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Official sides with Georgia over Florida in water lawsuit

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A judicial official sided with Georgia in a decades-long dispute over water rights with Florida on Tuesday, recommending that the U.S. Supreme Court refuse Florida’s high-stakes request to cap water use by its neighboring state. The dispute focuses on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, covering nearly 20,000 square miles in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The Chattahoochee and Flint rivers meet at the Georgia-Florida border to form the Apalachicola, which flows into the bay and the Gulf of…

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Jeff Brandes legislation would create task force focusing on criminal justice

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After years of watching other red states leap ahead of them on criminal justice reform, Pinellas County Republican Senator Jeff Brandes is filing a bill that would create a criminal justice task force in the state of Florida in 2017. It calls for a large committee consisting of 27 members (16 will be appointed) representing the Florida House, Senate, the Governor’s offices and various state agencies, as well as from a victim’s advocacy group, the formerly incarcerated, and the faith community. The goal would be to…

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Florida-Georgia water case official orders settlement talks

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A court official on Tuesday ordered attorneys for Florida and Georgia to try again to settle a yearslong dispute over water use in the region. Special Master Ralph Lancaster gave the states until Jan. 24 to meet and encouraged them to use a mediator. He also ordered the states to file a confidential report to him by Jan. 26 summarizing their efforts to reach a settlement. The dispute focuses on a watershed in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida…

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After Matthew, some second-guess decision to evacuate

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Maureen Miller was among the 2 million people ordered to evacuate coastal areas in the Southeast ahead of Hurricane Matthew. Her family and their dog spent two nights in a hotel and struggled through police roadblocks to return. When they finally got back, their Brunswick, Georgia-area home was unscathed. Now they wish they had never left. “I will never evacuate again,” Miller said. “If we stayed, we’d be fine. I’m sure there are a lot of people who feel the…

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Hundreds of thousands flee Florida coast to escape Matthew’s fury

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Hundreds of thousands of anxious people boarded up their homes and businesses and grabbed a few belongings to flee inland as Hurricane Matthew gained strength and roared toward the Southeast seaboard on Thursday. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said the state, its skies already darkening from early outer rain bands of the life-threatening storm, could be facing its “biggest evacuation ever” as Matthew menaces almost all the state’s Atlantic coast. As people hurried for higher ground, authorities in South Carolina…

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Mitch Perry Report for 3.30.16 – What happened to the moderate, affable Pat McCrory?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Back in 2009-2010, the folks behind the Moving Hillsborough Forward brought Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory to Tampa on three different occasions to advise local officials on how to pass the one-cent sales tax referendum for transit on the November 2010 ballot in Hillsborough County. As we all remember, the measure went down to a resounding defeat, but McCrory came off to most of the local media as well. I used the adjective “engaging” on at least one occasion to describe McCrory. “Affable”…

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Florida’s Pastor Protection Act doesn’t go as far as Georgia’s — and that’s a good thing for NFL fans

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After the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, more than 20 state legislatures reacted by passing religious freedom laws to protect clergy. This month, Florida became the latest state to do so after Gov. Rick Scott signed the Pastor Protection Act. The new law shields religious entities and individuals from any lawsuit if they refuse to administer same-sex weddings. Meanwhile in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal says he’ll decide by next month whether…

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