As Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Will Weatherford sat shoulder-to-shoulder at a recent legislative prayer breakfast, the governor may have had a special reason to look to the heavens. With two weeks left in the 2013 session, Scott’s legislative priorities are in serious disarray. He hasn’t asked for much, and lawmakers aren’t placating him. [Source: Times/Herald]
» Will it be Senator Bill Nelson vs. Governor Rick Scott in 2014?
» Future of Medicaid expansion in hands of key GOP House members
» Legislature, Scott square off on merit pay raises for teachers
» Local merchants hope Legislature delivers online sales tax plan
» Legislators to haggle over Visit Florida money
» Scott roams state to announce new jobs
As businesses in the downtown Jacksonville area prepared for the One Spark festival, one thought on some minds was how they’d deal with any of the sort of problems that might arise when a large group of people descended on the area. Particularly in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, experts say, the type of planning that goes into getting ready for a major event should pave the way for businesses preparing for any disruption, from a natural disaster to a man-made crises. [Source: Florida Times-Union]
The state of Florida filed a lawsuit Saturday against oil company BP and cement contractor Halliburton over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, becoming the fourth state to seek damages for the 2010 disaster. [Source: AP]
Cars these days get far better gas mileage than the behemoths of Detroit’s Golden Age. Mid-size sedans today go farther on a gallon than even “economy” cars of just a few years. While that might be good for drivers’ pocketbooks and the environment, it comes with a significant drawback: Less money for highways, bridges and other transportation projects. [Source: Florida Today]
Furs, guns, jewelry, a whole lot of boats and fancy cars, a hotel, an army tank, a ranch in Wyoming, a herd of cattle in Venezuela, a tray of lasagna, two Yorkie dogs and a lifetime supply of live bait. All offered as payment to South Florida lawyers by clients who ran out of cash. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› One sign the Tampa Bay economy is cooking [Tampa Bay Times]
Unemployment is down and the Dow is bouncing back, too. But want another indication that the economic picture is getting sunnier? New restaurants are popping up all over the Tampa Bay area.
› Uninsured health care workers push for medicaid expansion [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
It's an expensive irony: Health care workers who can't afford health insurance, but in Florida that is the plight of some full-time employees of local nursing homes and other smaller or independent health-industry players.
› Retired lettuce breeder, 98, keeps on working to develop better varieties [Palm Beach Post]
Victor Guzman officially retired in 1988, but still works most days without any pay from UF because there’s nothing else he’d rather do. Since his wife Ruth passed away about 10 years ago, he spends even more time on his projects, whether he’s in the field, the greenhouse or working in his yard, which some describe as a lush tropical paradise.
› Florida Democrats are short on statewide candidates [Orlando Sentinel]
Florida's largest political party has a problem. Although registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in Florida by 500,000, and President Barack Obama has carried the Sunshine State in the past two presidential elections, the party has no obvious candidates to run for statewide office next year.
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› UF looks at ways to use grant money [Gainesville Sun]
Three months after the Florida Board of Governors announced the winners of a one-time competition for information technology programs, the four universities that won are still waiting for the money, even as they count the ways to spend it.
› Big tax breaks for banks and insurance companies could be wiped out [Orlando Sentinel]
Taking on two of Tallahassee's most influential interest groups, the Florida Senate is advancing plans this spring to eliminate a pair of decades-old tax breaks for banks and insurance companies.
› Stolen bikes disappear into an underground market [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
In Florida, 20,508 bikes were stolen in 2011, with nearly 3,000 taken in Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But where do they go?
› Will latest theme park IPO spur Tampa's Busch Gardens to news heights? [Tampa Bay Times]
They can make for a fun day. But is there a big financial future in theme parks, specifically those bearing the Busch Gardens and SeaWorld brands? Investors are about to find out.