The controversial process of drilling for oil and natural gas is pumping billions into government coffers, residents’ pockets and energy company bank accounts across the country, creating thousands of jobs, reducing reliance on foreign energy — and causing environmental concerns. And it could be headed to Florida very soon. Read more from the Fort Myers News-Press and see video below:
The obviously fraudulent applications filed by a vendor hired by the Republican Party of Florida have gained wide attention in a case that’s now being investigated by law enforcement. But it’s not blatant fraud like this that has elections experts worried about possible voting mayhem come November. Rather, it’s the re-registration of voters, where personal information such as someone’s party affiliation, signature or address could have been changed without the person’s knowledge. [Source: Times/Herald]
The state of Florida plans to ditch its iconic green and white license plate for a new tag that officials say will be easier to read and will save money by making it simpler to catch motorists who evade tolls. Pressed by Gov. Rick Scott to cut costs and free up more money for schools, the state highway safety agency is forging ahead with a redesigned plate, at a cost of $31 million, that will be easier for cameras and police officers to see. [Source: Times/Herald]
The 30,000 to 35,000 felons released from prison each year in Florida who have been convicted of felonies can’t vote. They can’t serve on a jury. They can’t run for office. They will encounter difficulties in obtaining state or federal licenses, security clearances, government contracts and gun permits. Clemency laywer Reggie Garcia helps convicted felons get their rights back. Full story...
A state-created fund that backs up private insurers in Florida could fall short of the money it needs to pay off hurricane insurance claims if a major storm were to pound the state. A new round of estimates drawn up for an advisory panel concludes that the state could fall $1.52 billion short of what's needed to cover its obligations for the fund. [Source: AP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Media General sells Tampa Tribune to investment group [Tampa Tribune]
The Tampa Tribune was purchased by a private equity investment group and will be operated by a newly created, locally based company called the Tampa Media Group.
» Related: Longtime Tampa Tribune meets its new and still untested owners
› Restaurant owner, others sue Sarasota County [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Siesta Key restaurateur Chris Brown has sued the county twice over his tax bill and won nearly $40,000 in settlements. Now he is suing Sarasota County government a third time for the same reason, and a majority of county commissioners agree that this one could cost at least a few hundred thousand dollars.
› Univision and ABC will build network in Miami [Miami Herald]
Univision and ABC will base their new English-language cable network in the Miami area, ending the possibility that the venture into Hispanic broadcasting might head for California, New York or Texas, people familiar with plans for the announcement confirmed Monday.
› Lockheed cuts 200 jobs in reorganization [Orlando Sentinel]
Lockheed Martin Corp. said Monday it plans to eliminate 200 jobs nationwide and reorganizing its electronic systems business into two separate operations. The company said it did not have information on how many of the job cuts would be in Orlando, where Lockheed employs about 6,900 people. About a third of the jobs affected are executive positions.
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› Broward Teachers Union reaches tentative agreement on breaks [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Broward public school teachers won't have to wait four hours to take a bathroom break under a tentative agreement reached with the school district. The agreement last week would allow teachers two 10-minute breaks, one of which must be taken during the instructional day.
› Florida's new child abuse reporting law among nation's toughest [Orlando Sentinel]
Florida's new child-abuse-reporting law, passed in the wake of the Penn State scandal, is being called the nation's toughest, and its penalties could have wide-ranging consequences for both universities and ordinary citizens.
› Tyrone Square Mall to celebrate 40 years in St. Petersburg [Tampa Bay Times]
Tyrone Square Mall opened in October 1972 as the next big thing. Shoppers marveled at the modern decor with mirrored lights, marble floors and walls decorated in chartreuse and purple. Imagine, a movie theater with six screens! Even the lieutenant governor at the time, Tom Adams, attended the ribbon cutting, proclaiming the mall a model of intelligent design and one of the reasons why "Florida is prospering like never before.''
› Florida the 'Wild West' for third-party PACs [Palm Beach Post]
Nancy Watkins’ accounting office on a leafy street in Tampa may be one of the scariest addresses in Florida — for Democrats. Inside, Watkins guides millions of dollars in fundraising and spending that flow through dozens of murky political committees backing Republican candidates and causes.