Florida Five: Rick Perry to attend inauguration, Surge in Cuban migrants reported by Coast Guard

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

Perry and Scott
Gov. Rick Perry (left) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (right) participate in fishing derby in 2012 off the coast of the Sunshine State. (Elliott McCaskill/Florida governor’s office)

Perry to attend Fla. governor’s inaugural festivities – Gov. Rick Perry is heading to Florida on Tuesday for the second inauguration of Rick Scott, a longtime friend and chief executive of a perennial swing state in presidential elections. Perry as well as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be in attendance as Scott takes the oath of office at noon in Tallahassee, said Jackie Schutz, a spokeswoman for the Florida governor. Perry is also scheduled to join Scott for a breakfast in the morning at Florida A&M University. Both Christie and Perry campaigned for Scott, who eked out a close win in November against Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist. At the time, Christie was chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a position Perry has held twice. Read more

Florida governor tells residents of other states: ‘Move here!’ – Florida Governor Rick Scott will kick off his second term on Tuesday with a blunt warning that he intends to poach people and jobs from other large states that have relatively higher taxes. “I have a message today to the people of New York, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and others: Move to Florida!” Scott said in prepared remarks released by his office on Monday. “Over the next four years, I will be traveling to your states personally to recruit you here,” he said. After decades of growth, Florida recently surpassed New York to become the third most populous U.S. state, behind California and Texas. Read more

Coast Guard reports surge in Cubans trying to reach Florida – Driven by fear that their window is closing, the number of Cuban migrants attempting to reach the U.S. illegally in rafts has surged since the two countries announced they would restore diplomatic relations after 50 years, Coast Guard officials said Monday. U.S. authorities have captured, intercepted or chased away 421 Cubans since Dec. 17, mostly in the Florida Straits, said Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma, spokesman for the Coast Guard’s 7th District in Miami. In all of December 2013, the total number of Cuban migrants who encountered U.S. law enforcement while trying to reach the U.S was nearly half that at 222. Read more

Counties across Florida issue marriage licenses, hold weddings for gay couples — Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage ended statewide at the stroke of midnight Monday, and court clerks in some Florida counties wasted no time, issuing marriage licenses and performing weddings for same-sex couples overnight. But they were beaten to the punch by a Miami judge who found no need to wait until the statewide ban expired. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel presided over Florida’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages Monday afternoon. Still, most counties held off on official ceremonies until after midnight early Tuesday, when U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle’s ruling that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional took effect in all 67 counties. Read more

Florida Senate committees set to meet this week – Florida Senate committees will gather this week to discuss a number of issues leading up to the March session. Here are a few of them:  Possible changes to the prison system. The Senate Criminal Justice committee is scheduled to hear three presentations about the Department of Corrections, including a presentation by Federal Department of Law Enforcement, dealing with investigations of inmate deaths. Read more

Bonus 2016 watch: Steve Schale’s math: Fla is top battleground

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


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