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News Service of Florida

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 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.

U.S. Air Force

Plastic surgery is becoming a public health risk, the chairman of the state’s medical licensing board said during a meeting in South Florida.

Tom Petty
Flikr - Musicentropy

In a great big world with lots of places to run to, the Florida Historical Marker Council agreed Friday that one of those spots should be in the hometown of the late Gainesville rocker Tom Petty.

Under Book’s proposal, Florida veterinarians that declaw cats unless it's medically necessary would face a $1,000 fine and be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Veterinary Medicine.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Declawing cats, unless medically necessary, would be banned under a bill proposed for the 2020 legislative session by Sen. Lauren Book.

The Plantation Democrat's measure (SB 48) mirrors a plan recently enacted in New York. The New York law, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 22, imposes a $1,000 fine on veterinarians that perform the procedure.

Under Book’s proposal, Florida veterinarians that declaw cats unless it's medically necessary would face a $1,000 fine and be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. customers will see increased average rates for residential personal-lines policies by just under 4.7 percent, down from an earlier plan for an 8.2 percent hike.
KEV COOK / FLICKR

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved new rates for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. customers that will increase average rates for residential personal-lines policies by just under 4.7 percent, down from an earlier plan for an 8.2 percent hike.

The new rates, which will vary for individual policyholders depending on details of their coverage and locations, will go into effect Dec. 1. The planned 8.2 percent hike was approved in December but did not take effect.

Hattersley will try to unseat freshman U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, in Congressional District 15, which is made up of parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties.
Hattersley For Congress

After getting elected to the Florida House last year, Riverview Democrat Adam Hattersley announced Monday he will run for Congress in 2020.

Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin was fired on Thursday.
Office of the Financial Regulator

Florida’s top financial regulator was fired Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Cabinet members, after a controversy sparked by an employee lodging a sexual harassment complaint.

Charging stations for electric vehicles will be available or under construction at all Florida Turnpike service plazas by the end of the year, with similar infrastructure along other major highways, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.
GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

Charging stations for electric vehicles will be available or under construction at all Florida Turnpike service plazas by the end of the year, with similar infrastructure along other major highways, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

DeSantis said the effort should remove a disincentive for people who are considering electric vehicles.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Florida officials could soon finalize a deal to buy a $15.5 million business jet to fly Gov. Ron DeSantis, more than six months after he was a passenger in a state-operated aircraft that experienced a mechanical malfunction.

A negotiation team with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday recommended the state acquire a nine-passenger jet from Textron Aviation Inc. The recommendation goes to FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen, who will make a final decision.

University of South Florida researchers in 2013 unearthed graves at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.
Pool Photo - 2013

No additional human remains were discovered as forensic experts completed a review of 27 sites around a shuttered Northwest Florida reform school where the remains of more than 50 people were unearthed in 2015.

Protesters lined up in front of U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's office for a "Close the Camps" rally, aimed at shutting down immigration detention centers.
Ti'anna Davis / WUSF Public Media

Two prominent state senators intend to release proposals for the 2020 legislative session that would set up the Republican platform on immigration, a key issue going into next year’s election cycle.

Sen. Joe Gruters, who doubles as the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, and Senate Judiciary Chairman David Simmons plan to file measures that illustrate different approaches to the thorny topic of immigration, the source of some of the Legislature's most heated controversies in recent years.

Margaret Good announced on  July 22, 2019, that she will run against Vern Buchanan next year in Congressional District 16.
margaretgood.com; vernbuchanan.com

State Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, has set her sights on Washington and seven-term Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan rather than a second full term in the Florida House.

Good announced Monday that she will run against Buchanan next year in Congressional District 16.

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