State Politics

With FSU Appointment Expected, Thrasher District Already In Play

May 30, 2014
The Florida Senate

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — Sen. John Thrasher hasn't been named president of Florida State University. At least not yet.

House, Senate Agree On Projects As Budget Vote Nears

Apr 29, 2014
Jenn Greiving / Wikimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — House and Senate budget writers agreed to hundreds of millions of dollars in projects Monday, finishing the tug-of-war over numbers in the spending plan for the year that begins July 1.

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TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — With Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist already slugging it out, the 2014 gubernatorial race dominates political talk in Florida.

But scattered across the state, candidates are raising money and getting organized to try to win competitive Florida House seats. Campaign filings point to the House as the battleground in next year's legislative races. Of the 20 Senate seats up for election, incumbents are unopposed in 15 of the districts --- and the other five incumbents have huge fund-raising leads. 

Florida’s lowest-paid workers are set to get a roughly three-hundred-dollar annual raise starting on January first. Currently, the hourly minimum wage in the state is $7.79, and it will go up by 14 cents in January.

Due to a constitutional amendment passed in 2004, minimum wage in Florida is tied to inflation, creating the salary bump. But one state senator doesn’t think it goes far enough.

Senator Dwight Bullard, a Miami Democrat, has filed a bill to raise the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 for every worker in the state. He says rising gas and food prices make it hard for low-wage earners to make ends meet.


TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — A nearly 6-foot-tall pole made from emptied beer cans, marking a parody holiday, will be put up in the Florida Capitol this week as a not-so-subtle protest to the recent placement of a Christian nativity scene.

Florida officials inducted six citizens into the state’s Veterans Hall of fame Tuesday. Lawmakers created the honor in 2011, but concerns about diversity slowed down the process, making this year’s group the inaugural set.

Florida Governor Rick Scott inducted five men and one woman during Tuesday’s early morning ceremony. 

A Financial Impact Estimating Conference report concluded Monday that the cost of medical marijuana in Florida could not be determined due to uncertainty regarding taxation of the plant.

Although the Department of Health estimates the annual cost for Florida would be roughly $1 million, the FIEC report would be more-accurate if marijuana sales taxes were clear.

Later this year, on December 5, the Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana should go before state voters.

Supporters of the push to legalize are working to get enough signatures to put the issue on the 2014 ballot.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is challenging the proposed amendment, calling it misleading and arguing it would allow for use of the drug in limitless situations.

A new poll released today by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida shows former Florida Governor Charlie Crist carrying a a 5-percentage point lead over Gov. Rick Scott among registered voters in the 2014 gubernatorial race. 

The key to Crist’s lead, according to the poll, is support from Independents, which he carries 41 to 33 percent. The poll shows that Scott’s job-approval rating among registered voters at 49 percent.

A poll conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling gives former Florida Governor Charlie Crist  a 12 point lead over current Governor Rick Scott.

Crist's lead comes from a large 24 point advantage among independents. He gets the support of 21 percent of Republicans while losing only 17 percent of Democrats.

The  early lead has more to do with Scott than the former Republican turned independent turned Democrat.

One charged after Jacksonville International Airport evacuated due to suspicious packages, the Mathews Bridge could be open in two weeks, and the government shutdown are in headlines this morning.

Rick Perry wants your business.

The Republican governor has been turning up in other states, touting the wonders of Texas and promising business owners they'll find lower taxes and more manageable regulation there.

"It does help get the word out to business leaders that may be frustrated," says David Carney, a longtime consultant to Perry. "Going in person can get literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of free media coverage."

As Florida anticipates an $846 million budget surplus for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, Governor Rick Scott has been traveling the state to drum up support for tax cuts. Scott says his $500 million tax cut package will promote job creation.

Economic analyst Hank Fishkind took a close look at the state budget numbers and Governor Scott’s plan.

He tells WMFE’s Nicole Creston that he agrees some of the tax and fee cuts will be good for job growth, but he thinks some strategic spending would help, too.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Allied Veterans lawyer trial begins: Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, charged as the "mastermind" in the Allied Veterans of the World gambling ring case, goes on trial today.