Today’s top Florida political stories:
Fla. welfare bill offers cash rewards to tattletale on fraud; ACLU disapproves: Florida welfare fraudsters beware. A bipartisan legislative effort designed to clobber public assistance abuse may soon send welfare perps to prison for a long time. Ripping off Medicaid, food stamps or taxpayer-funded cash assistance programs for more than$100,000 could mean 30 years in prison, the sentencing equivalent of seriously hurting a law officer. Wrongfully receiving or seeking public assistance in the amount of $20,000 could carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Read more.
Rick Scott massively outraises Charlie Crist in January fundraising reports: Gov. Rick Scott brought in a campaign haul four times larger than former governor Charlie Crist did in the month of January, according to campaign finance reports. Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work” political committee raked in $3.4 million for the month of January. When coupled with $743,000 in contributions to his campaign account, the governor brought in $4.1 million in the first month of 2014. Charlie Crist, on the other hand, didn’t raise quite as much cash in January. According to finance reports, he brought in $637,000 through his “Charlie Crist for Florida” political committee and $375,000 from his own campaign, totaling $1,012,000 — only a quarter of what Scott raised. Read more.
Real RoboCop could put veterans, disabled officers back on patrol: RoboCop may be hitting the theaters soon, but Florida International University has developed its own real version of the futuristic law officer. FIU’s Discovery Lab will introduce a prototype of a TeleBot – which combines telepresence and robotics — that researchers and students developed “to allow disabled police and military personnel to serve as patrol officers,” according to a statement from the university. The demonstration will occur Wednesday at 10 a.m., at the Graham Center pit on FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus. “Unlike the RoboCop of the movie that premieres this week, the FIU TeleBot is not expected to cause damage to life or property,” the statement said. Read more.
Senator suggests shifting Florida Lottery into new gaming commission: As lawmakers look at overhauling the state’s gambling landscape, a new gaming commission could include a shift of management for the 25-year-old Florida Lottery. Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, on Monday suggested the Department of Lottery be placed under a proposed five-member gaming commission that would be appointed by the governor.”Over the years we’ve had some issues regarding the advertising and some of the games that are chosen by the Department of Lottery,” said Gardiner, a Senate Gaming Committee member who is next in line to become Senate president. “I certainly would think that it would be appropriate for a commission to hear the concerns by the taxpayers on what they do.” Read more.
Senator Marco Rubio urges support of David Jolly for Congress: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined congressional candidate David Jolly in Pinellas County Monday and called on voters in the 13th Congressional District to vote David Jolly in the upcoming special election because of his commitment to protect seniors, fight Obamacare in Washington, and serve our veterans. Read more.
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