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Can Florida universities and colleges rival rest of nation?

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Setting up a debate over the future of Florida’s colleges and universities, the state Senate passed an ambitious proposal Thursday intended to lift schools in the Sunshine State into the ranks of elite counterparts nationwide. For college students, the legislation means more financial aid and incentives designed to help them graduate faster. For universities, it includes more help to recruit and retain high-ranking faculty as they seek to join the ranks of more prominent universities elsewhere. “We’re the number one…

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Report: Richard Corcoran urges Democratic support of Enterprise Florida bill

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran is asking for Democrats support to legislation that would abolish Enterprise Florida, saying if Democrats join the House will be able to override Gov. Rick Scott’s expected veto of the bill. POLITICO Florida reported that Corcoran asked Democrats for their help to “get a veto-proof majority” during a House Democrats dinner. The dinner came on the eve of the bill (HB 7005) first hearing by the full House. The House is also expected to discuss a…

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Rick Scott’s newest title – lame duck

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Gov. Rick Scott has added a new title to his resume in the last few weeks – lame duck. Sure, he officially retains the job of Florida governor until a successor takes over in 2019, but for all intents, it appears a majority of state House members aren’t waiting until then to stop listening to him. The House Appropriations Committee euphemistically threw a pie in the governor’s face Tuesday by voting to eliminate Enterprise Florida and eviscerate Visit Florida, the…

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Florida lawmakers moving quickly to wrap up budget talks

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Florida legislators are moving quickly to bridge their differences on a roughly $80 billion state budget. Legislators met in the Capitol over the weekend to work out spending on key areas such as education, transportation and health care. Legislative leaders Friday reached a broad budget deal regarding tax cuts and overall spending. Now budget committees are working on individual items. House Republicans on Saturday offered a school funding proposal that would trim local property taxes charged by school districts. Senate…

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House Republicans reject amendments to fracking bill sponsored by Democrats

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The Republican-led state House rejected more than a dozen amendments — all of which were sponsored by House Democrats — to a proposal aimed at regulating hydraulic fracturing. House Democrats put forth at least 20 amendments to the bill (HB 191). The changes included requiring drillers to submit water to the Department of Environmental every six months for water quality tests; requiring drillers to test well casings and casing shoes every six months, and prohibiting drillers from using substances listed…

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Today is deadline for parties in redistricting trial to submit proposed maps

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A judge is set to hold a trial later this month to sort out the jumbled mess in Florida’s political landscape over the mapping of state congressional districts. Judge Terry Lewis agreed Friday to give attorneys involved in a three-year legal battle over Florida’s congressional districts until Monday to submit proposed maps. The Florida Supreme Court in July ordered the Republican-controlled Legislature to redraw the state’s 27 congressional districts after finding the current map violated standards adopted by voters. But…

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Gov. Rick Scott signs state budget in private, averts government shutdown

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Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday ended the state’s biggest budget crisis in more than two decades by signing a more than $78 billion budget into law, but he may have created another divide with some of his fellow Republicans. Scott signed the budget just days after the Florida Legislature approved it during an unusual June special session. State government would have been partially shut down if a new budget had not been in place by July 1. But before he…

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