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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, 21 Sep 2017 04:54:36 -0400

Copyright: ©2017 Orlando Sentinel

State suspends license of nursing home where 9 died after Hurricane Irma

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:35:00 PDT

Escalating a legal and regulatory fight, Gov. Rick Scott's administration issued an emergency suspension of the license of a Broward County nursing home Wednesday after the deaths of nine residents following Hurricane Irma.

The license suspension was another step after the state Agency for Health...


Orange Democrats choose new candidate for state House 44 race

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:35:00 PDT

Democrats have a new candidate in the state House 44 race, but questions about their former candidate’s eligibility still hang over the campaign.

Eduardo “Eddy” Dominguez, an executive at the human resources firm Resource Employment Solutions, was chosen by the Orange County Democratic Executive...


Hurricane Irma victims could face fight between insurers, contractors

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:45:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — As homeowners in Central Florida and throughout the state assess damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma, many could find themselves in the middle of a tug-of-war between their insurance companies and contractors.

More than 452,000 insurance claims worth an estimated $2.7 billion have been...


Orange says Hurricane Irma won't cost as much as 2004 storms

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:05:00 PDT

While the damage from Hurricane Irma was substantial throughout Orange County, the total cost of cleanup should end up being less than the combined hurricane impacts of 2004, officials said Tuesday.

“To put it in perspective, the 2004 hurricanes [Charley, Frances and Jeanne] which dumped double...


Florida may set up gasoline reserve for hurricanes

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:05:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Florida lawmakers may consider setting up gas reserves and whether to make food and water available along major highways.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, said Tuesday that he’s creating a select legislative...


Hurricane Irma leaves behind foul stink across Central Florida

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:50:00 PDT

Not content to damage homes, toss trees and knock out power to millions, Hurricane Irma has left behind a noxious brew of funk, too.

Residents across the region Tuesday reported catching a whiff of a foul, rancid smell that officials blamed on dead fish, stagnant water, flooded ponds and rotting...


USF leader resigns after fleeing Hurricane Irma

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:55:00 PDT

ST. PETERSBURG — As the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus was preparing for a hit from Hurricane Irma, its leader suggested to her boss in an email that she was still there when she had actually fled to Atlanta, a newspaper reported.

Sophia Wisniewska, regional chancellor for the...


Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida crops, Putnam says

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:25:00 PDT

Florida farmers suffered 80 to 90 percent losses in parts of the state after Hurricane Irma flattened greenhouses, toppled trees and flooded pastures as it tore through the state, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Monday.

Putnam warned the damage means Florida vegetables wouldn’t be feasted...


Republican ads target Murphy on defense and border wall vote

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:00:00 PDT

Republicans launched ads Monday criticizing U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy and nine other House Democrats for opposing the defense bill that would also pay for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

The ads use imagery ranging from masked terrorists holding machine guns to the word “Freedom”...


Florida nursing homes to meet over Hurricane Irma deaths, new rules

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 09:40:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Calling the deaths of eight seniors last week an “isolated incident,” a nursing-home industry group plans to hold a meeting Friday to discuss a move by Gov. Rick Scott to require nursing homes to be equipped with generators to power air-conditioning systems when electricity goes out.


8 nursing-home deaths in Florida – a state that keeps weakening protections for the elderly

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:00:00 PDT

An American horror story unfolded at a South Florida nursing home this week when eight residents died in sweltering, un-air-conditioned conditions — even though a hospital was directly across the street.

When rescue workers finally entered the building Wednesday, three days after Hurricane Irma...


After Trump meeting, Stephanie Murphy thinks Democrats can work with him

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:05:00 PDT

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy said Friday she is optimistic her party can work with Republicans after meeting this week with President Donald Trump,

The bipartisan push by Murphy, D-Winter Park, is important in a swing district evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

Murphy, who also met with...


UF has little choice but to let white nationalist Richard Spencer speak, experts say

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:25:00 PDT

As the University of Florida prepares to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on its campus, experts said the school is making the legally correct decision, even as other colleges hold firm in rejecting him.

UF is one of several universities recently forced to grapple with a planned...


Poinciana homeowner contests association election again

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 14:35:00 PDT

A homeowner is again trying to tip the balance of power within one of the state’s largest homeowner’s associations away from developers.

An election challenge filed by homeowner Martin Negron calls for a recount of votes in the Association of Poinciana Villages, but only after the state agency that...


Hurricane Irma: Florida economy expected to bounce back quickly

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 03:00:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Floridians from Jacksonville to Orlando to the Keys are still reeling from Hurricane Irma’s impact, but the state’s economy should rebound fairly quickly, one economist says, as soon as the lights come back on.

“The short-run things that are important is getting power back on throughout...


Trump visits Florida, praises Hurricane Irma recovery efforts

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 13:25:00 PDT

NAPLES — President Donald Trump doled out hoagies and handshakes in the sweltering Florida heat on Thursday as he took a firsthand tour of Irma's devastation while praising the federal and state recovery effort.

Trump got an aerial view of the water-deluged homes along Florida's southwestern coast...


President Trump hopes Gov. Scott runs for U.S. Senate

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 14:55:00 PDT

President Donald Trump couldn't resist injecting a dose of politics into his tour of storm-damaged Florida on Thursday, saying Republican Gov. Rick Scott is doing such a good job with the recovery effort that he should run for the Senate.

"What do I know, but I hope this man right here, Rick Scott,...


Senate special election still on in Miami-Dade

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 10:30:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — A heated contest for an open state Senate seat in Miami just got hotter.

With power knocked out in large parts of Miami-Dade County, Florida Democrats have asked Gov. Rick Scott to postpone the Sept. 26 special election in Senate District 40.

Early voting in the runoff between Democrat...


Orange district demolishes buildings at Grand Avenue School, renewing preservation concerns

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 12:30:00 PDT

A demolition crew tore down classrooms at the former Grand Avenue School in Holden Heights on Thursday, but the 90-year-old historic main building prized by preservationists is still standing — for now.

The work under way Thursday only included ancillary buildings on the school property, and no...


Hurricane Irma: I-75 to remain open as floodwaters recede

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 07:45:00 PDT

The flooding threat to Interstate 75 has passed, so the key north-south highway will remain open, state officials said Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Transportation warned that the road might have to be shut down near Gainesville because of the Santa Fe River, which had risen...


Education leaders seek $21.4 billion for schools next year

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 14:45:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Board of Education on Wednesday approved a 2018-2019 budget request that includes a $200 per-student boost in the K-12 system, increased funding for the 28 state colleges and construction money for public schools, colleges and universities.

The board met in a conference...


Chandler withdraws as Democrats struggle to recruit candidates

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:25:00 PDT

When state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle resigned to become a judge earlier this year, Orange County Democrats were presented with the rare opportunity of picking up a Republican-held seat in a district increasingly friendly to the party.

Instead, their lone candidate, Paul Chandler, has officially withdrawn,...


Putnam, Graham lead field for governor's race cash

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 09:20:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE — Republican Adam Putnam and Democrat Gwen Graham continued to hold financial edges over their opponents in the 2018 race for governor last month, but potential candidate House Speaker Richard Corcoran is quickly building up cash, new reports show.

Putnam, the state’s two-term agriculture...


Scott gets kudos for Hurricane Irma response, but work remains

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:05:00 PDT

TALLAHASSEE – It was hard to miss Gov. Rick Scott in the run-up to Hurricane Irma’s arrival as he zigzagged across the state ringing alarm bells about the need to be ready for the historic storm.

For that, the Republican governor has won praise, even from rival Democrats.

“No time for politics, all...


Hurricane Irma: Orlando works to calculate toll of the storm's wrath

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 11:00:00 PDT

With Hurricane Irma gone, Orlando officials are still working to calculate the damage left in the storm’s wake, surveying homes, roads and businesses and adding to the ever-growing tallies.

“Major” trees toppled onto roads and sidewalks: nearly 300, 55 of which also landed on Orlando Utilities...