Florida Five: Welfare drug test appeal dropped, Court hears one more challenge to district maps

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

Scott drug testScott drops fight to drug-test welfare applicants — Florida Gov. Rick Scott has dropped further appeals aimed at reviving a law that would require welfare benefits applicants to submit to mandatory drug testing. Scott’s administration did not seek U.S. Supreme Court review by a Tuesday deadline. American Civil Liberties Union of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon says it means lower court rulings that the law is unconstitutional will stand. U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven originally declared the 2011 law an unconstitutional search and seizure, a ruling upheld by a federal appeals court in December. Read more

Court hears one more challenge to Florida’s congressional district maps – Florida’s congressional redistricting maps should be rejected because they are the product of a shadowy process infiltrated by Republican political operatives in violation of the law against partisan gerrymandering, lawyers argued before the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday. The plaintiffs in the case, a coalition of voters and the League of Women Voters, want the court to adopt an alternative map because, they said, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis erred when he ruled that the entire map had been infiltrated by operatives but then asked lawmaker to redraw only two of the districts. Read more

Cruise line accused of making fake political robocalls – A cruise line, with the help of several other companies, made billions of illegal telephone sales calls that masqueraded as political polls, according to government lawyers. The Federal Trade Commission and 10 state attorneys general say Florida-based Caribbean Cruise Lines (not to be confused with Royal Caribbean) violated the terms of the federal Do Not Call list. The proposed settlement of the FTC complaint would require Caribbean to pay at least $500,000 in civil penalties. The companies that helped Caribbean would have to pay lesser amounts. Read more

Gov. Scott to Obama: Keep federal LIP funds flowing – Gov. Rick Scott wants federal dollars for a Medicaid program, just not the federal funds for the Medicaid expansion envisioned by the Affordable Care Act. He penned a letter Wednesday to President Obama asking the agency in charge of Medicaid to extend funding for the Low Income Pool program, which pays for medical care of low-income and uninsured patients. The program is expected to draw $1.3 billion in federal funds to Florida next year, but federal officials have said they won’t extend it “in its current form.” Read more

Hispanic group wants both parties to hire bilingual flacks – The following letter went out to both major party chairs. We’ll post a response from the party’s if they give one: United Hispanics/Latinos of Florida, President: Allison Tant, The Florida Democratic Party, President: Blaise Ingoglia, The Republican Party of Florida, Dear Republican and Democratic parties of Florida … Read more

In remembrance: Honoring the vow to never forget Sen. Jim King

ICYMI: Bibi rocked her world: Far-left Dem boycotts speech, writes rave review

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