State

INGOGLIA WINS SECOND TERM AS STATE GOP CHAIR

By BRANDON LARRABEE
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Blaise Ingoglia

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 14, 2017..........Following the state GOP's strong performance in the November elections, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia overwhelmingly won a second term Saturday at the party's annual meeting.

In a vote of the party's executive committee, Ingoglia defeated his only competitor by a 2-to-1 margin, taking 152 votes to 76 for Christian Ziegler, the Republican state committeeman for Sarasota County.

SENATE LOOKS TO REDUCE SCHOOL TESTING

By BRANDON LARRABEE
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 11, 2017.......... The chairman of the Senate's education budget-writing panel said Wednesday that the Senate will likely consider legislation this year that would roll back standardized testing in public schools.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, told reporters after a hearing on state tests that "you can reasonably expect" a bill dealing with assessments to be heard by the Senate.

SCOTT SEEKS MONEY TO BATTLE TERRORISM

By JIM TURNER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 4, 2017.......... Gov. Rick Scott is backing a request from state law-enforcement officials to set up anti-terrorism squads across Florida.

Scott will include in his 2017-2018 budget proposal a $5.8 million request for counterterrorism efforts by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he announced Wednesday during a news conference in Orlando.

State lawmakers, faced with a tightening fiscal outlook, will craft the budget during the 60-day legislative session that begins March 7. The 2017-2018 budget year starts July 1.

CRASHES UP AT RED-LIGHT CAMERA INTERSECTIONS

By LLOYD DUNKELBERGER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Red light camera at Cortez and Cobb Rd.  The Brooksville Red Light Camera Program ended Oct. 31, 2016, with the expiration of the Sensys Contract.

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 5, 2017.......... As Florida lawmakers prepare to renew their debate over red-light cameras, a new report from state highway officials shows an increase in vehicle collisions at intersections with the traffic-control devices.

In a survey of 148 intersections in 28 cities and counties across the state, total crashes were up 10.14 percent when comparing data before the cameras were installed and after they were in place, according to the Dec. 31 report from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

PENSION FUND PROJECTIONS COULD BE TOO ROSY

By LLOYD DUNKELBERGER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 4, 2017.......... While Florida has a financially healthy state pension fund, a new report from the Department of Management Services warns the $144 billion system is relying on a projected investment return that independent financial consultants say is too optimistic.

State analysts lowered the projected rate of return to 7.6 percent in October, down from 7.65 percent.

'BIZARRE' COURT ACTION ADDS TO DEATH PENALTY CONFUSION

By DARA KAM
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 4, 2017.......... In a highly unusual move that heightened confusion in an already-murky legal arena, the Florida Supreme Court quickly rescinded an order Wednesday that would have barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty in capital cases.

The release of the order --- a mistake, according to a court spokesman --- and its almost immediate retraction further muddled Florida's embattled death penalty, on hold for nearly a year following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last January.

Florida Electors go for Trump amid protests

By BRANDON LARRABEE
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, December 19, 2016.......... With more attention than usual --- following the most-unusual presidential campaign in recent memory --- Florida's 29 electors met Monday to formally cast their votes to send Republican Donald Trump to the White House.

A last-ditch effort in Florida, and across the nation, tried to get members of the Electoral College to bolt from Trump and throw the election into the U.S. House, where supporters hoped that a more mainstream Republican could prevail.

TOURISM CHIEF OUT AFTER PITBULL CONTROVERSY

By JIM TURNER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, December 16, 2016.......... Gov. Rick Scott on Friday requested the resignation of the state's tourism-marketing leader amid a controversy over an expired $1 million contract with a Miami hip-hop artist whom the governor praised for his "devotion to our great state."

Visit Florida President and CEO Will Seccombe agreed to resign from the $120,000-a-year position he's held since November 2012.

PITBULL RELEASES $1 MILLION DEAL WITH TOURISM AGENCY

By JIM TURNER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, December 15, 2016.......... The Miami rapper Pitbull released details Thursday of a controversial $1 million deal to promote Florida, two days after the state House filed a lawsuit to try to get the information.

But while the House intends to end the lawsuit, House Speaker Richard Corcoran said lawmakers will continue their "dogged pursuit" of how government agencies spend taxpayers' money.

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