Politics

Left to right: Brad Ashwell, Ben Wilcox and Alan Stonecipher.
Nick Evans

Government watchdog group Integrity Florida says the fox is guarding the henhouse when it comes to Florida’s utilities and their regulators.  The group wants to insulate the Public Service Commission from the political fray in the state Legislature.

U.S. Army / https://www.army.mil

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio wants the military to take charge of Puerto Rico’s hurricane response. He says the storm’s effects are hamstringing the island’s supply chain.

Beshears (left) and Montford at the Wakulla County Commission Chambers.
Nick Evans

People in Wakulla County want to see education and environmental legislation when lawmakers get back to work next month.

redjar via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/redjar/

Floridians can file petitions to amend the constitution, but not to rewrite state statutes. A legal expert wants politicos to consider changing that.

Kelsey L. Adams via U.S. Navy / U.S. Navy

Hurricane Irma forced hundreds of thousands of Floridians from their homes, including residents at military bases. Key West and Jacksonville saw some of the worst effects of the storm, and are also home to major military installations. But now the bases are returning to normal.

US Department of Agriculture

Hurricane Irma hung over an annual gathering of state and industry officials discussing water policy.

Master Sgt Jerry Morrison via Department of Defense / https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter

Some of Florida’s military supporters are lining up behind the state’s land acquisition program. Unlikely allies are joining forces to defend Florida Forever.

Bill Nelson youtube / Bill Nelson's youtube channel

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is pushing the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to extend a housing assistance program.

Liammolina via wikimedia commons

Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala wants Florida’s utility companies to stop contributing to campaigns this election cycle and invest in improving equipment instead.

Historic Capitol
Tom Flanigan / WFSU News

A Florida lawmaker is once again trying to reform the state’s community redevelopment agencies. The taxpayer-funded programs would have to meet stricter reporting and ethics requirements.

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is Florida's official salt water reptile.
T. Moore and NOAA via wikimedia commons / NOAA

A state legislator wants to reaffirm Florida’s commitment—to a horse and a turtle.

DXR via wikimedia commons

The outlook is grim again for Florida’s budget drafters—and that’s before considering the cost of Hurricane Irma.  State forecasters are warning the coffers are nearly empty for the third year running.

Bjoertvedt via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. House has approved a $15.25 billion hurricane relief package. The bill now heads to the President’s desk. The federal relief bill will provide initial emergency funding as the country recovers from Hurricane Harvey and braces for Hurricane Irma. 

Historic Capitol
Tom Flanigan / WFSU News

The Florida Legislature is cancelling upcoming committee meetings ahead of Hurricane Irma. Lawmakers’ preparations for the 2018 session will have to wait.

fotogake via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/gake/5891830312/

This year Florida lawmakers changed the way the state building codes are updated. There are concerns the new law could weaken the integrity of Florida homes, in order to cut construction costs. In the wake of Harvey, those concerns are taking on a new significance.

Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) is one of a handful of state lawmakers pushing to change confederate commemorations like street names in Hollywood, FL.
Meredith Geddings via Florida House Website

The Hollywood city commission has approved a plan to rename three streets named after confederate generals.  It’s part of a broader effort reassessing the state’s relationship with its history.

Rep. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast)
Mark Foley via FL House website

The Flagler County Mosquito Control District is under scrutiny after a million dollar shortfall came to light.

Nick Evans

Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) wants to roll back Florida’s confederate holiday observances.

jvoves/ flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jvoves/

If one Florida lawmaker gets his way, legislators will once again be debating sanctuary cities. Republican Representative Larry Metz of Groveland is filing legislation he hopes will ensure local law enforcement are cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

Rep. Alex Miller (R-Sarasota)
Florida House of Representatives

Freshman Republican Alex Miller is resigning her Sarasota area House seat on September first.

Rep. Jay Fant (R-Jacksonville) is running for Attorney General.
Jay Fant campaign website

Next year’s race for attorney general could find two of Florida’s most recognizable Republicans backing different candidates.  Incumbent Pam Bondi has already made her endorsement, but the governor may go in a different direction.

Mary McLeod Bethune
Florida State Archives

A South Florida Senator is trying again to send a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune to represent Florida in Washington D.C’s Statuary Hall.  The current statue is confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith.

Rep. Alexander and Sen. Montford (3rd and 4th from right) with local officials.
Nick Evans

Four counties in North Florida are forming what’s known as a freight logistics zone to improve the region’s chances for state infrastructure dollars.  Officials believe it’s an important step toward growing jobs. 

Kate Payne via WFSU

The private board in charge of handing out funds from the BP oil spill is developing its application process. But sparsely populated Gulf Coast counties are worried they could lose out on some of the settlement money.

Florida Highway Patrol & Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles / https://www.flhsmv.gov/florida-highway-patrol/troop-boundaries-information/troop-h/

The Florida Cabinet gave a tongue lashing to the head of Florida’s highway patrol after a North Florida major told his troopers he expected two citations an hour.  State law prohibits ticket quotas.  Attorney General Pam Bondi criticized the directive.

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