Florida Five: Benacquisto expected to announce bid for Radel seat, tourism takes hit from Venezuela

Good morning! Ease into your post-Super Bowl Monday with BPR’s picks for top Florida political news.

LizbethFL Senate’s GOP leader, Benacquisto, plans to announce bid for Radel congressional seat Monday: Florida Senate Republican leader Lizbeth Benacquisto is calling and telling supporters she intends to announce as soon as Monday that she’ll run for the congressional seat vacated by Trey Radel after a cocaine scandal. Benacquisto’s announcement should come as no surprise to those who have read this space since November. At the time, there were rumblings about her running for CD-19 — even if Radel stayed in. After Radel finally quit last week, we were the first to tell you she was DC-bound to talk to Republicans and conservative groups to line up support. Read more.

Florida lawmakers to consider a ‘Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act’: In an effort to stop school suspensions for fake guns of any kind, Florida lawmakers are proposing a measure like the one Maryland legislators dubbed the “Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act.”The Florida House’s K-12 subcommittee proposal would not allow a child to get in trouble for “brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. Pencil guns, finger guns, drawings of guns and clothing that depicts guns would also be permissible. Read more.

NBC Miami affiliate feels heat after calling GOP ‘Reprehensive Party of Florida’: A Miami NBC affiliate identified the Republican Party of Florida as the “Reprehensive Party of Florida” in a graphic aired during a Thursday night segment on the gubernatorial race. The GOP was not amused.Lenny Curry, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, blasted WTVJ in a letter Friday, suggesting it may take legal action and demanding an immediate apology.Two employees of Capitol News Service, which supplied the graphic, have since been fired over the incident. In addition, Capitol News Service issued the following . . . Read more.

Venezuela’s new spending restrictions to cost Florida $1billion annually in tourism: Venezuelan tourists hoping to find fun in Florida‘s sun are being told to make their plans on the cheap.Tourist_beach_resort_sunset_large
New regulations imposed by the Venezuelan government restrict vacationers planning trips to Florida, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Peru to a $700 spending limit and $300 cash.
The new spending limits, however, don’t include other U.S. states or other destinations like Cuba and Asia. In those places, the previous $2,500-limits for credit purchases and $500 in cash will continue. Read more.

New polling language suggests voters don’t like Fla. transit plan: It’s often said that some sporting events are decided by inches. If public polling were a game, outcomes would be determined by words.If the same is true for ballot voting, then one of Florida‘s most populous counties could soon be on the hook for billions of dollars in new taxes.The most recent poll gauging public support for a $1.7 billion proposed light rail project in Pinellas County — west Tampa Bay, encompassing St. Petersburg and Clearwater — shows 61 percent disapproval for the required sales tax increase needed to fund the 30 year transit plan, known as the Pinellas Greenlight Plan. Read more. 

BONUS: Despite New Name, Critics Unhappy ‘Florida Standards’ Much Like Common Core

For more Florida news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page.




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