Editorial: U.S. House should end sweet deal for Big Sugar

[UPDATE: Big Sugar wins again. A push to reform the sugar program was defeated in the House.] From The Tampa Bay Times: “Longstanding U.S. sugar policy pummels consumers and taxpayers in three ways: We subsidize growers, pay higher food prices and then pay even more for environmental damage sugar production causes in South Florida. The only winners are Big Sugar and the politicians who rake in its campaign cash.” To see who voted how … Click here to read more

Must-read: ‘Only in Florida: Battle over water, free speech pits billionaire vs. activist’

From The Tampa Bay Times: “This is a story about free speech, government secrecy and a fight over tens of millions in taxpayer funds. The players include a billionaire who once had a hit man kill his horse, two politicians charged with breaking the Sunshine Law and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno’s sister … Click here to read more

Richest person in Florida goes after Bitcoin

From The Tampa Bay Times: “Thomas Peterffy, listed by Forbes as the world’s richest billionaires living in Florida, took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday to go after Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Peterffy, who made his fortune in the discount brokerage business, is atop the annual Forbes list of the world’s richest billionaires who declare they are residents of Florida … Click here to read more

Negron (R-Stuart) claims victory in Florida Senate power play, but Latvala won’t concede

“The drama in Florida’s Capitol intensified Wednesday as Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart declared victory in his marathon battle with Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater to become Senate president next year,” according to The Tampa Bay Times. “Negron released the names of 14 of 26 Republican senators, including himself, … Click here to read more

Two months late, Florida lawmakers approve state budget, ‘turned their back on the public…

From The Tampa Bay Times: “Environmentalists wanted the state to buy land owned by U.S. Sugar south of Lake Okeechobee to store and refresh water that flows to the Everglades, and they are likely to sue the Legislature as soon as next week. ‘They’ve turned their back on the public … Click here to read more

Everglades Trust targets lawmakers on use of Amendment 1 dollars

“The Everglades Trust is hitting some lawmakers’ districts with mailings saying they’re in the sugar industry’s pockets,” according to The Tampa Bay Times. “The mailing campaign will target constituents of lawmakers whose districts are affected by pollution of the Everglades … Click here to read more

‘The damn thing is grinding down’: Cooling tubes at FPL St. Lucie nuke plant show significant wear

“Yet another Florida nuclear plant may be in trouble,” reports The Tampa Bay Times. And it’s Martin County’s closest neighbor. “‘The damn thing is grinding down,'” said Daniel Hirsch…”‘They must be terrified internally. … Click here to read more

State Representative MaryLynn Magar (R-82) said she is recovering from mild stroke

State Representative MaryLynn Magar represents the 82nd District, which includes most of Martin County. She was successfully treated at a hospital in Tallahassee, released on Saturday and has returned to the district where she will receive physical therapy over the next several weeks. … Click here to read more

Guns and Florida: a brief history

The killings of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school last month have led to a renewed debate over access to guns all over America. In the halls of Florida’s Capitol in Tallahassee, gun rights are a perennial political issue, with predictable results … Click here to read more

DEP tells employee to ignore rules: millions of $$$, environmental damage at stake

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Florida’s top state wetlands expert has been suspended after she refused to issue a permit on a controversial project — one that she said her boss was willing to bend the rules to approve. … Click here to read more

Sen Negron (R-Stuart) pushes public comment bill: Floridians deserve right to speak at meetings

Tampa Bay Times’ columnist Steve Bosquet details State Senator Joe Negron’s (R-Stuart), push for a bill to require governments to give people a “reasonable opportunity” to speak on an issue…”We need more public participation, not less,” Negron says. … Click here to read more