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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.”

Traffic Won't Be Going All-One-Way for Evacuees

August 31, 2019 - 7:00am
Florida's Turnpike near the I-75 intersection on Sept. 8, 2017

Florida doesn’t plan to turn portions of highways into all one-way traffic when evacuation orders are issued for Hurricane Dorian.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state has cleared shoulders on interstates and highways and will lift tolls as evacuations orders are issued. But implementing a process known as “contraflow” isn’t currently being considered.

The reason: All one-way traffic could interfere with storm preparation.

Dorian Likely to Hit as a Cat 4, but Where? Still a Mystery

August 30, 2019 - 7:00am
Dorian Watch

All 67 Florida counties are now under an emergency order as the state awaits a powerful hit, likely early next week, from Hurricane Dorian.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday expanded throughout Florida a state of emergency he had declared a day earlier in 26 counties along the East Coast and in some inland areas. The expansion came after DeSantis received updates on the storm during visits to the National Hurricane Center in Miami and the Brevard County Emergency Operations Center.

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