Governor RIck Scott

Regan McCarthy

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has cleared Governor Rick Scott and his transition staff of any wrongdoing related to the loss team’s transition emails. The investigation led to the recovery of more than 30-thousand pages of documents, which are now available online.

A months-long debate between Florida Governor Rick Scott and the state’s public universities over tuition increases came to a head this week, and the result disappointed both sides.

Once upon a time, and not too long ago, the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s public universities, simply co-signed the schools’ requests to raise tuition. The process was simple, smooth and in past years, done with little debate. But not this time.

The board that oversees Florida’s public universities fought long and hard over the schools’ plans to raise tuition, and the requests  narrowly cleared a sharply divided state board. The votes come after Governor Rick Scott reiterated his opposition to tuition hikes to the group earlier in the week.

Scott has made several new appointments to the Board of Governors over the past several months. And Thursday’s tuition votes reveal almost half the board agrees with the governor.  

Florida Governor Rick Scott repeated his opposition to tuition increases before the Board that oversees the state’s public universities. Scott addressed the Board of Governor’s during its luncheon Tuesday, saying he wants universities to keep costs low. Scott's comments come as the board weigh tuition proposals from most of the state’s universities.

The Board that oversees Florida’s 11 public universities will meet over the next few days and weigh whether to approve requests for tuition increases. Due to years of budget cuts, the schools have dealt with layoffs and program closures. They’ve also raised tuition. And many of them are asking the board to raise tuition again.

The Board of Governors is also expected to hear from Governor Rick Scott, who has been a vocal opponent of tuition hikes. But the Board’s spokeswoman, Kelly Layman, says the tuition increases are a last resort.

Longtime Floridian Eileen Selis knows what it’s like to get a purge letter from the state:

 “I was frightened. I’ve no reason to be, but you know, you get that, and you get a little scared.” 

Selis is 76. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1935. Her parents hail from New York and Pennsylvania. And She’s one of about 2600 people who have received similar letters. The move comes as the state attempts to verify the status of more than 180-thousand Florida voters it suspects of being non-U.S. Citizens.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says he was once mistaken for a dead person and taken off the state’s voter rolls.

Scott, who’s name is Richard Lynn Scott, had been confused with a Richard E. Scott. The two share the same birthday. Scott and says he presented his ID to elections officials to prove he was still alive.

Florida and the federal government are once again clashing—this time over the state’s attempt to purge its voter rolls of suspected non-citizens.  The voter purge issue has now spawned dueling lawsuits over whether the state can move forward with its plan.

Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is the latest person to jump into the heated debate over Florida’s push to purge its voter rolls of suspected non-citizens.  Nelson’s remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday were preceded by Governor Rick Scott’s rounds on TV talk shows defending the effort.

Florida’s Chief Economist told members of a higher education task force that the state’s job outlook will improve, but it will also come with challenges from changing demographics.  Amy Baker says an aging population will open up more opportunities and problems for the state’s future graduates.

Baker says that by the time the baby boom generation fully retires, around the year 2030, Florida’s worker needs will have dramatically changed. Leading the job growth will be the healthcare industry, and transportation.

At the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office, volunteers sign up to work with the League of Women Voters.

One of the group’s core missions is to help people participate in democracy by registering them to vote.  On Wednesday, about 15 volunteers showed up to become voter registrars. One of them is Katie Pospyhalla, a college student majoring in Middle Eastern studies who said people her age don’t care enough.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and others want a federal court to block the state’s push to remove suspected non-citizen voters.

The average length of time a prisoner spends behind bars has increased in Florida more than in any other state.  A Pew Center on the States study shows the number has jumped by 166-percent over about two decades. The Pew study says the increased stay length cost the state 1.4-billion dollars in 2009. And Research Director Ryan King said a lot of that was for non-violent offenders.

Regan McCarthy

Florida Governor Rick Scott is looking for ways to boost job growth in the state’s rural communities. The governor made several stops in the Panhandle Monday to talk with local leaders about ideas for their home-towns. 

 Scott said things are looking pretty good for the state as a whole.

“Everything is picking up right now. Tourism is up, manufacturing is up, jobs are up, unemployment is down—all across the state,” he said.

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department ordered the state to stop its effort to purge its voter rolls of potentially ineligible voters. The department cited the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and questioned the close time frame to the coming election. But Florida Governor Rick Scott defended the effort, saying he wants to make sure the state’s elections are fair.

A panel created by Governor Rick Scott to conduct a review of Florida’s public universities met for the first time Wednesday to start reviewing the university system’s governance model and the relationship between the Board of Governors and the universities.  Scott created the panel after vetoing a bill that would have let Florida State and the University of Florida charge higher tuition rates than the other state schools.

A few wrenches have been thrown into the plan to create Florida’s 12th state university. For example, not enough people are applying to be members of Florida Polytechnic University’s Board of Trustees and the cost of constructing the standalone university is over budget.

The plan is to convert the Lakeland campus of the University of South Florida into Florida Polytechnic University.

The process to create Florida’s 12th public university hit a few snags Wednesday, as a special Board of Governors panel got an update on how the creation of the new Florida Polytechnic University is progressing. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, the university could be in jeopardy. So far, not enough people have applied to serve on its Board of Trustees.

Despite the bad economic situation in Spain, Governor Rick Scott is leading more than 60 business leaders and state officials there for a five-day business development mission. As Sascha Cordner reports, the Governor says he wants to strengthen the economic ties between Florida and Spain.

In his most recent weekly radio address, Scott said one of the main goals for his trip to get business leaders from Spain to see Florida as an attractive place to do business.

Governor Rick Scott will soon say good bye to his second chief of staff, and welcome his third one since his 16-month term began. Sascha Cordner reviews the week of when Steve MacNamara announced his resignation after recent media reports scrutinized some of the contracts he handled as well as how he did his job.

Just days before Governor Rick Scott’s Chief of Staff Steve MacNamara handed in his resignation, Scott defended him.

“You guys are mean to poor Steve MacNamara. He’s out there working his tail off and you guys write these mean things about him. So, you ought to think about that. We’re getting a lot of good things done. Jobs are coming back. You’ve got a billion dollars in education. We got PIP done, and now you guys are being mean to my chief of staff," Scott said.

The Florida Cabinet has approved a statewide shelter plan in advance of the 2012 hurricane season. Ryan Benk reports officials met today in Marathon for a regular Cabinet meeting.

The plan works as a guide for shelters across the state. It includes retrofitted public facilities, existing schools, and the use of hurricane-resistant new schools. That would create a map of more than 939 thousand spaces around Florida that can be used in case of a major storm. Governor Rick Scott says residents need to remember the importance of hurricane preparedness.

A critical editorial in the Tallahassee Democrat demands that Florida A&M University President James Ammons resign. The editorial highlighted a series of past problems at the historically black university including the school’s past audit problems and the recent arrest of 11 people facing 3rd degree felonies in the hazing death of a school band drum major. Governor Rick Scott responded to the editorial Monday.

Florida leaders are recognizing the state’s fallen law enforcement officers. As Regan McCarthy reports, the state has one of the highest rates  in the nation for officers killed in the line of duty last year.

The month of May is dedicated to remembering the fallen law enforcement officers across the country, but Florida Governor Rick Scott says it should also be a time to remember those who still risk their lives every day to protect Floridians.

Florida Governor Rick Scott rejected a request from the Mayor of Tampa to let the city restrict guns during the Republican National Convention in August. A law passed by the legislature last year, prohibits cities from making their own rules about where guns are and aren’t allowed—now all local ordinances have to conform to the state’s laws. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, thought the governor might grant his city leniency during the Republican Nation Convention. But Scott has denied the request.

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