Long lines on Election Day in Florida and elsewhere are spurring new support for federal legislation aimed at cutting wait times. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said Tuesday he is joining fellow Democrat Barbara Boxer of California as lead sponsors of a bill that would establish new standards for Election Day. President Barack Obama also called for a bipartisan commission "to improve the voting experience." [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Senator Marco Rubio
Republicans responded to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address with fresh appeals to voters on the economy and promises to rein in federal spending with a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in the Republican address that Obama should "abandon his obsession with raising taxes." More from the AP and Reuters.
Beyond the hoopla of Feb. 14 flower power, the retail floral business is struggling — crowded out by mass market retailers who undercut traditional prices by selling volume. At the same time, the business has been crimped because many loyal customers have had to find ways to stretch their paychecks or retirement incomes. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
For the third time, homeowners whose healthy citrus trees were taken during the state’s controversial and failed battle with citrus canker have won their court fight. The $1.6 billion eradication program ended in 2006 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared citrus canker endemic to Florida. [Source: Palm Beach Post]
Statewide, there is one attorney for every 299 residents.
Read more vital legal statistics here and see also:
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Enterprise Florida tries to fight off incentive critics [Orlando Sentinel]
Florida's public-private job development agency is struggling to fend off pressure from the public, lawmakers and advocacy groups questioning why Gov. Rick Scott should get more tax money spent for corporate breaks.
› Lottery sets scratch-off record for a week [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
That's a lotta scratch: The Florida Lottery announced Tuesday that it set a record for scratch-off sales for the week ending Saturday. Sales exceeded $63 million, the best in the lottery's 25-year history.
› UCF medical school earns accreditation [Orlando Sentinel]
UCF's College of Medicine has received full accreditation from the agency that accredits medical schools nationally. UCF President John Hitt and Dean Deborah German, standing in front of a small group of students who were wearing white coats, praised the medical school's staff and supporters for their hard work helping the fledgling program achieve its goal. Read more from UCF.
› Burger 21 chef to compete at Rachael Ray's Burger Bash [Tampa Bay Times]
Tampa Bay's Burger 21 will be on one of the hottest tickets at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami Beach this year. Front Burner Brands corporate chef Shane Schaibly has been invited to compete in Rachael Ray's Burger Bash for the already sold out Feb. 22 event, going head to head with 40 burger titans from around the country.
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› Disney Cruise Lines confirms two Port Canaveral ships for 2014 [Florida Today]
Disney Cruise Line’s newly released schedule for 2014 confirms that its two largest ships, the Dream and the Fantasy, will be based at Port Canaveral for all of that year, according to Rebecca Peddie, Disney Cruise Line’s manager of public affairs.
› Jacksonville could be home to new Navy drone operators [Florida Times-Union]
The Navy has plans to build one of two command centers for its newest surveillance drones at Jacksonville Naval Air Station — if Congress provides the money.
› Tiger Woods to play in Honda Classic and Doral [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
He had been so silent for so long, but suddenly, on Tuesday, Tiger Woods made South Florida golf fans very, very happy.
› St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport rolls out new brand [Tampa Bay Times]
St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport has a new brand that's as easy as PIE. PIE is the airport's three-letter designation, and the centerpiece of the new name, logo and slogan that was unveiled on Tuesday: St. Pete-Clearwater International (PIE).