Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
David Jolly looks increasingly secure for November: Things are starting to break David Jolly’s way as he gears up to run for a full term in Congress come November and old foes opt out of running again.Jolly scored the upset when he beat Alex Sink in a special election last month but he beat the Democrat by less than 2 percent. Libertarian Lucas Overby raised eyebrows by taking almost 5 percent in the special election. Despite his narrow win, Jolly won’t face either Sink or Overby in November. Read more.
Pot, stadiums, trauma all trade bait?: The volume on the fourth floor outside the House and Senate chambers is reaching a crescendo. Lobbyists are jockeying for positions in front of the chamber doors as lawmakers emerge for quick pow-wows. It’s all part of the last-minute frenzy as, in the words of powerful Sen. John Thrasher, “bills are dying.”Priorities of House and Senate leaders — including pensions, school vouchers and medical marijuana — are all “trade bait” as the days wind down before the session’s scheduled finale on May 2. Read more.
Fetal harm criminalized in case of forced abortion: Florida legislators responding to the case of a Tampa-area woman tricked into taking an abortion pill voted 25-14 Thursday to make it a crime to kill or injure a fetus at any stage of development. The bill expands current state law that allows for murder or manslaughter charges only if a fetus dies after it has developed to a point where it can survive outside the womb. The bill heads to Gov. Rick Scott, who has supported previous anti-abortion bills. Read more.
Lawmakers agree to delay controversial hospital funding model: Specifics still need to be ironed out, but hospitals across Florida are already celebrating the news that a controversial funding model will not be implemented as planned this year.The so-called “tiering” law would have required counties that use local dollars to draw down more federal money for hospitals to begin sharing that money statewide. Jackson Health System in Miami was bracing for a $140 million hit as a result of the new law. Tampa General Hospital said its loss would have been $43 million. Miami Children’s Hospital and All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg estimated they would collectively see funding cut $17.6 million. Read more.
Palm Beach schools say no to parent dress code: Parents are welcome to come as they are when they visit a Palm Beach County school.The School Board will not pursue a dress code for parents suggested by Board member Karen Brill. Supporters of a dress code say too many parents were coming to school in pajamas, short shorts, sagging pants and hair curlers, setting a bad example for students.But most School Board members said they have no interest in getting involved in this issue.”I think we’re moving in a terrible direction even talking about this,” Board member Frank Barbieri said. Read more.
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