Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Beckham bends lawmakers’ ears: Lawmakers and some lucky celebrity watchers swooned over David Beckham as the soccer superstar shook up the Capitol on Tuesday while making a pitch for sports stadium tax breaks. Elected officials — including Gov. Rick Scott — and staffers flooded Twitter with “selfies” alongside Beckham, who wants to bring a professional soccer team to Miami and has set his goal on the Port of Miami as a potential stadium site. “Great meeting with David Beckham today. #selfie,” read a message posted by Scott’s official governor’s office Twitter account Tuesday afternoon accompanied by an overexposed picture of Scott and Beckham. Read more.
David Jolly starts committee assignments in Congress: Two weeks after winning the congressional seat occupied for decades by his old boss, the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., the nation’s newest congressman is starting his work in Washington. Newly elected U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla, was named to the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Veterans Affairs committees on Tuesday. Jolly will serve on the Water Resources and Environment and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittees. The Republican defeated Democratic hopeful former state CFO Alex Sink in a special election held earlier in the month. Sink has left the door open to running again in November. Read more.
Conservative group looks to strengthen marriage and families in Florida: The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), one of the leading social and religious conservative groups in the Sunshine State, unveiled the “State of Florida Cultural Indicators Report” on Tuesday which shows traditional marriage and strong families help improve the economy and society.Stemberger met with the media in Tallahassee on Tuesday to highlight the 55-page report which looks at 37 social and economic statistics in the Sunshine State. The report looks at a host of issues including the decline of violent crime in Florida, HIV infection rate and the economic and social costs of family breakdown. Read more.
Florida now a ‘front-runner’ for U.S. economy, economist says: Florida’s economy in 2014 is leading the nation in job growth and the overall recovery, despite once being a straggler, said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith in his first quarter economic forecast released Tuesday.Florida was one of the first states to feel the effect of a national recession with job losses starting in April 2007, several months before other states. When the national recovery began in June 2009, Florida was slow to join in and for several years lagged behind the pace of the U.S. economic recovery. But now Florida is the front-runner, he says, pointing to the declining unemployment rate, payroll job creation and overall economic activity. “This has been no small accomplishment,” said Snaith, the director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness. Read more.
Senate panel guts charter school bill: The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday gutted a controversial education proposal aimed at creating a more favorable environment for charter schools.The original bill, filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, sought to require school districts and charter schools to use a standard contract developed by the state. SB 1528 also would have required local school districts to make unused facilities available to charter schools, and awarded special privileges to high-performing charter schools. But Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg, R-Trinity, filed an amendment removing all of that language, and instead creating a process for administrative law judges to hear disputes over charter school contracts. Legg also added a provision stating that a charter school cannot remove a student against his or her wishes unless the child has violated the school’s code of conduct. Read more.
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