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State Regulator Resigns After Harassment Allegation

Dec 4, 2017
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Allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct continued to send shock waves through the Capitol on Monday, as an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott to the state's utility-regulatory board withdrew from the job after an influential senator accused him of manhandling her at a charity event last year.

Ritch Workman, a former state House member who was supposed to begin work next month on the state Public Service Commission, walked away from the appointment, which would have required Senate confirmation.

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, once a powerful Jacksonville Democrat, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for fraud and other crimes related to a purported charity for poor students that she used as a personal slush fund.

Brown, 71, listened stoically in a Jacksonville courtroom as U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Corrigan read her sentence. She was ordered to turn herself in to prison authorities in January. Her attorney said she plans to appeal the sentence.

Republicans muscled the largest tax overhaul in 30 years through the Senate early Saturday, taking a big step toward giving President Donald Trump his first major legislative triumph after months of false starts and frustration on other fronts that included health care reform.

The 2017 Hurricane season is officially over. But lawmakers are still debating how to pick up the pieces.

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission is considering an amendment prohibiting governments from naming public projects after sitting members.

A proposal changing the eligibility requirements for becoming a judge in a state or county court is starting to move in a committee of the Constitution Revision Commission. That’s the panel that meets every 20 years to revise the state constitution and put the matter before voters.

Democrats may soon have a rare chance to swing a moderate district their way. But first, voters in Sarasota have to choose between which Democrat they want to represent them in Tuesday's primary.

The District 72 primary pits Margaret Good, a Sarasota attorney and political rookie, against Ruta Jouniari, a Sarasota staffing agency owner. Political reporter William March says Jouniari considers herself an activist, which may not be sitting too well with more established members of the Democratic Party.

WFTX

Has Gov. Rick Scott really cut taxes 75 times in office, cutting $7.5 billion dollars from the tax rolls? And has that resulted in over a million new jobs being created in Florida? WUSF's Steve Newborn and PolitiFact Florida's Allison Graves look at that claim and another from candidate for Gov. Chris King, who says Hispanics have started three times as many businesses as white men.

The Ledger

Well-known attorney John Morgan says he's not running for Florida governor.

There are two special elections planned for the upcoming months - one on Sarasota and one centered on Plant City. 

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) met with Tampa business leaders on Monday to discuss the Senate's version of the tax reform bill.

COMMENTARY

In 2012, conservative Florida Senator Marco Rubio made one of the strongest pitches for the DREAM Act I’ve ever heard.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which has been sitting on Capitol Hill in one form or another since the turn of the century, would grant legal status to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Rubio, a Cuban-American, said helping those so-called Dreamer immigrants was a “humanitarian mission.”

Gov. Rick Scott Says Roy Moore Should Exit Alabama's U.S. Senate Race

Nov 17, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott said Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with girls as young as 14, should drop out of the race, according to the Austin American-Statesman newspaper.

workingnurse.com

Did Gov. Rick Scott really brag about the state's low wages during business trips? And is there a critical shortage of nurses in Florida? WUSF's Steve Newborn gets to the bottom of these claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

State Representative Ross Spano is the latest Republican to enter the 2018 race for Florida Attorney General.

For the most part, Governor Rick Scott’s $87.4 billion budget proposal appears very promising. That’s according to the Florida Senate’s new budget chairman,  Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island).

Bethune Gets Backing To Replace Confederate In Capitol

Nov 16, 2017

A statue of civil-rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune is getting support in both chambers of the Legislature as a replacement for a Confederate general who has long represented Florida in the U.S. Capitol.

After a lengthy debate, the city of Hollywood is moving forward with renaming Forrest, Lee and Hood streets, which honor Confederate war heroes.

At Wednesday’s regular commission meeting, Mayor Josh Levy said he was ready to finalize this issue, which has been going on for several years.

"We stand certainly for much better than what those men stood for," Levy said. "We don't have to honor something that's so offensive to all of us."

Mary Shedden / WUSF Public Media

Rick Kriseman's victory in the race for St. Petersburg Mayor is being portrayed by some as part of a Democratic wave that included winning the governor's post in two states. But will it have much of an impact on the political landscape in Florida? WUSF's Steve Newborn talks about that with veteran political reporter William March.

Latvala Takes Aim At Career-Threatening Allegations

Nov 10, 2017
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There's little doubt Sen. Jack Latvala isn't the most politically correct lawmaker in Tallahassee.

The Clearwater Republican, who's been dogged for a week by accusations that he sexually assaulted or harassed female lobbyists and staff, even admits he's made remarks about women's appearances that could be construed as inappropriate.

The Florida Channel

State Sen. Jack Latvala's bid for governor - and possibly his political career - are in jeopardy after Politico Florida reported six women who work at the state Capitol accused him of sexual harrasment. The Clearwater Republican has vowed to fight the charges. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with political reporter William March about Latvala's future.

A few words among Florida supreme court justices mumbled on a hot mic, has the governor looking for answers.  The exchange came at the end of a high profile hearing over who will name three upcoming vacancies on the Supreme Court bench.

Tallahassee is not the only state capitol reeling from sexual harassment claims. Legislatures in California, Indiana, Missouri, Washington and at least seven others are also dealing with the issue.

A bill seeking to make it easier for firearm dealers to pay for the criminal background checks has unanimously passed its first Senate committee.

Wikimedia Commons

Pinellas County voters on Tuesday night overwhelmingly approved an extension to its 1-cent sales tax, known as Penny for Pinellas.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Lakeland voters rejected a change to a strong mayor form of government.

Nearly 69 percent of voters said no to the amendment to the city charter, which means that the city will continue to be governed by an elected city council and an appointed city manager.

GOP Candidate Emerges For Combee House Seat In Polk

Nov 8, 2017

Pointing to her family's background in the cattle industry, a Polk City Republican has emerged as a candidate to replace outgoing state Rep. Neil Combee, R-Auburndale.

Mary Shedden/WUSF

Just a few months ago, less than 100 votes separated the two candidates in the race to be mayor of St. Petersburg.

That wasn't the case Tuesday night, as incumbent Rick Kriseman beat former mayor Rick Baker by more than 2,000 votes. 

Tallahassee Capitol 'Culture' Under Scrutiny After Spy Camera Found

Nov 4, 2017

Two months away from home in a highly competitive environment that is fueled by money, power and booze and in which careers are made or broken based on relationships built mainly after hours.

That's the backdrop for the unfolding drama in Tallahassee in which insiders and onlookers have developed an obsession with who is sleeping with whom, and who will be the next to be outed.

The prurient explosion began last week, when high-ranking Democratic Sen. Jeff Clemens resigned from his seat after admitting he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

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A powerful Republican state senator and candidate for governor will be investigated by the Senate after a report came out that said he had harassed and groped women during his time in office.

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