State News

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.

All this week, Nick Vujicic is taking his “save lives, end bullying” message to students across Florida. Vujicic is an Australian YouTube personality who was born without limbs. Tuesday morning the 32 year-old spoke to more than 2,000 students at Ocoee High School.

“Because from a personal story, I was affected by bullying too and attempted suicide at age 10, so that’s why I’m passionate,” said Vujicic.

Today, he is married, has kids and swims, surfs and skydives. Students from other Florida schools also watched his inspirational speech via simulcast online.

Bear killed during hunt
WKMG-TV

After just two days, Florida ended its controversial black bear hunt because a higher than expected number of bears had been killed.

Wildlife authorities said late Sunday that 295 bears taken overall, nearing the official limit in what was supposed to be. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted a statement on its website saying it had closed the 2015 hunt because it was approaching an agency "objective" of 320 bears overall.

"The 2015 bear hunt is officially over," the statement said.

stacks of money
Jericho / Wikimedia Commons

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is proposing more than $673 million in tax cuts for next year’s state budget. But that’s about $20 million more than the state’s expected surplus. And a $400 million  shortfall is looming in health care funding as a result of losing federal money for indigent health care.

Senate seal
Florida Senate

Without a formal vote, the Florida Senate on Monday agreed to strip the Confederate battle flag from its official seal, removing one of the few remaining vestiges of the infamous icon in state government.

After some hesitation when the change first came up, senators—back in Tallahassee for a redistricting special session—agreed without objection to adopt a new rule removing the controversial emblem from the chamber's insignia. Approving the change without objection avoided the need for even a voice vote on the emotional issue.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Natural gas took center stage at the Florida Energy Summit in Jacksonville Thursday, sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and hosted by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. 

Energy company execs and government officials called the fuel source integral to the state’s energy independence.

But a recent study says Florida and the rest of the country are too reliant on the fuel.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Central and North Florida springs are getting an extra $4 million to help supplement ongoing water conservation efforts.

The St. Johns River Water Management District board voted Tuesday to allow the district’s executive director to use the funds the Florida Legislature allocated.

Some environmentalists worry the board signed away its authority to choose which projects get the funds, which could hinder transparency.

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