Florida Five: It’s over – Negron Senate president, Latvala steps aside, Special session implodes

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

Joe Negron Jack Latvala
Sen. Joe Negron & Sen. Jack Latvala

It’s official: Joe Negron’s the next president of the Florida Senate – On Thursday, as the special session in Tallahassee continued to draw up new state Senate lines, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, announced that he would be the next Senate president as Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, ended his bid to lead the chamber. Bowing to reality, Latvala asked his supporters to fall behind Negron who will take over from current Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, after next year’s general election. Read more

Jack Latvala accepts budget chairmanship in return for ending quest for Florida Senate presidency – After creating fierce coalition that appears to have effectively blocked a redrawn redistricting map in the Senate, Sen. Jack Latvala conceded Thursday that he would no longer be pursuing the Senate presidency but will become the powerful chairman of the Appropriations Committee under Sen. Joe Negron. The deal put an end to a fierce two-year battle between the two that has led to personal infighting and what some senators have complained has been among the most disruptive periods in recent Senate history. Read more

Florida Senate votes down compromise map; special session ends with no result – After three weeks and mounds of draft maps, Florida legislators ended another special session on redistricting Thursday without a resolution, leaving 40 Senate districts in limbo for the 2016 election and renewing calls for an independent commission to handle the drawing of political boundaries. “We’re in a new era,” said House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, after the Senate rejected the House map on a 23-16 vote. Read more

Florida pro-life group presses Gov. Rick Scott to defund Planned Parenthood – A Florida pro-life group is urging Gov. Rick Scott (R) to live up to his own pro-life credentials by eliminating Planned Parenthood federal funding in the state and redirecting those funds to qualified health centers. The Florida Family Policy Council has launched an all-out campaign, pointing to what they see as Scott’s “excuses” for refusing to terminate Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract with the state. Read more

Jeff Atwater is still not running for US Senate – After it became clear Marco Rubio wasn’t running for re-election, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater immediately became the odds-on favorite Republican to run for the to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat. Everything changed, though, after the CFO stunned the Florida political world in April when he said he wouldn’t run for the office. Read more

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

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