State News

crowd at Miami Beach
pml2008 via Flickr

Florida has surpassed the 20 million population mark while growing faster than California.

The Sunshine State, adding more than 1,000 people a day, is nearly up a half-million people on New York, which it surpassed a year ago to become the third most-populous state, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday.

Florida, with an estimated 20,271,272 residents as of July 1, is also growing faster than a year earlier, when 803 people a day were being added to the state's head count.

Innov8Social.com / Flickr Creative Commons

Florida has added a million jobs since 2010.

That’s according to new numbers released by the state Department of Economic Opportunity Friday.

But, other economic indicators continue to be stagnant.


Floridians for Solar Choice

The light is fading for one of two solar-energy initiatives trying to get on Florida's 2016 ballot.
 
The "Floridians for Solar Choice" coalition, which remains about 400,000 petitions short of qualifying for the 2016 ballot and is in the midst of a contract dispute with a petition-gathering firm, announced Thursday night it has started to explore options for appearing on the 2018 ballot. 

Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a key supporter of the coalition, on Friday called the decision "a strategic pivot."

marijuana plant
Brett Levin / Flickr

In a key step for supporters of legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would go on the November 2016 ballot.

Justices said the proposal, spearheaded by the group People United for Medical Marijuana, meets legal tests that include dealing with a single subject and having a clearly worded ballot title and summary. The Supreme Court does not consider the merits of proposed constitutional amendments but reviews them, in part, to make sure voters would not be misled.

baby's shoulder
Lisa Williams via Flickr

Nearly a year after same-sex marriages started in Florida, a legal decision could be looming in a dispute about birth certificates for children of same-sex couples.

Two couples and an advocacy group asked a federal judge last week to require the Florida Department of Health to list both spouses on birth certificates of children born into same-sex marriages, as the department typically does when married parents are a man and a woman.

SunPass highway sign
bankbryan via Flickr

Time is running out for about 100,000 SunPass customers to convert, for free, to new transponders.

Older, battery-operated transponders used for Florida toll roads and some bridges become obsolete with the New Year.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

At Sweet Pete’s downtown, kids marched up the stairs Monday to learn about candy making in the repurposed historical building, once the Seminole Club.

Across the hall, Gov. Rick Scott was awarding the owners of the business, Sweet Pete himself and wife Allison Behringer, with Governor's Business Ambassador medals for hiring 75 new employees over the last year after relocating downtown.

 


greyhounds racing
Rainer Hungershausen via Flickr

Once posh destinations drawing A-list socialites, celebrities and gangsters, Florida's dog and horse tracks are now at the center of a dispute over whether they should be allowed to do away with live racing altogether.

Chaz Stevens / Facebook

Visitors to the Florida Capitol this month will not see a Nativity scene that had stood in its rotunda for the past two holiday seasons. Its sponsor says she’s tired of the debate and counter-displays it attracted.

Meanwhile one of those counter-displays is returning to the rotunda—and it’s more brightly-colored than ever.


National Park Service

Jacksonville conservationists are urging Duval County lawmakers to use more Amendment 1 money to buy conservation land around the First Coast.

The pleas at Monday’s Duval Delegation meeting came amidst an ongoing court battle pitting environmentalists against state officials who say the money was spent correctly.

One environmental preservation group says it’s losing projects as a direct result of what it calls a misappropriation of state funds.  


Jessica Palombo

Visitors to the Florida Capitol likely won't see a Nativity scene this year. They also won't see a protest display from the Satanic Temple.

However, they could see a menorah. And an irreverent disco ball-topped, multi-colored gay pride festivus pole --- built of beer cans --- might still be on tap.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Eighteen bridges and roads in the Jacksonville area are on a funding list that’s headed to President Obama’s desk.

The bipartisan measure earmarks $12 billion for Florida projects.

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, helped negotiate the bill’s passage.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

A powerful Florida Republican lawmaker is voicing doubts about Governor Rick Scott’s proposal to permanently cut $1 billion in taxes.

Senate Budget Chief Tom Lee says Scott’s cuts may be unsustainable — and not necessary considering how much the economy has already improved.


Florida Attorney General's Office

For the second year in a row, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has created a guide to help Floridians know the gifts they’re buying this year are safe.

The attorney general’s holiday shopping guide has tips on how to safely shop online, how to tell whether or not a charity is legitimate and how to stay within a budget. It also lists items that have been recalled by manufacturers during the past year due to health or safety concerns.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Florida Governor Rick Scott is asking the Legislature to pass a $79.3 billion state budget next year.

At a news conference in Jacksonville Monday morning, Scott went over some of the highlights of his Florida First Budget.

One of those highlights is a substantial revision to how the state doles out money for indigent health care.

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