Governor RIck Scott

Florida Governor Rick Scott has taken action on more than 50 bills this week. Some of those have been featured at bill signings across the state, but others have gotten more silent approval from the state’s leader.

Governor Scott said when he signs a bill there’s really just one thing on his mind -- jobs.

That’s why the governor said he signed HB 7015 and HB 1792 in Jacksonville. The bills will place additional restrictions on witnesses in lawsuits and Scott said he thinks both measures will create a better business climate in Florida.

Governor Rick Scott is urging Florida’s public university presidents to hold off on increasing tuition. Scott vetoed an overall 3-percent tuition hike as part of the budget, but there are questions as to whether universities can implement a smaller cost-of-living increase mandated in state law.

Scott Vetoes Driver's Licenses For Immigrants

Jun 5, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday vetoed a bill intended to help young undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses, saying a White House policy linked to the measure was never approved by Congress.

Sen. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, called the veto a missed opportunity for the governor to help foreigners who come to Florida and expects the rejection to be seen as "anti-Hispanic" at a time when the Republican Party has sought to boost its appeal among minorities.

Governor Rick Scott still has several high-profile bills awaiting his signature or his veto.

Only one of more than a dozen gun-control bills made it through the 2013 legislative session.  House bill 1355 is aimed at keeping guns away from people with mental illnesses. The proposal has the backing of the National Rifle Association and passed almost unanimously by both the House and Senate. But it still hasn’t made it to the Governor’s desk, and Scott has gotten thousands of emails from people around the state urging him to veto the bill.

Governor Rick Scott has signed off on a bill aimed at shrinking the size, and risk, of Florida’s largest property insurer. With 1.3 million policies, Citizen’s Insurance Company is also run by the state. And the company is in hot water over a deal that pays a private insurance company to take over some Citizens policies.

A federal appeals court has agreed with a lower court that drug testing all state employees could be unconstitutional. The drug testing rule was put in place by Governor Rick Scott in 2010 through an Executive Order, but was challenged. A district court placed an injunction on the order, essentially invalidating it.

But the ruling, by a three-judge panel in Atlanta says the district court's injunction was too broad. The panel left room for drug testing some state employees, if the Governor can make a case its necessary.

RPOF Launches Anti-Crist Social Media Campaign

May 29, 2013

The first shots have been fired in Florida’s 2014 battle for Governor. The Republican Party of Florida is rolling out a social media campaign against the presumptive opponent, former governor and Republican turned Democrat, Charlie Crist.

A deal to shift up to 60,000 insurance policies from the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to privately held Heritage Property Insurance is raising concerns.  

On the left, former Florida State Senator Dan Gelber is criticizing a $110,000 contribution made by Heritage for Governor Rick Scott’s upcoming reelection bid.

Governor Rick Scott is doubling down on his opposition to tuition increases. Lynn Hatter reports, the Governor has written letters to each state university president as well as members of the board that governs them.

Even though Governor Rick Scott vetoed a three-percent tuition increase approved by the legislature, universities could still request tuition hikes from the Florida Board of Governors.

Regan McCarthy

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed the state’s new budget into law. He used his line item veto power to cut almost $400 million in projects from the budget and Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith said he’s worried about some of the items the governor axed—like water and road projects—which Smith said really affect small communities.

T&T House Moving

Governor Rick Scott’s has signed a $74.5 billion dollar budget and vetoed several projects in the Big Bend area as well.

Florida's Tourism Is Up, Unemployment Is Down

May 17, 2013

Tourism has close to $70 billion in economic impact on the state of Florida and in the last two years, the Sunshine State has broken tourism records. Now, the state’s visitors have hit an all-time high for the first quarter of 2013.

“For the month of April Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.2 percent which puts us once again, below the national average.”

The state of Florida has seen its 30th consecutive month of declining unemployment rates. The jobless rate is the lowest the state has seen since September of 2008.

The jobless rate for the month of April was 7.2 %, down from March’s rate of seven and a half. Most of Florida’s employment gains come from the hospitality and trade industries and coincides with a record breaking quarter for tourism. Governor Rick Scott took credit for the falling rate and said businesses are thriving under his administration.

Who won during the 2013 legislative session?  Teachers and state workers won. They’re getting pay raises. Democrats helped kill a controversial bill giving parents a greater say in the fate of failing schools.  Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford can claim victory. They got bills through revising the state’s ethics, elections and campaign finance laws.  A budget surplus this year means there were plenty of goodies to go around. So who, or what, came out on the losing side?

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson isn’t happy about the Florida Legislature concluding its 2013 session without reaching a deal on expanding healthcare coverage under the Federal Affordable Healthcare Act. Nelson put his frustration in a letter to Florida Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday.

The Florida Channel

Tempers were short. Emotions were high. Lawmakers were tired. A bad combination for a 96-page bill that included a strike-all amendment in it delivering Governor Rick Scott’s top priority: a sales tax exemption for manufacturers. The result: a testy exchange between Democrat Representative Jim Waldman and Republican Representative Carlos TrujiIlo:

“We invoked a constitutional privilege that’s there for both sides. It’s there to protect against what you are trying to do. It’s outrageous, improper, and in my opinion, boarders on unethical," Waldman said

An alimony reform measure that made it through the legislature is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. But, opponents of the bill seem undeterred in their fight against it; they stormed Rick Scott’s office demanding he veto the bill.

Governor Rick Scott is grumbling about his priority issues which are missing from the budget proposed by lawmakers so far.

For one, Scott hasn’t gotten the across-the-board teacher raises he wanted. The legislature is going for a merit-based pay system instead. The Governor says he plans on going through the budget with a fine-toothed comb. The target: member projects.

R. Benk / WFSU-FM

For the 32nd year in a row, all levels of American government and law enforcement, set aside time to remember victims of crime. Florida officials observed National Crime Victim Rights Week at the Capitol Wednesday.

School Superintendents Meet With Governor

Apr 17, 2013
R. Benk / WFSU-FM

Florida Governor Rick Scott met with the state’s more than 60 public school superintendents Wednesday to address their concerns about his education initiatives. The conversation was dominated by talks of national education standards and teacher pay raises.

People who run Florida mental-health and substance-abuse-treatment programs are celebrating the highest proposed state funding they’ve seen in five years. Advocates from several of these groups were at the Capitol on Tuesday to thank lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott for recognizing the importance of community-based behavioral health programs.

Two years ago, Katherine Johnson was living on the streets in Jacksonville.

Florida Law Enforcement Running After Charity For Special Olympics

Apr 11, 2013
Thomas Andrew Gustafson

It’s a dreary, drizzly day. But the bright colored shirts, the cheering and speeches of camaraderie, hard work, and jobs well done, create some sunshine on the back steps of the old Capitol building. It’s the start of the 30th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting the Special Olympics and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is welcoming the crowd.

President Barack Obama visited the Port of Miami last Friday to talk about his proposal to improve America’s infrastructure, including trade ports. But, Florida Governor Rick Scott says Obama’s effort is too little, too late.

“It’s a partnership with the private sector that creates jobs, upgrading what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children.”

The Florida Senate has outlined a $1.1 billion spending proposal for K-12th grade education that includes the $480 million Governor Rick Scott has called for to fund teacher pay raises.

Scott has said he wants to see every full-time Florida teacher get a salary increase, but the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee has other ideas. Under an initial outline, the awarding of pay raises will be left to districts which will draw up plans for distributing the money and send those plans to the Florida Department of Education.

The 2013 legislative session may only be a few weeks old, but some experts are already looking forward to the 2014 Governor race.  A new poll released this week suggest the Governor who ran on “jobs, jobs, jobs” may lose his come the 2014 election.