Politics

Political news

A coalition of voting-rights groups has unveiled six possible maps for the Florida Senate's 40 districts, setting up a court battle that could boost Democrats' hopes of retaking a toehold in state government now dominated by Republicans.

The maps, released Wednesday shortly before midnight, will be considered by Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds. He will decide among the plans submitted by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida, the plaintiffs in a long-running legal fight, and a proposal floated earlier Wednesday by Senate leaders.

Ray Hollister / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council will begin considering a bill next Tuesday that could limit when and where food trucks can operate.

Councilman Reggie Brown is introducing the bill, which if passed, would amend the city ordinance so that food trucks would not be allowed to operate within 50 feet of a brick-and-mortar business unless the brick-and-mortar business gives the mobile business written consent.

A Leon County judge on Friday quickly rejected a Florida Senate request to bring in an outside expert to redraw the Senate's 40 districts.

Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds III, who turned down the Senate proposal during a 30-minute hearing conducted over the phone, said there wasn't enough time remaining to bring in a "special master" to help draw new district lines.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Florida Governor Rick Scott passed through Jacksonville Wednesday touting his plan to cut state taxes by $1 billion dollars.

Scott says there’s more than enough in public coffers to offset the cuts, despite state economists’ projecting just over half that amount as the expected surplus.

Scott is hoping to get the public to apply pressure to lawmakers.


A $90 million stadium improvement plan will be introduced to the Jacksonville City Council, Tuesday.

Under the agreement, taxpayers would cover half of the cost and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, the rest.

Plans include building a new amphitheater what would hold between 4,000 and 5,000 guests.

Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri says it could be a great public-private partnership.

Lindsey Kilbride

 

When it comes to registering voters, Northeast Florida has a few things figured out.

Four of the state’s top five counties with the highest voter-registration rates are in the same area.

 


After a second consecutive redistricting session fell apart Thursday and the Legislature went home yet again without passing a map, lawmakers' message was more or less: We told you so.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

 

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner met with North Florida election supervisors, Friday to plan for 2016.

 


CREDIT PETRONAS / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

 

As Florida lawmakers continue wrangling with redistricting, the state’s county elections supervisors say their drop-dead date for district boundary changes is mid-December.

 

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner says supervisors need to know about changes sooner than later.

 

“We’re getting close to a time period in which the supervisors really need to know and we’re anticipating that the courts in the near future some time in December will have some final maps,” Detzner said.

The Florida Channel

A last-ditch effort to keep the courts from drawing state Senate districts collapsed Thursday, as senators voted down a plan proposed by the House and a special session called to draw the lines crashed to an end.

On a 23-16 vote, the Senate killed the House version of the map (SJR 2-C) and any hope that the Legislature would decide the lines. Nine Republicans bucked their party's leadership and joined all 14 Democrats in opposing the plan.

EPA

A bill that would create a new regulatory structure in Florida for oil and gas drilling, including the controversial practice known as "fracking," easily passed a House panel Tuesday despite roughly 50 environmentalists on hand to oppose the measure.

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee approved the bill (HB 191), filed by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, and Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, on a straight party-line vote of 9-4.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Board of Trustees Chair Larry Schmitt says the recent external investigation of the fund was poorly executed.

Schmitt met with Councilman Bill Gulliford this Monday to defend himself against the findings.


News4Jax

Former Florida Governor and Republican candidate for president Jeb Bush is in Jacksonville for a town hall meeting Monday where he’s painting himself as the only sensible leader among the GOP candidates.

Bush, unveiling his new slogan, “Jeb can fix it,” told a crowd at Kaman Aerospace: Most people support robust defense spending, but hyper-partisanship has made the issue toxic.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s Police and Fire Pension Fund got a D minus on a recent forensic audit. 

Benchmark Financial Services issued its report on the pension plan today at the City Council’s request.

Auditor Edward Siedle says he based the fund’s near-failing grade on what he called a "profound lack of transparency and cooperation" by its overseers.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Even though outsider candidates are leading in national polls, the Duval County Republican Party is keen on supporting a more established presidential hopeful.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is the favorite among the county GOP, according to straw poll results released just before the third televised debate Wednesday night.


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