Florida Five: Judge dismisses $6.3 million in traffic tickets, Environmentalists pan Amendment 1 plan

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

Traffic light cameraBroward judges toss 24,000 red-light camera tickets totaling millions – Two Broward County traffic judges dismissed 24,000 pending red-light camera ticket cases Monday, ruling that the program violates Florida law. Fines from those citations, which came from nearly every city in the county, would have amounted to more than $6.3 million, with each ticket at $264. “We made the argument that the program was an improper delegation of police power because the videos were being sent out of state for employees of American Traffic Solutions to do the screening,” said Ted Hollander, an attorney with Ticket Clinic. Read more

House Amendment 1 plan long on land management, short on parks, trails – Amendment 1 supporters got the first real indication on Tuesday of how lawmakers would interpret the new constitutional requirement to buy and improve conservation land. And the reviews aren’t good. “The House has gone in a very different direction from what the voters intended when they voted yes on Amendment 1,” said Will Abberger, chair of the Amendment 1 sponsor committee. “There is little to no funding for the purchase of new parks, wildlife habitat, or trails. That’s what people voted for.” Read more

Florida’s unemployment rate remained flat in January – Florida’s unemployment rate is staying flat. New numbers released Tuesday show that the state’s unemployment rate for January was 5.7 percent. That’s unchanged from revised figures for December. The state’s unemployment rate is now slightly higher than the national unemployment rate. Florida added an estimated 13,900 jobs in December. The new figures show there are roughly 551,000 people out of work in the state. Read more

Students for Concealed Carry remind Fla. Senate: ‘We aren’t wards of the university, we’re US citizens’ – Second Amendment supporters have scored a victory in the Sunshine State, notwithstanding opposition from Democrats and anti-gun academics on the university system’s Board of Governors. On Monday, the Florida Senate’s Committee on Higher Education approved a proposal to authorize concealed carry on the state’s college campuses. Read more

John Thrasher inaugurated as FSU president – It was fitting that Florida State University President John Thrasher’s inauguration coincided with the school’s annual day at the Capitol. Thrasher abandoned his career as one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers to take the helm at his alma mater in November. Still, friends from the political world came out en masse to celebrate with him Tuesday, including Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Andy Gardiner and about a dozen other current and former elected officials. Read more

Big mistake! Video: Fla. teacher suspended for calling Muslim student ‘rag-head Taliban’

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