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Julio Ochoa/WUSF

Sen. Bill Nelson was in Tampa on Monday to announce an endorsement from former Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Rossello.

Pot Legalization Could Be Key Issue For Democrats

Jun 4, 2018

Three of the state’s top Democratic candidates for governor support legalization of recreational marijuana, and the fourth backs decriminalizing pot for personal use, showing near-consensus on an issue political rainmaker John Morgan said could determine the outcome of the August primary.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

A group of activists marked Gun Violence Prevention Day over the weekend with an annual speaking and voter registration event at The Portico in Downtown Tampa.

NPR.org

Has there really been more students killed in schools this year than U.S. troops killed in war zones overseas? And just how "independent" is Florida's Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson? WUSF's Steve Newborn looks into these claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida. 

The man who led the efforts to allow the use of medical marijuana in Florida two years ago implored Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday to drop the state's opposition to letting patients smoke it.

Former President George H.W. Bush is hospitalized in Maine — a week after he arrived in the state to spend the summer.

Spokesman Jim McGrath says the 93 year old was hospitalized on Sunday after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue. He was taken to Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford which is about 20 miles south of Portland.

McGrath said Bush was awake, alert and not in any discomfort — adding the 41st president would spend at least a few days in the hospital for observation.

Flckr

Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that federal funds will be used after all to beef up security for the state's voting systems in time for November's elections.

A reboot of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign, which sought to unite those of all races who live in poverty, had a presence in Florida’s Capitol Monday.

Longtime Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni died Sunday at the age of 63.

The Treasure Island Republican served on the commission since 2000. He also represented Pinellas County in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years, from 1992-2000.

In a surprise announcement that caught the candidate off-guard, President Donald Trump said he'll nominate acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to permanently lead the beleaguered department.

Florida is suing drug companies that have steered more than $1 million to politicians over the last 20 years.

Flickr

Supervisors of elections throughout Florida are preparing for the upcoming election season, with the secruity of the voting process being a top priority.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

The Hillsborough County Republican Party held its annual Lincoln Dinner fundraising on Saturday, giving candidates an opportunity to make their pitch to local donors and political operatives.

Agriculture Commissioner - and candidate for governor - Adam Putnam is claiming in his push for vocational-technical training that welders come out of tech schools making $28 an hour.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

According to a Tampa Bay Times investigation, Publix has given more money to Adam Putnam's bid for governor than any other candidate since at least 1995. 

The Trump administration announced Monday that it has dramatically increased the number of worksite investigations and audits to make sure that American businesses do not employ people who are in the U.S. illegally.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is rolling out details of his top priority if elected — a plan to boost vocational and technical education in middle and high schools.

Updated at 4:21 p.m. ET

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he will explore other ways to punish a Chinese cellphone manufacturer, after a surprising tweet from President Trump that said the original penalty was too harsh.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that smartphone giant ZTE was losing "too many jobs in China" as a result of U.S. sanctions. He said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a solution.

In a major escalation of their support, Disney Worldwide Services and the Seminole Tribe of Florida each plowed $5 million last month into a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder to expand gambling in the state. 

Commission Files Eight Measures For November Ballot

May 9, 2018

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission formally concluded its work Wednesday, sending eight proposed constitutional amendments to Secretary of State Ken Detzner for placement on the Nov. 6 general-election ballot.

“After holding more than 15 public hearings, the most in CRC history, and reviewing thousands of public comments, we submitted a compelling set of transformational proposals that have the potential to benefit Floridians for generations to come,” commission Chairman Carlos Beruff said in a statement.

Fl House of Representatives

After months of considering a run for governor, Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran will stay out of the race and instead back Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Castor Re-Elected To Congress With No Opposition

May 7, 2018

Democrats Kathy Castor and Lois Frankel won re-election to their congressional seats on Friday when no challengers filed before the close of a qualifying period for federal offices.

But the unhindered re-election of the two lawmakers from Tampa and West Palm Beach was the exception as the majority of Florida’s 27 U.S. House members face a highly competitive election year.

Four seats, now held by Republicans, are open and they drew crowded fields.

When Republicans muscled legislation scuttling the Obamacare health care law through the House a year ago Friday, Democrats waved sarcastically and giddily serenaded them with chants of, "Nah nah nah nah, hey hey, goodbye."

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Will a bill recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott result in making more of Florida's beaches off-limits? And does U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson really have an anemic record of getting bills passed in Congress, as his opponents allege? WUSF's Steve Newborn gets the lowdown on those claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

Flickr

Former Congressman Alan Grayson has announced he wants to return to Washington, D.C. The liberal firebrand - once said on the floors of Congress about a Republican plan to overturn ObamaCare, "Don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly."

He plans to take on incumbent Democrat Darren Soto in Congressional District 9, which includes northeast Polk and Osceola counties and parts of Orlando. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Grayson about why he's opposed by the Democratic Party establishment.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

While thousands of Puerto Ricans protested Tuesday over what they say is a lack of resources dedicated to their island after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, a group of islanders in Tampa gushed over Florida's governor as he runs for U.S. Senate.

Gov. Rick Scott pressed the flesh and spoke in Spanish to a group made up mainly of Puerto Ricans who now live in Tampa. He was feted by the territory's congressional representative, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, who introduced him during a campaign stop at La Casona Restaurant in West Tampa.

Caribbean American Civic Movement

A small street festival outside Miami features booths adorned with Puerto Rican flags. A band plays salsa music as vendors offer specialties from the Caribbean island such as rice with pork and chickpeas. There's also a woman working her way through the crowd with a clipboard, her white T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Your vote, your voice, your future."

Ricky Shirah/Facebook; Josie Tomkow/Facebook

Voters in Northeastern Polk County will head to the polls on Tuesday for a special election to replace former state Representative Neil Combee.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

The Hillsborough County Democratic Party's spring fundraiser on Saturday was abuzz with talk of a "blue wave," a "blue tsunami" and a "fall frenzy."

Teachers have staged protests in recent weeks in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona. Some are fighting lawmakers who want to scale back their pensions.

It's no secret that many states have badly underfunded their teacher pension plans for decades and now find themselves drowning in debt. But this pensions fight is also complicated by one little-known fact:

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