Florida Phoenix

Legislators trying once again to suppress direct democracy

BY: - January 4, 2019

Over the past few decades, Floridians frustrated that the Legislature won’t advance important reforms have gone directly to the ballot box to pass amendments to the Florida Constitution. But that could get harder under a new proposal by two Republican legislators. Central Florida Republican Dennis Baxley has introduced a resolution in the Florida Senate that […]


From campaigning to governing: Inauguration frenzy hits Tallahassee

BY: - January 4, 2019

After all the campaigning, debating and vote counting last fall, Ron DeSantis will be sworn in as Florida’s 46th governor on Tuesday and start governing the third-most populous state in the nation. Whether voters supported or opposed his candidacy and praised or bashed his far-right ideology, DeSantis will take on the difficult work of managing […]

Michael Bloomberg gives St. Petersburg $2.5 million to combat climate change

BY: - January 3, 2019

Former New York City mayor and potential 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg came to St. Petersburg on Thursday to give the city $2.5 million to support efforts to combat climate change. Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown announced in June 2017 that they were launching “America’s Pledge,” an initiative aimed at keeping the greenhouse gas […]

Army Major General will head Florida Department of Corrections

BY: - January 3, 2019

Gov.-elect DeSantis has appointed a former U.S. Army Major General and former Trump staffer to head the Florida Department of Corrections. It’s retired United States Army Major General Mark Inch, who is also former Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Inch’s appointment is one of a string of DeSantis appointees with military backgrounds. DeSantis […]

DeSantis picks new secretaries of Children & Families and Juvenile Justice

BY: - January 3, 2019

Incoming Gov. Ron DeSantis has picked two state government veterans to head key social service agencies. Former state official Chad Poppel has been tapped as the new Secretary of Florida’s Department of Children and Families. According to information provided by the transition team for incoming Gov. Ron DeSantis, Poppel has been working as an executive […]

Confederate monument in St Augustine

FL lawmaker files bill to make it illegal to remove Confederate monuments

BY: - January 3, 2019

In the past few years, local governments throughout Florida have gone through excruciating public discussions about whether or not to remove Confederate monuments from public lands. Now a Florida Republican is proposing legislation that would eliminate those contentious debates by making it illegal to remove the monuments from public property. “The Heroes’ Monuments and Memorials […]

Florida’s biking problem

BY: - January 3, 2019

No state has been more dangerous than Florida for bicyclists over the past decade, according to federal statistics. Just ask Alan Snel, a man whose frustration over the way Florida drivers endanger bicyclists led him to flee the state. A veteran Tampa Tribune journalist, Snel left the paper in 2006 and became an influential bicycle […]

marijuana plant

The trouble with legal marijuana money

BY: - January 2, 2019

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried isn’t the only supporter of medical marijuana in state politics who has been forced to find alternative ways to maintain campaign cash after being rejected by a financial institution. Pasco County marijuana activist Gary Stein is now looking for another provider to handle transactions associated with Clarity PAC, the political […]


The good and the bad of FL’s new bump in the minimum wage

BY: - January 2, 2019

In a boost for millions of low-paid hourly workers, 20 states increased the minimum wage for 2019, including Florida. The good news: Florida’s minimum wage increased from $8.25 to $8.46 starting Jan. 1, a 21-cent increase in hourly pay. The bad news: Florida’s new minimum wage stood out as the lowest of the 20 states […]

Smoking ban for all Florida beaches?

BY: - January 2, 2019

A state lawmaker wants to ban smoking on Florida beaches statewide. Sarasota House Republican (and soon to be GOP state party chairman) Joe Gruters filed the no-smoking-on-the-beaches legislation for the 2019 legislative session. The draft bill would fine first-time violators $25  or 10 hours of community service. Several cities and counties have passed local laws […]

“I swear to tell the truth:” Lawmaker files bill that would make lying in Legislature a felony

BY: - January 2, 2019

It’s no secret that the Legislature is a place where lawmakers and lobbyists sometimes – shall we say –  stretch the truth to make a point. A South Florida state senator has just filed legislation which would require people who give testimony in the Legislature to take an oath that they’ll tell the truth. “Any […]

Don’t want antibiotics sprayed on your citrus? Sorry – it’s about to expand, big-time

BY: - January 2, 2019

The Trump administration has given the go-ahead for agricultural operations to spray antibiotics on nearly a half-million acres of Florida citrus, a move some scientists warn could increase the problem of antibiotic resistance in people and in the environment. Federal officials are allowing greatly expanded use of streptomycin and oxytetracycline –  antibiotics often used on […]