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A former aide says Rhea Chiles, the widow of former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, has died.

Bloomberg Targets Bondi Over Power Plant Lawsuit

Nov 9, 2015

A political committee funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is targeting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for her participation in a multi-state lawsuit that challenges an Obama administration rule aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants.

An analysis by The Tampa Bay Times showed that Tampa police wrote more tickets last year than sheriff's offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties combined and more per capita than cops in Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando, the state's four other largest cities.

Tampa Police

Police in Tampa say a boy who disappeared earlier this week was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

The Tampa Police Department said Alexander Torres was struck while on a bridge and taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead Saturday. The circumstances surrounding the crash are under investigation.

Andrew Harnik/Associated Press / AP Photo

A Ruskin man who piloted his one-person aircraft through some of the nation's most restricted airspace and landed on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in an act he has called civil disobedience has agreed to a plea deal.

Douglas Hughes said Friday in a telephone interview that he has agreed to plead guilty to a felony, operating a gyrocopter without a license, a charge that carries a potential three years in prison.

By Ben Ostrowsky via Wikimedia Commons

Although several Tampa residents spoke Thursday at a Tampa City Council meeting against the state's plan to add toll lanes to three major Interstates, their protests might not have any effect, because the decision ultimately rests with the state Department of Transportation.

The project, called the Tampa Bay Express, involves adding tolled express lanes on 87 miles of I-4, I-275 and I-75. The tolls would cost drivers up to $2 per mile.

A bill passed by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee Wednesday could open the door in Florida for smaller scale cosmetic companies.

A bill requiring law enforcement agencies that use body cameras to have guidelines and procedures in place passed its first House committee Wednesday.

A bill aimed at eliminating the unintended consequences of Florida’s 10-20-Life law in self-defense claims unanimously passed its first House panel Wednesday.

Florida lawmakers are looking into a plan that would expand automated lottery sales. Legislators say it’s one way to raise more money for schools. 

Florida A&M University President Elmira Mangum said Monday she's undaunted by the failed efforts of members of the university's Board of Trustees to fire her less than two weeks ago, and that she's still focused on "transformational change" at the school.

"I was shocked, surprised, disappointed -- all of that -- but not deterred," she said. "If anything, it made me more committed."

The House redistricting committee voted along party lines Monday to approve its version of new districts for the state Senate, potentially setting up a battle with the upper chamber as a special session on the map entered its final week.

On a 9-4 vote, the Select Committee on Redistricting's Republican majority pushed through a proposal by Chairman Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, that sets aside a compromise on South Florida seats struck in the Senate last week.

The body of a missing 18-month-old boy from Tampa has been found in a South Florida canal.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Vihaan Pullamsetti's body was spotted Monday morning in Weston, which is west of Fort Lauderdale.

Officials say the child went missing from a relative's apartment in Weston on Sunday afternoon. Deputies, bloodhounds and helicopters assisted neighbors and family members in a large-scale search for the child.

Southwest Florida International Airport began nonstop flights to Cuba on Monday. Choice Aire is the first airline to offer this service for the airport. 

Scott Signs Death Warrant In Pasco Murder

Nov 1, 2015
Florida Department of Corrections

Gov. Rick Scott signed a death warrant for murderer Oscar Ray Bolin, Jr. on Friday, just a day after Death Row inmate Jerry Correll was executed at Florida State Prison near Starke.

Bolin, 53, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Jan. 7 for the 1986 murder of Teri Lynn Matthews, who was abducted from the Land O' Lakes post office and later found wrapped in a sheet on the side of a road in rural Pasco County. Matthews had multiple head injuries from a wooden club and stab wounds.

At about 12:30 on Thursday afternoon, Dynamic Air Flight 405 was taxiing on the north runway of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. It was full of fuel and about to take off for Caracas, Venezuela.

Senate Narrowly Approves Redistricting Plan

Oct 29, 2015

The Republican-controlled state Senate narrowly approved a new map of the chamber's 40 districts Wednesday, moving forward with a plan that opponents said was certain to be struck down by the courts.

  Florida's controversial statewide bear hunt ended after the second day after a higher than expected number of bears had been killed with 295 bears taken overall, nearing the official limit, Florida Wildlife officials announced in a statement issued online Sunday evening.

MGN Online

More data has been released from the annual Sunshine State Survey.

This time, it shows that 85 percent of Floridians want people buying a gun or getting a gun license to get mental health screenings first.

According to survey director Susan MacManus, almost all Floridians agree on this issue.

“This is probably the most solid and most consensual opinion that we've seen in virtually the entire Sunshine State Survey,” she said.

Hillsborough County officials have tentatively approved a $400,000 loan to Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry.

Chairman Releases Redistricting Plan Amid Numbers Controversy

Oct 22, 2015

The chairman of the state Senate committee charged with redrawing districts for the 40-member chamber released his proposed draft of the map late Wednesday, as Republican discontent with a plan for whether and when members would have to run for re-election continued to brew.
 

Protesters are running out of time to stop Florida’s first legal black bear hunt in more than twenty years. More than 2,500 hunting permits have been sold for the week-long bear season that starts Saturday.

Jacksonville activist Adam Sugalski says teams of people will be going into the woods during the hunt to monitor the hunt. They also want to check the stomach contents of dead bears to see how many were shot in the wild and how many were baited.

Lawmakers Sort Out Details Of Oil Spill Money

Oct 21, 2015

With billions of dollars coming to Florida in reparation for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a Senate panel Tuesday tried to get a better feel for how the money will be spent.

Scott Signs Order For Carroll To Pay Ethics Fine

Oct 21, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott has signed an executive order for former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to pay a $1,000 fine to resolve allegations she did not properly report income from consulting work that led to her resignation more than two years ago.

Officials say the father of a missing baby has been extradited from South Carolina to Florida and charged with child neglect and felony murder.

More data is coming from the annual Sunshine State Survey.

This time, it shows that 85 percent of Floridians want people buying a gun or getting a gun license to get mental health screenings first.

Susan MacManus, the survey director and a political scientist at the University of South Florida, says that almost all Floridians agree on this issue.

"This is probably the most solid and most consensual opinion that we've seen in virtually the entire Sunshine State Survey," she says.

Duke Energy Plans Solar Facility In Perry

Oct 16, 2015

Duke Energy Florida plans to build a 5-megawatt solar facility on 20 acres in Taylor County, the company announced Thursday.

The facility, expected to use about 22,000 solar panels, is to be built adjacent to the Duke Energy Perry substation, which is across the street from Taylor County Elementary School.

The project, in Florida's Big Bend region, still needs state and local permitting and is expected to be operational by May, according to a release from Duke Energy.


Florida was in the spotlight again for its death penalty procedure this week when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about the way the Sunshine State hands down death sentences.

In Florida, Alabama and Delaware, juries can recommend the death penalty if more than half the jurors agree; In other states, either the jury decision has to be  unanimous or  a jury isn't used at all in sentencing.

Governor Rick Scott told the state’s media executives Wednesday he wants to continue setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars to lure businesses to Florida.  

The University of South Florida Board of Trustees voted today to put the video spectrum used by WUSF Television up for a public auction. That would mean the station could go off the air - or maybe not.
 

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