Florida Five: Tiger Woods video game seeks Fla. tax money, Dem. rivals call out Crist on LGBT issues

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

GOP stands to lose more than District 18 seat for two years:  Republicans say it is crucial to regain U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy’s seat this year, but none of the six GOP candidates has emerged as a well-funded shoo-in to oust the Jupiter Democrat. If Republicans have to wait to take another shot in 2016, Murphy is likely to become a stronger incumbent, and Democratic voters will turn out in larger numbers because of the presidential election, Singer Island challenger Alan Schlesinger said. “If Murphy beats us this time, you’re not getting him out with a monkey wrench,” Schlesinger said. Read more.

crist-obama-2Rivals call out Charlie Crist’s shifts on LGBT issues: Two of Florida’s largest LGBT groups endorsed former Gov. Charlie Crist for governor and some of his rivals aren’t happy with it. Crist won the endorsements of Equality Florida Action PAC and the Human Rights Campaign on Thursday as he continues his run for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott. “The early endorsement reflects the urgency of electing a governor who will speed progress when it comes to equality, not stand in the way of fairness,” said Stratton Pollitzer, chairman of Equality Action Florida PAC. “Florida is at a critical moment in our struggle to end discrimination, and the next governor will have a tremendous impact on the everyday lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in our state. Read more.

New Fla. law bans abortions if doctor determines baby can survive: Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill into law that moves the Sunshine State into the forefront of states protecting the unborn by banning abortion in cases where a doctor determines a baby can survive outside the mother’s womb.The bill, signed Friday, goes beyond the state’s current ban on abortions in the third trimester of a pregnancy, which begins at 24 weeks. Now, the procedure will be illegal at any point a doctor determines a fetus is viable.The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops said the new provisions just recognize the improving ability of medical science in keeping children alive. Read more.

Tiger-WoodsTiger Woods video game shoots for ‘wholesome’ tax credits; incentives abuse Fla. taxpayers: On-course rants and tantrums, a divorce and a sordid love life.That’s Tiger Woods. A great golfer? Yeah, at one time, sure.But a wholesome paradigm for children and young adults? Probably not so much. At its base, whether a video game featuring Woods should be categorized as “family friendly” is a subjective question, a purely individual interpretation.So, apparently, is providing a half-million in tax dollars to finance it.It’s up to the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment to either open the public vault or slam in shut. It’s all part of the Florida Film and Entertainment Industry Incentive Program, to which production companies apply for a 5-percent family-friendly bonus — on top of other tax credits totaling up to 30 percent in production costs. Read more.

Florida high court slaps red light cameras, but not much changes: Opponents of red light cameras just got a little help from some new friends — the Florida Supreme Court.But they shouldn’t get too excited.The high court ruled Thursday that Florida cities didn’t have the authority to use red light cameras to ticket motorists prior to 2010, or until the state Legislature enacted laws specifically allowing them. Read more.

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Michele Kirk


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