the Trump administration.

James Uthmeier, DeSantis’ deputy general counsel and a former senior adviser and legal counsel to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, agreed to a transcribed interview with the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee but did not answer questions “implicating Executive Branch confidentiality and litigation concerns,” according to Helen Aguirre Ferre, DeSantis’ communications director.

Ferre, speaking on behalf of Uthmeier, said his decision was at the direction of legal counsel for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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As Gov. Ron DeSantis decides whether to sign an elections bill that lawmakers passed last month, plaintiffs in a long-running legal battle contend the measure could prevent early voting on college and university campuses.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker had been scheduled to hold a telephone hearing today in an early voting lawsuit that pits plaintiffs such as the League of Women Voters of Florida against the state. But he issued an order Tuesday calling off the hearing at the request of plaintiffs, who say the bill includes a parking requirement that could make it impossible to have early voting sites on campuses.

Walker in July 2018 issued a preliminary injunction that allowed campus early voting locations, ruling that a directive issued to elections supervisors by former Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was unconstitutional. In the November elections, that resulted in early voting on 11 campuses, with about 60,000 ballots cast, according to court records.

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After a long evening of rehashing the 2016 election, claiming accomplishments and announcing his 2020 run to supporters at the Amway Center in Orlando, President Donald Trump landed in Miami late Tuesday night.

The president arrived at Miami International Airport aboard by Air Force One at 11:25 p.m.

He waved to the large crowd of friends and family, who arrived by the truckload an hour before the landing.

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Age for correctional officers reduced to 18

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill lowering the minimum age to work as a correctional officer in the state from 19 to 18. That means the Florida Department of Corrections and county jails will be able to start hiring younger guards starting July 1 to address a growing problem with staffing shortages. Mark Inch, secretary of the Department of Corrections, endorsed the bill during this year’s legislative session, arguing that changing the age eligibility would be a big help to his agency in filling vacancies. Michelle Glady, a department spokeswoman, said in March that the turnover rate for state correctional officers last year was 29 percent, and the year ended with 2,000 vacancies. The bill will also ban the use of drones over and near county, state and private correctional facilities as well as juvenile detention centers. That change is meant to help decrease the amount of contraband going into prisons and jails.

Changes for how public universities and colleges can fund projects, reductions in Bright Futures

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