Health News Florida
9:28 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Health Groups Seek to Snuff Out E-Cigarette Bill

Health groups and local governments say decades of work to keep tobacco products out of the hands of kids could be overturned through a House measure billed as prohibiting the sale of trendy electronic cigarettes to minors.

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9:12 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Secret Talks Stand Between Lawmakers and Gambling’s Future

Lead in text: 
In 2010, the state and tribe agreed to a “compact” guaranteeing income to the state – $1 billion over five years – from the tribe’s gambling revenue. That’s in return for granting the tribe exclusive rights to offer blackjack and other card games. The card-game provision expires in mid-2015. The tribe operates several centers, including Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Consideration of overhaul legislation, including a clean-up of laws regulating gambling, has screeched to a halt because lawmakers say it first requires completion of a renegotiated revenue share.
TALLAHASSEE - Figuring out the future of gambling in Florida is now on hold because of secret negotiations over how much of a cut the state will continue to get from the Seminole Tribe's card games. In 2010, the state and tribe agreed to a "compact" guaranteeing income to the state - $1 billion over five years - from the tribe's gambling revenue.
Read More: http://tbo.com
9:07 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Alex Sink Considers Another Pinellas Congressional Bid

Lead in text: 
Alex Sink told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday she had received a detailed results analysis of the March 11 election in which Republican David Jolly defeated her. Jolly got 48.4 percent of the vote, Sink received 46.5 percent, Libertarian Lucas Overby received 4.8 percent and a write-in candidate received less than 0.2 percent. Sink said the data showed Republicans and Democrats voted as expected, but not as many independent voters turned out as they expected. She said she believes her lead among independent voters was in double digits. The question now, she said, "is really about November and what the electorate will look like."
As Democrat Alex Sink ponders whether to run for Congress again, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is starting to contact Pinellas voters with automated phone calls criticizing a Republican budget proposal. In other words, it might soon feel like campaign season, less than a month after the county's hard-fought special election and right when locals thought it was safe to start answering their phones again.
Politics
8:48 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Can Fla. Lawmakers Reach Pension Reform Compromise Before Session Ends?

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:22 pm

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Politics
5:15 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

USAID Says Building Of 'Cuban Twitter' Was Part Of Public Record

A book street vendor passes the time on her smart phone as she waits for customers in Havana, Cuba, on Tuesday. The Obama administration secretly financed a social network in Cuba to stir political unrest.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 4:08 pm

The United States Agency for International Development came out swinging today against an Associated Press report that said the agency used public funds to build a social media platform designed to undermine the Cuban government.

In a blog post, USAID says the wire agency "falsely characterized" the program.

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StateImpact Florida
9:43 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Checking In On Education Bills As Florida Legislature Reaches Halfway Point

The 2014 Florida legislative session has reached the halfway point.
Credit StevenM_61 / Flickr

The 2014 Florida legislative session reached the halfway point last week, so we thought we'd check in on some of the big education bills.

The Budget

The House, Senate and Gov. Rick Scott mostly agree on education spending based on their proposed budgets.

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Education
9:26 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Florida Watches New York Parents Organize Against Common Core Tests

Parents at a Brooklyn school opt out of state tests earlier this week.

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 6:02 am


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Politics
9:26 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Casinos Out Of Reach For The Year, Senate Focus Turns To Greyhound

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:37 pm

The Florida Senate's Select Committee on Gaming makes its last stand in Tallahassee Tuesday with a couple of bills that could end greyhound racing in the Sunshine State. It's the only issue that still remains within the committee's grasp.

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Politics
8:59 am
Mon April 7, 2014

KidCare Insurance for Immigrants Faces Roadblocks

Senate President Don Gaetz
Credit The Florida Senate

A bill that would extend low-cost KidCare health insurance coverage to the children of legal immigrants faces legislative roadblocks --- not the least of them the doubts of Senate President Don Gaetz.

"I’d vote against it," Gaetz, R-Niceville, said Friday. "And I’m a strong supporter of KidCare. I’ve supported every expansion of KidCare. I’ve supported expansions of Kidcare that haven’t even happened. But I would have some hesitancy about this bill."

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Off The Base
6:38 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Free Exhibit Depicting 23 Marines Killed in Iraq Opens at USF

The artist gathered photographs from the Lima Company Marines killed in action and then painted the fallen during more happy times.
The Lima Company Memorial

Opening today and staying for only three days is an art exhibit that has become an iconic symbol for the men and women who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Lima Company Memorial: The Eyes of Freedom exhibit features life-size paintings depicting 23 Marines from the small Ohio Reserves unit L 3/25 who were killed in action in 2005 in Iraq.

Mike Strahle served with Lima Company and now shepherds the exhibit around the U.S. He said the exhibit has a broader reach than just his generation.

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Politics
7:00 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Legislative Roundup: Winners and Losers

With the 2014 session past the halfway mark, work for some Capitol insiders has only just begun.

It won't be long before the pizza boxes start piling up outside offices where legislative budget writers and their staff --- and the lobbyists looking to slip line items into the state's $75 billion spending plan --- are soon to be holed up as they iron out differences between the two chambers' proposals.

But the budget won't be the only focus during the second half of the session. It's also "Hail Mary" time for players whose proposals are still in limbo.

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Off The Base
5:30 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

A Florida Memorial for Gold Star Families

The ceremonial ground-breaking for the Gold Star Family Monument Memorial planned outside Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy in East Tampa.
Bobbie O'Brien WUSF Public Media

A World War II veteran of Iwo Jima and recipient of the Medal of Honor is counting on hundreds of teenage boys at a Tampa public school to honor his dream.

Marine Corporal Hershel “Woody” Williams’ vision is to build a memorial in every state honoring Gold Star families, the spouses, parents, children and extended family members of military men and women who have been killed in combat.

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Politics
5:14 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

House Set To Vote On Revised 'Uber Bill' Limiting Tampa's Limo Rules

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:47 pm

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Off The Base
2:35 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Two Victims of Fort Hood Shootings from Tampa Bay Area

Carlos Lazeny

Two of the victims of Wednesday's mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas apparently came from the Tampa Bay area.

Various news outlets are reporting that Sgt. Danny Ferguson is a graduate of Mulberry High School in Polk County. The other victim is Carlos Lazaney, whose family lives in Tampa.

WFLA-TV is reporting that Ferguson, 39, was originally from Mulberry and a 1993 graduate of Mulberry High School.

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Making Sense of the Media
12:48 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Making Sense of the NCAA Cat Mug Confiscation

Credit Jason Gay

The tweet from Wall Street Journal reporter Jason Gay  -- sent from a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament game at Madison Square Garden -- read as follows:

"NCAA has very strict rules for NCAA-only cups at March Madness. I have brought my cat mug. Stay tuned."

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