Florida Five: Nelson vote quashes Keystone pipeline, Illegals in Fla. on the rise

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

Nelson RubioNelson, Rubio split on Keystone pipeline – Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida voted Tuesday against a bill authorizing construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, despite pleas from a fellow southern Democrat who needed only one more vote to pass the measure. The Senate voted 59-41 to approve the pipeline. That was one vote shy of the 60 needed under a Senate agreement to move the project forward. Nelson, D-Orlando, had said he would support the pipeline only with a guarantee the oil it would carry from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries would be reserved for domestic use, echoing a vote he took in 2012, his aides said. The measure that came before the Senate Tuesday evening did not include such an export ban. All 45 Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, voted for the pipeline bill, along with 14 Democrats. Read more

Florida sees big rise of residents in U.S. illegally – The total number of immigrants living in the United States illegally hasn’t changed much since 2009, but where they are choosing to settle, according to a new report from the nonprofit Pew Research Center. The report released today shows Florida with among the biggest increases in residents without legal immigration status. Between 2009 and 2012, some 55,000 new immigrants in the country illegally came to Florida. That brings the state’s total to an estimated 925,000. The increase highlights a broader shift from the West and Southwest. Only New Jersey saw a larger increase, with about 75,000 people. Read more

Negron on renewing Medicaid expansion battle in 2015: “No” – After a challenge from the Florida Senate’s new Democratic leader, Sen. Joe Negron Tuesday said he won’t revive his plan to expand health insurance for more than 1 million people in the state. On Monday, new Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner of Tampa suggested Negron might lead another effort toward some kind of Medicaid expansion for the 2015 legislative session. When asked directly Tuesday morning, Negron had a direct answer: “No.” Lawmakers returned to Tallahassee this week for post-election organizational meetings as they ready for the 2015 session. The Senate Democrats have staked out expanded health insurance as an issue for next year for the more than 1 million Floridians often called “the working poor” — those still considered poor but making just enough to put them over the poverty line. Read more

Florida’s 2014 election by the numbers shows Gov. Rick Scott won by 64,145 votes – Florida’s 2014 election results were certified Tuesday, and Republican Gov. Rick Scott defeated Democrat Charlie Crist by 64,145 votes, a margin of 1.07 percent. More than 75,000 voters skipped the race for governor, a sign of the widespread disapproval of both candidates. Despite a mediocre statewide turnout of 50.5 percent, this was Florida’s first midterm election in which more than 6 million voters cast ballots. A closer look at the numbers: 2,865,343 Number of votes for Rick Scott. Democrat Charlie Crist got 2,801,198 votes. Read more

Meet Rick Scott’s EOG brain trust – From an email: Governor Rick Scott today announced the appointments of Frank Collins, Kim McDougal, Brad Piepenbrink, Karl Rasmussen and Jeff Woodburn to key positions in the Executive Office of the Governor. Frank Collins will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff; Kim McDougal will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Affairs Director; Brad Piepenbrink will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff and External Affairs Director; Karl Rasmussen will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff; and Jeff Woodburn will serve as the Governor’s Policy Director. All positions are effective on December 1st. Read more

Bonus: The political education of a preschooler – A humorous commentary on the effects of “101 political ads an hour” on a 4-year-old.

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

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