Florida Five: Lobbyists rake in $30 million, Senate committee approves campus gun bill

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

Firms collect nearly $30 million in legislative lobbying fees during final quarter of 2014 – Representing virtually every industry sector in Florida, registered legislative lobbying firms reported earning nearly $30 million during the final quarter of 2014. Led by four firms collecting $1 million or more in fees — Ballard Partners ($1,825,000), Southern Strategy Group ($1,580,000), Ronald Book PA ($1,320,000) and Capital City Consulting ($1,070,000) — 32 lobbying firms brought in a combined $29,675,000 during October-December of last year. Read more

5 Florida political operatives GOP presidential candidates should hire — now – The 2016 Republican presidential field will have little problem finding veteran hands in Florida. Everybody knows Brett Doster, Randy Enwright, David Johnson, Marc Reichenfelder etc. will end up gainfully employed this cycle. The last few GOP bumper crops — including 2010 and 2014 — though, have produced talented operatives, some perhaps off the radar of the POLITICO crowd, that national campaigns would be smart to put on staff. Here are five Florida political operatives the GOP presidential candidates should hire — now: Read more

Florida Senate panel approves “guns on campus” bill opposed by universities – College students oppose it. So do university faculty members, their presidents and campus police chiefs. But that hasn’t stopped Florida’s Republican-led Legislature from keeping alive a controversial bill that would allow people with concealed weapons permits to bring their guns on the campuses of 12 state universities. Senate Bill 176 was approved along party lines on Monday by the Criminal Justice Committee. The House version, HB 4005, passed its first committee last month in the same fashion.  Read more

Record number of 97 million tourists visited Florida – A record number of tourists flocked to Florida last year as the nation’s economy continued its recovery after the Great Recession. Gov. Rick Scott was to announce Monday during a visit to Tampa International Airport that more than 97 million visited the state last year according to estimates prepared by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing arm. That’s the fourth year in a row that the state has had a record number of tourists come to the state. Most of the visitors were from the United States, but millions also came from overseas and from Canada. Read more

Critics don’t budge Jeb Bush from backing school testing – Jeb Bush has pledged to campaign “joyfully” if he runs for president in 2016, proud of all aspects of his record. That joy will be seriously tested when it comes to his support of Common Core, a national education standard designed to boost student achievement but seen as a symbol of big government by the Republican Party’s conservative base. The former Florida governor has steadfastly embraced Common Core as he considers whether to enter the race, despite increasing criticism from potential rivals and demands that he reconsider his support for the program. Just saying the name Common Core generates animosity among some GOP primary voters. Read more Ithaca tourism site

How cold is it? Ithaca, New York, tourism site: Don’t come here, go to Florida

 

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