Florida Five: Rubio reels in serious donors, Fla. Senate prez holds up governor’s appointments

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

Marco Rubio with crowd
Photo credit: OpenSecrets.org. Sen. Marco Rubio last week at a Manchester, N.H. house party. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Rubio’s money operation reels in serious donors – The nascent presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio has its hurdles — not the least of which is trying to emerge from the shadow of a more senior fellow Floridian and White House hopeful. But the latest Federal Election Commission filings show that some big donors seem to want him in the game. Last week, the report of the Rubio Victory Fund, a committee that raises money for both his Senate campaign committee and his leadership PAC, showcased donations from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, who combined to be the biggest campaign donors of the 2012 cycle. Read more

Also read: Poll: Rubio leads the GOP field, fares best against Hillary in 2016

Florida Senate president reiterates he won’t confirm governor’s agency heads – Senate President Andy Gardiner says he has no plans to confirm a dozen of Gov. Rick Scott’s agency heads before the May  1 end of the regular legislative session. The Orlando Republican said two weeks ago he wouldn’t play political games with Scott’s agency heads, and he reiterated Thursday that he isn’t. If they aren’t confirmed, Scott can reappoint them within 45 days. If they’re not confirmed in the 2016 session, they’ll lose their jobs. Read more

House offers $200 million to Senate to get budget negotiations rolling – With just one week left in the Legislative Session the House on Thursday offered to spend $200 million in general revenue to help fund hospitals in the absence of the federal Low Income Pool. “It is a proposal that is on their desk right now,” House Speaker Steve Crisafulli told reporters announcing the proposal.  Read more

Florida House, Senate far from compromise on Uber regulation — Uber and Lyft drivers will have to buy special insurance under legislation passed Thursday by the Florida Senate and poised for a vote today by the House.Lawmakers in both chambers want to create a new kind of liability insurance for ride-sharing companies, which use smartphones to connect drivers with people who need a ride. Under the proposals, drivers would need to secure up to $1 million in coverage. That’s where the bills’ similarities stop. Read more

Major Florida school district ends almost all year-end testing – The nation’s fourth largest school district in south Florida announced on Thursday it is eliminating most end-of-course exams, including all those for elementary students, the latest blow to much-maligned standardized testing in the state. The superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Alberto Carvalho, made the announcement on Facebook saying: “We have taken a responsible and logical approach to assessing students, in order to restore valuable teaching and learning time.” Read more

Seriously? Culinary students at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee take the art of Beer Science seriously

ICYMI: ‘Total disgrace!’ Fla. town in uproar after drunken frat brothers harass wounded warriors in spring break outrage

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