Florida Five: Judge orders Obama response to Fla. request, Budget talks collapse after political brawl

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

Rick Scott and ObamaFederal judge tells Obama administration it must respond to Fla’s request for mediation by noon, Tuesday – A federal court in Pensacola is ordering the Obama administration to respond to Florida’s request to have its dispute with the federal government over the continuation of Low Income Pool dollars mediated. In a brief one-page order Chief Judge M. Casey Rodgers said before ruling on Florida’s request for mediation the federal government needed to file an expedited response to the request by Tuesday, June 9. Read more

State budget talks collapse after political brawl — State budget talks abruptly crashed Monday as angry senators accused House members of breaking an agreement to cut the money that Gov. Rick Scott uses to lure jobs to Florida. But by nightfall, a key senator called it a misunderstanding and said the Senate would compromise with the House to get negotiations back on track in the second week of a three-week special session. At the center of the fight was Scott, chairman of Enterprise Florida, the public-private agency that he uses to attract jobs through grants and tax incentives. Read more

Senator blasts “hypocritical” House over rejecting Medicare money while getting set to borrow – Even as a flare-up in negotiations on economic-development spending demonstrated simmering tensions between the House and Senate, lawmakers continued Monday to try to come to agreement in two areas that helped spark an ongoing special session: funding for health care and environmental projects. Disagreements in those areas led Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, to label the House as “hypocritical” for rejecting federal Medicaid expansion funding while being willing to issue bonds to pay for environmental projects. Read more

UF Health Jacksonville and other Florida hospitals still not sure how $400 million boost in state funding will be distributed – The Florida Legislature will spend $400 million in state general revenue to bolster hospital spending, but there is still no final agreement on how that money will be divided. Coupled with federal funding, hospitals stand to receive an extra $1 billion through the state’s existing Medicaid program to offset the federal government’s cuts to the Low Income Pool program. But without a clear understanding of how that money will be divided, hundreds of Florida hospitals are still anxious about whether it will hurt their bottom lines. Read more

Sen. Brandes wants to study whether Uber cuts DUIs — The Legislature may spend $10,000 on a study showing how Uber and other hired-car services are helping reduce drunk-driving accidents and arrests in Florida. The study appeared in “proviso language” Monday night as lawmakers continue their work on a 2015-16 state budget. More importantly, the language would prohibit local regulation of ride-booking services while the study is being done. Read more

Fish tale: Bonita Springs man catches possible world record fish

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