Governor RIck Scott

R.Benk / WFSU-News

House Speaker Will Weatherford kicked off the ceremonial swearing in of former Republican lawmaker Carlos Lopez-Cantera as the next Lieutenant Governor of Florida but, Monday evening’s ceremony wasn’t the first time Cantera took the oath of office. He had been officially sworn in hours before in a private ceremony in the Governor’s office, making him the first Hispanic and first Miamian to ever be appointed to that position. Governor Rick Scott, whose support among Latinos in the state has all but dried up, may be hoping to use that to bolster his reelection campaign.


There’s a conservative Republican incumbent promising a $500 million tax cut. And a media darling former Governor who says he can serve the people better as a Democrat. And then there’s a Democratic challenger waging an uphill battle to be the state’s first female governor.

On Wednesday, as Gov. Rick Scott announced his budget priorities for the upcoming year, former Gov. Charlie Crist and former Florida Senate Leader Nan Rich took turns at the Capitol making their case for why they should be the next Florida governor. 

Regan McCarthy

Florida Governor Rick Scott laid out his budget proposal Wednesday.

The governor’s spending wish list includes  the more than $500 million in tax breaks he’s been promising during campaign-style events around the state.  Some will probably mean more money in the average person’s pocket – like a reduction in the cost to register a car. Others are aimed more directly at businesses-- like a plan to decrease the filing fees to operate in Florida. Scott says it’s all part of his plan to give the state’s surplus back to the people.

Governor's office

Florida Governor Rick Scott spent the week releasing details of his proposed 2014 budget in dribs and drabs. He’s expected to unveil the full plan next week, but some say it’s already clear the governor is courting votes from certain groups of people.

Sunlight Foundation

A national report airing on CNN Wednesday accuses Florida Gov. Rick Scott of engaging in “pay-to-play” politics by accepting money and fundraising help from a D.C. lobbyist who’d won a state contract a year earlier.  But the Republican Party of Florida says the report is based on inferences and lacks evidence Scott did anything wrong.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

The same day Governor Rick Scott announced he’d be asking for $130 million in Everglades restoration funding for the coming year, members of more than 100 environmental groups held rallies in 16 Florida cities to raise awareness of Florida’s water issues. Tallahassee’s conservationists are demanding Scott do more than just “throw money” at the problem.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Gov. Rick Scott announced his decision Tuesday, more than 10 months after former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned.

Lopez-Cantera is a former state House Majority Leader and is also expected to be Scott's running mate during his 2014 re-election campaign.

Stop Common Core Wisconsin

The Florida Department of Education is trying really hard not to use the words Common Core, even as the standards remain in place.

“Until we’ve collected all the public input and made recommendations to this board, I don’t think we know what we’re going to call it," said Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi followed through this week on an August promise to take legal action against their state’s northern neighbor to force it to release more water. But, Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, argued that Florida’s governor is just wasting taxpayer money.

Governor Rick Scott’s executive order distancing Florida from a set of nationally-adopted education standards has experts scrambling to figure out what it all means. While some are praising Scott for finally taking a stand on Common Core, others say his executive order amounts to politics, not policy.

Florida House Website

If Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed $500 million in tax cuts pass, that money is going to have to come from somewhere. A group of lawmakers and teachers rallying at the capital Thursday say they hope it won’t come from the education budget.

Rep. Karen Castor Dentel (D-Maitland) says if the state has extra income, it should be reinvesting that money in the state’s schools, not giving it away through tax breaks.

“A shrewd business owner would take those dollars and reinvest them into growing his business and creating new jobs.”

After Governor Rick Scott issued an executive order pulling back Florida’s support of nationwide education standards called Common Core, the state will no longer have a say in the development of new exams aligned with those standards. Still, that does not mean the state is dropping out of the multi-state testing consortium known as PARCC.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

Monday marked the 15th year the state of Florida has memorialized kids who went missing in the Sunshine State. Officials say the number of missing children is receding but there’s more work to be done.

Death row inmate Marshall Lee Gore’s execution has been moved for the third time. The first two times, officials rescheduled Gore’s execution because Gore’s lawyers claimed he wasn’t sane enough for the death penalty. This time, Governor Rick Scott has rescheduled Gore’s execution because of a party.

Florida's Fishing Tourism Nets $5 Billion

Aug 27, 2013
lawdawg1 / Flickr Creative Commons

Florida’s fishing industry is one of the largest in the country and that includes fishing tourism. A new study shows the tourism has an almost $5 billion economic impact in the state.

Florida TaxWatch, a non-partisan research firm in Tallahassee, released a study that said Florida’s fishing tourism nets $36 million in fishing licenses alone. Additionally, fishing tourism supports more than 80,000 jobs across the state’s service and hospitality industries. TaxWatch Chief Economist Jerry Parrish says when tourists come to fish in Florida, they come ready to spend some clams.

With more than a year before the election, organizers are already preparing for a 2014 gubernatorial debate in Florida.

The plan is for one hour-long debate (including commercials) between the major candidates in the running to be Florida’s governor. Organizers, including Leadership Florida President Wendy Abberger, said the event will give Floridians a chance to hear directly from candidates in an election she expects will get nationwide attention.

Stan Jastrzebski / WFSU News

Update: 3:50 p.m.: During a half-hour press conference Thursday, Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett railed against what he sees as unfair persecution for his decision to change the grades of 13 Indiana schools when he was that state’s school superintendent.  Still, even though Bennett says he’s been wrongly accused, he also felt the need to resign his position in Florida.

Jesse Jackson Supports Capitol Protesters

Jul 30, 2013
R.Benk / WFSU-News

The “special session” protesters at Florida’s Capitol have been demanding for more than two weeks finally happened Tuesday. But, the governor and most state leaders weren’t among the participants. Demonstrators convened their own so-called “people’s session” urging reform to the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

The Florida Democratic Party is launching a campaign to expose who they say is the “Real Rick Scott”. Party officials say defeating Scott will be a challenge, especially since no big name Democrats have officially declared their candidacy for next year’s race.  

The Dems are taking to Twitter and Facebook in an effort to reach out to key independent voters.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

Protesters filed into Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office Tuesday demanding to meet with him about the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. But, the governor wasn’t in, and wouldn’t be for the next three days.  Demonstrators demanded Scott call a special session to review the controversial law that they say led to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who says he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.  The governor eventually met with the protesters late Thursday and reiterated what he said during a TV interview with Bloomberg News reporters on Monday.

R. Benk / WFSU-News

Civil rights groups are petitioning Florida Governor Rick Scott to re-examine the state’s criminal justice system in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin.

Protesters filed into the Florida Capitol Tuesday sporting hoodies and signs that read “justice for Trayvon.” When they were told Governor Scott wasn’t in his office, they decided to wait for him anyway.

Recent polls show most Floridians in favor of an immigration overhaul bill pending in Congress. The effort is partly spearheaded by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who may even have the backing of Governor Rick Scott. But the road to immigration reform is a rocky one in Florida.

Outside Senator Marco Rubio’s Tallahassee Office, a large, brightly colored bus pulls up.  One by one, a group of nuns step out to cheers and applause:

Florida Governor Rick Scott got a much needed welcome home present as he arrived in Tallahassee from his trade mission in France. The state’s unemployment rate continues to tumble faster than the national average.

Florida’s unemployment rate for the month of May was 7.1 percent, down one tenth of a point from the previous month. Businesses in the professional services, private education and healthcare industries saw the most gains last month. Jesse Panuccio, Director of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, said the numbers were better than expected.

The immigration reform debate is front and center in Florida as the U.S. Senate discusses an immigration overhaul.

Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of the bill creating a faster path for some young undocumented immigrants to get temporary Florida driver licenses could be backfiring, even among his supporters. Scott says the veto was based on a policy change by President Obama, not a specific act of Congress. But Jack Oliver, with the group Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, says he’s not impressed with the Governor’s reasoning:

Florida State University is planning to increase its tuition rates. FSU Trustees approved the hikes despite dissenting votes from four members of the board including the student body president.

FSU Trustees approved an overall 1.7 percent cost of living increase that’s mandated in state law. FSU plans to use half of the money generated from the increase for financial aid. President Eric Barron says using the money for need based aid follows the spirit of the legislature’s tuition increase.