Politics

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The Florida legislative session has begun, which means it’s time to get serious about the state’s budget.  But the past few months of prologue have done little to bring the parties together.

Gov. Rick Scott took his fight for business incentives directly to critics Tuesday, using his "State of the State" address to defend requests for tens of millions of dollars to lure companies to Florida and to market the state's tourism industry.

Courtesy Tampa Bay Times

Florida's legislative session is just beginning, but the battle over Governor Rick Scott's most prized programs has been going on for a while. 

Florida Supreme Court justices are considering allowing hundreds of thousands of ex-felons to vote. They heard arguments from Floridians For a Fair Democracy on a ballot initiative that would restore voting rights for residents who have completed their sentences.

The war between House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Governor Rick Scott over corporate tax breaks appears to be claiming another casualty.

State lawmakers are pushing to track sentencing as a way to stamp out disparities in how penalties are doled out.  But at its first hearing, the measure was put on hold.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

Gloria Horner stands along Bayfront Drive in Sarasota, wearing a red "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" cap, a shirt that says "TRUMP 2020" and a handmade sign that reads "MAKING AMERICA GREAT!" 


One of the big debates taking shape this legislative session is about state involvement in economic development. The capitol’s powerbrokers are picking sides in the battle, which is threatening to derail session before it even begins.

Florida Republican lawmakers are pushing punitive immigrant and refugee legislation once again this session. Similar proposals died last year. But the 2016 campaign season may be stimulating an appetite for change.

Battle lines are being drawn in Florida over a perennially thorny issue: Guns.  State lawmakers have filed over a dozen bills seeking changes to existing gun laws. 

One bill is making waves in advance of Tuesday's opening of the legislative session Tallahassee. It would restrict the rights of cities and counties to pass laws that haven't been given the OK by the state. And it is being backed by the speaker of the Florida House.

Laws passed by local governments - such as minimum wage raises, rules to curb pollution and protection for LGBT people - would be null and void, unless they have been given specific permission from the state Legislature.

State lawmakers will consider a raft of gun bills this session primarily aimed at expanding rights.  But one representative is focused on making it easier to get firearms out of abusive households.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

With the start of Florida's Legislative session just days away, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcocan traveled to Sarasota Thursday, offering a preview to members of The Argus Foundation at the Sarasota Yacht Club.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is naming Carlos Beruff to chair Florida’s Constitutional Revision Commission.

City of Tallahassee

Just as the doors close on the presidential race, candidates are lining up to run for Florida governor in 2018.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy. There’s also been speculation that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has his eye on the governor’s mansion.

Updated at 10:28 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night was the occasion for his most presidential performance to date, balancing a reprise of his angry campaign themes with a recitation of hopes and dreams for the nation.

It was his most successful, if not his first, effort at assuming the public persona and personal demeanor associated with his new office. He stuck to the script on his teleprompter, spoke graciously to individuals in the audience and refrained from attacks on critics, rivals or adversaries.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is making it official with a social media post -- he's running for governor.

The first black President of the United States is a good role model and a good father. That’s according to the head of Florida’s child welfare agency, who spoke during a recent Black History Month celebration.

Florida’s political and corporate elite are nervously anticipating Monday, when  House Speaker Richard Corcoran has promised to name his picks to the Constitution Revision Commission.

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