Governor RIck Scott

Florida’s charter schools are looking for some extra money this year, and they’ve set their sights on traditional public schools to get it. Lynn Hatter reports the charter groups held a rally in Tallahassee Wednesday to urge the legislature to pass bills that would give them both enrollment and financial boosts.

Cheri Shannon with the Florida Charter School Alliance has a specific list of demands:

Hundreds of government workers rallied in Tallahassee to protest what they call a war on the middle class.  James Call reports members of the labor union representing state county and city employees roamed the halls of the state Capitol to talk to lawmakers about policies they say favor the wealthy at the expense of working people.

Governor Rick Scott says he’s looking into privatizing the state’s South Florida prisons on his own, even though a proposal to do as such died in the Legislature. Sascha Cordner has more.

Scott says even though the proposal was not one of his legislative priorities, he feels lawmakers let Florida taxpayers down by voting against the prison privatization bill.

Governor Rick Scott signed a bill Thursday to give a boost to Florida’s commercial space industry.  James Call reports, the measure will free up federal and state dollars to help build the facilities needed to launch equipment and people into space.

The Governor invited the House and Senate sponsors into his office for a bill signing that changes one word in the Florida law books. It is the first bill signing of the 2012 Legislative session.

It seems nearly everyone at the Florida Capitol now agrees that personal injury protection or “PIP” insurance fraud is a big problem.  Tom Flanigan reports the only thing those people disagree about is how to fix the problem.

The scene is the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy, named after former State Senator Pat Thomas, just west of Tallahassee.  Dozens of people are huddled under a leaky tent as a heavy rain falls.  A Florida Highway Patrol trooper tells the crowd what’s about to happen…

Lawmakers in the Florida House are looking into legislation that would give tax breaks to businesses in the state. Regan McCarthy reports legislators are considering a measure that combines several of Governor Rick Scott’s business tax initiatives like doubling the corporate income tax exemption. It’s a move that would let thousands of businesses skip the tax and that Scott says will grow jobs.

A different kind of gas station is being built on Tallahassee’s west side.  Tom Flanigan reports this station will dispense natural gas, both for Leon County school buses and anyone else who wants to use it….

Hundreds of people ignored the occasional raindrops to attend Tuesday’s groundbreaking near the corner of Capital Circle and Highway Twenty.  Governor Rick Scott even added the occasion to his schedule.

A bill that would give Governor Rick Scott the authority to fire specific board members on Florida’s local workforce boards recently passed in the Florida House. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, while the bill received support for the most part, opponents worry it gives too much power to the state’s governors.

Last year, several state unemployment agencies, or regional workforce boards, were involved in questionable practices, from awarding contracts to companies owned by specific board members or their relatives, to misusing federal funds.

The Governor and House are on diverging paths when it comes to the issue of higher education tuition increases. Lynn Hatter reports the House is poised to approve a rate hike for Florida’s college and university students, and the governor is vowing to veto it.

The House budget proposal calls for an 8-percent increase in tuition, something that students like Florida State University’s Michael Sampson say they don’t want.

 “I don’t believe raising tuition is a good idea in any economic circumstance.”

There’s a shake up in the state’s newest agency. As Sascha Cordner reports, Doug Darling, the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity’s executive director, announced he’s stepping down.

Darling says his last day on the job is Tuesday.

In his resignation letter to Governor Rick Scott, Darling said he originally planned to stay through the Legislative Session, but he can’t due to personal reasons.

The Florida Department of Education is following up on its controversial ranking of school districts. This time, the state agency will take it a step further, by releasing a comprehensive list of individual schools, rated best-to-worst according to how well students perform on the state’s standardized test. Lynn Hatter reports.

When the Department of Education released its ranking of school districts, Commissioner Gerard Robinson called it the first step in a two-step process.

PECO money dries up

Jan 13, 2012

The state won’t have any money for new school building, maintenance or repair projects for the next two years. Lynn Hatter reports the news comes after Governor Rick Scott told all of the state’s public schools, including charters, to give back unspent allocations from previous years.

Governor Rick Scott has ordered a review of all of Florida's special taxing districts. Scott wants to see whether the districts are serving their purpose, and how they spend money. Lynn Hatter reports it's similar to an effort last year that focused on public hospitals and water management districts.

Members of the Florida House of Representatives are wasting no time getting to work in shaping a budget for 2012. The chamber’s higher education committee was the first to hear the governor’s budget recommendations, which call for no cuts to the state’s public colleges and universities. But as Lynn Hatter reports, some lawmakers are expressing concern with another request by the governor, who has told the schools to give back 250-million dollars in construction money.

Governor Rick Scott delivered his State-of-the-State address Tuesday as part of the Legislature's opening day festivities. There are many crucial issues facing lawmakers this year. But Tom Flanigan reports the governor focused on just a few of them.

Last year, the newly-elected Scott gave a somewhat stiff and formal State-of-the-State speech. Not so this year, as a more visibly relaxed governor went off-script to joke around at the beginning of his talk.

Governor Rick Scott had a very short wish list for Florida lawmakers Tuesday.  Tom Flanigan reports the governor did have two top priorities he wants to see addressed above everything else.

The top priority is more money for public schools.  In his State of the State address, Scott insisted the legislature up public school funding by just over a billion dollars.  The governor’s other priority is putting an end to personal injury protection or “PIP” fraud.  He says that’s costing auto insurance policy holders an extra nine-hundred million dollars.