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DeSantis Backs Letting College Athletes Cash In

October 25, 2019 - 6:00am

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who captained his university’s baseball team, backed California-style legislation Thursday that would allow Florida college athletes to cash in on their names and images.

DeSantis told reporters he supports the direction of bills filed for the 2020 legislative session that propose what he said is needed reform for college athletes.

Calling the legislation a “reasonable path forward,” DeSantis said he thinks lawmakers should tackle the proposals during the session that starts Jan. 14.

State Approves Paying Sugar Grower to End Lease

October 23, 2019 - 6:00am

Florida will pay $2.4 million to a sugar grower as part of an effort to clean and shift water south from Lake Okeechobee through the Everglades.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet -- Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Attorney General Ashley Moody -- agreed Tuesday to pay $1,940 an acre to New Hope Sugar Co., a subsidiary of Florida Crystals, to terminate a 1,234-acre lease of state-owned land.

The land is planned to be part of a project that involves building a reservoir.in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

Florida to Use VW Money for Cleaner Buses

October 9, 2019 - 6:00am
VW emissions scandal, at its height in 2015

New public-transit and school buses that run on electricity and alternative fuels would get much of Florida’s share of a federal payout from a Volkswagen emissions scandal, under a plan rolled out Tuesday by the state.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued what is known as a request for information on a $116.4 million initiative intended to voluntarily remove older buses from the road.

Algae Panel Puts Together 'Roadmap' for Lawmakers

October 8, 2019 - 7:00am
2012: blue-green on the Santa Fe River near Gainesville

A document discussed Monday by the state’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force should be viewed, members said, as a broad roadmap for lawmakers with the 2020 legislative session less than 100 days away.

And task force members, meeting in Gainesville to further edit the document, said they will look in future meetings beyond Lake Okeechobee and nearby waterways that have been plagued by toxic algae.

Despite Slim Revenue Estimates, Lawmakers Still Pursue Money for Local Projects

October 1, 2019 - 8:00am

Lawmakers are already seeking about $120 million for projects and programs in their local communities, while the latest state revenue estimates have spurred the House budget leader to urge “restraint” as the 2020 legislative session nears.

And based on past sessions, the number of local funding proposals --- sometimes derided by critics as “pork” or “turkeys” --- will soon explode.

DeSantis Seeks More 'Job Growth' Money

September 24, 2019 - 8:00am

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration wants to boost spending next year on a controversial economic-development program, while tourism-marketing money wouldn’t increase, according to budget requests rolled out last week.

During meetings of House budget panels, state agencies outlined proposals that ranged from money to repair National Guard armories damaged by hurricanes Matthew and Michael to funds for joining a national electronic center to exchange voter-registration data with other states.

Five Questions for Jared Moskowitz

September 22, 2019 - 5:15am
Jared Moskowitz

As a Democratic lawmaker from Broward County, Jared Moskowitz had been a vocal member of the House minority when he was selected in December by then-incoming Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to serve as director of the state Division of Emergency Management.

The selection of Moskowitz, 38, was noteworthy for coming across the political aisle, and it drew praise from members of both parties.

Florida Shipping Water to the Bahamas

September 11, 2019 - 6:00am

After being largely spared by Hurricane Dorian, Florida and the state’s largest electric utility are sending more than a half-million bottles of water to storm-ravaged parts of the Bahamas.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Power & Light on Tuesday announced plans to ship 19 truckloads of water --- including 10 truckloads that had been stockpiled by the state for the ongoing hurricane season --- to Nassau, where the Bahamian government is staging most of its relief efforts.

More Millionaires Fill House, Senate Seats

September 10, 2019 - 6:00am
George Gainer and Ralph Massullo

More millionaires are deciding how Florida tax dollars should be used and which laws should be passed.

With all but three lawmakers in the 160-member Legislature filing annual financial-disclosure reports, the average net worth of state senators is $5.9 million, according to an analysis by The News Service of Florida. In the House, the average stands at $1.7 million.

Topping the list is Sen. George Gainer, a Panama City Republican who owns a fleet of auto dealerships across North Florida.

New Area Code Options Dialed Up for Panhandle

September 7, 2019 - 7:00am

With available numbers for the 850 area code expected to run out in March 2022, an additional area code is being pushed for the entire Northwest Florida region.

Florida Public Service Commission staff members were told Friday that the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, which oversees telephone numbering across the U.S. and other countries, supports what is known as an all-services “overlay.”

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