Florida Five: Golf legend receives Congressional Gold Medal, Florida up for grabs in 2016

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

Jack Nicklaus Congressional Gold Medal of Honor
Photo credit: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY Sports

Jack Nicklaus receives Congressional Gold Medal – Even for a man considered to be the greatest in his profession, Tuesday was a big day in the life of Jack Nicklaus. The leaders of the U.S. House and Senate presented Nicklaus with the Congressional Gold Medal to recognize his greatness as a golfer and his community service. Especially the millions of dollars he has helped raise for children’s health care and the work he has done with the military. “That is a wow,” Nicklaus said as he was presented the medal. He is the seventh athlete to receive the award and said he was “honestly humbled to be here”, accepting an award that has also gone to George Washington, Jonas Salk, Robert Frost, Winston Churchill and Walt Disney. Read more

Poll confirms Florida up for grabs in 2016 presidential contest – Florida’s standing as the state that could determine who is the next president was confirmed Tuesday by new polling that shows neck-and-neck races between Democrat Hillary Clinton and a range of potential Republican nominees. The numbers show Florida effectively is tied between Clinton and former Gov. Jeb Bush or U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio if they’re the Republican nominees. Public Policy Polling said Clinton would receive 47 percent and Bush 44 percent. In a Clinton-Rubio matchup, she’d get 48 percent and he’d get 46 percent in Florida. Read more

House unveils $690 million tax cut plan, further split with Senate – Florida House leaders unveiled a $690 million package in tax cuts on Tuesday that further highlights a schism with the Senate on Medicaid expansion. “We’re eager for the Florida senate to join us in our desire to cut taxes,” said the chairman of the House finance and taxation committee, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. About $15 million more than what Gov. Rick Scott proposed to cut in taxes in January, the House plan would … Read more

Florida Senate rebukes Obama’s new Cuba policy – In an emotional speech Tuesday, Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, asked her fellow senators to oppose President Obama’s recent decision to open up diplomatic relations with Cuba. All but one agreed. The measure, which also discourages the federal government from allowing a Cuban consulate in Florida, is largely symbolic. But it was important for the Cuban-American members of the state Senate, Flores said. “A lot of my friends and colleagues have asked why we care so deeply,” she said on the Senate Floor. Read more

Rick Scott, Cabinet reject Confederates for veterans hall of fame – Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet rejected nominations of three Confederate soldiers for the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame Tuesday after being told they weren’t eligible because they didn’t serve in the U.S. military. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans argued they should be included because they honorably served the state and became prominent citizens after the Civil War. But the state NAACP opposed their nomination. Read more

BONUS: South Miami wants to investigate possibility of splitting Florida in two

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