Jim Norman

The Senate budget committee hearing almost broke down Wednesday over a battle to fund the University of South Florida and its Polytechnic Campus. Lynn Hatter reports after hours of blistering criticism, the Senate backed off a plan to hold back money from USF until it handed over Polytechnic as part of a plan to eventually make the campus an independent university.

Should home-town businesses be given extra consideration when local governments are making contracting decisions? Some state lawmakers say no – not when Florida’s money is involved anyway. Regan McCarthy reports a bill moving through the legislature would prevent local governments from giving preference to local companies when letting contracts that use state money.

Senator David Simmons says ordinances that give preference to local business could be costing Florida more money and he says they could exclude worthy companies in the state.