Florida Five: Is Fla. flag a symbol of the Confederacy?, Fla. could decide 2016 presidential race

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

Historians differ on whether Florida flag echoes Confederate banner – To art majors it’s a saltire, a heraldic symbol. To theologians, it’s a St. Andrew’s Cross, named for the Christian apostle who was nailed upon it. To a lot of us, it’s just a big red X. But is that thing criss-crossing Florida’s state flag really a racist symbol of the old Confederacy? Some historians think so. Others say it’s a remnant of an even older period of history, when Florida was still under Spanish colonial rule. Read more

Related: CNN’s Cuomo asks if southern states should redesign Confederate-inspired state flags

Florida could decide 2016 presidential election – Predictions as to which Republican candidate will come away with the prize of the national party’s presidential nomination is an impossible task this early in the race. But there is no doubt that Florida will be a pivotal state in a hard-fought 2016 election, according to Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida political scientist. “There’s not another state in the country that will be this competitive,” she said. “It’s considered a bellwether, a microcosm.” Read more

4 South Florida mayors join growing support for Patrick Murphy’s Senate bid – Four South Florida mayors have added their names to the growing list of supporters for Congressman Patrick Murphy in his bid for U.S. Senate in 2016. In a joint statement on Wednesday, Plantation Mayor Diane Veltri Bendekovic, Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis, Palm Beach Gardens Mayor Eric Jablin, and Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein officially endorsed Murphy, who is seeking Marco Rubio’s Senate seat. Read more

Seminole Tribe starts clock on 30-day dispute resolution process over card games – Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman James E. Billie on Wednesday put Gov. Rick Scott on notice that the tribe believes it is entitled to stop paying the state about $216 million a year and to continue offering banked card games unless the state resolves the issue in formal dispute resolution within 30 days. Under the 2010 gaming compact with the state, the tribe has the exclusive right to operate banked card games — black jack, baccarat and chemin de fer — at five of its seven casinos. Read more

FWC approves bear hunt for October | Map, poll — Now Florida black bears will have to be “smarter than the average bear.” On Wednesday, at Day 1 of its two-day meeting in Sarasota, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a hunting season for black bears in Florida as part of its comprehensive bear management plan. The move was met with plenty of controversy as dozens of speakers addressed the seven-member governor-appointed commission in opposition of the proposal. Read more

ICYMI: BPR Buzzworthy with Joe Scarborough: ‘I’m just about as conservative today as I have always been’

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