Rick Scott

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Heading into his final year in office, Governor Rick Scott is once again asking the Legislature to cut taxes and fees in myriad areas.

The Governor made the call at stops in Ft. Myers, Sanford and Jacksonville on Monday. The package will be considered during the 2018 regular session that kicks off in January. The crown jewel is a series of sales-tax “holidays.”

NOAA

Governor Rick Scott’s being praised for his response to Hurricane Irma; but could that carry over to next year’s U.S. Senate race? 

Scott is gaining praise for his preparation and reaction to the storm, which has left millions of Floridians in the dark and dealing with floods. Hundreds of thousands of others took his advice and left for safer areas.

“This is a deadly storm,” Scott said as Irma battered her way through the Caribbean. “If you’ve been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now. Do not wait – evacuate.”

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the American Red Cross of Northwest Florida has ramped up their recruitment and training of volunteers.

“Thank you all for coming,” said volunteer Sheila Mitchell, as she welcomed a group of prospective volunteers to the latest training session at the Pensacola office. “This is great to have this much of a turnout.”

Mitchell says losing her house in Hurricane Ivan is what drove her to become a Red Cross volunteer, which she’s done for the past three years.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

As Hurricane Irma, still a strong Category 4 storm as of Friday evening, continues to barrel toward South Florida, state and local officials have ramped up efforts to help those fleeing the devastating storm.

For the past week, Florida Governor Rick Scott has been traveling the state urging all residents to be prepared for Irma. On Friday, he conducted briefings in Tampa, Ft. Myers and West Palm Beach. At more nearly 400 miles across, Irma will impact almost every part of the state. 

Local, state and federal officials are continuing to urge all of the state’s residents to prepare for powerful Hurricane Irma, which is set to begin affecting South Florida by the weekend. Government authorities are gearing up, too.

In briefings on Wednesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott called Irma a massive, possibly devastating storm, with extreme winds and a projected storm surge that could go for miles. He compared it to Hurricane Andrew, which was a Category 5 storm when it struck Florida in 1992.

"The storm is bigger, faster, and stronger than Hurricane Andrew."

FDOT

Governor Rick Scott made a stop in Pensacola Monday morning to talk about building bridges-- literally. Scott, along with many state and local officials gathered at the north end of the 3 Mile Bridge to talk about the bridge replacement project and its impact on the area. "A 398 million dollar project. As you might expect you had a lot of people making sure this bridge was done right." 

House photo by Mark Foley

As the Florida Legislature prepares for a three-day special session beginning Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott is defending his record-setting budget vetoes.

Wielding the veto pen, the Governor cut out almost $12 billion from the new state budget, as part of a deal with House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron to fund two of Scott’s pet projects.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Governor Rick Scott Monday held a pair of ceremonial signings, for legislation he signed for real last week to allow Triumph Gulf Coast to receive its first payment,$300 million, from the $1.5 billion BP oil spill settlement.

Gulf Power Company President Stan Connally kicked off the ceremony at Pensacola International Airport, after the event was moved from the VT-MAE construction site because of inclement weather.

Governor Rick Scott has not yet taken action on the new budget and he fate of Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion agency, remains in limbo.

For every dollar Visit Florida spends, the state receives $3.20 in return, according to the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research. In 2015, the latest available year, that translated to $109 billion in tourist spending; $11.3 billion in tax revenue, and 1.4 million tourism-related jobs in 2015. 

With Governor Rick Scott termed out of office in 2018, there’s beginning to be a lot of jockeying for position in both parties for that race.

Two aspirants, each from high-profile Florida families, announced their intentions this week. Republican Adam Putnam currently is Agriculture Commissioner.

“It has been an honor to serve my community, to serve my friends and neighbors, to serve my state, and to serve my nation,” said Putnam at a rally in his hometown of Bartow. “But make no mistake; for me, it’s always been ‘Florida first.’ And it’s why I am running for governor.”

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

While the 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate has not begun officially, it is clearly underway.

November 6, 2018 is still 18 months away but incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott, the presumptive Republican challenger, are already gearing up.

“Most people think that’s going to be the race; we don’t know if someone else is going to enter. But it will be a very expensive, highly competitive race,” says Susan McManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida.

In part of his roughly 30-minute speech, the Governor vigorously defended the state’s economic development and tourism arms. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who sat nearby, wants to strip Enterprise Florida of state money and is backing significant cuts to Visit Florida’s funding.

“Enterprise Florida has been responsible for over 900 projects since I got elected,” said the Governor. “This is how growing an economy works; you build an environment for companies to be successful, and others will join.”

Ground Is Broken on Pensacola Aerospace Facility

Oct 30, 2016
Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Two years after the initial announcement, and four months after the original start of production, ground was broken Friday on an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Pensacola International Airport.

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward served as master of ceremonies, to announce plans for a 173,000 square foot hangar on 19 acres adjacent to the airport – making the city part of the aerospace landscape.

A federal judge in Tallahassee has extended the deadline until Wednesday, for voter registration in Florida for the November 8th general election.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker granted the additional day, with a hearing set for Wednesday involving a temporary restraining order sought by the plaintiffs, and an extension of voter registration through at least October 18.

National Hurricane Center

Florida is bracing as Hurricane Matthew’s path moves closer to the state. Preparations are being made all the way up to the Panhandle.

The latest from the National Hurricane Center has Matthew about 55 miles from the eastern tip of Cuba. Movement is north at around ten miles an hour, with top sustained winds at 145 miles per hour -- making it a Category-4 storm.

“We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, and we’re not going to take any chances,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who on Monday declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties in Florida.

Florida Department of Health

  As Florida goes through its typical humid, bug-filled summer, Florida is recording its first home-grown cases of Zika. 

Governor Rick Scott says all four people live in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. One of the cases involves a woman and the other three involve men, none of whom have needed to be hospitalized.

“The Florida Department of Health believes that active transmissions of this virus could be occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown,” said Scott. “

Santa Rosa County

   Jayer Williamson has resigned from the Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners, effective immediately. The move, announced Thursday, was necessary to move ahead with his plans to run for State House of Representatives District 3, but came a bit earlier than anticipated.

Also, it leaves the county commission with just four members, pending the election or appointment of a replacement by Gov. Rick Scott.

Now that Donald Trump’s path to the Republican presidential nomination is unimpeded, the talk about possible running mates is beginning to ramp up. One of those names being mentioned is Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Scott waited until after the March 15 Florida primary to endorse Trump, explaining his reasons on Fox News Channel.

“The voters have picked Donald Trump, it’s time to coalesce behind Donald Trump because we’ve got to win in November,” Scott said.

University of West Florida

Governor Rick Scott replaced two members of the 13-member University of West Florida’s Board of Trustees which appears to be related to attempts to expand industry statewide.

Garrett Walton, the CEO of Rebuild Northwest Florida and Susan O’Connor, president of O'Connor Management Group, have been succeeded by Greg Britton, CEO of Fort Walton Machining, and Bob Sires, founder and CEO of Bay State Cable Tires in Crestview.

Walton says higher education is undergoing a major transformation.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Just days after a customer at a Gainesville coffee shop called out Rick Scott, the Governor’s political action committee has fired back with its own video.

Last week, Scott and his entourage went into the Starbucks, where Cara Jennings was on her laptop. Upon seeing the Governor, Jennings unloaded.

“You cut Medicaid, so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” said Jennings. “You’re an a***ole. You don’t care about working people, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

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