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Janet Cruz reflects on racially-tinged incident at Florida Democrats gala

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Two weeks ago, state Rep. Janet Cruz was part of a group of Democrats angry at Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel for racially-tinged remarks made backstage at the Party’s biggest annual fundraising event. Now, the House Minority Leader from Tampa says those bitter feelings are mostly forgotten as the party looks to seize on anti-Donald Trump sentiment in 2018. “It was disappointing,” Cruz says about the fact that before former Vice President Joe Biden took the stage to give the keynote…

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Senate Democrats could help block budget veto override — with caveats

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Senate Democrats are ready to work with Gov. Rick Scott should he veto the massive education reform bill pushed by House leaders in the final days of the 2017 Session. Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald reports that Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon is prepared to help prevent an override of Scott’s veto, under the right circumstances. A chorus of voices are calling Scott to veto HB 7069 — as well as the entire K-12 budget. If that happens,…

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Deceased FSU player’s brother says bill provides closure

in Sports/Top Headlines by

Devard Darling said his family can finally feel closure after the Florida Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday to compensate his parents $1.8 million for the death of his twin brother, Devaughn Darling, a Florida State football player who died during team drills. The bill’s passage comes more than 16 years after Devaughn Darling’s death. It’s been nearly 13 years since Florida State agreed to the cash settlement, but Florida law prohibits the university from paying more than $200,000 without…

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Top Senate Democrat says chambers will split the difference on state budget

in Statewide by

There were competing accounts Wednesday of negotiations over the next state budget, with the Senate’s top Democrat saying a deal’s been struck. The chambers have agreed to meet in the middle on the $4 billion that separates their respective proposed budgets, taking $2 billion from the Senate plan and adding $2 billion to the House version, Senate Democratic leader Oscar Braynon told his caucus Wednesday morning. “There’s been a deal struck,” Braynon said. “Remember, a deal struck is nothing final,”…

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Andrew Gillum: Frank Artiles needs to go

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Andrew Gillum is refusing to forgive Miami Republican Frank Artiles, who apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday for using the N-word toward two black lawmakers. The Tallahassee mayor, an African-American who is running for governor next year, says Artiles needs to resign from the Florida Senate. “We have struggled with days when these words were too common,” Gillum said. “They are the ugliest words in our language and they tear at the fabric of our society. They have no place in 2017, just…

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Report: Marco Rubio says ‘there’s no federal money’ for reservoir south of Lake O

in Statewide by

A top priority of Senate President Joe Negron’s took a hit this week, after Sen. Marco Rubio said a plan to build reservoirs wouldn’t get federal money and would wipe out farming communities. According to POLITICO Florida, Rubio said “there’s no federal money” for Negron’s proposed reservoirs. “We’re going to end up with nothing,” he said according to the report. “And that’s been my argument from the beginning and that’s my message to him and he understood it.” Sponsored by…

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Senate begins discussion of medical marijuana implementing legislation

in 2017 by

Sen. Rob Bradley indicated he is willing to support opening up the medical marijuana market more than he first proposed, but continues to believe vertical integration is the right system for Florida. Bradley, an Orange Park Republican, filed one of five medical marijuana implementing bills this Legislative Session. His proposal (SB 406) would, among other things, allow for the growth of the industry once the number of registered patients hits certain thresholds. Under his proposal, the Department of Health would…

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