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Central Florida Political Pulse - Orlando Sentinel

The best source for Central Florida and statewide political news, insider happenings and more.

Last Build Date: Fri, 26 May 2017 01:43:29 -0400

Copyright: ©2017 Orlando Sentinel

Health department lays out framework for medical-pot rules

Thu, 25 May 2017 14:15:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — After state lawmakers failed to act, health officials Thursday laid out a framework for adopting medical-marijuana regulations required by a voter-approved constitutional amendment.

The Florida Department of Health issued a Notice of Regulation Development Procedure establishing the...


Gov. Rick Scott signs tax holidays for hurricane and school supplies

Thu, 25 May 2017 14:00:00 PDT

Gov. Rick Scott signed a $180 million tax cut bill Thursday that includes two sales tax holidays that are right around the corner.

Next weekend, June 2-4, a three-day emergency preparedness sales tax holiday means ice, batteries, first-aid kits, gas tanks, coolers and generators will be tax free....


Gov. Rick Scott vetoes 'liquor wall' bill

Wed, 24 May 2017 16:35:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s so-called “liquor wall” won’t be coming down after all.

Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill late Wednesday that would have removed a Prohibition-era law requiring liquor to be sold in separate stores from groceries and other retail items.

Twenty-nine other states have similar...


Trump's budget eliminates Amtrak in Florida, Nelson warns

Wed, 24 May 2017 12:35:00 PDT

Bill Nelson is warning that President Donald Trump’s budget proposal would end all Amtrak train service in Florida.

U.S. Sen. Nelson said that Trump’s proposal, released Tuesday, would cut funding and eliminate all three routes in Florida.

The three routes all have connections to Central Florida,...


TRUMPED bill tackles president's stays at own properties

Wed, 24 May 2017 12:15:00 PDT

A South Florida Democrat wants Congress to send the president the message he’s being Trumped.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-West Delray, filed legislation Wednesday that seeks to cut off tax dollars for President Donald Trump’s visits to his oceanfront mansion Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.

“His constant...


Choice for Orlando’s new flag is down to these 2 finalists

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:20:00 PDT

And then, there were two.

The panel of experts considering designs for Orlando’s new flag was unable to reach a final recommendation Wednesday but did eliminate two of the four remaining finalists.

Still in the running are a design depicting the Lake Eola fountain gushing into the sky, ringed by...


Judge's ruling calls for 2 more medical-pot growers

Wed, 24 May 2017 06:50:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — An administrative law judge has called for the state to issue two new licenses to medical marijuana operators, saying competing businesses that lost out to another operator selected by health officials in 2015 were virtually tied.

The order could boost from seven to nine the number...


Orange Commission approves Lockheed incentives

Tue, 23 May 2017 11:35:00 PDT

The Orange County Commission unanimously approved an incentive package Tuesday designed to attract a Lockheed Martin expansion.

The county’s portion of the incentive, $700,000, is 20 percent of a total $3.5 million financial package under Florida's Qualified Target Industry tax refund program....


Don't take snack bar from blind, Orange Courthouse vendor says

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:50:00 PDT

Fifteen years ago, the community rallied behind Dennis Horn when the blind vendor was about to lose his snack stand at the Orange County Courthouse. Now, Horn worries the county will deny another blind person a chance to make a living there.

Horn, who has operated the small snack and coffee stand...


Ex-Scott aide Valenstein chosen to run environmental agency

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:43:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — With Gov. Rick Scott describing him as “passionate about the environment,” Noah Valenstein was named Tuesday as Florida's next environmental secretary after a short interview with Scott and members of the state Cabinet.

Valenstein, a former Scott aide who is executive director of...


List of candidates grows for Eisnaugle's House seat

Mon, 22 May 2017 09:52:00 PDT

Candidates continue to line up for an Orange County House seat that opened when Orlando Republican Eric Eisnaugle was appointed this month as a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal.

Eisnaugle resigned from the House, effective Friday, to take his spot on the bench.

Republican Bruno Portigliatti,...


Opponents pressure Scott to veto 'liquor wall' bill

Mon, 22 May 2017 09:30:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Opponents have mobilized to try to convince Gov. Rick Scott to veto a bill that would a repeal a decades-old law requiring hard spirits to be sold in separate structures from groceries and other goods, an issue that has become known as the “liquor wall.”

But Scott, who faces a Wednesday...


Marco Rubio on Trump: 'People got what they voted for'

Mon, 22 May 2017 09:10:00 PDT

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has a message for voters: You wanted President Donald Trump? You got him.

“I don't understand why people are that shocked,” Rubio told CBS Face the Nation on Sunday. “This president ran a very unconventional campaign. I was there for a big part of it at the beginning...


Appeal court rejects cigarette makers' arguments in smoking lawsuit

Fri, 19 May 2017 11:00:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — More than a decade after the Florida Supreme Court opened the floodgates for lawsuits against tobacco companies, an Atlanta-based appeals court this week rejected arguments that could have helped shield cigarette makers in legal battles about smoking-related illnesses and deaths.


Sheriff Jerry Demings considering run for Orange County mayor

Fri, 19 May 2017 09:05:00 PDT

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings says he’s strongly considering a run for Orange County mayor in 2018, a move that could further swell the already sizable number of possible candidates.

A Demings candidacy would also create a domino effect by triggering his resignation as sheriff and a special...


Florida money to buy conservation lands may be drying up

Fri, 19 May 2017 08:20:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet may spend about $8.5 million next week to conserve thousands of acres of land owned for decades by two ranching families.

Such deals have become a widely used strategy in recent years to keep land from being developed.

But the program that would...


Gov. Scott forms new PAC ahead of likely U.S. Senate run

Mon, 22 May 2017 03:00:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE – Ahead of a likely 2018 run for U.S. Senate, Gov. Rick Scott has set up a political action committee designed to appeal to younger and Hispanic voters.

The super PAC, called New Republican and announced last week, is meant to sell the GOP’s philosophy to young voters who want less...


Court rejects slot machines for dog, horse tracks

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:05:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — In a major blow to Florida's struggling dog and horse tracks, the state's high court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit that contended tracks could add slot machines as long as local voters had approved them.

The Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the owners of a track 25 miles...


Education bill puts political squeeze on Scott

Wed, 17 May 2017 13:20:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE – A sweeping education bill has become a flashpoint for teachers unions, parent groups, administrators and school choice advocates, and it’s putting Gov. Rick Scott in a political bind.

The bill passed on the session’s final day includes a controversial teacher bonus program, mandatory...


Greyhound owners sue Seminole over dog-injury rules

Wed, 17 May 2017 13:30:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — In an effort to prevent similar efforts elsewhere, greyhound owners and breeders are suing Seminole County over an ordinance requiring trainers to report racing dog injuries.

The legal battle comes after the Legislature did not adopt statewide regulations to require the injury reports,...


Bondi wins court order against alleged stalker

Wed, 17 May 2017 12:40:00 PDT

TAMPA — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has obtained a court order requiring an alleged stalker to stay away from her.

A judge in Tampa issued the order Wednesday against William Norman Wilkes. Bondi says he came to her house twice, once banging on her door and peeking in a window at 3 a.m....


Q&A: Patients face murky legality as they await medical marijuana rules

Tue, 16 May 2017 14:40:00 PDT

With regulation of medical marijuana now up in the air, what can patients do to get treatment?

The Florida Legislature was unable to pass a medical marijuana bill, but qualified patients have the right to use marijuana thanks to a constitutional amendment passed in November.

The answers to some...


Supreme Court blocks Gadsden slot machines

Thu, 18 May 2017 08:40:00 PDT


TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a small pari-mutuel facility in Gadsden County from offering slot machines.

The case has been closely watched because voters in seven other counties — Brevard, Duval, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Washington — also have approved...


Video: Adam Putnam brings his 2018 bus tour for governor to Central Florida

Tue, 16 May 2017 18:21:00 PDT

Never mind that Florida’s next gubernatorial election is still a year-and-a-half away, GOP contender Adam Putnam, Florida’s agriculture commissioner since 2011, is criss-crossing Florida in a 10-day, 22-city campaign bus tour that landed in Altamonte Springs, Tuesday. Putnam —who officially announced...


Gov. Scott should use veto pen 'mercilessly,' Adam Putnam says

Tue, 16 May 2017 14:10:00 PDT

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — Gov. Rick Scott should take a cleaver to the $82.4 billion budget recently passed by the state Legislature, gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam said Tuesday during a campaign stop in Central Florida.

“I think that this is an excellent opportunity for the governor to wield his...