Florida Five: Political parties’ donations drop, FL Chamber backs Medicaid expansion

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

party contributions
Photo credit: Bayoubuzz.com

Florida political parties see donations drop – Florida’s two main political parties are getting a lot less money now that the election season is finally over. The Republican Party of Florida and Florida Democratic Party on Monday turned in their fundraising reports for the final two months of 2014. Republicans reported raising more than $1.96 million during that time period, but a sizable portion of the donations were to help for the inauguration of Gov. Rick Scott … Democrats took in slightly less than $311,000. Read more

Florida Chamber health care agenda embraces Medicaid expansion – The Florida Chamber of Commerce is joining the growing list of business groups that say it is time for the Legislature to accept federal dollars to reduce the number of uninsured Floridians. Although the chamber is not ready to fully align with the “A Healthy Florida Works” Medicaid expansion plan backed by a coalition that includes rival business group Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Hospital Association, it is supporting the basic premise of health care for all. “We largely agree with what the hospital association is trying to do,” said Florida Chamber president and CEO Mark Wilson. “… The truth is they don’t go far enough.” Read more

Quran-burning pastor, No. 2 on al-Qaida’s hit list, isn’t hiding – he’s selling french fries in Fla. – The Florida pastor who made international headlines in 2011 for publicly burning a Quran on the anniversary of 9/11, is on the same al-Qaida’s terror hit list as the editor of the satirical French magazine who died in last week’s carnage in Paris. But he’s worried more about his new business than being attacked. Read more

Jeff Atwater makes sense for future GOP Senate candidate – Jeff Atwater passed on running for the U.S. Senate in 2012, but he could have opportunities down the road for a Senate bid of his own. Atwater has a long background in both the private and the public sectors, serving as president and CEO for Barnett Bank in key areas before leading Riverside National Bank in parts of South Florida. First elected to the Florida House in 2000, Atwater’s rise in Tallahassee was impressive. In 2002, he defeated Democrat Bob Butterworth, well-known for his service as state attorney general, to win a seat in the Florida Senate. Read more

Six federal agencies must review Florida natural gas pipeline, Rubio says – Sen. Marco Rubio previewed a potential 2016 presidential run in his new book, American Dreams, by outlining several policy positions — including a push for energy independence and a distaste for industrial regulation. The Republican discussed in one chapter the future of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, praising the process known as hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for providing abundant oil and natural gas. But “government-created obstacles” such as overregulation of the energy sector make the United States its own worst enemy, Rubio wrote, and states such as Florida suffer for it. Read more

ICYMI: Gov. Rick Scott proposes record high education spending in Florida

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