Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Despite administration denials, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen thinks Obama wants Cuba spy-swap: The Obama administration says it is not negotiating for the release of Alan Gross, the U.S. government contractor arrested in Cuba in 2009 on alleged spy charges. After news broke about President Barack Obama’s prisoner swap involving five Taliban Guantánamo Bay detainees, many wondered about the fate of another person, this one locked away in Cuba: Alan Gross, the U.S. government contractor believed by many to have been railroaded on trumped-up spy charges. The Obama administration says it is not negotiating for Gross.Yet U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican Cuban exile leader, doesn’t think the administration is being honest. Read more.
Liberal media make a mountain out of a molehill in RPOF vote: The liberal media are breathlessly reporting that Leslie Dougher only getting more than 60 percent of the vote to become chairwoman of the RPOF this weekend shows that Rick Scott is in trouble — and, as usual, they are barking up the wrong tree. “Florida Republicans elected a new leader, but the split vote underscores the challenges Gov. Rick Scott faces from within his own party in his re-election effort,” Dara Kam from the News Service of Florida wrote. Read more.
Lobbyists, lawyers jostle for pot business: Tallahassee lobbyists and lawyers are hooking up with investors, nursery owners and a variety of other businesspeople with leafy green stars in their eyes in the quest to cash in on Florida’s newest regulated industry.With Florida on the verge of becoming the first Southern state to legalize any form of marijuana, lobbyists from large and small firms are pitching their regulatory expertise and inside connections with an eye not only to nailing down new clients but possible ownership stakes in what, at least for now, may be a limited industry. Read more.
Florida officials mum on EPA rule, natural gas wins big: Thanks to natural gas, two of Florida’s largest energy providers appear to be one step ahead of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest assault on coal-fired power plants. What remains unclear is whether state officials will fight the regulation requiring a 38 percent cut in Florida’s carbon emissions by 2030. A spokesman for the Florida attorney general’s office confirmed to Watchdog.org the state is already involved in litigation over a previous EPA air pollution rule. The spokesman wouldn’t say whether Attorney General Pam Bondi will take on the new federal edict. Read more.
Redistricting trial wraps up with no decision for weeks: The two-week trial over Florida’s new rules of the road for drawing political boundaries concluded Wednesday with the fate of the first-of-their-kind “non-political” congressional maps in the hands of a Tallahassee judge.The case has generated a treasure trove of insider political intrigue. But if Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis decides this month to order a reboot of the 2012 map-drawing process, the stakes for voters could be felt for decades. Read more.
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