Florida Five: School voucher lawsuit dismissed, Alan Grayson barred from 9/11 report

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

Voucher lawsuit gets dismissed for a second time – A judge on Tuesday dismissed one of two lawsuits aimed at Florida’s controversial school voucher program. The suit challenged the 2014 expansion of a program that provides private-school scholarships for low-income children. It also threatened a new program creating scholarships for children with special needs. A second lawsuit, which is still pending, alleges the voucher program conflicts with the state Constitution. Both are being driven by the statewide teachers union. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Charles Francis had already dismissed the first challenge, saying the teacher named as the plaintiff did not have legal standing. But the lawsuit was amended to include three parents with children in public schools. Read more

grayson007-031413-jpgFlorida congressman barred from seeing classified sections of 9/11 inquiry – A request by US Rep. Alan Grayson to access a portion of a 2002 congressional report on the September 11, 2001 attacks was denied by the House Intelligence Committee based on political reasons, the Florida Democrat said. Grayson’s request pertains to 28 pages of Congress’ Joint Inquiry that were ordered to be redacted by then-President George W. Bush. The congressman said his search stemmed from proposed legislation in the House that seeks to release the classified section to the public. The censored section of the Joint Inquiry provides information on “specific sources of foreign support” for the 9/11 attackers while they were in the United States. “The role of Saudi Arabia in funding 9/11” is part of these classified materials, according to former US Sen. Bob Graham, a fellow Florida Democrat, who co-chaired the Joint Inquiry. Read more

350 FedEx Jobs Heading To Ocala – Gov. Rick Scott today announced that FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., is building a new distribution hub on a 150-acre site in Ocala as part of an ongoing national expansion plan. The FedEx Ground hub is expected to open with more than 350 employees and create more than $170 million in capital investment in the community. Governor Scott said, “FedEx Ground’s decision to grow in Ocala and create jobs is great news for Florida families. I knew when I toured the location in the spring of 2013 that Ocala would be the perfect fit for FedEx Ground, and we continued working hard to help deliver this win for area families. Florida has added more than 715,000 private-sector jobs since December 2010 and the state unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8 percent. We will keep working to create a job for every Floridian who wants one.” The location will complement the operations of an existing hub in Orlando. Read more

Gov. Rick Scott proclaims Jan. 5-9 Florida First Responder Appreciation Week – Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants the state’s residents to thank and honor cops and firefighters and others who respond to emergencies. Scott on Monday proclaimed Jan. 5-9 as Florida First Responder Appreciation Week. He took the action in the wake of the recent killings of a Tarpon Springs police officer and a Leon County sheriff’s deputy. In his proclamation, Scott encourages Floridians “to take time out of their day to show” how much they value first responders. Read more

Use of medical marijuana could be months away – Florida is virtually starting over in writing rules that would allow the growth, production, sale and use of a pot extract, which means it might be several months or longer before medical marijuana is available in the state. At a public workshop Tuesday in Orlando, state officials made it clear that they are a long way from being able to pick companies to grow and process cannabis extracts in Florida. That program, which was supposed to start in January, primarily was created to provide noneuphoric marijuana products to children who suffer intractable seizure disorders. The top official for the state program would only say she hopes to get new proposed rules written by March and carefully offered no timetable promises beyond that. Read more

Bonus – Debbie Wasserman Schultz gets honorable mention: The 20 Most Annoying Liberals of 2014

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