Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
‘Souls to the polls’ slowly making a comeback in Fla.:Early voting in the Aug. 26 statewide primary election starts next week across Florida, and one of the changes the Legislature made in 2013 was to allow early voting on the Sunday immediately before the election.It’s known as “Souls to the Polls” because a lot of churches, especially in African-American neighborhoods, encouraged worshippers to vote after attending Sunday services. Read more.
Rick Scott picking a fight with Eric Holder is smart politics: By going after Eric Holder last week, Rick Scott’s team picked a fight that could pay off politically in the days to come. Holder is one of only three members left from Barack Obama’s original Cabinet but he’s certainly proven to be much more controversial than Arne Duncan or Tom Vilsack. Republicans started impeachment efforts against Holder last year due to his role in “Operation Fast and Furious,” the Justice Department seizing journalists’ records and his refusal to cooperate with Congress. Even though an internal Justice Department investigation cleared Holder on Operation Fast and Furious, Republicans in the House still don’t think the attorney general has owned up to his role in it. Read more.
Are legislators headed for stand-off with judge and more litigation?:Coalition proposed remedial map Florida legislators indicated Monday that they will meet in special session this week to make the court-ordered repairs to two congressional districts in North and Central Florida but they will not accept holding special elections this year to put them in place.In a joint email to legislators, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz said they “continue to maintain our strong objection to any attempt to disrupt the current election process.’’ But they also laid out the schedule for the special session they are convening on Thursday in response to an Aug. 15 deadline imposed on them by Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis. Read more.
Broward judge latest to strike down gay marriage ban: Broward Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen on Monday became the third judge in less than a month to strike down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. But just as in the previous two cases, actual marriages between gay and lesbian couples will have to wait.The judge ruled on a legal question that arose in the divorce case of Heather Brassner and Megan Lade. The two were granted a civil union in Vermont in 2002 but separated in 2010.Brassner, of West Palm Beach, wished to divorce Lade, but since Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage, there was a question as to whether the judge could grant a divorce. In trying to answer that question, Cohen ruled the same-sex marriage ban itself was unconstitutional. Read more.
Police official breaks law to advocate against medical marijuana: North Miami Beach became the latest flashpoint in Florida’s medical-marijuana fight when a police official broke state law by improperly emailing out political talking-points from opponents of the ballot initiative that voters will decide in November. Residents, city leaders and medical-marijuana advocates were fired up that Commander Tom Carney sent the “Truth About Medical Marijuana” email from his official work account. Read more.
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