Florida Five: 157 new bills go into effect today, Rubio & DWS sound off on Hobby Lobby

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

rickscott0615Florida GI Bill, e-cigarette ban among new laws starting July 1: On Tuesday, the state’s record-setting, $77 billion election-year budget goes into effect, along with 157 other bills approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.The laws range from the “Florida GI Bill” which is intended to make Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation, to lowering college costs and banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. Read more.

Florida delegation breaks on Party lines over Hobby Lobby ruling: The Florida congressional delegation broke on party lines over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby which ensured that Hobby Lobby and other closely held businesses do not have to comply with President Barack Obama’s health-care law’s contraception mandate due to religious objections. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, praised the decision on Monday as a victory for religious freedom and a blow against Obama’s law. Read more.

george-zimmermanJudge throws out George Zimmerman’s libel suit against NBC: A Sanford judge today put an end to George Zimmerman’s libel suit against NBC Universal.Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson ruled that the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer is entitled to no money from the media giant.She issued a summary judgment in the network’s favor, meaning that unless an appeals court reverses her, the case is now dead. Read more.

Entrepreneurs prepare for medical marijuana businesses: The Florida Cannabis Coalition sponsored CannaBiz Day in Orlando to educate entrepreneurs about potential business opportunities if Florida legalizes medical marijuana. Thirty-one businesses in Broward and Palm Beach counties have registered with the state as marijuana-related businesses, banking that voters will approve medical use of the drug on Nov. 4The businesses — 17 in Broward and 14 in Palm Beach County — are among 100 that have registered with the words “medical marijuana,” “marijuana” or “cannabis” in their names. Read more.

Jorge Labarga sworn in as first Cuban-American Chief Justice: Jorge Labarga became the first Cuban-American to lead the Florida Supreme Court when he was sworn in as chief justice Monday. Labarga, 61, whose family immigrated to the United States after the Cuban revolution, became the state’s 56th chief justice and the fifth from Palm Beach County.Read more.

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