Florida Five: Legislature giddy over budget surplus, 14 GOP governors oppose Iran deal

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

money bags1Legislature anticipates $635 million budget surplus in 2016 – The Florida Legislature is anticipating a $635 million budget surplus in 2016, money that some state lawmakers are already hinting will go towards more tax cuts and education funding, among other things. The budget projection comes just a week before legislators return to Tallahassee to begin early work in preparation for the next regular legislative session in January. Read more

GOP governors – including Rick Scott – oppose Iran deal – Gov. Rick Scott joined 14 Republican governors in a letter to President Obama opposing the nuclear pact with Iran. The letter focuses concern about how it would affect pension divestment policies and contracting restrictions. “Paragraph 25 of the Iran nuclear agreement provides that the federal government will “actively encourage” states to lift state-level sanctions such as the divestment and contracting restriction laws,” the letter states. Read more

Steve Crisafulli won’t agree to another redistricting Special Session – House Speaker Steve Crisafulli says his chamber won’t back down from their version of a redrawn congressional map and thus won’t agree to convene in another Special Session. In a memo to members on Tuesday, Crisafulli – a Merritt Island Republican – did say he’d be OK with the Florida Senate coming back and approving the House map. Read more

Florida taxi companies gearing up for statewide fight against Uber, Lyft – Taxi companies in Tallahassee and Broward County are suing the state over app-based transportation services, alleging that Florida officials aren’t requiring Uber and Lyft to prove that the way they calculate trip distances – and charges – is accurate. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services certifies taxi drivers’ meters – which measure distances, and, consequently, charges – but doesn’t do anything to ensure that the GPS-based systems on Uber and Lyft drivers’ cell phones, also used to calculate charges, are correct, according to the lawsuit. Read more

Senate bill fills gap in Florida food stamp law — Representing St. Johns County in the Florida Senate, Republican Travis Hutson is pushing a bill which will continue the fight against food stamp fraud and better clarify rules that are already in place. Hutson says it’s not the people who need the program who are being targeted. Instead it’s those who are abusing the system, by using the benefits of food stamps to trade or buy unapproved items like drugs, alcohol, firearms and ammunition – in what he and the state call “trafficking.” Read more

ICYMI: Civilians jump in to rescue deputy under attack: ‘That boy would have killed him’

Hide your smart phone! Florida attorneys cleared to send text-message solicitations

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