Florida Five: Fla. Supreme Court debates ‘stand your ground’ case, Bill Nelson comes clean

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

State Supreme Court debates Kissimmee ‘stand your ground’ case – Several state Supreme Court justices lamented the vague wording of Florida’s “stand your ground” statute on Tuesday. The court was considering the case of Jared Bretherick, who argues he was arrested while trying to protect his family in 2011. The Brethericks, visiting from Avon, Ind., say they honked at an aggressive driver, who then pulled in front of them on U.S. Highway 192, stopped in traffic and exited his vehicle. After Bretherick’s father showed the man a gun, he returned to his SUV and backed it up toward them, the family says. When deputies arrived, they found Bretherick on foot alongside his family’s truck, with the gun aimed toward the other driver’s SUV. He was charged with aggravated assault and has since been denied immunity under “stand your ground.” Read more

bill_nelsonBill Nelson never ‘seriously considered’ running for governor – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson “never really seriously considered” running for Florida governor in 2014. “I made the right decision and I never really seriously considered,” the three-term Orlando Democrat said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday, “even though you all loved to speculate about me getting into the governor’s race.” Nelson added he looks forward to working with Republicans, who will now be the majority party in the U.S. Senate. Read more

Tom Lee of Hillsborough tapped to chair Senate budget panel – Republican Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon will chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee for the next two years. Lee’s promotion was announced Tuesday by Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who also named Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, to chair a newly-created Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy. Lee, 52, is a Hillsborough County home builder who served in the Senate from 1996 to 2006, and was Senate president from 2004-2006. He was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for chief financial officer in 2006 and rejoined the Senate in 2012. He replaces Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart as the key budget-writer in the 40-member Senate. “Tom has a great deal of experience and a keen understanding of the multi-faceted appropriations process,” Gardiner said in a statement. Read more

Former Miami city manager lands top lobbying gig – Former Miami City Manager Tony Crapp Jr. has been named a partner in one of the state’s top lobbying firms. Crapp will be joining Ballard Partners in the company’s Miami office, President Brian Ballard announced Tuesday. “Tony will be a fantastic addition to Ballard Partners,” Ballard said. “He is well respected in the Miami-Dade community and his background in city government and public policy issues will make him a vital member of our team.” Crapp spent 15 years working for the city of Miami. Read more

Senators Soto and Bullard File Legislation Banning Fracking– State Senators Darren Soto (D-Orlando) and Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) on Tuesday filed legislation to ban fracking in Florida to protect the state’s water supply, environment and robust tourism economy. “Florida is home to scenic beaches, wonderful springs and the legendary Everglades. This natural beauty, in turn, fosters a strong tourism industry, annually attracting many new residents to our shores. It must be preserved” said Senator Soto. “We Floridians also get the vast majority of our water supply from ground water through the Floridan Aquifer. This critical water source must be protected from pollution to assure ample, clean water for future generations.”   Read more 

Bonus: SEE IT: Video captures Florida driver going airborne after running off road

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