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News Service of Florida

House Rules Chairman Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, was formally chosen Tuesday by his Republican colleagues to become the next House speaker. Sprowls will take the gavel after the November 2020 elections and serve as speaker for two years.

Nearly $10 million in property-insurance claims have been filed for Hurricane Dorian, which skirted Florida’s East Coast this month.

Chris Sprowls
Florida House of Representatives

The Tampa Bay area should get a larger voice in the state legislature next year. Members of the Florida House on Tuesday named Chris Sprowls of Pinellas County as its next speaker.

Duke Energy Florida said Monday it expects to see a reduction in customers’ monthly electric bills in 2020 because of factors such as lower fuel costs for power plants.

GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE; DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA; WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Florida Supreme Court justices are the highest-paid statewide officials, with their salaries substantially higher than the amounts paid to the governor, state Cabinet members and legislators.

Pixabay

A state appeals court is allowing the Florida House of Representatives to intervene in a lawsuit that could upend the state’s medical marijuana system.

The decision Friday by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal paved the way for the House to enter a lawsuit filed by Florigrown, a Tampa-based business trying to gain entry to the state’s highly restricted medical-marijuana industry, and overturned a ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson.

While expressing sympathy for the couple, a state appeals court Friday upheld financial penalties against two Sarasota County residents who received a homestead exemption in Florida while also receiving a property-tax exemption on a home in Ohio.

The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board agreed Thursday to double its number of hunters who are trying to eradicate invasive Burmese pythons.

Nikki Fried speaks about gas skimmers.
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors found "skimmers," used to steal credit-card or debit-card information at gas pumps, while checking gas stations for Hurricane Dorian damage.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is part of a coalition of attorneys general from across the country who are investigating Facebook for possible antitrust violations.

Tampa electric
Google Maps

Pointing to issues such as low natural-gas prices, Tampa Electric Co. said this week it expects customers’ monthly bills to be reduced in 2020.

The utility on Tuesday made filings with the state Public Service Commission that take into account expenses such as fuel costs for power plants.

Suncoast Parkway
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The public will get its first look at a massive plan to build three new toll roads through rural parts of the state on Tuesday.

The "kickoff" event will be held beginning at 8 a.m. at the Tampa Convention Center. Public comment will be held at 4:45 p.m.

Pinellas County Sheriff  Bob Gualtieri
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

A private security company that was paid thousands of dollars to train school “guardians” in Palm Beach County signed off on armed school security that did not meet statutory training requirements, according to the chairman of the state’s school safety panel.

Bill Galvano
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida House Democrats say they’ve rounded up more than enough support to require votes from both Republican-dominated chambers of the Legislature to determine if there is any appetite for a special session dealing with gun violence.

House damaged by Hurricane Irma
PIXABAY

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the White House to increase federal reimbursements from 75 percent to 90 percent for on-going recovery work following Hurricane Irma, which pummeled Florida nearly two years ago.

Floridians could add more sparkle to the Fourth of July and two other holidays, under the latest attempt to water down the state’s prohibition against fireworks.
Wikimedia Commons

Floridians could add more sparkle to the Fourth of July and two other holidays, under the latest attempt to water down the state’s prohibition against fireworks.

St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes
MyFloridaHouse.gov

St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes is once again seeking to do away with the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, the powerful panel that sparked controversy last year for linking unrelated issues in proposed constitutional amendments.

July 2019 Florida unemployment figures came in at 3.3 precent, down slightly from the month earlier, and down from the 3.7 national rate.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida gained almost 23,000 jobs last month, the most of any state other than Texas.

Figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Florida's unemployment rate in July was 3.3 percent, a slight decrease from 3.4 percent in June.

Florida has added 227,000 jobs year over year, the most of any state but Texas and California.

Pinellas County Sheriff  Bob Gualtieri
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

A state school-safety commission meeting got heated Wednesday as members tackled a range of issues stemming from a controversial school “guardian” program, while one panelist recommended allowing Florida preschools to have armed security.

Two months after the state reported nearly 200 schools did not have an armed resource officer as required by state law, members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission were frustrated to learn that more than two dozen Broward County charter schools lacked a long-term plan for the security guards.

Seminole Hard Rock Casinos
blog.seminolehardrocktampa.com

Heading into a critical election year, Florida legislators may have to tighten spending because of a combination of a slowing economy and reverberations of financial decisions.

State economists on Wednesday drew up new estimates that predict the state will take in about $867 million less in revenue over two years than earlier anticipated. The new forecast was drawn up on the same day that the stock market tanked amid worries that a recession could be looming.

Prominent Orlando attorney John Morgan continues to put his money behind a proposed constitutional amendment that would gradually raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Christian Simmons / WMFE

Prominent Orlando attorney John Morgan continues to put his money behind a proposed constitutional amendment that would gradually raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

After a mass shooting in Texas intensified a partisan divide about immigration, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida has decided to postpone a statewide “listening tour” focused on the controversial topic.

“The rhetoric is so charged across the political spectrum that in order to have a truly productive listening tour we’ve decided to delay to a later date,” state Sen. Joe Gruters, who also serves as chairman of the state GOP, told The News Service of Florida in a text message Monday.

Gun control rally
WLRN

A Panhandle Republican is again asking the Florida House to repeal gun-related provisions of a law passed in 2018 after a mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Scott Maddox
Ryan Dailey/WFSU

Three days after admitting guilt to fraud-related charges, Scott Maddox, a former chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, was removed Friday from his position as Tallahassee city commissioner by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

map of states that expanded access to medicaid.
American Cancer Society

A political committee seeking to pass a constitutional amendment that would expand Medicaid eligibility has decided to push back the proposal to 2022.

In an idea that has popped up repeatedly -- and been rejected -- in the past, a South Florida Democrat is asking lawmakers to consider moving the state capital from Tallahassee.

State Rep. Shevrin Jones’ proposal also specifies that juveniles arrested for possession of certain amounts of cannabis would be eligible for civil citations or pre-arrest diversion programs.
Florida House of Representatives

State Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, filed legislation Monday that would decriminalize possession of certain amounts of marijuana in Florida, a bill that could be a longshot in the Republican-dominated Legislature.

“We must restore justice to our broken criminal justice system. For far too long, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana, and we must end this injustice once and for all,” Jones said in a prepared statement.

Bill Galvano
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

In the run-up to the 2020 legislative session, the Florida Senate will review acts of mass violence such as the deadly shootings this weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, along with factors such as white nationalism.

Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, on Monday directed Senate Infrastructure and Security Chairman Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, to lead efforts to determine if any further action is needed after laws were enacted in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“This president is a disaster for American farmers," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in response to President Donald Trump's trade policies.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Monday renewed attacks on President Donald Trump’s trade policies, citing new reports that China has halted imports of U.S. agricultural goods.

Oleg Magni from Pexels

A fight over disposable straws could return to the state Legislature, even after Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year vetoed a bill that would have blocked local governments from banning plastic straws.

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