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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: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 18:43:12 -0400

Copyright: ©2017 Orlando Sentinel

She supports Trump, but he doesn't – so divorce looms

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:15:00 PDT

WEST PALM BEACH — The wife of a South Florida Democratic state prosecutor says she is getting divorced — in part because she supports President Donald Trump and he doesn't.

Lynn Aronberg said in a news release Thursday that she is “amicably” divorcing Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.


Maitland library must comply with Sunshine Law, officials say

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:45:00 PDT

Maitland elected officials have told the city’s non-profit library it needs to comply with the state’s broad open-records law.

Discussion sparked up last week at one of the city’s budget workshops after City Attorney Cliff Shepard issued a memo that concluded the library should be subject to the...


Pedicab operator argues for tighter Orlando rules

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:25:00 PDT

Pedicabs have carved out a niche in downtown Orlando, taking revelers to and from bars, Magic games and soccer matches on weekend nights and game days, when traffic and road closings can make driving difficult.

But Philip Seidenberg, whose company Kween Cab has about 25 of the bicycle-powered taxis...


‘Sick to my stomach’ – Florida activists react to Trump's transgender military ban

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:15:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Orlando activists and leaders reacted to President Trump’s announcement Wednesday that transgender people would be banned from serving in the military, with many expressing a mix of shock, confusion, anger and fear.

“I’m sick to my stomach; it’s just so repulsive,” said Gina Duncan,...


Florida lawmaker pushes for tougher texting-while-driving law

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:00:00 PDT

BOCA RATON — State Rep. Emily Slosberg is trying again to build support for a new law to make texting while driving a primary offense.

Florida is one of four states where texting while driving is a secondary offense, meaning that law enforcement cannot pull over motorists for texting at the wheel.


Stephanie Murphy's small business loan House bill passes unanimously

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:00:00 PDT

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Monday sponsored by.Rep. Stephanie Murphy that would provide more loans to small businesses.

The Microloan Modernization Act reforms the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Microloan program to increase the amount of money nonprofit intermediary...


Former Marine from Ocala dies in Syrian fighting

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:55:00 PDT

A former Marine from Ocala who secretly traveled to Syria earlier this year to battle the Islamic State was killed while fighting for a Kurdish militia, his father said Tuesday.

David Taylor Sr. told The Associated Press that his 25-year-old son, David Taylor, told only a high school friend about...


Orlando no longer requires panhandlers to stay inside blue boxes or solicit only during daytime

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:05:00 PDT

Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando city commissioners gave final approval Monday to new rules to regulate panhandling.

The new ordinance ends the practice of requiring people to stay inside blue boxes painted on sidewalks while asking for donations – a rule approved in 2000 – as well as a 2007 ban stopping...


Council approves $2.7 million tax rebate for downtown Orlando tower

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:30:00 PDT

Orlando will refund up to $2.725 million in property taxes to the developer of a 25-story tower to be built near Church Street, after a vote Monday by the City Council.

The tower is planned by Lincoln Property Co. for the northeast corner of Garland Avenue and South Street. It is expected to include...


Orlando's new flag features Lake Eola fountain

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:40:00 PDT

Five months after the city of Orlando launched a contest to design its new flag, the City Council on Monday gave final approval to the winning design that depicts Lake Eola Park’s signature fountain gushing into a clear sky.

“I happen to love the new flag design,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “More importantly,...


Miami shows embrace Cuba-based artists even as tensions rise

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:50:00 PDT

MIAMI — President Donald Trump's effort to reverse a historic opening between the U.S. and Cuba is raising tensions in South Florida's exile enclave, even as wealthy patrons and institutions have sought to unify Cubans on both sides through unprecedented art exhibits.

Museums and cultural centers...


Florida taxpayers owe $1.1 million for 'Docs vs. Glocks' legal fight, group says

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 06:40:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Florida will pay $1.1 million in legal fees to attorneys who challenged a controversial state law that sought to prevent doctors from asking patients about guns, a group representing opponents said Monday.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence announced the legal-fees agreement...


Driver broadcasts wild beach ride on Facebook

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 06:30:00 PDT

CLEARWATER BEACH — A 27-year-old man broadcast live on Facebook as he sped down Clearwater Beach, running over chairs and umbrellas while drinking from a bottle of Canadian Mist whiskey.

Authorities said he was yelling expletives about the police cars that were chasing him.

The commotion along...


Dyer says Orlando faces challenges of growth in annual 'State of the City' speech

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:45:00 PDT

Mayor Buddy Dyer said Orlando is “united and unbreakable” during his annual State of the City speech Friday, but warned the region’s rapid growth will present challenges for public safety, transportation and housing.

“It’s worth pointing out that having these challenges is actually a good thing,”...


Officials look to calm voters as Trump panel looks into fraud

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:05:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — The Trump administration’s push to get voters’ personal information from states is on hold for now, but the battle over electoral laws and rules is just beginning and still sowing confusion among some voters.

Michael Ertel, Seminole County’s supervisor of elections, said requests...


Voters say poll asked about Muslim candidate's religion

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 08:30:00 PDT

A Muslim candidate for the Orlando City Council said Thursday that her religion should not be a campaign issue, after voters described a phone poll that asked whether her faith would sway their vote.

Asima Azam, a real estate attorney seeking to unseat District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart, said...


Scott defends power to appoint 3 justices on his last day

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 07:10:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Dismissing concerns about a potential constitutional crisis, lawyers for Gov. Rick Scott has asked the Florida Supreme Court to reject a petition that seeks to bar him from appointing three new justices on his last day in office.

In a reply to a filing last month by a pair of voting-rights...


Florida gets more time in 24-hour abortion waiting period lawsuit

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:50:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE – Florida will get two more months to build its case defending a 2015 law requiring women to wait 24 hours and have at least two doctor appointments before getting an abortion, a Leon Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday.

The law is not in effect right now because the Florida Supreme...


Democrat Nancy Soderberg announces run for Ron DeSantis seat in Congress

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:45:00 PDT

Democrats have jumped early into the 2018 race for Florida’s District 6 U.S. congressional seat.

Nancy Soderberg, a former ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser under President Bill Clinton, announced her campaign Wednesday in DeLand for the seat, which includes Mount Dora,...


Gov. Scott still seeking Obamacare repeal despite Senate health bill failure

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:25:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott, whose political career is largely defined by opposition to the Affordable Care Act, still wants Republicans to repeal the federal health care law despite their apparent failure to do so.

“Floridians simply cannot afford the high taxes and mandates of Obamacare. This...


Orange moves forward with proposed $4 billion budget

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:30:00 PDT

The Orange County Commission unanimously gave initial approval Tuesday to a nearly $4 billion budget with no tax increases, thanks to rising property values.

The proposed budget, up for final approval in the fall, also includes almost 100 new sheriff and fire department positions and a pay bump...


Florida's top court leaves ruling intact on 'opt out' testing case

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:10:00 PDT

The Florida Supreme Court has declined to take up a lawsuit brought by parents who told their children not to answer questions on the state third-grade reading test and then sued when the students were barred from fourth grade.

The top court’s decision leaves in place an earlier ruling by the 1st...


Ben Carson meets the press during Central Florida visit

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:05:00 PDT

U.S. HUD Secretary Ben Carson talks to reporters after speaking at the LeadingAge conference on elder care, at the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate, near Davenport, Fla., Monday, July 17, 2017. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)


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Last parking closes beneath Interstate 4, where urban park is planned

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 11:25:00 PDT

With the quiet closing of a 25-space lot along West Robinson Street this month, Orlando has ended public parking underneath Interstate 4, long one of the most visible parking areas for downtown visitors.

The closing of the Robinson lot — and two others totaling 845 spaces in April — was prompted...


Model-plane owner's airstrip plan can't get off ground

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:00:00 PDT

It suddenly occurred to Larry Meddock, as he attached the wings to his model Landsair plane, just how long it had been since the aircraft took flight.

“Since I’ve been on the hunt for a field, I haven’t flown in three years,” said Meddock, 70, of Lake Conway, who has been looking almost everywhere...