Florida Five: Job demand remains strong, House passes in-state tuition for undocumented students

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Florida job demand at its highest level for fourth straight month: Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday that for the fourth straight month, job demand in the state reached another all-time high. Three days after announcing that Florida’s unemployment was at its lowest rate since June of 2008 — 6.1 percent — the governor announced that February online job vacancies increased by 3.6 percent over the year, making for in excess of 278,000 openings statewide, according to a statement from the governor’s office. Read more

Cities planning ahead for legalized medical marijuana: Several South Florida cities are preparing for the day when Florida legalizes marijuana for medical use. No matter that the ballot initiative won’t go before voters until November: Pembroke Park recently became among the first to consider how to regulate grow houses. “This is a problem that every city is going to have to solve,” said Town Manager Bob Levy. “It’s better to be ahead of the game than lagging behind.” While many cities in Broward and Palm Beach counties are waiting to see the outcome of the state referendum, Lauderhill, Pembroke Park and Sunrise have recently begun to plan for pot. Read more

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House approves in-state tuition for some undocumented students: In what Republicans hailed as a historic moment, the Florida House on Thursday voted 81-33 to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at Florida colleges and universities. But challenges remain ahead. The Senate version of the proposal (SB 1400) was nearly defeated in its first committee stop. It must now be heard by the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The chair of that subcommittee, Sen. Bill Galvano opposes the measure, and said he hasn’t yet decided whether to take up the bill. Without a hearing… Read More

What others are saying about the House passing in-state tuition for all Florida students: The Florida House passed a bill Thursday that provides graduating students who have completed four years in a Florida high school the opportunity to receive in-state tuition rates at a Florida post-secondary institution. Speaker Will Weatherford‘s office released a statement documenting what other notables are saying about the bill’s passage. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: “Speaker Weatherford and members of the Florida House deserve tremendous credit for pushing forward a solution to wisely and compassionately grant in-state tuition to Florida students who are… Read more

House sends $395 million tax relief bill to Gov. Scott’s desk for signature: The Florida House unanimously passed legislation Thursday to roll back vehicle registration fees, resulting in substantial tax relief for Floridians. The bill will reduce fees to what was paid prior to 2009, saving residents $395 million a year. SB 156 now heads to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for his signature. “With substantive tax relief a major priority this session, the House is focused on ways to put money directly back into the pockets of hard-working Floridians,” House Speaker Will Weatherford said in a statement. Read more

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