Florida Five: Rubio, Fla. GOP reps blast CIA report, College campus gun bill filed

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

Rubio blasts Senate Dems’ CIA reportU.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, blasted Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for releasing its 518-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. In a lengthy written statement, Rubio called the report partisan, one-sided and “unconscionable.” Meanwhile, Florida’s senior senator, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, released a three-sentence statement that expressed no judgment on the select committee’s action. Rubio is a minority member of the committee. Nelson is a former member. Read more

Florida GOP lawmakers criticize release of CIA report as political – Florida lawmakers had mixed reviews of a long-awaited report released Tuesday chronicling the CIAs use of interrogation techniques ranging from water-boarding to sleep deprivation. The report was compiled by the Democrat-led Senate Intelligence Committee. After large midterm defeats, Democrats are set to lose control of the Senate next month, a fact that immediately prompted the GOP to slam the release as politically motivated. “Shame on anyone who would try to make political gain by releasing such a partisan report at a time that can be so threatening to our intelligence service, government officials, and put our military in harm’s way,” said U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs. The committee released a 500-page summary of a more than 6,000 page report that took five-years to compile. Read more

Capitol Christmas tree celebration
From left to right: Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam; Attorney General Pam Bondi; First Lady Ann Scott; Gov. Rick Scott; Lisa Comingore of Tallahassee, Renae Marsh and Concheta Cole of Havana Christmas Tree Farm; and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

First family lights Christmas tree at state Capitol – Gov. Rick Scott, First Lady Ann Scott and the three Cabinet members gathered Tuesday morning for a holiday tradition in Tallahassee: the lighting of the official Christmas tree outside the governor’s office. This year’s tree is a locally-grown Virginia pine from the Havana Christmas Tree Farm in the town of Havana in Gadsden County, north of Tallahassee. Scott used the event to promote the importance of holiday tourism to Florida’s economy. “Christmas is a great season for our state,” Scott said. “We’re going to have a lot of people coming down here over the holidays … South Florida is just packed.” The governor said he’s looking forward to a special Christmas with his oldest grandson having turned three. Read more

Bill would allow concealed weapons on college campuses – Weeks after a gunman opened fire at the Florida State library, a lawmaker has proposed legislation that would let some people carry concealed weapons on college campuses. The bill (HB 4005) was filed Monday by state Rep. Greg Steube. Steube, R-Sarasota, has also filed a proposal that would enable certain teachers and administrators to carry concealed firearms at primary and secondary schools. The Nov. 20 shooting at FSU left two students and one school employee wounded. It spurred a renewed call for allowing guns on campus. A group called FSU Students for Concealed Carry called on the legislature to consider such a measure, and the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer has said she would support the dialogue. Read more

Florida’s debt continues to fall – Florida’s amount of debt keeps dropping and has now fallen to $24.2 billion. That’s according to an annual report presented Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott and members of the Cabinet. This marks the fourth year in a row that the amount of money the state owes has dropped. The state debt dropped $400 million during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. State debt has declined $4 billion since 2010. Florida has been borrowing less money since then because an environmental land-buying program concluded. The state has also been able to refinance existing bonds with lower interest rates. Read more

Bonus for art fans: What D.C. galleries brought to two Miami art fairs, and what they got out of it

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

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