Florida Five: Wasserman Schultz offers flipflop on marijuana, Meet Florida’s new legislative leaders

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Photo credit The Hay Ride.

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

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s backroom deal goes massively, horribly, terribly wrong  – Politics is dirty business and no one probably knows that better than Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz – especially after a failed backroom deal she tried to make was exposed on social media. Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan has been a donor, but also a critic of Wasserman Schultz in particular. Morgan, who has been instrumental in driving new medical marijuana policy in Florida, came short of having it pass a Florida constitutional amendment last year. Read more

Meet Florida’s new House speaker and Senate president— Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli are beginning their first legislative session as their chambers’ leaders with a unified front and much in common. Both are conservative Republicans with business backgrounds who list faith and family among their highest values. Gardiner is considered “old Orlando” — where his family has lived since World War I ended. Crisafulli’s family is old Florida, having ranched and farmed here for decades before air conditioning and mosquito control led to the state’s population boom. Read more

A pie in the sky idea for the Everglades? – The usual environmental advocacy groups have been beating the drums, trying to interest somebody, anybody in state government to exercise an expiring option to buy 46,000 acres of US Sugar land for almost $500 million. The enviro mantra justifying the land purchase is “Send the Water South.” Opponents of the purchase have argued that there is no plan to use the land that would work, and buying it would be a waste of money. Read more

Legislators delay awarding stadium renovation dollars to Jaguars, 3 others – A legislative joint committee never got around to deciding which of four sports venues, including Jacksonville’s EverBank Field, would receive state dollars to help pay for renovations. Lawmakers who don’t think the state should be subsidizing professional sports entities often owned by billionaires were able to block action Thursday. To avoid killing the plan entirely to allocate $7 million set aside in this year’s budget, the 14-member Legislative Budget Commission agreed to allow the full Legislature to take up the issue when session begins. Read more

Marco Rubio facing pressure to run for Senate re-election – There’s still a big decision looming for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Determined to protect their new Senate majority, Republican officials are lobbying Rubio heavily to seek re-election to Congress next year even though he says he’ll forgo that campaign if he makes an expected bid for the White House. Officials familiar with the effort say that recruiting Rubio to seek re-election is a top priority at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Read more

Just for fun:

Michael Jordan to build private golf course in Florida because of slow play

CubaKat plans Florida-to-Cuba ferry

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

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