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Palm Beach County worried about proposed hike in homestead exemption

Legislation that could lead to the expansion of Florida’s homestead exemption could blow a $29 million hole in Palm Beach County’s budget, county officials warn. The Florida House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on a joint resolution (HJR 7105) that would have voters decide if they want to increase the homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000 for a home worth $100,000...
Trump expected to order study of federal role in education

Trump expected to order study of federal role in education

 President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today that would require Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study how the federal government "has unlawfully overstepped state and local control," according to a White House official.   Trump has repeatedly pledged to downsize the Education Department and its role in U.S. schools and colleges. The order he plans...
Trump changes course on childcare benefit after criticism he would mainly help well-off families

Trump changes course on childcare benefit after criticism he would mainly help well-off families

 The White House is pursuing a new approach to providing relief for families burdened by childcare costs after receiving criticism that a campaign proposal would have done little to help working-class families while providing disproportionate benefits to well-off parents.   President Donald Trump's administration is now looking to bolster the Child and Dependent Care Credit, which allows...
White House scurries as 100-day mark nears

White House scurries as 100-day mark nears

The final frenzy at the White House began Monday, with a private reception for conservative news publications, a tariff on softwood lumber imports from Canada and the late-night debut of a website highlighting President Donald Trump's "First 100 Days" achievements.   It continued Tuesday in the form of an executive order designed to help farmers and ranchers, an assurance that...
PBC commissioners blast workforce housing program’s poor performance

PBC commissioners blast workforce housing program’s poor performance

Palm Beach County commissioners blasted a county program designed to provide housing to middle income workers in the county, saying it has not provided enough assistance while costs continue to rise. No single family houses have been built in the workforce housing program’s 11 years of existence, and only 754 multi-family units have been constructed during that time. Those numbers...
Sale of liquor in Florida grocery stores approaches last hurdles

Sale of liquor in Florida grocery stores approaches last hurdles

A heavily lobbied measure that would remove a Depression-era “wall” separating the sale of liquor and groceries was positioned — after more than two hours of discussion Tuesday — for a final House vote as soon as Wednesday. The House agreed to take up a Senate-approved version of the proposal (SB 106), after years of debate that has pitted the supermarket giant Publix and small...
Bill to implement medical marijuana amendment moves to Senate

Bill to implement medical marijuana amendment moves to Senate

Florida patients wouldn’t have to wait 90 days to purchase marijuana if doctors recommend the treatment, under a proposal on its way to the Senate floor for a vote. The possibility of a 90-day requirement remains one of the biggest patient-focused differences between House and Senate measures crafted to carry out a constitutional amendment that voters approved in November to legalize marijuana...
What the new trauma-care proposal means for Palm Beach County

What the new trauma-care proposal means for Palm Beach County

A key House committee Monday scaled back a plan that would have eliminated a limit on the number of trauma centers in Florida — but the panel sought to ensure that a disputed Jacksonville-area trauma center can keep its doors open. The House Health & Human Services Committee revamped a bill (HB 1077) that originally would have eliminated a limit of 44 trauma centers statewide and gotten rid...

Florida Senate deals first offer in gambling talks

Controversial electronic games that are the subject of a recent court decision would be outlawed under a proposal offered Monday by the Senate, as lawmakers begin to hash out differences over gambling plans with less than two weeks before the legislative session is slated to end. In their first substantive meeting since the House and Senate passed diametrically opposed approaches to the gambling issue...
House, Senate leaders agree on budget outline

House, Senate leaders agree on budget outline

House and Senate leaders struck a deal Tuesday on the broad outline of a budget after a topsy-turvy day at the Capitol, clearing the way for negotiations that could allow the session to end as scheduled on May 5. The deal capped off nearly two weeks of talks between House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart. Lawmakers now have about a week to...
Russian hackers who targeted Clinton appear to attack French candidate Macron

Russian hackers who targeted Clinton appear to attack French candidate Macron

  The campaign of the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has been targeted by what appears to be the same Russian operatives responsible for hacks of Democratic campaign officials before last year’s U.S. presidential election, a cybersecurity firm has warned in a new report.   The report has heightened concerns that Russia may turn its playbook on France in an...
Ivanka Trump goes to Berlin as Merkel seeks bond with White House

Ivanka Trump goes to Berlin as Merkel seeks bond with White House

One is a 62-year-old former physicist who grew up in a Lutheran parish house in East Germany. The other is a businesswoman whose billionaire property-developer father brought her from Manhattan to the White House.  While Angela Merkel and Ivanka Trump don't have a lot in common, Germany's chancellor is seeking out President Donald Trump's daughter as a back channel to moderate his views. Merkel...
The lawyer who will oversee the Russia inquiry has experience investigating the White House

The lawyer who will oversee the Russia inquiry has experience investigating the White House

As a young federal prosecutor in the 1990s, Rod J. Rosenstein played a key role in the highly charged independent investigation of the President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, over their investments in a failed real estate company known as Whitewater.  Rosenstein now is poised to take over another sensitive investigation: the FBI counterintelligence inquiry into whether President Donald Trump's...
State Department website touts glittering history of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate 

State Department website touts glittering history of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate 

A State Department website that promotes travel to the United States included an article this month about the history and lavish furnishings of President Donald Trump's privately-owned Florida resort club Mar-a-Lago, opening questions about whether the federal government is improperly promoting Trump's moneymaking enterprises.   Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pointed to the travelogue-style blog...
Charge Philippine President Duterte with mass murder, lawyer tells the Hague

Charge Philippine President Duterte with mass murder, lawyer tells the Hague

A Filipino lawyer asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other Philippine officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity in the killings of thousands of people over three decades.   The lawyer, Jude Josue Sabio, said in a 77-page complaint that Duterte was the “mastermind” of a campaign that has killed...
Sessions vows to enforce bribery law that Trump once called 'horrible'

Sessions vows to enforce bribery law that Trump once called 'horrible'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed Monday that the Trump administration would vigorously prosecute white-collar crime amid concerns that such cases would fall by the wayside in favor of high-profile priorities such as violent crime and illegal immigration.   Sessions affirmed the department’s commitment to prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars corporations...
Trump administration launches new tariff to punish Canadian lumber

Trump administration launches new tariff to punish Canadian lumber

The Trump administration announced on Monday that it is planning to impose a roughly 20 percent tariff on softwood lumber imported from Canada, a new escalation of trade tensions with America's northern neighbor.   Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview that his department had reached a preliminary decision to impose the tax, the administration's first major trade action against...

Florida 2017 budget prospects dim as House, Senate feud

The legislative session appeared to careen off course Monday, as the House prepared to pass its second budget plan of the year — a so-called continuation budget that Senate leaders ruled out as “ineffectual.” The showdown between the two chambers came with just eight days to go until lawmakers would be forced to call an extended or special session to resolve the budget impasse, making...

Florida pension, health care overhauls advance in Senate

A Senate committee on Monday narrowly backed a controversial change in the state pension plan and endorsed an overhaul of the health insurance program for state employees. The Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee voted 4-3, along partisan lines, to change the default retirement option for newly hired public employees, including school teachers, county workers and state employees. Under...
National spotlight focuses on death penalty fight between Ayala, Scott

National spotlight focuses on death penalty fight between Ayala, Scott

Ex-prosecutors, former state Supreme Court justices, civil-rights organizations and families of homicide victims from across the country have filed briefs supporting embattled Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala in her legal battle with Gov. Rick Scott. Lawyers representing the groups filed more than a half-dozen friend-of-the-court briefs Friday in Ayala’s Florida Supreme Court challenge...
House Forever Florida bill could undo Negron Everglades reservoir plan

House Forever Florida bill could undo Negron Everglades reservoir plan

More money would be set aside for land conservation under a House bill rolled out Monday, with some environmentalists contending the proposal could hinder Senate President Joe Negron’s push to speed construction of a water-cleaning reservoir in the Everglades. House Government Accountability Chairman Matt Caldwell, whose committee unanimously approved the measure (PCB GAC 17-06), rejected the...
A short history of presidents' complicated relationship with the 100-day milestone

A short history of presidents' complicated relationship with the 100-day milestone

On Friday morning, Donald Trump had something to say about his first 100 days. In a tweet, he wrote "no matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!"   That tweet, which appears to recognize his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, followed his claim last Tuesday in Kansas that...
Trump saved Carrier jobs, but these workers weren't as lucky

Trump saved Carrier jobs, but these workers weren't as lucky

These are the Indiana workers whose jobs President Donald Trump did not save.   After assembling circuit boards for Carrier furnaces at a factory here for 21 years, Jim Sholle, 56, walked out of the plant for the final time last month. But he still finds himself waking up every morning at 4:30, ready to work the 6 a.m.-to-2 p.m. shift.   “I’m a routine guy, and I&rsquo...
Trump's first 100 days: What can he accomplish before important benchmark?

Trump's first 100 days: What can he accomplish before important benchmark?

Here's where things stand heading into Day 95 of the Trump administration:   President Donald Trump plans to mark his 100th day in office on Saturday with a rally in Pennsylvania.   That day could also mark the beginning of a government shutdown, depending how events unfold at the White House and on Capitol Hill this week.   There's a lot riding on what happens, both...
Showdown looms as Trump demands funding for wall on US-Mexico border  

Showdown looms as Trump demands funding for wall on US-Mexico border  

President Donald Trump and White House officials pressed congressional Republicans on Sunday to use the looming threat of a government shutdown to win funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a top priority for the administration as it nears the symbolic 100-day mark.   Trump wants funding to be included in a spending measure that would keep the government open past April 28, a determined...
In third call with Trump, China's leader urges restraint on N. Korea

In third call with Trump, China's leader urges restraint on N. Korea

President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, discussed growing tensions over North Korea’s advancing nuclear arms program, with Xi urging Trump to show restraint despite signs that the North may be preparing a nuclear test.   This month, Trump has used a meeting with Xi in Florida, a follow-up phone call, interviews and Twitter messages to press Xi to do more to...
Trump superfan Eric Bolling gets a new show on Fox News — that's a win for the White House

Trump superfan Eric Bolling gets a new show on Fox News — that's a win for the White House

During President Donald Trump's transition to the White House, Eric Bolling was reportedly in the running for a job in the Commerce Department. He just landed a gig that is even better for him — and for Trump.   Bolling, a former commodities trader and New York Mercantile Exchange board member, will launch his own show on Fox News on May 1, giving him a big platform from which to cheer...
Inside Trump's obsession with cable TV

Inside Trump's obsession with cable TV

During a small working lunch at the White House last month, the question of job security in President Donald Trump's tumultuous White House came up, and one of the attendees wondered whether press secretary Sean Spicer might be the first to go.   The president's response was swift and unequivocal. "I'm not firing Sean Spicer," he said, according to someone familiar with the encounter...
NEW: What’s shaping brawl over Florida budget? The 2018 elections

NEW: What’s shaping brawl over Florida budget? The 2018 elections

Forget the calendar. It’s already 2018 in Tallahassee. With two weeks to go before the scheduled end of this year’s 60-day legislative session, the governor and lawmakers are eyeball-to-eyeball on a $4 billion gap in their proposed budgets. And within that chasm, there’s a widening rift on funding for two relatively small pieces of the budget: money for Enterprise Florida and Visit...

Florida Senate bill protecting contractors would reduce local rule

Cities and counties would not be able to require contractors to provide certain benefits and wages to workers on state-funded public works projects under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee voted 11-7 to advance Sen. Keith Perry’s bill (SB 534), which would pre-empt local ordinances involved with worker pay, benefits and training if the public works...
Vacation's over: Obama returns to public life next week

Vacation's over: Obama returns to public life next week

Barack Obama’s extended post-presidential vacation is about to end. After spending weeks in French Polynesia — including time on the yacht of movie mogul David Geffen along with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey — Obama will return to Chicago on Monday for his first public event as a former president.  His self-imposed silence since Inauguration Day will end with...

Controversial pension change surfaces in Florida Senate

With two weeks remaining in the legislative session, a Senate committee will take up a new bill that could move more public workers into a 401(k)-type retirement plan rather than the traditional pension program. The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee is scheduled Monday to take up a proposed bill (SPB 7030) that would move public employees who are hired after Jan. 1, 2018 into...

Florida ethics panel pushes back against legislative oversight

Florida’s ethics arbiters claimed their “independence” Friday in response to a legislative directive that put more restrictions on their operations, including out-of-state travel spending and hiring and firing of staff. The Florida Commission on Ethics agreed in a toned-down resolution to “respectfully” decline the latest “delegation of authority” directive...
Iran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for president

Iran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for president

 When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put his hat into Iran's presidential ring a couple of weeks ago, onlookers literally gasped.  The hard-liner had, of course, already run the country for eight years, as an isolationist with a talent for riling the West. His flawed re-election in 2009 sparked the Green Movement, which brought thousands of protesters into the streets. In the ensuing government crackdown...

Florida prison health contract scrapped for 2nd time in 2 years

Citing shortcomings in mental-health services at a South Florida prison, state corrections officials are terminating a contract with a private health-care provider months before the deal was set to expire. Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones on Wednesday canceled the contract with Wexford Health Sources, giving the Pittsburgh-based company a required 180-day notice of termination. The...
Bank robber turned Georgetown law professor is just getting started on his goals

Bank robber turned Georgetown law professor is just getting started on his goals

 During a break in a basketball game to raise money for charity, Shon Hopwood told some of his Georgetown law students it felt different than the last time he was on a court: When he played basketball in federal prison, he had to carry a shank in case his team started to lose.  His students laughed. He ran back onto the law-school court — and sank the winning shot.   ...
UPDATE: Senate reacts to Artiles’ resignation over vulgar, racial tirade

UPDATE: Senate reacts to Artiles’ resignation over vulgar, racial tirade

Calling his presence a “distraction” days after apologizing for a public tirade that included racially charged and vulgar expletives, Miami Republican Frank Artiles announced Friday he was resigning from the Senate, effective immediately. Artiles — a tough-talking, U.S. Marine veteran who earned the moniker “Frank the Tank” from fellow lawmakers — stepped down...
Trump administration’s policy change undercuts county puppy-sales law

Trump administration’s policy change undercuts county puppy-sales law

A Trump Administration policy change and complaints tied to a pet store in Royal Palm Beach have led to a renewed call for Palm Beach County to reconsider its policy of allowing existing pet stores to sell puppies and kittens. The County Commission passed a rule last year barring new pet stores from selling puppies and kittens in an effort to kill the profit motive at so-called pet mills, where critics...
Jeff Sessions dismisses Hawaii as 'an island in the Pacific'

Jeff Sessions dismisses Hawaii as 'an island in the Pacific'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke dismissively about the state of Hawaii while criticizing a U.S. District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world.   “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what...
Supreme Court orders refunds for people whose criminal convictions are overturned

Supreme Court orders refunds for people whose criminal convictions are overturned

People who are freed from prison when their convictions are reversed deserve a refund of what they paid in fees, court costs and restitution, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.  "They are entitled to be presumed innocent" once their convictions are thrown out, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the state "has zero claim" to their money.  The 7-1 decision orders the...
Imprisoned Russian pedophile appears to be linked to hack of DNC computers

Imprisoned Russian pedophile appears to be linked to hack of DNC computers

A twice-convicted Russian pedophile imprisoned in a heavily forested gulag some 500 miles from Moscow appears to be the man a controversial dossier says helped hack into Democratic National Committee computers last year.  Sevastyan Kaptsugovich's name is misspelled in the dossier, which was compiled by a former British spy. But his history matches that of a computer expert described in the dossier...
Trump orders investigation into foreign steel coming into U.S. markets

Trump orders investigation into foreign steel coming into U.S. markets

After signing a memorandum Thursday ordering an investigation into foreign steel coming into U.S. markets, President Donald Trump joked about whom he should give the pen to: "To labor or to steel?" he asked to laughter in the Oval Office. "How about we give it to the union for a change, should we do that?" He did so.  Trump said that he had pledged in his campaign that he...

House, Senate move closer on implementation of solar Amendment 4

The Florida House and Senate are set to take up proposals that would carry out a voter-approved expansion of a renewable-energy tax break, as bill language appears to have become more agreeable to solar proponents. Gone from a House proposal (HB 1351) is a controversial provision that would have allowed the state Public Service Commission to set safety, performance and reliability standards. RELATED...

Felon rights, gambling ballot issues pass first Supreme Court hurdle

In a pair of high-profile issues that could go on the ballot next year, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday approved proposed constitutional amendments that would restore felons’ voting rights and restrict the expansion of gambling in the state. The court’s approval of the measures is a critical initial step, but supporters still face the task of collecting hundreds of thousands of petition...
Legislator hails Boca Raton for ending golf sponsor ties; but it didn’t

Legislator hails Boca Raton for ending golf sponsor ties; but it didn’t

A state legislator called a news conference for Monday at Boca Raton City Hall, to thank the city for ending its golf tournament sponsorship deal with a German firm that has uncomfortable ties to the Holocaust. The problem: Boca Raton didn’t do it. And the private operators of the Allianz Championship tournament said Allianz SE’s departure was unrelated to the controversy. State Rep. Emily...
Recess, teacher-bonus amendments added to school testing bill

Recess, teacher-bonus amendments added to school testing bill

A bill aimed at scaling back the number of standardized tests administered in Florida passed its final Senate committee on Wednesday after picking up amendments dealing with recess and other education issues. The growth of the measure (SB 926) quickly drew complaints, even from some supporters, that it was becoming an unwieldy “train,” a term for late-session bills that glom together different...
Will FWC officials let Florida have a bear hunt this year?

Will FWC officials let Florida have a bear hunt this year?

Don’t mess with the bears. State fish and wildlife managers that govern hunting and fishing regulations for all sorts of species refused this week to pull the trigger on a bear hunt for fear of a public backlash.
The 9-and-a-half months that shook Fox News

The 9-and-a-half months that shook Fox News

The ouster of Bill O’Reilly, the top-rated cable news host, from Fox News capped an extraordinary period of upheaval at the company, marked by a series of sexual harassment allegations that resulted in the downfall of Roger E. Ailes, the network chairman, as well as a damaging exodus of advertisers.  Here is a look at the 9 1/2 months that shook the network:    Gretchen Carlson...
Activity spotted at N. Korea nuclear test site: Volleyball

Activity spotted at N. Korea nuclear test site: Volleyball

Analysts who examine satellite images of North Korea reported on Wednesday that they had spotted some unexpected activity at the country’s nuclear test site: active volleyball games in three separate areas.   The surprising images were taken on Sunday as tensions between the United States and North Korea seemed to spike. The Korean Peninsula pulsed with news that the North was preparing...
The Trump administration has deported a 'dreamer' for first time, advocates say

The Trump administration has deported a 'dreamer' for first time, advocates say

Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez appeared to have a promising future in the United States.   He is now one of the first dreamers to be deported by President Donald Trump, immigration advocates and lawyers say, violating the protected status undocumented people brought to the United States as children are expected to have.   As recently as February, the 23-year-old — who was brought...
After using n-word in front of black colleagues, Florida state senator faces calls to resign

After using n-word in front of black colleagues, Florida state senator faces calls to resign

 A Republican state senator from Miami is facing pressure to resign after he used the n-word to criticize several of his colleagues during an alcohol-fueled rant in front of two black lawmakers.   Over drinks at a private club in downtown Tallahassee, State Sen. Frank Artiles referred to six white senators as "n---" and spewed other obscenities while complaining about the...
Anti-Trump protesters take care of supporter who collapsed 

Anti-Trump protesters take care of supporter who collapsed 

For Ana Draa, a Trump protester, the most shocking part of her coming to the aid of a fallen Trump supporter, was that others were shocked.   Draa, a 53-year-old stay-at-home mom and self-described passionate advocate for women's reproductive rights, joined a pack of protesters and supporters outside the Wisconsin manufacturing company where President Donald Trump spoke Tuesday afternoon...
Steve Harvey says Trump has kept his promises to him, but that doesn't mean the comedian is 'happy' with the president

Steve Harvey says Trump has kept his promises to him, but that doesn't mean the comedian is 'happy' with the president

Comedian Steve Harvey got a considerable amount of flak early this year when he traveled to Trump Tower to meet with the president-elect. The TV and radio host even described the backlash as hurtful at the time and defended his decision by emphasizing that President Barack Obama had urged everyone to "sit down and talk," according to Harvey.   Well, apparently that initial talk...
Trump adviser's trip to Moscow got the FBI's attention

Trump adviser's trip to Moscow got the FBI's attention

Ever since FBI investigators discovered in 2013 that a Russian spy was trying to recruit an American businessman named Carter Page, the bureau maintained an occasional interest in Page. So when he became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign last year and gave a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow institute, it soon caught the bureau’s attention.   That trip in...
Negron orders inquiry of Miami senator’s obscene ‘racist rant’

Negron orders inquiry of Miami senator’s obscene ‘racist rant’

A firestorm continued to swell Wednesday over racially tinged and expletive-laced remarks Sen. Frank Artiles hurled this week, as demands for the Miami Republican’s ouster grew and Senate leaders appointed a special master to investigate whether he should be sanctioned. Artiles berated Sen. Audrey Gibson, a black Democrat from Jacksonville, on Monday night at a members-only club near the Capitol...

Businesses like House workers comp bill; workers, lawyers don’t

Nearly a year after a Florida Supreme Court ruling rocked the state’s workers compensation insurance system, the House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill aimed at holding down insurance rates for businesses. The House, however, will need to reach agreement with the Senate on a final plan before the scheduled May 5 end of the annual legislative session. That will require lawmakers to...

Florida House apologizes for Dozier School for Boys abuses

With 17 former students of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys watching in the public galleries, the Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday formally apologized for abuse suffered by hundreds of boys at the now-closed reform school. “We stand here in solidarity, saying we’re sorry,” said Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, a sponsor of the resolution (HR 1335) co-sponsored by...
Florida House addresses ‘injustice’ to 4 black men in Groveland case

Florida House addresses ‘injustice’ to 4 black men in Groveland case

Six decades later, Carol Greenlee can still remember visiting her father when she was a young girl. “I’m the child that went to the prison one Sunday with my mother, and my daddy kissed me on the head and said, ‘Don’t bring her back no more. It’s too hard,’ ” Greenlee, now 67, said Tuesday. “And I didn’t see him no more until I was 12 years old...
Miami GOP senator loses chairmanship, apologizes for using racial slur

Miami GOP senator loses chairmanship, apologizes for using racial slur

Amid calls for his resignation, Florida Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, apologized Wednesday on the Senate floor for a tirade at a club that included making derogatory comments about a fellow senator and using a racial slur. He specifically apologized to Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart. RELATED: Complete Florida Legislature...
Republicans avoid calamity in special elections, but more peril lies ahead

Republicans avoid calamity in special elections, but more peril lies ahead

Republicans have emerged from two close-call elections rattled but not yet defeated, but with fresh, frightening evidence of the additional political peril that almost certainly lies ahead.  Sure, they avoided the calamity of an outright loss in Tuesday's special election in Georgia, advancing to a runoff race in two months to replace the new health secretary, Tom Price. And when lawmakers return...
Can busing Bernie Sanders to red states really help solve Democrats' problems?

Can busing Bernie Sanders to red states really help solve Democrats' problems?

After losing a presidential election they thought they had in the bag, Democrats are trying something different: focusing on building the party in all 50 states, not just states they think they can win.   To that end, two leaders of its sometimes-sparring factions — Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez (the establishment figure) and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (the liberal...
Will Trump aides face fines for filing their financial statements late?

Will Trump aides face fines for filing their financial statements late?

Some White House staffers could face $200 fines for failing to turn in their required personal financial disclosure statements on time.  The White House released financial disclosure forms late last month for 92 of the roughly 180 employees required to file them, offering details for the first time on many of the staffers' enormous wealth.  Federal law mandates that those who are required...
New York politicians offer tax returns and pokes at Trump

New York politicians offer tax returns and pokes at Trump

  Mayor Bill de Blasio made no money from stocks, but he generated a cool $106,000 in yearly rent from two Brooklyn properties. Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, garnered $2,368 from a cameo on the television police drama “Blue Bloods.” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lists $218,000 in income from his book that fewer and fewer people are buying.   Yes, the annual...
No U.S. attorneys in place at Justice Department 

No U.S. attorneys in place at Justice Department 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is making aggressive law enforcement a top priority, directing his federal prosecutors across the country to crack down on illegal immigrants and "use every tool" they have to go after violent criminals and drug traffickers.   But the attorney general does not have a single U.S. attorney in place to lead his tough-on-crime efforts across the country...
As Trump drifts away from populism, his supporters grow watchful

As Trump drifts away from populism, his supporters grow watchful

President Donald Trump visited the Tennessee estate of Andrew Jackson last month to symbolically claim the mantle of the first genuinely populist president since the 1830s. Just like Jackson, Trump defeated a political dynasty to take power and was now determined to challenge what the new president called “the arrogant elite.”   But last week suggested the limits of the comparison...
Health insurers ask Trump administration for reassurance on Obamacare

Health insurers ask Trump administration for reassurance on Obamacare

Health insurance executives seeking certainty on the future of federal funds that help lower-income Americans with their out-of-pocket health care costs got no commitment that they would be paid next year in an hour-long meeting with Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to two insurance industry officials with knowledge of the meeting.   ...
This Beltway insider is in charge of hiring for the Trump administration

This Beltway insider is in charge of hiring for the Trump administration

If Johnny DeStefano applied for a job in the Trump administration, chances are pretty good that Johnny DeStefano wouldn't hire him.   DeStefano is the president's official headhunter, responsible for filling up to 4,000 political jobs — about 500 of which are really important jobs — in a government that his boss promised to clear of the permanent class of capital insiders to...

Florida Senate scuttles House ethics changes

A major ethics package backed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran is dead for the session after the Senate refused to consider the legislation, House leaders said Tuesday. The measures included an effort (HJR 7001) to extend a lobbying ban on lawmakers from the current two years to six years after they leave office and a bill (HB 7021) that would have strengthened lobbying and disclosure rules for local...
Florida medical marijuana compromise likely won’t allow smoking

Florida medical marijuana compromise likely won’t allow smoking

Florida patients may be able to vape or munch on medical-marijuana products but they almost certainly won’t be allowed to light up joints or take bong hits, under a compromise being worked on by House and Senate leaders. Lawmakers are trying to reach consensus on a proposal to carry out a constitutional amendment, overwhelmingly approved by more than 70 percent of voters last fall, that legalized...
Local pro-Trump rally put spotlight on tax reform, Trump’s returns

Local pro-Trump rally put spotlight on tax reform, Trump’s returns

Two dozen Donald Trump backers rallied in support of him here Tuesday, offering an enthusiastic if small-scale counterpoint to the Easter weekend protest in West Palm Beach, where several hundred opponents demanded that the president release his tax returns. Both sides — the anti-Trump protesters and the backers of the president — sought to draw attention to their cause by linking their...
Faced with cuts in tourism marketing, Scott ups ante and seeks $100M

Faced with cuts in tourism marketing, Scott ups ante and seeks $100M

Flanked by leaders of key tourism and business advocacy groups, Florida Gov. Rick Scott sought to break a deepening political rift and budgetary impasse about tourism marketing money on Tuesday — by raising the stakes. The governor said he is now pressing both the Florida Senate and House for $100 million in Visit Florida marketing dollars in next year’s budget. RELATED: Complete Florida...
Florida Senate poised to sign off on Uber/Lyft plan

Florida Senate poised to sign off on Uber/Lyft plan

A long-debated proposal pitting traditional cab companies and local governments against app-based ridesharing firms appears ready to cross the legislative finish line Wednesday. The Senate on Tuesday set up for a final vote the proposal (HB 221), which would institute statewide rules for “transportation network companies” such as Uber and Lyft. RELATED: Complete Florida Legislature coverage...
Trauma, Medicaid changes move forward in Florida House

Trauma, Medicaid changes move forward in Florida House

With House Republican leaders looking to make major health-care changes, a key panel Monday approved proposals that would erase limits on the numbers of trauma centers in the state and revamp parts of the Medicaid program. The bills, approved by the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, are particularly drawing interest from the hospital and nursing-home industries. The bill (HB 1077) that...
Man charged with DUI after crashing PBIA fence as Air Force One parked

Man charged with DUI after crashing PBIA fence as Air Force One parked

A suburban Lake Worth man charged with driving drunk appeared to have picked the wrong time to drive his vehicle through a fence near Palm Beach International Airport. It was early Sunday, and Air Force One was parked on the other side of PBIA, and pretty soon the crash had brought in not just Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies but also the Secret Service, frantically searching for a...
Trump prepares to deliver on a key campaign pledge

Trump prepares to deliver on a key campaign pledge

President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order in Wisconsin today that the White House says will make it harder for tech companies to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor, and will strengthen rules barring foreign contractors from bidding on government projects, according to senior administration officials.   The officials, in a background call with reporters, said...
Restaurant group, D.C. event booker join emoluments suit against Trump

Restaurant group, D.C. event booker join emoluments suit against Trump

Two new plaintiffs — an association of restaurants and restaurant workers, and a woman who books banquet halls for two D.C. hotels — plan to join a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump has violated the Constitution's emoluments clause because his hotels and restaurants do business with foreign governments.   The new plaintiffs will be added to the case on Tuesday morning...
With few options, U.S. doesn't rule out talks with North Korea

With few options, U.S. doesn't rule out talks with North Korea

North Korea may have refrained from detonating a nuclear device and botched another missile test this weekend, easing tensions in Asia. But it is unclear whether President Donald Trump has found a way around the limited options against North Korea that constrained his predecessors and put it on the path to becoming a nuclear power.   Trump essentially has three choices: a military strike...
Putin's TV says Trump more dangerous than N. Korea's Kim

Putin's TV says Trump more dangerous than N. Korea's Kim

  Russian state television has no doubt who is unpredictable enough to bring the world to war in the North Korean crisis, and it's not the reclusive communist dictator Kim Jong-Un.   According to Dmitry Kiselyov, the Kremlin's top TV mouthpiece, the riskiest is Donald Trump, the man Russian officials and propagandists hailed just a few weeks ago as just the kind of leader the world...
Trump at Day 87 of the first 100 days: What comes next on North Korea

Trump at Day 87 of the first 100 days: What comes next on North Korea

Here's where things stand heading into Day 87 of the Trump administration:   Vice President Mike Pence will spend Monday in Seoul for meetings with the acting president and the staff of the U.S. Embassy.   He'll also hold a news conference, where he's expected to issue a strong warning to North Korea to stop its aggressive behavior.   The big question is: How will the...
Trump voters in a swing district wonder when the 'winning' will start

Trump voters in a swing district wonder when the 'winning' will start

One after another, the gamblers totter along the twisting walkway, bathed in artificial purple light — burdened, at least occasionally, by the instinct that they should have known better.   Usually, this pathway outside Parx Casino is reserved for self-flagellation, a private lament at the last hundred lost. But lately, as with most any gathering place around here since late January...
Three months in, President Trump and Paul Ryan have a complicated relationship

Three months in, President Trump and Paul Ryan have a complicated relationship

During the 2016 campaign, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump did not get along. At one point, Ryan denounced, disagreed with or criticized Trump as often as once a week. In October, Ryan dropped Trump altogether, and Trump — well, Trump tweeted:  Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members...
Scott offers surprise solution to Lake Okeechobee pollution fight

Scott offers surprise solution to Lake Okeechobee pollution fight

Amid opposition to land sales, fears of job losses and legislative deadlock, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday offered a surprise solution to the waterway pollution from contaminated Lake Okeechobee discharges. The governor asked state lawmakers to allocate $200 million to fix the Herbert Hoover Dike by 2022. And he called for using the A-2 reservoir to store water. Doing both, he said would address nutrient...
Bill would make defacing soldier, first-responder statues a felony

Bill would make defacing soldier, first-responder statues a felony

A small group of military veterans and re-enactors contended Monday some lawmakers appear “anti-veteran” for not moving forward with a measure that would make it a third-degree felony for defacing a statue or memorial of a “hero.” But the proposal, which has cleared House committees, has brushed against a priority of Senate President Joe Negron aimed at keeping young offenders...
Florida House backs Scott in removing state attorney from death cases

Florida House backs Scott in removing state attorney from death cases

Intensifying an already emotionally and racially charged debate, the Republican-dominated state House intends to file a friend-of-the-court brief backing Gov. Rick Scott’s ouster of a Central Florida state attorney from nearly two dozen death-penalty cases. “The House can provide the (Supreme) Court useful insight regarding petitioner’s position about the role of a state attorney...
Park Geun-hye, ousted president of South Korea, expected to be formally indicted

Park Geun-hye, ousted president of South Korea, expected to be formally indicted

South Korea’s recently impeached and ousted president, Park Geun-hye, was expected to be formally indicted today, becoming the first leader put on criminal trial since the mid-1990s, when two former military-backed presidents were imprisoned for corruption and mutiny.   Prosecutors arrested Park on bribery and a dozen other criminal charges in March. They have visited her at her prison...
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump: Pillars of a family-driven West Wing

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump: Pillars of a family-driven West Wing

One has an office down the hall from the president in the White House; the other just moved into an office a floor up. One recently visited war-torn Iraq as the president’s emissary; the other will soon head to Berlin at the invitation of Germany’s chancellor.   Both have seats at the table at any meeting they choose to attend, join lunches with foreign leaders and enjoy &ldquo...
Meet Trump's nemesis on Russia: Rep. Adam Schiff

Meet Trump's nemesis on Russia: Rep. Adam Schiff

  Rep. Adam Schiff, seemingly so mild-mannered and calm, is emerging as the unlikely face of Congress' fiercest opposition to President Donald Trump.  His role as the Democratic Party's most visible investigator in the probe of President Donald Trump's Russia ties puts him squarely in a spotlight that could make him a political star for years to come.  But it's also stamping the California...
After exit from campaign, Paul Manafort borrowed from businesses with Trump ties 

After exit from campaign, Paul Manafort borrowed from businesses with Trump ties 

 August 19 was an eventful day for Paul Manafort.   That morning, he stepped down from guiding Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, after a brief tenure during which Trump won the Republican nomination, Democrats’ emails were hacked and the campaign’s contacts with Russia came under scrutiny. Dogged by revelations about past financial dealings in Ukraine, Manafort...
Trump appointees, a raft of potential conflicts and 'no transparency'

Trump appointees, a raft of potential conflicts and 'no transparency'

President Donald Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck.   The potential conflicts are arising across the executive branch, according to an analysis of recently released financial disclosures, lobbying records...