Florida Five: GOP rep vows to fight EPA overreach, Va. shooting suspect had Fla. ties

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

EPA headquartersGus Bilirakis to energy conference: I’ll fight “tooth and nail” against EPA overreach – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis addressed a group of energy industry executives and representatives Wednesday in Tampa. 2015 Gulf Coast Energy Forum attendees spent the better part of the morning and afternoon railing against the Obama administration’s EPA and its new proposed regulations to rein in coal-fired power plants before the fifth-term Republican congressman arrived to give the closing remarks. Read more

Tallahassee ties of suspected shooter in Va. – The man suspected of shooting and killing two journalists in Virginia Wednesday morning has close ties to the Florida capital city. For a year in 1999 and 2000, Vester Flanagan worked as a reporter, anchor and producer for WTWC, an NBC affiliate in Tallahassee. While working in Florida, he made allegations of racial discrimination in the workplace, not dissimilar from those he accused victim Alison Parker of. Read more

Negron claims victory in Florida Senate power play but Latvala won’t concede— The drama in Florida’s Capitol intensified Wednesday as Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart declared victory in his marathon battle with Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater to become Senate president next year. Latvala scoffed at the claim and said the fight is far from settled. Negron released the names of 14 of 26 Republican senators, including himself, to comprise a majority that would secure the powerful two-year post, and Senate President Andy Gardiner scheduled a caucus vote in early December to seal Negron’s long climb to power. Read more

Bob Smith, who ran for Senate twice in Florida, behind Ted Cruz for president – Florida might have its share of Republican presidential candidates but one former presidential candidate who ran twice in the Sunshine State is behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., who ran twice for the U.S. Senate in Florida, was named as a co-chair of Cruz’s veterans outreach team on Wednesday. Smith joins U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., and Texas state Sen. Brian Birdwell as co-chairs of “Vets for Ted” while Bill Connor will be national director. Read more

Obamacare rates to rise for some Floridians – Premiums for most health insurance policies sold on the federal exchange are increasing for Floridians this year, but state regulators used new authority to negotiate lower rates so the hikes aren’t as big as they could have been, according to filings released Wednesday by the Office of Insurance Regulation. Read more

Be prepared: Tropical Storm Erika’s winds increase to 50 mph

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

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