TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Thursday, Aug 21, 2014

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

Scott promises election year education spending bump

Published:   |   Updated: August 21, 2014 at 02:04 PM
By William March

Gov. Rick Scott has announced he’ll ask for an increase in education spending next year that, if approved by the Legislature, would take per-pupil spending to a record level in Florida.

“The overall growth of Florida’s economy has made it possible for us invest record amounts in education,” Scott said in a news release announcing the move.

But Scott’s likely Democratic opponent for re-election, former Gov. Charlie Crist, panned the announcement as a “desperate” and misleading election-year ploy.

Click to continue reading this post

Appeals court speeds up case involving DQ’d Tampa write-in candidate

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

An appeals court has decided to speed up its consideration of the case filed by the disqualified write-in candidate in the House District 64 race.

The First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee Wednesday granted Daniel John Matthews’ motions to expedite and consolidate cases in his attempt to regain eligibility.

Briefs in the appeal now are due next month, court dockets show.

Click to continue reading this post

Fla. Lottery contributes almost $1.5 billion to education

Published:
Staff report

The Florida Lottery on Wednesday announced it had transferred another $1.49 billion to state coffers to help fund education, bringing the total to $27 billion since 1988.

In 2013-14, the Lottery had “record-breaking sales of more than $5.36 billion,” according to a news release.

“This has been an outstanding year for the Florida Lottery, and for Florida’s students and schools,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement. “Providing our children with a quality education will equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in life.”

Click to continue reading this post

State pension fund posts stronger than expected earnings

Published:   |   Updated: August 19, 2014 at 04:59 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The state’s pension fund beat expectations last fiscal year, earning a 17.4 percent return on investments and ending 2013-14 with a market value of $149.1 billion, the State Board of Administration announced Tuesday.

That return was stronger than the previous fiscal year’s 13 percent return in 2012-13.

All of the fund’s investments paid off last year, the board’s press release said. That resulted in a $16.7 billion reserve, even after paying out $5.9 billion in benefits last year.

Click to continue reading this post

Fla. spent more than $2.46 million on governor’s, other security

Published:
By The Associated Press

(AP) — Florida taxpayers spent more than $2.46 million to provide security for Gov. Rick Scott as well as governors from other states.

A report released Friday showed the state spent that much on security July 2013-June 2014.

That’s slightly lower than the previous fiscal year when Florida provided extra security during the Republican National Convention held in Tampa.

Click to continue reading this post

Cohn says Ross not representing Hillsborough

Published:
By William March

Alan Cohn, underdog Democratic candidate challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, blasted Ross at a Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting Friday for being “part of the group that is responsible for the political paralysis in Washington,” and for not having an adequate presence in Hillsborough County.

Cohn, who lives in New Tampa on the western side of Ross’s District 15, noted that Ross has no office in Hillsborough County even though 60 percent of the registered voters in the district live in Hillsborough -- 249,260 of 418,817 registered voters, according to the state Division of Elections.

Ross lives in Lakeland on the eastern side of the district.

Click to continue reading this post

Sheldon stays on the ballot for Fla. AG, judge rules

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

George Sheldon can remain on the ballot as a Democratic candidate for attorney general, a Tallahassee judge ruled Friday.

Sheldon’s Florida residency had been challenged because he lived and worked in Washington, D.C., for two years as an Obama administration official. He owns a home in Tallahassee.

After a two-hour hearing, Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis decided Sheldon’s professional sojourn out of state didn’t disqualify him for holding office if elected.

Click to continue reading this post

This one probably won’t decide the race, but ...

Published:   |   Updated: August 15, 2014 at 05:21 PM
By William March

Click to continue reading this post

AG candidate Sheldon set to defend residency challenge on Friday

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The argument has a ring of quantum physics to it, where a subatomic particle can be in two places at the same time.

George Sheldon, Democratic candidate for attorney general, says he was a Florida resident who at the same time enjoyed a “nonresident” exception from having to take required Bar classes, according to court documents.

Sheldon is facing a suit to knock him off the ballot; a Tallahassee judge will hear the case Friday. The primary election is Aug. 26, less than two weeks away.

Click to continue reading this post

Sheldon ad embraces medical marijuana; Jeb Bush opposes it

Published:
By William March

Click to continue reading this post