Florida Five: Lawmaker accused of punching college student, Greyhound bill first to pass

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

Frank Artiles
Rep. Frank Artiles

College student says Miami lawmaker punched him – A college student spending Spring Break in Tallahassee didn’t expect to get punched in the face by a Miami lawmaker. But that’s what happened sometime between late Monday night and early Tuesday morning, hours before the start of the annual legislative session, according to the student. Peter Alberti, a Connecticut native who studies in Charleston, said state Rep. Frank Artiles decked him at Clyde’s and Costello’s, a downtown Tallahassee bar steps from the Florida Capitol. Read more

Rick Scott boasts ‘Florida Exceptionalism’ in State of the State address – Gov. Rick Scott artfully wrapped his approach to government in a cherished American value when he delivered the annual State of the State speech to open the 2015 legislative session. “I believe we are the best place in the country and the world to make dreams come true,” said Scott. “I call this Florida Exceptionalism.” Scott’s journey from public housing to the Governor’s Mansion is an exceptional story and it follows that he would embrace Alexi de Tocqueville’s idea that America is different; a nation built upon the ideas of freedom, equality and private enterprise. Read more

Greyhound bill first out the gate in Senate – A bill to protect racing greyhounds became the first bill to pass the Florida Senate during this year’s legislative session on Tuesday. The bill, titled the “Victoria Q. Gaetz 22 Racing Greyhound Protection Act” would require racetrack owners to report greyhound injuries to the state via a signed form within seven days of when the injury occurs. The form would be required to be completed and signed under oath. The bill was named in honor of former Senate President Don Gaetz’s wife. Gaetz co-sponsored the bill, which was filed by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood. Read more

The Petraeus scandal: Where are they now? – David Petraeus will plead guilty to providing his mistress and biographer with classified information, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Though largely overshadowed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s congressional address, Petraeus’s plea agreement—no jail time, two-year’s probation, and a $40,000 fine—is the culmination of one of the biggest political scandals of the past decade. Read more

Lawmakers move to ramp up Florida’s response to human trafficking — Targeting what one senator described as a “sick but profitable criminal enterprise,” lawmakers have started moving to ramp up Florida’s response to human trafficking. One proposal (HB 465/SB 1108) would increase penalties for “soliciting, inducing, enticing or procuring another to commit prostitution.” Another (HB 457/SB 698) would dedicate funding from a “Safe and Free Florida” specialty license tag to victim services. Read more

Tampa municipal election results: Buckhorn, council members win; Toledo, Maniscalco in runoff

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