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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: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 17:50:35 -0500

Copyright: ©2017 Orlando Sentinel

DeSantis: Congressional sexual harassment payouts shouldn't be secret

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:10:00 PST

The proposed bill would also ban the use of taxpayer dollars for sexual harassment settlements for members of Congress or congressional employees. Any member of Congress named in such a settlement would have to reimburse the government.(image)

Gov. Scott asks for Justice Pariente recusal in judicial powers case

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:45:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott wants Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente to recuse herself from deciding a case that could determine who appoints her successor and the makeup of the court for years to come.

Attorneys for Scott’s office filed the motion late Monday, citing Pariente’s remarks...


Federal grants to pay for 56 officers in Central Florida

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:40:00 PST

A federal grant will allow Central Florida law-enforcement agencies to hire 56 officers, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.

Six agencies in three Central Florida counties will receive nearly $7 million in Community Oriented Policing Services grants, part of more than $17 million awarded...


UCF graduate students fear paying higher taxes

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:30:00 PST

Lietsel Richardson is pursuing her master's degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Central Florida, balancing classes, research, her job as a graduate assistant and living on a $20,000 annual stipend.

Like many graduate students who work at their schools, Richardson doesn’t pay tuition,...


Florida roads chief praises clearing of Hurricane Irma debris

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:50:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s transportation secretary is giving his agency a passing mark for debris removal after Hurricane Irma.

But with debris still along some roads, particularly in pockets of the Florida Keys, Department of Transportation Secretary Michael Dew said officials will look at how they...


Florida Democratic Party leader resigns after report of 'creepy' behavior

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:35:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Democratic Party chairman Stephen Bittel is stepping down after a report detailing a hostile and “creepy” work environment he created for women.

“When my personal situation becomes distracting to our core mission of electing Democrats and making Florida better, it is time...


Park Avenue parking crunch comes in part from employees, report says

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:35:00 PST

WINTER PARK — Employees taking up spaces along Park Avenue and inefficient enforcement of time limits for those spots are two key reasons why parking is a problem in the popular shopping district, a new report has found.

But elected officials balked at adding enforcement staff for fear of becoming...


Al Franken will not appear at Bill Nelson fundraiser

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:05:00 PST

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s office says fellow Democrat Al Franken will not appear at his campaign fundraiser Saturday, a decision revealed three hours after Franken was accused of sexually harassing and groping a radio anchor.

Franken was scheduled to appear at a Nelson event at the home of former...


Jeb Bush calls Florida education law 'historic'

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:00:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Former Gov. Jeb Bush, who made education reform the hallmark of his two terms in office, is praising a new state law that could spur the growth of charter schools in Florida.

“It was a historic bill. It was extraordinary,” he told state House members, who hosted the former Republican...


Miami Beach Mayor Levine launches first TV ad of 2018 governor's race

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 07:50:00 PST

The newest candidate is releasing the first TV ad of the 2018 Florida governor’s race.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine’s PAC, All About Florida, will air its ad, “Lead”, in Orlando and other markets across Florida, Levine’s campaign said Thursday.

The $800,000 ad buy is for five weeks.

In the ad,...


Nursing homes to have generators, more oversight under proposed law

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 15:20:00 PST

Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities would be required to have generators and the fuel to run them under a state law proposed Wednesday — echoing an emergency order from Gov. Rick Scott following the deaths of 14 residents at a Hollywood Hills rehabilitation center after Hurricane...


Devious Plans 2.0 - The latest plan to undermine Florida's class-size laws

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:20:00 PST

Devious Plans 2.0: Proposal would give Florida teachers raises ... but only if voters allow over-crowded classrooms(image)

Bethune statue at U.S. Capitol gets lawmakers' support

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:10:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — A statue of civil-rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune is getting support in both chambers of the Legislature as a replacement for a Confederate general who has long represented Florida in the U.S. Capitol.

Over the objection of a senator who decried “cultural purging,”...


Campus, open-carry gun bills could be in trouble for 2018 session

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 06:25:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Proposals to allow the open carrying of guns and weapons on university and college campuses could be firing blanks again in the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature.

The 60-day regular session still won’t start until Jan. 9, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube said late...


School districts ask Supreme Court to block education law

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:22:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Raising the prospect of “irreversible damage” to the public-education system, nine school boards want the Florida Supreme Court to block a massive education law approved in May.

The school boards late Monday filed a constitutional challenge at the Supreme Court to the bill, which...


Orange property owners sent new envelopes after tax bill mistake

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:10:00 PST

The Orange County Tax Collector’s Office mailed new return envelopes to property owners Tuesday, two weeks after tens of thousands of property tax bills were sent out with a major flaw.

The original envelopes included in about 250,000 tax bills earlier this month had an address window on the wrong...


Orange County decides to allow medical marijuana dispensaries

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 16:50:00 PST

Advocates cried and cheered as Orange County commissioners unanimously voted to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the county at their meeting Tuesday night.

The vote halts the tide of Central Florida cities — including several in Orange County — that have banned dispensaries because of the...


Orlando draws ire of immigration activists over Trust Act

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 03:00:00 PST

As Orlando commissioners settled in for a City Council meeting last week, a crowd of activists filtered into the chambers, many clad in red “Unite Here!” T-shirts and one toting a snare drum.

Curtis Hierro, organizing director at Central Florida AFL-CIO, led them in several rounds of protest songs,...


Gov. Scott's $87.4 billion budget plan calls for more spending, few tax cuts

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 10:55:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott released an $87.4 billion budget proposal Tuesday heavy on increases and light on tax cuts, a significant departure from spending plans he’s pushed for in the past.

Scott’s budget plan, a $2.4 billion increase over this year, includes $21.4 billion for K-12 schools,...


Gov. Scott hosts roundtable on central Florida’s Puerto Rico response

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:32:00 PST

Florida governor Rick Scott talks to media after a roundtable discussion in Kissimmee, Fla., with central Florida elected officials and community leaders about the influx to the Orlando area of Puerto Rico residents impacted by Hurricane Maria, Monday, November 13, 2017. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)


Media Files:,standalone.html

Orlando could require home-sharers to be at home

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 12:05:00 PST

Orlando could soon allow bed-and-breakfast-style room rentals in most residential areas, as the city continues to grapple with how to regulate Airbnb and other similar online services.

Though hundreds of Orlando listings can be found on sites such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway, the city considers...


Florida man's free-speech case makes it to U.S. Supreme Court

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 09:45:00 PST

MIAMI — The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a First Amendment case brought by a Florida man who previously won a landmark ruling from the justices on whether his floating home was a house, not a boat subject to easier government seizure.

This time, the justices agreed to hear a case in...


Everglades City comes back from Hurricane Irma

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 08:40:00 PST

EVERGLADES CITY — Two months after Hurricane Irma's storm surge slammed through tiny Everglades City, the mountains of debris that lined the streets have been reduced to scattered piles and the occasional abandoned stove or refrigerator.

The mayor says more than 90 percent of the town's businesses...


Ex-commissioner criticizes Stuart for PAC's mailer featuring Orlando police

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 08:35:00 PST

Days after winning a close race for re-election, Orlando District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart faced criticism during Monday’s City Council meeting from the woman he replaced in office more than a decade ago.

Former Commissioner Vicki Vargo asked the City Council to reprimand Stuart over mailers...


A year later, Central Florida voters either love or fear Trump

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 13:45:00 PST

A year after Donald Trump’s election, many of the president’s Central Florida supporters from 2016 remain vocal champions, a Hillary Clinton supporter says her fears were confirmed and a skeptical Republican is worried about his party’s future.

And the Orlando man who had a yard sign saying “Everybody...