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  1. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall' bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. John Morgan 'prepared to invest $100M' in medical marijuana

    State Roundup

    John Morgan spent nearly $7 million pushing two statewide ballot initiatives to expand medical marijuana throughout the state of Florida.

    Personal injury lawyer John Morgan says he's ready to invest $100 million in medical marijuana. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”
  4. Potential new laws further curb Floridians' right to government in the Sunshine

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From temporarily shielding the identities of murder witnesses to permanently sealing millions of criminal and arrest records, state lawmakers did more this spring than they have in all but one of the past 22 years to chip away at Floridians' constitutional guarantees to access government records and …

    The Legislature passed 17 new exemptions to the Sunshine Law, according to a tally by the First Amendment Foundation.
  5. While Hillsborough, St. Pete colleges take a budget hit — public universities get more

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As Senate President Joe Negron aims to make Florida's 12 public universities "elite" destinations, state lawmakers this spring voted to give an extra $232 million next year to those institutions — while simultaneously cutting $25 million that has helped the state's 28 state colleges serve …

    Florida Senate President Joe Negron talk to members in the chamber. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times].
  6. State Supreme Court rejects massive expansion of slot machines

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — In a major defeat for counties that wanted to authorize slot machines by referendum, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that Florida counties have no legal authority to ask voters to approve slot machines at existing pari-mutuel race tracks or jai-alai frontons without …

    In 2008 about 800 Vegas-style slot machines were installed in the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Hollywood Florida. The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday against expanding the use of slot machines in parimutuels throughout Florida. [Willie J. Allen Jr. | Times]
  7. Says Florida woman who hit 9-foot alligator on I-75, 'Are you kidding me?'

    Wildlife

    SARASOTA — A mother of four escaped serious injury when her SUV hit a 9-foot alligator crossing Interstate 75.

    Jennifer Rosinski's Ford Escape struck this alligator as it tried to run across Interstate 75 near North Port in Sarasota Couonty late on Tuesday. [Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rosinski via Palm Beach Post]
  8. SeaWorld and Sesame Street plan more joint parks and expansion in Orlando

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Muppets fans are going to have more places to ask the question, "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?"

    A photo provided by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment shows the Grover Coaster at the current Sesame Place theme park located in Langhorne, Penn., and is the nation's only theme park based entirely on the award-winning educational program Sesame Street. On Thursday, SeaWorld Entertainment and Sesame Workshop announced an extension of their 37-year partnership to include the development of an additional Sesame Place theme park scheduled to open by 2021 in a U.S. location to be determined. [SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  9. Election experts begged lawmakers for new tool to fight voter fraud, but got nothing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As President Donald J. Trump repeatedly makes unfounded claims of people having voted twice in the last election, Florida had an easy way to make it much less likely.

    But the state Legislature did nothing.

    White House chief strategist Steve  Bannon was registered to vote in two states, New York and Florida, before he contacted Sarasota County to remove his name from the voter rolls in November. A bill that would have allowed Florida to join a nationwide database that would better detect double registrations failed to pass this year's legislative session. [Associated Press]
  10. How profitable will medical-marijuana shops be? Very, says confidential pitch for investors

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As differences over pot shop restrictions burned a medical marijuana bill to ashes in Tallahassee, one of Florida's largest legal cannabis operators courted millions of dollars from new investors and touted a lucrative plan to open dozens of storefronts around the state.

    Medical marijuana products are on display in the "Garden" at Surterra Wellness Center, 2558 E Fowler Ave. in  Tampa. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]