VIDEO: Protesters interrupt Gov. Scott, Republican forum in Sarasota

Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Protesters were escorted by police from a Republican forum on Florida’s Gulf Coast several times during speeches by candidates, including Gov. Rick Scott.

Spectrum Bay News 9 reported that the protesters interrupted speeches several times Friday at the Robarts Arena in Sarasota.

Video tweeted by the television station shows a protester jumping on a table and raising a fist at one point before he is escorted out.

Republican supporters booed as the protester was escorted out of the arena by law enforcement. When another protester was escorted out, the Republican supporters chanted “USA.”

The term-limited Scott is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate.

Source: The Associated Press

List: Gov. Rick Scott signs Lake O reservoir bill, 10 other measures into law

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed 11 bills into law on Tuesday, including one that sets aside money to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

The bill, CS/SB 10, “authorizes a significant increase in southern water storage to further the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee,” one of Senate President Joe Negron’s top priorities, Negron’s office said in a news release.

(Getty Images)

» Gov. Rick Scott: ‘I have the option of vetoing the entire budget’

» More Florida Legislature coverage

Negron, a Stuart Republican, has been pushing for relief for his Treasure Coast district, which has been hit hard by algae blooms tied to the Lake Okeechobee discharges in recent years.

In addition to SB 10, Scott signed the following bills, all of which take effect July 1 except where noted:

CS/CS/HB 111: Public Records/Identity of Witness to a Murder — Creates a public records exemption for criminal intelligence or criminal investigative information that reveals personal identifying information of a witness to a murder.

» Florida governor money chase: Putnam PAC tops $300,000 in April; Gillum, King near $100,000

CS/CS/HB 151: “Therapy Dog for Children Bill” — Allows children, victims and individuals with intellectual disabilities to use therapy animals and facility dogs in legal proceedings. “This legislation will help children and individuals with unique abilities in our state as they face some of the most challenging times in their life,” Scott said in a statement released Tuesday evening by his office. “I cannot imagine the emotional toll these terrible circumstances place on our state’s most vulnerable populations. The comfort and support provided by therapy animals can make a profound difference in someone’s life and I’m proud to sign HB 151 today.”

CS/HB 221: “Uber/ Lyft Bill” — Sets consistent operating standards throughout Florida for ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, including requirements for insurance coverage and driver background checks. “I’m proud to sign this legislation today to make it easier for ridesharing companies to thrive in Florida and help ensure the safety of our families,” Scott said in a news release after signing the bill. “Florida is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation because of our efforts to reduce burdensome regulations and encourage innovation and job creation across all industries, including transportation. I look forward to seeing the continued growth of ridesharing companies in our state.”

» Former Dem Senate hopeful Pam Keith explores challenge of Rep. Brian Mast

CS/HB 239: Public Records/Protective Injunction Petitions — Creates a public records exemption for petitions for protection against domestic violence, stalking or cyberstalking if it is dismissed.

CS/HB 305: Law Enforcement Body Cameras — Allows a law enforcement officer using a body camera to review the recorded footage before writing a report or providing a statement.

CS/HB 399: Guardianship — Revises procedures relating to incapacity hearings and the circumstances under which the court may approve divorce for persons under the protection of a guardianship.

CS/HB 401: Notaries Public — Allows public notaries to accept a veteran health information card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a valid form of I.D.

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HB 671: Reemployment Assistance Fraud — Authorizes the Department of Economic Opportunity to access digital records maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to prevent reemployment assistance claims fraud.

CS/CS/HB 805: Relating to Insurance Policy Transfers — Allows an insurer to transfer a residential or commercial residential property insurance policy to an authorized insurer of the same group or owned by the same holding company.

CS/HB 6533: Relief/Jennifer Wohlgemuth/Pasco County Sheriff’s Office — Directs Pasco County and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to compensate the family of Jennifer Wohlgemuth for injuries sustained in an incident involving the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Effective immediately.

Note: List provided by Gov. Scott’s office.

Scott signs two bills, including one to help foster kids get licenses

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed into law two bills, including one designed to help children in foster care in Florida get driver’s licenses.

Senate Bill 60, known as the “Keys to Independence Act,” cements a pilot program Scott signed into law three years ago and expands it to children in settings outside foster homes, including children living with relatives or non-relative caregivers, Scott’s office said in a news release.

(Getty Images)

» RELATED: Complete Florida Legislature coverage

“I’m proud to sign this legislation today to help Florida’s teens in foster care and out-of-home settings obtain their driver’s licenses. This bill continues our efforts to help children in our foster system thrive and live their dreams in our state,” Scott said in the news release.

Under the law, which went into effect with Scott’s signature, teens in foster care in Florida could be eligible for help from the state to pay for a driver education course “for up to 6 months after the date the child reaches permanency status or 6 months after the date the child turns 18 years of age,” according to the bill’s text. The program also could pay for “the costs of licensure and costs incidental to licensure” for children in foster care who are able to show that those costs are preventing them from staying employed or attending school.

On Monday, Scott also signed SB 7004, retains the public record exemptions for biomedical and cancer research programs within the Department of Health.

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Florida House, Senate moving closer on medical marijuana plan

Florida film industry first casualty in incentives cutbacks

Donald Trump at the top of the Palm Beach County ballot? Is this rigged?

presrace-postDonald Trump has suggested the Nov. 8 election is rigged, but here in Florida, his critics might say the same thing.

After all, on ballots statewide and in Palm Beach County, the part-time Palm Beacher and Republican presidential nominee is at the top of the ballot. It’s not alphabetical. It’s not even alphabetical by party.

The answer: President’s not the only race. All down the ballot, each race has something in common: Republicans are listed first.

So what gives?

It’s all legit, according to the Florida Division of Elections. The answer lies in Section 101.151(2) of Florida Statutes.

It calls for the ballot to list picks in this order: “nominated by the political party that received the highest vote for Governor in the last general election of the Governor in this state, followed by the names of other candidates for President and Vice President of the United States who have been properly nominated.”

The most recent gubernatorial vote was of course, in 2014, when Republican Rick Scott was reelected. That puts the GOP ticket of Trump and Mike Pence first, followed by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, and then candidates from smaller parties.

Gov. Scott not attending Trump event in Miami after all

Something usually not seen in presidential announcement speeches: Trump brandishes a statement declaring his net worth at $8.7 billion.

CoUY566WEAUH3FZ.jpg-largeDORAL — A small group of protestors — organizers promised it would grow — gathered Tuesday afternoon outside Trump National Doral golf resort, west of Miami, where the guy who runs the place, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, was set to hold a  private, no-press fundraising reception and dinner Tuesday night.

Not on hand: Gov. Rick Scott.

Announcements of the event list an organizing committee that includes the governor, who has endorsed the businessman and part-time Palm Beacher and who spoke for him at last week’s GOP convention in Cleveland.

But Melissa Stone, Scott’s political spokeswoman, said Tuesday he never was set to attend; he had a conflict from the start.

Trump had also hoped Tuesday to hold a roundtable with Hispanic leaders but wasn’t able to make it happen, his campaign said.

The event, set for July 8 at Miami’s legendary Versailles restaurant, was canceled at the last minute  because of the previous evening’s assassination of five police officers in Dallas. The campaign tried to reschedule it for Tuesday,  but wasn’t able to synchronize with all the leaders on short notice. Trump’s campaign said he will try again at another date.

 

LIVE CONVENTION COVERAGE

Follow Post politics reporter George Bennett and digital editor Kristina Webb as they report live from this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Follow them at PostonPolitics.com and on Twitter @gbennett and @kristina-webb.

Gov. Scott adds Lee and Palm Beach counties to state of emergency over algae

Gov. Rick Scott has expanded a state of emergency already issued for Martin and St. Lucie counties because of an algae bloom to include Lee and Palm Beach counties.

In a news release, Scott said he was extending the state of emergency to two more counties to drive “every available resource to address the needs of these communities following yesterday’s emergency declaration.”

Boats at Central Marine in Stuart sit surrounded by algae Thursday afternoon June 30, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Boats at Central Marine in Stuart sit surrounded by algae Thursday afternoon June 30, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A massive blue-green algae bloom in recent weeks has expanded from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie River in Martin County and extended along the county’s oceanfront, leading officials to temporarily close some beaches where the algae was reported. A blog about the size of two fists was found earlier this week on a Jupiter beach, and blue-green algae also has been reported at other locations in Palm Beach County.

Scott also announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is activating a virtual emergency operations center to determine the effect the algae bloom is having on local businesses.

The DEO’s program will survey any businesses that are affected the algae bloom and share the results with local and state agencies to implement any assistance needed. Scott asked that any businesses that have been affected by the algae complete a survey that will be used to determine which support programs might be most helpful. Click here for that survey. Under “Event/Incident,” choose “Lake Okeechobee Discharge – Algal Blooms.”

» Complete coverage of the algae bloom

 

Orlando nightclub shooting: Statements from politicians, officials

Politicians and officials are sharing their condolences in the wake of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando that left 50 people dead and 53 injured.

» RELATED: The latest on the mass shooting at Orlando nightclub Pulse

Florida Gov. Rick Scott arrives on the scene near the nightclub where a mass shooting occured in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. It was the worst mass shooting in American history. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott arrives on the scene near the nightclub where a mass shooting occured in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. It was the worst mass shooting in American history. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Below is each statement, in full, as we receive it:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott:

“This is clearly an act of terror that happened in Orlando this morning. It sickens me and makes me angry. Of course, this is a time of great tragedy, and in every tragedy, there is a flood of sadness, confusion and despair. But, this is an attack on our people. An attack on Orlando. An attack on Florida. An attack on America. An attack on all of us.

“We still have a lot of questions that are unanswered. Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of everyone touched by this senseless tragedy. I want to urge the people of our state to pray for the victims, families of those who have been killed and wounded. Pray for our city, state and country.

“We are a great state. We are a diverse state and we have wonderful people here in Florida that will respond with dignity, strength and fortitude in the days ahead.

“To the people who did this or may be thinking about doing something similar: you don’t want to commit an act of terror in our state. In Florida, our justice system is swift and our penalties are severe. We are at a 45-year crime low and proud to be a safe state for our 20 million residents and 100 million tourists.

“While our hearts are broken for the injuries and the loss of life that occurred here early this morning, I have every confidence that the Orlando community will come together and heal. We are a strong and resilient state. We have declared a state of emergency in Orange County to ensure all resources are made available to handle this tragic incident. We will also devote every and all available resources to help the city of Orlando heal.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:

“Words cannot express the sadness and sorrow that I feel for the families and friends who lost loved ones in the horrific shooting at Pulse Nightclub. This tragic act of violence is utterly devastating, and a direct attack on the LGBTQ community as our nation celebrates LGBT Pride Month.

“While many details are still yet unknown, I stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with the LGBTQ community and all the people of Orlando. These senseless acts of violence can never be understood, but we must find strength in knowing that justice will ultimately prevail.

“I offer my deepest sympathies during this dark hour and stand united in prayer with our nation at this most difficult time.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump:

“Last night, our nation was attacked by a radical Islamic terrorist. It was the worst terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, and the second of its kind in six months. My deepest sympathy and support goes out to the victims, the wounded and their families.

“In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘radical Islam.’ For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘radical Islam,’ she should get out of this race for the presidency.

“If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen, and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, NASA Captain Mark Kelly:

“This is a sad and dark day for this country we all love.

“We want to say that this tragedy is unthinkable. But it is not.

“Once again, a mass shooting has torn a community apart. Make no mistake: Our country is in the grips of a gun violence crisis. It claimed at least 50 lives early this morning. It claimed 33,000 lives last year.

“Some will say that our nation must accept this as the new normal. Some will say that there is nothing we can do to make our country safer from gun violence. It’s not true. We cannot let armed ambushes become the new normal in our country. We have to do better than this. And we can. We have to do more to ensure hatred doesn’t find its evil voice in the crack of a gunshot. We are heartbroken that this attack allegedly targeted our country’s LGBTQ community as they celebrated Pride Month.

“We are incredibly grateful to the first responders who acted so bravely this morning to save lives and bring this horror to an end. We grieve for those taken and with their loved ones, and we pray for strength for the injured. Our hearts and prayers are in Orlando and with our fellow Americans in the LGBTQ community.”

Republicans meet in South Florida amid Trump rules fight

 

Cgkrfw2WYAAXDhO.jpg-largeHOLLYWOOD, Fla. — National Republicans gathering today in South Florida are wrestling with what rules will apply in August in Cleveland when it votes for its nominee.

Front runner, and part-time Palm Beacher, Donald Trump, is far ahead, but might not reach the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot.

The two men who hope to step in if a failed first ballot leads to a free-for-all second vote, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, came Wednesday to the RNC’s quarterly meeting. at the Diplomat in Hollywood to woo members in hopes of wrestling the nomination from Trump.

Trump has said the Cruz and Kasich scenarios are evidence of a system “rigged” against him by the GOP establishment. Amid Trump’s constant criticism, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and many of the party officials here appeared skittish about taking any action that might smack of favoritism toward a candidate.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is set to address the meeting at midday followed by the rules committee meeting.

This morning, the Democratic National Committee, in advance of a press call by DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, said, “with Republicans all over the map pledging to skip this summer’s Republican Convention, it’s clear the GOP is in a full-scale freak-out.”

Rick Scott responds to viral video: ‘She was not someone you could talk to’

Gov. Rick Scott this afternoon responded to a viral video where a former Lake Worth city commissioner yells at Scott, calls him a profane name and rushes him out of a Starbucks.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The video was filmed at one of the coffee chain’s Gainesville locations and features activist Cara Jennings telling Scott, “You cut Medicaid, so I couldn’t get Obamacare.” Scott at one point can be heard replying to Jennings, saying he has created 1 million jobs in the state.

The video has been viewed more than 250,000 times since it was posted to YouTube on April 5.

Following a ceremonial bill signing Wednesday in Boca Raton, Scott said he hadn’t seen the video. When asked why he didn’t try to talk more with Jennings, Scott said, “She was not someone you could talk to.”

Jennings told Post reporter Kevin Thompson she was angry at Scott for signing into a law a controversial abortion bill.

“I am pro-life. I believe in the sanctity of life,” Scott said.

He then said lawmakers have more than $5 million in the state budget for health prevention services.

Asked about Medicaid expansion, Scott said, “If the federal government wants to have a program, they should fund their program. But don’t come to the state of Florida and ask us to tax our taxpayers for a federal program. I don’t believe in that. I don’t go to the federal government and say, ‘Fund my program.’ If they have a program, they should fund it.”

Read more here.

— Wayne Washington

Rick Scott signs voter ID law, 13 other bills

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed another group of bills into law, including one that expands the list of acceptable forms of ID for people registering to vote.

Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott

The measure (SB 666) adds three forms of ID to the current list approved for those applying to register to vote:  a veteran health ID card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm; or an employee ID card issued by any branch, department, agency or entity of either municipal, county, state or federal government. The ID must have the name and photo of the person applying, and it can’t be expired.

The bill also allows these three forms of ID to be used at the polls.

With Scott’s signature, the measure now is in effect.

Here’s the full list of bills signed Friday:

SB 666, Voter Identification – This bill expands the list of acceptable forms of identification for voter registration applicants to include certain information.

SB 812, Reciprocal Insurers – This bill creates an alternative process for a domestic reciprocal insurer to distribute unassigned funds to policyholders.

SB 826, Mobile Homes – This bill revises provisions relating to mobile home park tenants and owners.

SB 828, Insurance Guaranty Association Assessments – This bill revises the assessment process for the Florida Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association.

SB 846, Divers-Down Warning Devices – This bill expands the types of signal devices used by divers.

SB 854, Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services – This bill revises provisions within the funeral, cemetery, and consumer services code.

SB 912, Fraudulent Activities Associated with Payment Systems – This bill provides additional consumer protections against fraudulent activity at gas stations.

SB 922, Solid Waste Management – This bill revises solid waste management programs within the Department of Environmental Protection.

SB 936, Persons with Disabilities – This bill protects individuals with autism or an autism spectrum disorder during encounters with law enforcement.

SB 938, The Retail Sale of Dextromethorphan – This bill prohibits the sale of products containing dextromethorphan to minors.

SB 964, The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program – This bill exempts nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitative hospitals from reporting certain information to the prescription drug monitoring program.

SB 1004, Security System Plans – This bill revises public records exemptions related to government agencies’ security systems.

SB 1044, Contraband Forfeiture – This bill revises the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

SB 1104, Service of Process on Financial Institutions – This bill authorizes financial institutions to establish a sole location or agent for receipt of service of process.