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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, 14 Dec 2017 14:26:17 -0500

Copyright: ©2017 Orlando Sentinel

Anti-smoking, hospital proposals could be headed for ballot

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:50:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Floridians could wind up voting on two contentious health-care proposals that on Thursday drew closer to the 2018 ballot.

A panel of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission approved separate proposed constitutional amendments that would reduce how much money is set aside for...


Florida Supreme Court dismisses judicial appointments case

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:35:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Supreme Court decided Thursday it is too soon to decide whether Gov. Rick Scott will be able to reshape the state’s highest court on his last day in office.

The ruling means there could be a constitutional crisis if Scott and his replacement both try to appoint replacements...


Florida GOP won't ban Moody from party meeting

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 07:40:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Florida's Republican Party says it is staying out of an effort by one of its attorney-general candidates to paint a competitor as a Clinton liberal.

Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, sent a letter to Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia asking the party boss to ban Ashley...


Enzian expansion gets push back from neighbors

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:25:00 PST

MAITLAND — Sandy Wessel can hardly see the Enzian Theater through thick brush behind her Lake Maitland Terrace condominium.

But a proposed two-screen expansion could bring the nationally known independent theater to within feet of her bedroom window, while also removing the foliage that keeps the...


Cabinet OKs land buy for bike trail across Central Florida

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:05:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet agreed to spend $1.08 million Wednesday for land that will help link a bicycle and pedestrian trail planned to stretch across Central Florida, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal to acquire 35.2 acres to help complete...


Lou Holtz sues The Daily Beast over article that accused him of bashing immigrants

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:10:00 PST

Lou Holtz, a Hall of Fame football coach and Orlando resident, sued The Daily Beast on Wednesday over an article that claimed he called immigrants “deadbeats” last year at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The suit, filed in federal court in Orlando, accuses the news website of defamation...


Florida may finally get serious about banning texting & driving

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:20:00 PST

I can give you the statistics on distracted driving — that it claims nine lives a day in America and causes an accident every 60 seconds.

But you don’t really need me to tell you how prevalent it is. You see it everywhere you go.

Texting on the Turnpike.

Instagram on the interstate.

One reason...


Orange looking into short-term rentals in neighborhoods

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 11:45:00 PST

Orange County is looking into how other places have dealt with short-term Airbnb rentals as it decides whether to allow them in the county.

County Administrator Ajit Lalchandani said Tuesday a work session will probably be held in the next two or three months to discuss short-term vacation rentals...


Orlando commits to goal of zero pedestrian deaths by 2040

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:00:00 PST

City commissioners set a goal Monday to completely eliminate pedestrian deaths by 2040 in Orlando, which is often cited as among the nation’s most dangerous places to walk.

In a resolution, city leaders committed to create a “Vision Zero” action plan with the aim of reducing deaths and serious...


Legislative employees do work outside taxpayer-paid jobs

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 08:40:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Dozens of employees with the Florida Legislature, including the spokesman for House Speaker Richard Corcoran, have been working at jobs outside their taxpayer-paid positions.

While some employees have worked after hours and weekends as waitresses, tutors, photographers and flight...


Council OKs Pulse memorial labyrinth for Colonialtown Square Park

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:00:00 PST

A memorial to victims of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub is coming to Orlando’s Colonialtown Square Park, after the City Council unanimously voted to approve designs Monday.

The city’s parks department, with support from Commissioner Patty Sheehan, had already been working to install a labyrinth-style...


Court sides with Demings, Singh and Randolph in Orange election fight

Fri, 8 Dec 2017 10:50:00 PST

An appeal court sided with Orange County’s sheriff, property appraiser and tax collector Friday by rejecting a voter-approved change that would have required nonpartisan elections.

County voters in 2014 backed amendments to the Orange County Charter requiring nonpartisan elections and term limits...


Orange couple wants county to allow short-term rentals

Fri, 8 Dec 2017 07:35:00 PST

An Orange County couple had been hosting travelers from around the world for more than five years using Airbnb, but a single anonymous complaint shut them down.

Short-term rentals of fewer than 30 days are banned in most residential areas of the county, but vacation rental listings on Airbnb and...


John Morgan: I'll devote my time to raising minumum wage

Fri, 8 Dec 2017 06:35:00 PST

In one of the fiery speeches that have become his trademark, John Morgan on Friday sharply criticized both parties and pledged to devote his energies to pushing for a higher minimum wage.

Before a bipartisan crowd at the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida, the Orlando attorney also explained why...


Internal probe led to officer's dismissal, Eatonville officials say

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 16:00:00 PST

EATONVILLE — Town leaders contradicted Pulse hero Cpl. Omar Delgado on Thursday, saying they are letting the veteran officer go because he told a woman he was “emotionally disturbed” during a traffic stop.

The dismissal of Delgado, who saved victims during the Pulse nightclub massacre last June,...


Graham outlines anti-sex-harassment plan

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 12:35:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, the only woman in Florida’s gubernatorial race, said Thursday she has a unique perspective that will allow her to address what she calls a sexual harassment epidemic in state government.

“I do believe that as a woman, that I have an ability...


Ex-state attorney Jeff Ashton to run for circuit judge

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 10:00:00 PST

Former state attorney Jeff Ashton wants to sit on the other side of the bench.

Ashton, who lost his position as Orange Osceola state attorney last year to Aramis Ayala, filed to run Tuesday for a seat as a judge on the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in 2018.

He is one of two candidates who have filed...


Ings: Nap Ford school left out of city's deal for historic property

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 09:25:00 PST

The city’s plan to transform a historic school in Holden Heights drew the ire Thursday of Commissioner Sam Ings, who represents the west Orlando neighborhood on the City Council.

Mayor Buddy Dyer’s staff this week confirmed they plan to acquire the Grand Avenue School, an Orlando historic landmark...


'Johnny Reb' Confederate statue rebuilt at Greenwood Cemetery

Wed, 6 Dec 2017 13:45:00 PST

The Confederate memorial that once stood at Lake Eola has been rebuilt at Greenwood Cemetery, though it remained behind a fence Wednesday because restoration work is not yet complete.

Workers this week placed the concrete soldier known as “Johnny Reb” back atop the statue. The city in June disassembled...


Lawmakers want Visit Florida to justify $100 million for next year

Wed, 6 Dec 2017 09:30:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's request for lawmakers to boost tourism marketing to $100 million next year might be a tough sell in the House.

Members of the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee said Wednesday that Visit Florida would have to justify the proposed increase...


Corcoran backs tougher texting while driving law

Wed, 6 Dec 2017 07:10:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Texting while driving would become a primary traffic offense under legislation unveiled Wednesday and backed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

The measure would allow law-enforcement officers to pull over motorists if they see them texting or emailing. Currently, texting while driving...


Senators push for criminal justice reform

Fri, 8 Dec 2017 06:10:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE – With the cost of imprisoning nearly 100,000 inmates on the rise, a bipartisan group of Florida senators is proposing bills designed to reduce sentences and costs.

But skeptical leaders in the House might not be willing to go along with the reforms.

An aging inmate population with...


Dr. Phillips unveils 200-acre project near College Park with park, shops, homes

Tue, 5 Dec 2017 16:00:00 PST

College Park, Orlando’s oldest suburb, is getting a new neighbor called The Packing District.

The city and Dr. Phillips Inc. plan to transform more than 200 acres west of College Park over the next decade into an eclectic mix of homes and businesses with a new regional park just north of downtown...


Senate panel shoots down gun bills

Wed, 6 Dec 2017 06:20:00 PST

TALLAHASSEE — Despite offering amendments to win Democratic support, a trio of bills aimed at relaxing gun laws in Florida were voted down by a Senate panel this week, likely killing the measures for the upcoming legislative session.

South Florida Republicans joined with Democrats on the Senate...


Venture capitalist champions private-school scholarships

Tue, 5 Dec 2017 12:20:00 PST

The number of children using a state scholarship to attend religious or other private schools in Florida soared by 21 percent last year to about 140,000 — the largest increase since the voucher programs started more than 15 years ago.

No one has been more central to that growth than Tampa venture...