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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, 17 Aug 2017 19:13:00 -0400

Copyright: ©2017 Orlando Sentinel

President Trump, Gov. Rick Scott have lunch in New Jersey

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:55:00 PDT

Florida Gov. Rick Scott had a private lunch Thursday with a friend: President Donald Trump.

Scott, a fellow Republican and strong Trump supporter, flew to Trump’s New Jersey estate to break bread with the president.

Scott did not make himself available to reporters after the meeting, but his office...


Celebration gets to keep its on-street parking

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:25:00 PDT

CELEBRATION — Residents of this Disney-created community can relax. On-street parking won’t be banned after all.

Fears arose in Celebration in March after Osceola County’s deputy fire chief said firefighters were complaining that parked cars on the narrow streets made it difficult for fire trucks...


Corrine Brown fails in bid for new trial

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:10:00 PDT

JACKSONVILLE — A federal judge has denied a request for a new trial by former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, who may spend her life in prison after being found guilty of taking money from a sham charity that was purported to be aiding poor students.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan's ruling was...


Florida governor's race adds state Sen. Jack Latvala

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:30:00 PDT

HIALEAH — Jack Latvala, a powerful state senator seen as a moderate Republican voice, entered the 2018 race for Florida governor Wednesday, taking on better-known and more conservative primary opponent Adam Putnam for the GOP nomination to replace Gov. Rick Scott.

Latvala, 65, immediately took aim...


White nationalist Richard Spencer to challenge cancellation of UF speech

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:40:00 PDT

White nationalist leader Richard Spencer promised legal action Wednesday after the University of Florida said it would not allow him to rent space on campus for a speech next month.

University President W. Kent Fuchs said he decided to deny a venue to Spencer’s National Policy Institute, citing...


Olszewski wins GOP primary for state House seat

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:00:00 PDT

Bobby Olszewski won a narrow victory Tuesday in the Republican primary for state House District 44.

Olszewski, a former Winter Garden Commissioner, won 39.8 percent of the vote to defeat John Newstreet, president of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce, who garnered 38.2 percent.

“I am sunburned,...


In Charlottesville aftermath, Florida cities grapple with Confederate statues

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:25:00 PDT

The debate about memorials to the Civil War South had been heating up in Florida cities for months, with some calling the statues symbols of white supremacy and others arguing their removal is an attack on history and dead soldiers.

That tension seemed likely only to increase after white nationalist...


Rubio endorses Mike Miller for Congress

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:45:00 PDT

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio endorsed Mike Miller Monday for the Republican nomination in District 7.

State Rep. Miller, R-Winter Park, is running for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park.

“I'm proud to announce my support for Mike Miller for Congress today," Rubio said in a statement....


Gov. Rick Scott blasts racism, won't criticize Trump over Charlottesville response

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:55:00 PDT

LAKE MARY — Florida Gov. Rick Scott denounced racism Monday in the wake of the white-nationalist rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va., but stopped short of joining other prominent Republicans in criticizing President Donald Trump’s initial response to the violence.

“I’m not going to...


Goat-blood drinking Orlando man had key billing for Charlottesville rally

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:00:00 PDT

Augustus Invictus, a former Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate from Orlando most famous for saying he sacrificed a goat and drank its blood, had an important role in the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Saturday.

Invictus, 34, was listed as a featured marcher...


Judge's ruling could doom Lake Pickett development in east Orange

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:15:00 PDT

Orange County leaders broke their own growth rules when they approved a 2,000-home development in mostly rural east Orange County last year, a state judge ruled Friday.

In her decision, Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk called for the County Commission to admit its mistake, which could doom...


Sen. Jack Latvala files to run for Florida governor

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:30:00 PDT

State Sen. Jack Latvala filed to run for governor Friday, the first of what could be several party challengers to the initial Republican in the race, Adam Putnam.

Latvala, R-Clearwater, is scheduled to make several stops across the state next week, visiting Hialeah, his hometown of Clearwater and...


Gov. Rick Scott's $10,000 college degree plan falls flat

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 03:00:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Nearly five years after Gov. Rick Scott challenged state colleges to offer $10,000 degrees to students, none at Central Florida’s largest two schools have graduated with such degrees, hampered by eligibility requirements and limited program offerings.

At Valencia College and Seminole...


State House candidate: Don't invalidate GOP primary if Democrat is disqualified

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:10:00 PDT

A Republican state House candidate filed a motion to make sure the GOP primary isn’t invalidated if the only Democrat in the race should be disqualified.

The motion, filed Thursday in Tallahassee by John Newstreet, president of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce, and his attorney Wade Vose,...


Florida sinkhole threatens even more homes

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 09:15:00 PDT

LAND O’LAKES — Ralph Terry, a 73-year-old retiree who lives in a sleepy neighborhood in this Tampa Bay suburb, seems particularly sanguine about living just a few doors down from a gaping void in the earth.

“I don’t see no cracks in my blocks in my house,” he said Tuesday, peering out the front...


Lawsuit seeks to disqualify Democrat candidate in House race

Wed, 9 Aug 2017 14:20:00 PDT

A lawsuit filed Tuesday contends the Democratic candidate in the special election for state House District 44 voted in Missouri in 2016 and should not be able to run for office in Florida.

Paul Chandler, owner of Ohana Healthcare, is the only Democrat in the race to succeed former state Rep. Eric...


Nelson: Sparring between U.S., North Korea needs to ease

Wed, 9 Aug 2017 13:55:00 PDT

MERRITT ISLAND — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said verbal sparring between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un could set both countries down a dangerous path, if it is not scaled back.

“What we need to do is let everything calm down a little bit,” Nelson said Wednesday during a...


Visit Florida key issue in Republican primary for state House District 44

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:00:00 PDT

A special election for a Florida House seat in west Orange County is keeping the Republican debate over public financing for tourism marketing alive.

Four Republicans — Usha Jain, John Newstreet, Bobby Olszewski and Bruno Portigliatti — will face off in Tuesday’s primary to fill Eric Eisnaugle’s...


Miami faces greater hurricane danger than killer storm Andrew, study finds

Wed, 9 Aug 2017 08:25:00 PDT

MIAMI — Twenty-five years after Hurricane Andrew struck south of Miami, the city's vulnerability to catastrophic storm damage has grown exponentially, according to a new insurance underwriters' analysis.

At the time, the Category 5 storm was the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history,...


Orlando sets 2050 goal for completely renewable power

Wed, 9 Aug 2017 07:50:00 PDT

Environmentalists are celebrating Orlando leaders’ plan to power the city entirely with renewable energy by 2050, a goal only a few Florida communities have embraced.

Mayor Buddy Dyer billed the unanimous City Council vote as a step toward his long-stated goal of making Orlando the most sustainable...


Health-care uncertainty could lead to higher costs

Tue, 8 Aug 2017 13:20:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act may be dead for now, but the fight over health care is far from over, and the uncertainty could lead to higher insurance costs in Florida and across the country.

Despite the failure of the repeal bill July 27, President Donald Trump...


Orlando backs renaming road for slain police Lt. Debra Clayton

Tue, 8 Aug 2017 16:35:00 PDT

Orlando’s City Council on Tuesday unanimously backed plans to rename a stretch of Silver Star Road in memory of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton, who was killed after confronting a murder suspect in January.

Tuesday’s vote was the affirmation of local support for legislation state lawmakers approved...


Orlando opens time capsule found in 'Johnny Reb' Confederate statue

Tue, 8 Aug 2017 11:05:00 PDT

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he expected to find a “box full of dust” on Tuesday when city workers opened a rusty time capsule found inside a Confederate memorial statue that stood at Lake Eola Park for a century.

Instead, city officials found a trove of relics, including Confederate money, old...


Putnam calls for protection of military bases

Tue, 8 Aug 2017 09:15:00 PDT

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor, said Tuesday the state needs to increase spending for land preservation to help protect military bases from closure.

Putnam voiced displeasure that state lawmakers did not provide more money during the current budget...


Wasserman Schultz foes criticize her answers about Imran Awan

Mon, 7 Aug 2017 11:00:00 PDT

Critics have pounded U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, during the past two weeks over her handling of an information technology aide whom she kept on the payroll for months after he was banned from the House IT network.

And they weren’t satisfied with her responses to questions about...