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No Surprise: Florida’s Economic Development Agency Wants Tax Subsidies for Daytona Speedway, Jaguars and 2 Other Sports Venues

| January 25, 2015

Daytona International Speedway is seeking $3 million a year for 30 years to subsidize its operations, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars have asked for $1 million a year for three decades.

Flagler Unemployment Falls to 7.6%, Lowest Since April 2008, as State and Nation Improve

| January 23, 2015

Flagler County’s better numbers in December are clouded by the fact that they are not do to healthier job creation, but rather to a decreasing in the county’s labor force.

Isolating Scott, Florida Cabinet May Seek Investigation of FDLE Chief’s Abrupt Exit

| January 23, 2015

Longtime Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey left his job abruptly in December. The departure touched off a controversy this month after Bailey disclosed that he was forced out of the job and made potentially damaging allegations about the actions of Scott and the governor’s aides.

Rick Scott’s Firing of FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey Unravels Political Motives

| January 22, 2015

The firing of a police commissioner because he would not allow his agency to be politicized sends the worst possible message to FDLE and the entire law enforcement community, writes Dan Gelber.

8 Weeks After FSU Shooting, House Panel Approves Concealed Guns on Florida Campuses

| January 21, 2015

Currently, people are banned from carrying such weapons at Florida colleges and universities, with the exception of stun guns or similar devices. Data show that 246,632 Floridians between the ages of 21 and 35 have concealed carry permits.

Seeking $500 Million Cut, Scott Asks for Lower Taxes on Cell Phone, Satellite and Cable Bills

| January 20, 2015

The governor’s office said it would save about $43 a year for a family that spends $100 a month on cell-phone and cable services, though spending on such services varies widely by household.

Florida Prison Ban on Beards Violates Muslim Inmates’ Religious Rights, Supreme Court Rules

| January 20, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Florida and six other states could not ban inmates from growing beards for religious reasons. The case originated in Arkansas.

American Sniper: For North Miami Beach Police Chief, Targeting Blacks Isn’t Profiling

| January 19, 2015

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015, Florida is still making national news over racism. Thank you for that, Police Chief J. Scott Dennis, writes Nancy Smith.

Legal Aid For Poorer Floridians Diminishing, Commission Starts Work on Seeking Fair Fix

| January 18, 2015

With Gov. Scott opposed to moire funding, the 27-member Florida’s Commission on Access to Civil Justice will have to figure out how to provide additional funding for civil legal aid without simply asking for money from state legislators.

Attention Florida Pot Growers: State Would Pick 5 Nurseries To Cultivate Marijuana Under New Rule

| January 16, 2015

A panel comprised of the director of the state Office of Compassionate Use, an accountant and a member of the Drug Policy Advisory Council would pick five nurseries to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana under a revamped rule released Thursday by the Florida Department of Health.
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At Hemming Park, Jacksonville Evolves From Axe Handle Saturday To Civil Rights Saturday

| January 15, 2015

Jacksonville filled Hemming Park with racial hatred and violence 55 years ago. But January 10, 2015 was a celebration of love as it became the location of a series of gay marriages, writes Julie Delegal.

Florida Ban on Judges’ Campaign Cash Teeters as Supreme Court Takes On The Case

| January 15, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ultimate decision in the Florida case could have far-reaching ramifications, as 30 of the 39 states that elect judges have some kind of restriction on judicial candidates making personal pitches for campaign money.

In a Blow to Utilities, Alternative-Energy Coalition Proposes Solar Power Amendment For 2016 Ballot

| January 14, 2015

Backers of the initiative said during a news conference in Tallahassee that they are using the constitutional amendment route because well-funded utilities have repeatedly lobbied the Legislature and the Florida Public Service Commission against expanding solar and other alternative-energy choices.

Candidates In Special House and Senate Election Strain to Distinguish Themselves

| January 13, 2015

Five Republican candidates in the Jan. 27 special primary for House and Senate fielded questions from three Flagler County business groups in an open forum with few surprises Tuesday evening at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Child Thrown From Bridge in Tampa Prompts New Look at DCF’s Porous Safety Net

| January 13, 2015

Records of the case reveal that many answers were already available — in the form of arrests that could have raised alarms at the state abuse hotline operated by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Serious or Not, GOP Candidates for Special Election Engage in Forum at Hilton Tonight

| January 13, 2015

A coalition of local business groups will host a candidate forum for the special primary election for Floria House and Senate seats on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Coast. The forum is hosted by the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce, the Flagler County Association of Realtors and the Flagler Home Builders Association.

Rick Scott Proposing to Raise Per-Student Funding Back to Nominal High of 2007

| January 12, 2015

The proposal would mark an increase of roughly $261 from the current budget year, which ends June 30. But it still has to survive a legislative process in which lawmakers will be eager to fulfill their own priorities.

As Lenhart Replaces Weeks, A Canvassing Meeting Where The Biggest News Is No News

| January 12, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott appointed Kaiti Lenhart Interim Flagler County Supervisor of Elections, and the county canvassing board met for the first time today in the post-Kimberle Weeks era, and in a radically different atmosphere.

Light Up Again: John Morgan Files Medical Pot Amendment Language For 2016 Ballot

| January 11, 2015

The revamped measure clarifies that doctors cannot order medical marijuana for children without their parents’ approval and clears up ambiguity about what diseases would make patients eligible for medical-marijuana treatment.

Florida Lawmakers Seek Secrecy For College and University Searches and Vetting of Candidates

| January 11, 2015

Pointing to the possibility of a “chilling effect” if word gets out, a House bill filed Friday would allow information to be kept confidential about people applying to become presidents, provosts or deans of state universities or colleges.

Group Homes for Children: More Expensive, Less Beneficial Than Foster Parents

| January 9, 2015

Group homes, considered less effective than foster homes, cost taxpayers more than $37,000 per child, compared to $6,180 per year in a foster home, a study found.

Hearing Voters’ Demand for Conservation, Florida Senate Begins Money Game

| January 8, 2015

Since the amendment was approved, concerns have been expressed about issues such as how lawmakers will define land-preservation or water-conservation projects, how the state will determine which of its “impaired” water bodies is most critical and how to approach the reduction of stormwater runoff and agriculture fertilizer use.

As Swing States Go, Florida Is Still the Gate to the White House

| January 7, 2015

The state’s central position on the road to the White House remains the state’s great revenge for all of the fun the rest of the country gets from reading about Florida Man, writes Steven Schale.

Senate Appears Ready to Rethink Florida’s Obsession With High-Stakes Testing

| January 7, 2015

With parents complaining about a glut of tests in public schools and the Florida Department of Education investigating how much time students spend on exams, senators appear ready to refocus how the state assesses learning gains.

Prominent Central Florida Cardiologist Asad Qamar Is Sued for Medicare Fraud

| January 6, 2015

Central Florida cardiologist Asad Qamar, who claims to have 23,000 patients, is the target of two lawsuits accusing him of systematic Medicare fraud, including padding bills and performing unnecessary procedures.

Citing Business as Sole Agenda, Gov. Rick Scott Is Inaugurated For Second Term, But Distractions Loom

| January 6, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott was sworn in for a second term shortly after noon Tuesday, beginning a new four years in office that in some ways brings as many questions as the first.

Four Gay Couples Get Marriage Licenses at Flagler Courthouse in Quietly Momentous End to Long-Standing Prejudice

| January 6, 2015

It was a quiet but significantly historic day at the Flagler County Courthouse as Florida’s ban on marriage equality ended across the state Tuesday and couples celebrated the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses ahead of marriage ceremonies after the three-day waiting period.

First Gay Marriages in Florida Are Celebrated as Miami-Dade Recognizes Two Couples

| January 5, 2015

With same-sex marriages ready to start Tuesday across the state, a circuit judge allowed gay couples to go ahead and begin getting married Monday in Miami-Dade County.

Slashing Taxes, Fighting Vouchers, Expanding Medicaid (or Not): What’s Ahead in 2015

| January 4, 2015

With Gov. Rick Scott set to be sworn in for his second term and legislative committee meetings beginning this week, the topics that will dominate discussion in the Capitol in the coming year are shaping up. Here’s a rundown.

In a Reversal, Florida Court Clerks’ Lawyers Say Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Must Be Issued

| January 2, 2015

The reversal from the association’s lawyers should remove the last roadblock to gay marriage starting in Florida, though some clerks say they’ll refuse to perform ceremonies.

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