Florida Five: Medicaid proposal given ‘snowball’s chance,’ Scott back with ‘Let’s Get to Work’

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

Medicaid proposal has a “snowball’s chance,” but the Senate will try anyway – A state Senate panel on Tuesday approved a sweeping proposal that would allow Florida to use billions of federal dollars to expand healthcare coverage to about 800,000 low-income residents — if it’s able to overcome two big hurdles. The bill (SPB 7044) won the unanimous support of the Senate Health Policy Committee and applause from the audience when it passed. “It’s a watershed day in the Florida Senate and, hopefully, in the Florida Legislature,” said Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa. Read more

Tallahassee abuzz about sweet plan – Tallahassee, says the time has come for Florida to designate its very own state honey. You’ll never bee-lieve the bill Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, is proposing. The time has come, the senator says, for Florida to designate its very own state honey. Set to receive the dubious distinction, assuming the rest of the Legislature agrees, is a variety of honey called tupelo, the production of which requires a tree unique to the northern part of this state and southern Georgia and Alabama. It’s also central to the plot of the 1997 Peter Fonda flick “Ulee’s Gold” and a Van Morrison song. Read more

RickScott-300x192Scott back on TV with ‘Let’s Get to Work’ message – Just two months into his final term as governor, Rick Scott is campaigning on television again with a new commercial touting his accomplishments and legislative plans. His Let’s Get to Work PAC, which largely supported both of his gubernatorial campaigns, is running TV commercials in at least four markets, including Orlando, featuring Scott talking about spending money for ports, education and the environment and cutting taxes. Brecht Heuchan, a spokesman for the PAC, said the governor wants to reaffirm his priorities for both Florida residents and lawmakers. “He is laser-focused on this session and his vision,” he said. Read more

This isn’t ‘Monopoly’! Government should take care of land they have before grabbing ours – When financial windfalls become available to the Florida Legislature, money vultures start salivating. Special interests move quickly to steer the cash to boost their agendas or wallets — fiscal responsibility be damned. Too many political operators are so anxious to get their hands on the dollars, they don’t think straight, ignoring any consequences that may come with their ill-conceived designs. This time, it’s those who insist Florida ought to use Amendment One money to buy up huge tracts of land who are threatening the state’s financial future. Read more

School gun bill gets first House committee hearing Wednesday – A House panel will take up a controversial bill that could allow selected employees and volunteers to carry guns at public schools. HB 19 gets its first hearing with the K-12 Subcommittee on Wednesday. Supporters of the bill, filed by Sarasota Republican Rep. Greg Steube, say it improves school safety. If passed, the measure would allow school superintendents, after county school board approval, to authorize a “school safety designee” who will be permitted to carry a concealed weapon on school property. Read more

Only in Florida: Florida thieves steal $85,000 in mozzarella cheese

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