Jim Turner

Jim Turner is a reporter for the News Service of Florida.

Utilities, State Prepare For Hurricane Strike

Oct 10, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott and electric utilities say they are poised for a quick response to Hurricane Michael, which officials say could be the strongest storm to hit the Panhandle in decades, causing life-threatening storm surge and putting some areas in the dark for more than a week.

Laws will take effect next week that will add benefits for first responders who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and impose harsher penalties on people who abuse animals, along with 19 other measures signed by Gov. Rick Scott after the 2018 legislative session.

With Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday now underway, some retailers may face an enthusiasm dip as laptops and other electronics are not on the discount menu.

News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE --- More than 100 bills that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law from the 2018 legislative session will take effect Sunday, including a new state budget that tops $88 billion.

Lawmakers sent 195 bills to Scott from the session that ended in March. The governor vetoed two, while signing the rest.

Of the signed measures, 105 will hit the books Sunday. Of the remainder, 54 went into effect upon Scott’s signature, with the rest effective in October or in 2019.

Among the measures slated to take effect Sunday:

Florida Power & Light customers will see a pair of slight reductions in their monthly bills this summer due to the federal tax overhaul signed last year.

Republicans running to replace term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi would continue with the state’s legal approach to defending a controversial process for restoring felons’ voting rights.

But Democrats seeking the state Cabinet post oppose Bondi’s handling of the legal battle and support a proposed constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters in November, would automatically restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentences.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis says he has lost confidence in the state’s top financial regulator and has an interim replacement in mind.

Gov. Rick Scott named a new chief of staff Monday in a potential prelude to an anticipated run for the U.S. Senate.

Frustration is growing among Florida citrus farmers awaiting the distribution of $2.36 billion in federal disaster-relief money for agriculture losses sustained in Hurricane Irma.

A proposal that will ask voters to make it tougher for future state lawmakers to raise taxes narrowly cleared the Senate on Monday, with three Democrats joining Republicans in putting the measure on the November ballot.

A statue of civil-rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune is halfway to its supporters’ goal of replacing the likeness of a Confederate general as a representative of Florida in the U.S. Capitol.

Six bills from the 2017 legislative session became effective with the arrival of the New Year.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Senate President Joe Negron wants water managers to expand their search for land to house a reservoir he has backed to help shift water south from Lake Okeechobee.

In a letter Thursday to South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Ernie Marks, Negron expressed concern that plans put forward a day earlier “may be unnecessarily constrained by using a limited footprint.”

Florida could be moving closer to stockpiling fuel for future hurricanes or other disasters.

Oranges imported to Florida --- primarily from Brazil and Mexico --- are projected to surpass what is grown in the hurricane-damaged Sunshine State this season.

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