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Florida News

  1. Florida surfer okay after shark bites foot


    NEW SMYRNA BEACH — Beach patrol officials say a shark bit the foot of a surfer along Florida's Atlantic coastline.

  2. Adam Putnam facing questions about spending in expected run for governor


    TALLAHASSEE — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has raised more than $9.4 million for a 2018 governor's race he has yet to announce and, in the last two years, spent $1.8 million of it on a Lakeland-based political consulting firm that has failed to disclose how the expenses were paid.

    Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam gives the keynote address at the Fresh from Florida Summitt held at the Port Tampa Bay in Tampa's Channelside on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  3. Hospitals on edge as lawmakers weigh cuts to Medicaid in Florida

    State Roundup

    The nurses and doctors at Brandon Regional Hospital worried Lakota Lockhart wouldn't make it when he was born.

    Krystal Lockhart reaches into a bag checking on supplies as Lakota Lockhart, 7, waits in the backseat with a portable ventilator on Wednesday. Health care advocates are keeping a close eye on the health care changes in Washington, like many people, but they see a more urgent threat closer to home: The prospect of cuts to Medicaid. Lower rates would hit hospitals that already take a higher portion of low-income and charity-care patients, including the state's safety nets. That worries patient advocates and patients themselves, including Lakota Lockhart who has a rare congenital disease and whose mother says he has the greatest access to good care when they are on Medicaid. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

  4. PolitiFact Florida: Does Airbnb decrease housing values?

    State Roundup

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine recently went on a Facebook rant against Airbnb.

    Airbnb allows property owners to rent houses and apartments, or a bedroom, to visitors around the world.
  5. Five budget fights to watch as Scott, lawmakers collide on spending $83.5 billion



    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

      Students take their seats before the start of the USF St. Petersburg fall commencement ceremony at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 13, 2015. Universities are in the House's crosshairs for the 2017-2018 state budget. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  6. Florida loses 5,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate is unchanged


    Florida's economic recovery is slowing down.

    There are signs Florida's economic recovery is slowing down. Gov. Rick Scott released the latest jobs and unemployment data today.
[Associated Press file photo]
  7. Lawmaker to Rick Scott: Restore order in privately run women's prison


    TALLAHASSEE — Warning that inmate health and safety is at risk at the state's largest privately run women's prison, Rep. David Richardson asked Gov. Rick Scott this week to use his emergency powers to replace the top officers and take state control of Gadsden Correctional Facility.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, is asking Gov. Rick Scott to declare an emergency about the conditions at Gadsden Correctional Facility, the state's largest women's prison. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  8. Florida Senate takes 'stand for liberty' in passing religious freedom bill for schools over Democratic concerns


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's public schools would have to let students lead religious prayers during the school day and at school-sanctioned events under a controversial proposal that the state Senate approved Thursday.

     Cambridge Christian and Clearwater Academy players join in prayer after the game between Clearwater Academy and Cambridge Christian at Skyway Park in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. A Clearwater player had to be evacuated late in the fourth quarter of the game after possibly suffering a spinal injury. Cambridge beat Clearwater 44-34.
  9. Florida Senate advances bill that tries to limit 'gotcha' public records lawsuits


    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a compromise proposal aimed at cracking down on "gotcha" public records requests while preserving the attorney fees leverage the public has against public officials who violate Florida's Sunshine laws.

    Barbara Petersen of the First Amendment Foundation said that this year her group plans to grade Florida legislators to guage their support for the state's open government laws. [Steven Cannon    |  AP]
  10. Disney, Universal target property appraiser in battle over taxes for Florida theme parks


    ORLANDO — It takes a lot of land to accommodate Cinderella's castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Epcot's 11-country World Showcase — and a hefty purse to pay the property taxes on it.

    Cars travel one of the roads leading to Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista. Orlando's top tourist destinations, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and several resorts are in legal battles about how much they're worth with the local property appraiser and tax collector. [John Raoux | Associated Press]