Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Scott signs ‘Charlotte’s Web’ medical pot bill: Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Monday that legalizes a form of medical marijuana touted as way to help relieve symptoms for children with epilepsy and cancer patients.The Republican-controlled Legislature made a policy about-face this year and passed the bill to legalize a version of medical marijuana that could be used by cancer patients and children with degenerative seizures. Scott had already pledged to sign SB 1030, which creates a legal system for producing, dispensing and studying the drug in Florida for patients who are permanent residents of the state with cancer or conditions leading to seizures.” Read more.
Marco Rubio doubles down on support of Cuba embargo: After new reports of the Castro regime in Cuba continuing to crack down on supporters of democracy, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pushed back against politicians looking to end the embargo. “This administration has kept trying to loosen sanctions against the Castro dictatorship, even though all the regime in Havana keeps doing is repress and abuse innocent Cubans who express their desire for and democracy,” Rubio said on Friday. “The Castro regime’s repressive apparatus is in full swing as it spent this week beating and detaining dissidents without cause. Read more.
Gasoline prices rising with violence in Iraq: South Florida residents will pay higher gasoline prices this summer as the violence in Iraq threatens to disrupt oil supplies. Analysts say prices could rise by as much as 5 to 10 cents per gallon in the weeks ahead, at a time when they normally fall. Increases could continue after that depending on how long the turmoil in Iraq continues, said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for travel club AAA. On Monday, regular gas in Palm Beach County averaged $3.67 per gallon, down 2 cents from a week ago but up 4 cents from last year, AAA said. Read more.
Unlike Crist, Graham shows Dems importance of playing to the center: Two Democrats were in the Tallahassee limelight on Monday even as their political paths were heading in different directions.Newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist came to Tallahassee to make nice with teachers, holding a round-table event with them. Crist listened to teachers complain they don’t make enough and that rewarding good teachers with increased pay was unacceptable. The new Democrat agreed and stressed he cared more about teachers than Rick Scott does. Crist spent a great deal of time talking about what teachers need, including higher salaries, but didn’t seem as concerned about the students. But if Crist scored more points with the teachers’ union on Monday, he probably didn’t help his poll numbers which have dropped in recent months with the latest round of polls showing a close contest. The teachers’ union’s grip on Florida Democrats has grown in recent years as the party’s influence at the state level has decreased. Read more.
Carlos Curbelo on the rise — but so are Democrats’ attacks: A prominent South Florida Republican is hitting the national airwaves but he’s also drawing fire from the Democrats in Washington.Republicans have high hopes for Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo as he looks to defeat U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., in a swing district in South Florida. On Monday, the GOP congressional hopeful took to the national stage.Curbelo appeared on “Fox and Friends” on Fox News on Monday morning along with fellow Republican congressional candidates Evan Jenkins of West Virginia and Richard Tisei of Massachusetts. Neither Garcia nor the Democratic congressmen that Jenkins and Tisei are challenging appeared on the show despite being invited. Read more.
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