Jim Saunders - News Service of Florida

Jim Saunders is the Executive Editor of The News Service Of Florida.

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State regulators Thursday approved a settlement that will clear the way for Florida Power & Light to buy — and ultimately shut down — a coal-fired power plant in Jacksonville.

A three-member panel of the Florida Public Service Commission signed off on the $520.5 million deal, little more than a month after FPL and the state Office of Public Counsel reached a settlement agreement. The Office of Public Counsel is an agency that represents consumers in utility cases.

Trump, Clinton headshots
Gage Skidmore / State Department

The Donald has overtaken Jeb and Marco in Florida.

But a new Quinnipiac University poll might show more-daunting trends for another candidate on a first-name basis with voters — Hillary.

The poll, released Thursday, indicates that New York developer and television personality Donald Trump has taken a slight lead over former Gov. Jeb Bush and a larger lead over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican presidential primary in Florida.

Tom Flanigan / WFSU News

Two Republican lawmakers Monday filed proposals that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on college and university campuses, setting the stage for a renewed debate about the controversial issue.

Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Greg Evers, R-Baker, and Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, filed the bills (SB 68 and HB 4001) for lawmakers to consider during the 2016 legislative session, which starts in January.

The U.S. Supreme Court this fall will hear arguments in a challenge to the way Florida sentences people to death — a challenge backed by three former Florida Supreme Court justices and the American Bar Association.

The case, which stems from the 1998 murder of an Escambia County fast-food worker, focuses on the role that juries play in recommending death sentences, which ultimately are imposed by judges.

Florida Election Commission

Pointing to a time crunch, a Leon County circuit judge Wednesday gave the Florida Legislature little more than two months to draw new congressional districts and to defend them in court.

Judge George S. Reynolds III issued an order that said a special legislative session to redraw districts and a subsequent trial must be finished by Sept. 25. The order came after the Florida Supreme Court last week tossed out eight congressional districts because it found that lawmakers violated a 2010 constitutional amendment aimed at preventing gerrymandering.

Dorm interior
University of Florida

After a high-profile legislative debate this spring about concealed weapons on college campuses, a state appeals court is poised to hear arguments in a dispute about whether guns should be allowed in residence halls and other housing at the University of Florida.

Democrat Hillary Clinton holds slight edges over Republicans Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush in potential 2016 presidential battles in Florida, but voters are concerned about the honesty and trustworthiness of the former secretary of state, a new poll shows.

The poll, released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University, said Clinton leads Rubio, a Florida senator, by a margin of 47 percent to 44 percent in the critical swing state. She leads Bush, a former Florida governor who formally announced his presidential campaign this week, by a margin of 46 percent to 42 percent.

Lindsey Turner / Flickr

In a major victory for the online travel industry, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments that companies such as Expedia and Travelocity should pay more in county tourist-development taxes.

Five of the seven justices sided with the industry in a long-running legal and political battle that has involved at least 20 counties.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Describing the state's arguments as "baseless," federal officials this week fired back in court against Gov. Rick Scott's contention that the Obama administration has unconstitutionally tried to link expanding Medicaid with the continuation of a key health-care funding program.

Wikimedia Commons

In a victory for school-choice supporters, a circuit judge Monday tossed out a constitutional challenge to a state program that helps send tens of thousands of low-income children to private schools.

Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds ruled that plaintiffs in the case — spearheaded by the Florida Education Association teachers union — did not have legal "standing" to challenge the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

Ray Hollister / Apple/iCloud

In a case that raised high-tech privacy issues, a federal appeals court Tuesday approved prosecutors' use of cell-phone records from a 67-day period to help map the whereabouts of a suspect in a South Florida armed-robbery spree.

Uber car
Adam Fagen via Flickr

The Senate and House are on different paths as they consider setting auto-insurance requirements for technology-based rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.

As taxi and limo services call for stricter regulations on growing "transportation network companies," the Senate has expanded an insurance measure, S.B. 1298, to include a requirement for around-the-clock coverage on the vehicles of app-connected rideshare drivers.

The requirement would kick in once a driver has been working with a company for at least six months.

marijuana plant
Brett Levin / Flickr

  Five months after narrowly rejecting a medical-marijuana ballot initiative, Florida voters overwhelmingly support allowing doctor-prescribed pot in the state, according to a poll released Monday.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that 84 percent of Florida voters back letting adults use medical marijuana if doctors prescribe it.

Carleton Atwater via Flickr

A South Florida appeals court Monday heard arguments in a challenge to the constitutionality of the state's workers-compensation insurance system --- as two other closely watched challenges also await rulings at the Florida Supreme Court.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal took up a case in which a Miami-Dade County circuit judge ruled last year that a key underpinning of workers-compensation laws was unconstitutional. That underpinning involves cases being handled through the workers-compensation insurance system instead of through civil lawsuits.

Erik Hersman / Flickr

Seeking to make Florida more "meaningful" in choosing a Republican presidential nominee, the Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to moving back the date of the state's presidential primary elections.

Senators, with little debate, unanimously backed a bill (HB 7035) that passed the House last week. It now goes to Gov. Rick Scott.

The bill would lead to the presidential primaries being held on the third Tuesday in March, which would be March 15 in 2016. Under current law, next year's primaries would be on March 1.

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