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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: Sun, 26 Mar 2017 10:55:12 -0400

Copyright: ©2017 Orlando Sentinel

GOP gun bills stall in Capitol

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:35:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Concerned about mass shootings at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and the Fort Lauderdale airport, some Republican lawmakers said they’d push to allow guns in more public places this year.

But three weeks into the legislative session, bills to permit guns on college campuses, at airport...


East Orange residents consider starting their own city

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:25:00 PDT

Fed up with fighting over encroaching development, some residents of east Orange are exploring whether it’s time to leave the county and create their own city.

Save Orange County, a key group opposed to controversial projects around Lake Pickett a few miles east of the University of Central Florida,...


Legislature could OK 'Groveland Four' apology, Corcoran says

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 07:10:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — A legislative apology to the "Groveland Four," a quartet of African-American men accused of raping a white woman in 1949, could pass the Legislature this year, House Speaker Richard Corcoran says.

But he also said the matter might have to wait for similar action for the victims of...


No judge needed to change same-sex death certificates, ruling says

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:20:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Gay widows and widowers whose spouses died before the U.S. Supreme Court declared state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional can have the death certificates of their loved ones changed without having to go to court, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The decision is the latest...


Florida constitution commission plans public hearing at UCF

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:10:00 PDT

The commission looking at ways to revise the state constitution will be making a stop in Central Florida.

The “Floridians Speak, We Listen” tour, hosted by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, or CRC, is scheduled to hold a public hearing Wednesday at UCF, according to CRC chairman Carlos...


Senate OKs school religious expression bill

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:35:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Students, their parents and school employees would be guaranteed wider rights to publicly pray and express their religious beliefs in public schools under a far-reaching bill approved Thursday by the Florida Senate.

Backers of the legislation, including Senate President Joe Negron,...


Pardon for 'Groveland Four' nears Senate vote

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:40:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — A pardon for Lake County’s “Groveland Four” was approved this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee, putting the proposal one step away from the Senate floor.

The resolution (SCR 920) calls for a posthumous pardon for two of the men; the other two were killed by law enforcement officers...


Black lawmakers bash Gov. Scott for removing Ayala from Loyd case

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:35:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus slammed Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday for removing Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala from the Markeith Loyd case because she won’t seek the death penalty.

“Governor Scott’s hasty response to State Attorney Ayala’s announcement...


Seminole Clerk employee forced out over Ayala 'hung from a tree' comments

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:55:00 PDT

A Seminole County Clerk of Courts employee resigned Wednesday after posting on social media that Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala “should be tarred and feathered if not hung from a tree.”

“Maybe SHE should get the death penalty,” Stan McCullars, the office’s assistant finance director,...


Governor could get control of administrative law judges

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:50:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Lawmakers are considering giving Gov. Rick Scott the authority to appoint administrative law judges, who would also be limited to serving a maximum of eight years, unless they get fired by the governor.

The proposed overhaul would essentially give Scott control over the judges who...


Orange Democrats back Ayala, condemn Seminole Clerk employee's comments

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:52:00 PDT

Orange County Democrats expressed their full support for embattled state attorney Aramis Ayala, while also calling for the firing of a Seminole Clerk’s office employee who wrote about Ayala being “hung from a tree.”

The county Democratic Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution at its...


Orange County decides not to start its own animal abuse registry

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:35:00 PDT

The Orange County Commission decided Tuesday it is going to wait for a state law to create an animal abuse registry instead of developing its own.

The county had been looking into ways of preventing people convicted of animal abuse from ever adopting pets again. With an average of 55 animals a...


Sanctuary cities crackdown bill clears House panel

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:35:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE – Legislation that would require local governments and police departments to cooperate fully with federal immigration enforcement and punish local city council members who vote for “sanctuary city” policies passed through a Florida House panel Tuesday on a party line vote.

Rep. Larry...


Lawmakers' push for 'religious liberties' in schools sparks debate

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 13:30:00 PDT

Some Florida lawmakers who think public school children need the protection of a new “religious liberties” law are drawing fire from critics who say federal and state constitutions already guarantee such freedom.

The legislative proposals would ensure that students could express their religious...


Gov. Scott defends Ayala decision, still ‘looking at options’

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:15:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott on Monday defended his decision to remove State Attorney Aramis Ayala from the Markeith Loyd case because she won’t seek the death penalty, but wouldn’t say whether he’ll look to remove her from office completely.

Ayala filed a motion in court Monday to stay the Loyd...


Seminole Courts employee suspended for posts about Ayala 'hung from a tree'

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:20:00 PDT

The assistant finance director at the Seminole County Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office was placed on administrative leave Monday after posting Facebook comments stating Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala “should be tarred and feathered if not hung from a tree.”

“Maybe SHE should...


Lawmakers could cut Aramis Ayala's office budget over death penalty stance

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:06:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE – Lawmakers on an important budget panel Monday proposed cutting the budget for State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s Ninth Judicial Circuit office over her pledge not to seek the death penalty under any circumstances.

Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, a member of the House Judicial Appropriations...


U.S. Supreme Court extends expensive Florida-Georgia 'water war'

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 09:50:00 PDT

Florida's "water war" with Georgia is not over.

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that more legal briefs will be filed in the case, including allowing Florida to contest a special master's report that recommended a ruling in Georgia's favor.

If the full amount of time is taken to file the briefs,...


Republican attorney announces 2020 run against State Attorney Aramis Ayala

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 09:00:00 PDT

Orlando attorney Kevin Morenski on Monday announced his plans to run as a Republican against Democrat Aramis Ayala for Orange-Osceola state attorney in 2020.

Much of the focus at his news conference at the Orange County Courthouse, however, was on Ken Lewis, a fired former assistant state attorney...


Orlando moves toward big change in garbage pickup

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 08:25:00 PDT

Starting in May, residents across Orlando will see their weekly garbage collection days halved and their recycling pickups doubled as the city tests a new solid waste schedule that Mayor Buddy Dyer’s staff hopes to make permanent citywide.

The new schedule would see trash and recycling each collected...


Brevard maker of American-style AK-47 rifles seeks to expand

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 14:15:00 PDT

PALM BAY — Just down the road from a Krispy Krunchy fried chicken store, in a nondescript Brevard County business park, a 60,000-square-foot factory produces about 2,500 AK-47 rifles a month.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Ulrich "Uli" Wiegand, a German immigrant who started the company called...


Buddy Dyer: 'What Markeith Loyd did deserves the death penalty'

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 07:57:00 PDT

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Saturday called State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s announcement that she would not seek the death penalty while in office inappropriate, and said the accused killer of police Lt. Debra Clayton deserves to be executed.

“I support the death penalty,” Dyer said. “It’s the law...


Businessman enters District 1 race for Orlando council

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 13:45:00 PDT

An Orlando businessman has filed to run for Orlando City Council in District 1, pledging to work for responsible growth, prioritize public safety and “be someone who shows up” for residents in southeast Orlando.

“I believe in supporting schools and neighborhood safety by developing meaningful...


Death penalty decision looms large over Aramis Ayala's political future

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 12:10:00 PDT

The decision by Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala not to seek the death penalty in capital murder cases could create a host of challenges for her if she seeks re-election in 2020, political experts say.

But in a time when the death penalty is becoming less popular, her decision might actually...


Panel to discuss 'fake news' in Winter Park next week

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:40:00 PDT

It’s one of President Donald Trump’s most-used epithets for the mainstream press, but what actually constitutes “fake news,” and how can readers spot what’s real?

That’s the subject of a panel discussion next week at The Woman's Club of Winter Park, hosted by the Orange County League of Women Voters...