Florida Five: Pot gets more votes than governors, ‘Crazy’ Alan Grayson at it again

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

PolitiFact Florida: Amendment 2 got more votes than most recent governors – Floridians turned down a state constitutional amendment for medical marijuana, but it’s clear that a majority of voters were all for the idea. Amendment 2, which would have changed the state’s Constitution to allow the sale of cannabis for “certain medical conditions,” such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease, rang up 57.6 percent of the vote. Unfortunately for the measure’s supporters, amendments require at least 60 percent approval to pass. That close margin means medical marijuana will continue to be debated — and not just in Florida. Two dozen states have medical marijuana laws, and Oregon and the District of Columbia voted to decriminalize recreational pot in the Nov. 4 general election. Ben Pollara, campaign manager for the group behind the amendment, United for Care, tweeted two days after the election that the drug was more popular than Florida’s governors. Read more

Alan GraysonAlan Grayson, who runs ‘on crazy,’ says GOP runs on hate; mockery ensues – U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., believes the GOP won convincingly in last week’s midterm election because its candidates ran on hate. The bombastic congressman from Florida posted this message, complete with imagery, Saturday on Twitter. Read more

Lawmakers meeting to set agenda – With a decisive Republican majority and a newly re-elected governor, Florida lawmakers meet Tuesday to elect new leaders, install newly elected members and set a conservative agenda that will guide the Legislature over the next two years. Taking the legislative helm for the 2015 and 2016 sessions will be two Central Florida lawmakers. The Senate will be guided by Andy Gardiner, a 45-year-old health care executive from Orlando, while the House will be under the speakership of Steve Crisafulli, a 43-year-old businessman from Merritt Island, whose family has deep roots in Florida’s agriculture industry. With a 26-member majority in the 40-member Senate and an 81-member “super majority” in the 120-member House, Gardiner and Crisafulli will expand on the conservative Republican agenda that has dominated Tallahassee in recent years. Read more

Florida Dems examine Party values and policies after getting clobbered – Florida Democrats are doing some soul-searching after their party took a drubbing in recent elections. A task force has been assembled to study why and how the party lost all four Cabinet races, as well as six seats in the state House. As soon as the elections were over, National Democratic Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz uttered a dumb public statement that showed why the Dems continue to lose races in Florida: “We know we’re right on the issues.” Won’t she ever learn? Read more

New Senate head puts tribal gaming into question – Time is running out to renew a revenue-sharing deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe, but the new head of the Florida Senate isn’t so sure it’s needed. Andy Gardiner, the Orlando Republican set to take over this week as Senate president, says the state government shouldn’t necessarily rush into another deal with the tribe over the money it makes on gambling. Gov. Rick Scott will lead the negotiations, Gardiner said in a prepared statement, “but I think we need to take a step back and not assume that this has to be done.” His position bears out one expert’s prediction about the “increasing independence of the Legislature from the governor” after the Nov. 4 election. “I expect the Legislature will want to assert itself more,” said Darryl Paulson, a retired professor of government at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, “especially as individual members look toward their own political future.” Read more

Bonus — bizarre Fla. school lockdown : WTH? Heavily armed cops storm school; terrify kids and parents in lockdown drill

And because sometimes we can laugh at ourselves: Grey’s Anatomy Plot or Florida News Story? Take Our Quiz!

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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