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  1. Hooters 'calendar girl' and Playboy 'Miss Social' were Frank Artiles' paid consultants

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Just months before his resignation Friday, Sen. Frank Artiles scored a coup in November when he unseated Democrat Dwight Bullard with an aggressive $1 million campaign in a district that favored Democrats.

    Heather Thomas, a waitress and bartender in Tallahassee, was paid $2,000 by Frank Artiles political committee for consulting. Her job application for a previous role showed she had no previous political experience. [Facebook]
  2. Frank Artiles, Miami state senator, resigns after racist, profane remarks

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Legislature on Friday, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar.

    Republican state senator Frank Artiles, R-Miami, resigned Friday for using racial slurs and obscene insults in a private after-hours conversation with African-American colleagues. [Associated Press]
  3. Controversy over Miami lawmaker's racial slur engulfs Florida Legislature

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Controversy raged in the Florida Capitol for a second day over Sen. Frank Artiles' racist and sexist tirade, distracting and slowing down the Legislature on Thursday, just two weeks before the end of the annual lawmaking session and building pressure on the Miami Republican to resign — or risk …

    Sen. Frank Artiles, R- Miami, is showing no signs of stepping down. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Florida's top court green lights voting right for felons ballot question

    State Roundup

    Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

    TALLAHASSEE — Voting rights advocates and civil rights attorneys cheered the Florida Supreme Court's unanimous ruling Thursday approving language of a proposed amendment that would restore voting rights for convicted felons, saying the decision is a major step toward …

    The Florida Supreme Court's ruling that approved the language of a proposed amendment restoring voting rights for convicted felons was hailed by advocates on Thursday.  [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Trial for widow of Orlando nightclub shooter to start in March

    Nation

    ORLANDO — Attorneys who are prosecuting and defending Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen, were back in court Thursday morning.

    The trial for Noor  Salman, the widow of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen, will start on March 1, 2018. She faces charges of aiding and abetting her husband and obstruction of justice. [Facebook]
  6. Welfare changes in Florida include tougher penalties for recipients

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Welfare recipients in Florida would face tougher penalties for failing to meet work requirements and some food stamp recipients could become ineligible if lawmakers in the Florida House have their way.

    Rep. Dane Eagle said the bill is intended to encourage employment.
  7. It's up to Rick Scott now: Should local governments be allowed to regulate Uber?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE

    Years of fighting among local governments, the Legislature and ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft could soon come to an end.

    Taxi cab drivers wait at an offsite area for fares at Tampa International Airport Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee for voted 7-2 Tuesday in favor of a statewide ride-sharing legislation that was proposed by Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg. SB 340 would prevent local governments from passing their own regulations, making the Public Transportation Commission powerless to oversee the companies.
  8. Time is running out to get free Adventure Island pass with Busch Gardens Fun Card

    Florida

    Busch Gardens has set a deadline of April 30 for its 2017 Fun Card deal that includes a free pass to the Adventure Island water park.

    Guests ride the Busch Gardens roller coaster Cobra's Curse when it opened in June 2016. The spin coaster is the only one of it's kind in the world featuring a 70-foot vertical lift and cars that free-spin during the second half of the three minute and thirty second ride. It has a maximum speed of 40 mph. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  9. Legislative complaint seeks to expel Miami lawmaker from Senate over 'racist rant'

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Forced by Florida Senate leaders to show contrition, Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles stood on the chamber floor Wednesday morning and told his colleagues he was sorry for insulting them in private using curse words and a racial slur.

    State Sen. Frank Artiles, R- Miami, had been reported to Republican leaders for using offensive language directed at state Sen. Audrey Gibson and others. [Scott Keeler | Times]
  10. House Republicans push to give hospitals greater say in expansion

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — For four decades, hospitals wanting to expand or open new facilities have had to get the state to agree there's a need for more health care in their community.