Florida Five: Carnival cleared to set sail to Cuba, Confederate flag raised after public outcry

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

Cuba tourismCarnival gets Cuban clearance for cruises from Miami, some observers say Jacksonville should be included – With Carnival Corp. and cruise lines receiving federal clearance to sail to Cuba beginning next year, some Jacksonville business leaders are wondering when the First Coast will do more to get in on the changes coming to the island nation. Starting in May, Carnival Corp. plans to offer trips from Miami to Cuba, the company announced Tuesday. Carnival says it would become the first American cruise company to visit Cuba since the 1960 trade embargo. Read more

Related: Carnival Cruise line announces travel to Cuba in 2015

Florida county removes Confederate flag, flies it again after public outcry— Marion County commissioners bowed to public outrage after taking down the Confederate flag and on Tuesday raised the flag once again outside the county’s government complex. Channel 9’s Myrt Price was inside Tuesday’s meeting and heard why people felt disrespected when county leaders took the flag down. Last week, interim County Administrator Bill Kauffman made the decision to remove it in response to the mass shooting that happened at a South Carolina church. Read more

Florida Chamber’s Report Card ranks state lawmakers on commitment to pro-jobs agenda – Grading state lawmakers on their performances during the regular and special legislative sessions is an annual tradition for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. On Tuesday, the chamber unveiled this year’s Legislative Report Card to show voters which lawmakers were committed to promoting a pro-jobs agenda in 2015. Due to a tumultuous regular legislative session, this year’s grades reflect fewer scored votes cast than previous years. Read more

Court to weigh allowing guns in university housing — A state appeals courts is set to hear arguments on whether guns should be allowed at University of Florida residence halls. The 1st District Court of Appeal next Tuesday is scheduled to take up a case filed by the group Florida Carry Inc., which says people have a legal right to possess firearms in their homes, including in university housing. An Alachua County circuit judge last year sided with the University of Florida in rejecting the group’s arguments in the case. Read more

Florida among top five states in fiscal health – Good news for Florida: a new study released Tuesday shows Florida is in the top five for the nation’s healthiest states financially. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University took a deep look at several factors impacting a state’s fiscal health and compiled its findings into a ranking system based on short- and long-term debt and other key fiscal obligations, including unfunded pensions and health care benefits. The ranking of all 50 states is based on their “fiscal solvency” in five separate categories. Read more

ICYMI: Surveillance video: FSU quarterback punches woman in the face at a bar, calls it self-defense


Remember that couple busted for having day sex on a busy beach? Wait til’ you hear the punishment . . .

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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