Florida Five: 2014 Session Roundup, Fla. legislature urges Keystone XL

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

Florida legislature2014 Session Roundup: ‘Sine Die’: In some ways, it was a session of the unexpected.When lawmakers decamped to Tallahassee at the beginning of March, the agenda was full of conservative red meat. Taxes and fees would be slashed by $500 million. The state’s de facto school-vouchers program would be expanded. Military veterans would be given benefits in something dubbed the “Florida GI Bill.” Public-employee pensions would be overhauled.  And, if all went well, Gov. Rick Scott would be placed on a glide path to re-election. Most of those things happened. Read more.

Florida’s Congressional races take shape:  Qualifying for running for Congress in Florida ended on Friday with some major surprises as a former congressman seeks an unlikely political comeback, Democrats don’t have a candidate in a swing district and some incumbents face no opponents in November. Here’s a look at how the races are shaping up and who made the ballot — and who didn’t: Read more.

Florida Legislature urges Obama administration action on Keystone XL: The Keystone XL pipeline has a long list of supporters, with Florida’s state government joining the fray. But will it matter? A pair of state lawmakers spoke Tuesday at the Florida Capitol alongside the Consumer Energy Alliance, a pro-pipeline group that chose Florida as its first stop in a series of nationwide media events. Beth Richardson, head of political, economic and public affairs for Canada’s Consulate General, was also in attendance.Together, they urged the Obama administration to end its five-year delay of the energy project that would deliver oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. Read more.

The FCAT is no more; a replacement is in the works: Katie Howard, third grade teacher at Terwilliger Elementary School, tears down the FCAT display outside her classroom on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Gainesville, Fla. The display had the words “Keep Calm and Rock the FCAT,” surrounded by test-taking tips written by students on musical note-shaped paper. It’s over. After 16 years as the state-mandated standardized test, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test ended its final round of statewide testing Friday.Plagued by criticism of its content and effectiveness over the years, the FCAT started its decline in 2010 when the state Legislature adopted the Common Core State Standards, selected to replace the state standards tested by FCAT. Read more.

Teen Mom 16 and pregTeen pregnancies cost Florida taxpayers $443 million, study says: Anyone who’s seen even a glimpse of the MTV reality show 16 and Pregnant knows that teen pregnancy is often traumatic and fraught with pain and uncertainty.But in human and economic costs, there’s little entertainment value when it comes to Florida’s more than 496,000 teen child births over the past two decades. Read more.

BONUS: Will Weatherford won’t run for RPOF Chair

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