Rick Scott

Photo via Flickr// Matt Deavenport / https://flic.kr/p/p2yo5f

If you wondered why you spent a little more time in line at attractions last year, or it took a bit longer to find an unoccupied spot at the beach, the numbers are in to explain.

Almost 4%  more people came to the Sunshine State in 2014 over the previous year, according to figures released by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing arm. That’s inching closer to an annual goal sought by Gov. Rick Scott.

“This is a great day: 97.3 million tourists,” said the Governor. “I look forward to passing 100 million tourists.”

Republican incumbent Rick Scott rallied the voters in November for a come-from-behind win over Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, but that doesn’t mean he’s popular with them, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

The Governor gets a 42% job approval rating from 936 Florida voters, who were contacted from January 22 to February 1. But 47% percent disapprove, similar to the numbers from Scott’s first term.

IHMC

Governor Rick Scott brought his statewide push to add more funding for STEM courses, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, to Pensacola Monday morning. The funding is part of Scott’s “Keep Florida Working” initiative.

Speaking to a crowd of elected officials, scientists and students at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, the Governor said that he’s asking lawmakers for $1 million in STEM funding for kindergarten through high school.

Florida's Department of Law Enforcement is getting a new leader, but questions remain about why Governor Rick Scott abruptly shook up the agency.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam,  the Florida Cabinet, voted Tuesday to appoint longtime FDLE veteran Richard Swearingen to replace Gerald Bailey as Commissioner.

Sources say Bailey was forced by the Scott administration to resign in December. But the Governor had a different take.

“He resigned,” said Scott.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper provides analysis of Governor Rick Scott’s recommended education budget, the improving housing industry, and Visit Florida’s “Destination 2020” tourism plan.

In his "Keep Florida Working" budget plan for 2015-2016, Gov. Scott is proposing historic per pupil funding of $7,176, an increase of $50 over the previous record for fiscal year 2007-2008. 

Governor Rick Scott

Florida Governor Rick Scott is beginning his second term with the same promise he made when he took office four years ago: to create jobs by making Florida more business-friendly.

Scott was sworn in at noon Eastern Time on Tuesday at Florida's Old Capitol, on a 60 degree day in Tallahassee. At the start of his inaugural address – which ran for more than 20 minutes, Scott said the rancorous 2014 campaign, in which he defeated Charlie Crist by one percentage point, is over.

Photo via Flickr//Vox Efx

The big news of election night was Governor Rick Scott (48.3%) edging out challenger and former governor Charlie Crist (46.9%). The pattern of incumbents keeping their seats in Florida held, though, throughout the panhandle.

***note all results are still unofficial***

Statewide:
Attorney General: Pam Bondi (R) retained with 55.24% of the vote.
Chief Financial Officer: Jeff Atwater (R) 59%
Commissioner of Agriculture: Adam Putnam (R) 58.8%

  On the eve of the election, the battle for the governor’s chair remained a toss-up. Voters in the Panhandle, for the most part, have had to admire – or revile – the candidates from afar.

Florida's brutal and expensive race for governor is ending in the same way it began: bitter, personal and close as ever. The Tampa Tribune reports the overall price tag is expected to be well north of $150 million. That would also make it the most expensive among the nation’s other 36 gubernatorial races this year.  

Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist squared off at Broward College Wednesday evening, in the second of three debates. The event was delayed over a last-minute dispute that’s come to be known as “FanGate.”

Crist, the Democratic nominee, took the stage alone at the appointed hour. But Governor Scott Rick Scott delayed the start of the debate because of an electric fan below Crist's podium.

Joe Vinson//PensacolaToday.com

The First Amendment Foundation is working to build on the legacy of former Florida Governor Reubin Askew, who was a champion of open, ethical government and was one of the most active supporters of the state’s 1967 Sunshine Law.

The organization conducts Sunshine monitoring of state and local government agencies; staffs a Freedom of Information Hotline; and provides Sunshine training seminars. FAF President Barbara Petersen recently conducted one of those training seminars in Pensacola.

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