Florida Five: Scott closing gap on Crist, Everglades get help, no thanks to Obama

Here are the stories they are talking about across the state today.

Scott continues budget rollout with funding plan for South Florida waterways: Continuing the rollout of a budget expected to be unveiled in Tallahassee next week, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday proposed $130everglades0123million in funding for Everglades restoration and cleanup work on South Florida waterways. At a state Cabinet meeting in Kissimmee, Scott said the money will go to “improving water quality, mitigating impacts of Lake Okeechobee’s discharges on our estuaries, and diverting more fresh water south to help restore the Everglades,” according to a news release. Read more.

Here comes Rick Scott, closing the Gap on Charlie Crist: Gov. Rick Scott has come back strongly against former Gov. Charlie Crist, according to a poll released on Wednesday — and he’s done it in dramatic fashion, considering the poll leans in Crist’s favor. The poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, finds Crist, who is running for the Democratic nomination, taking 43 percent while Scott is right on his heels with 41 percent. The poll finds Scott does much better against former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, beating her 40 percent to 34 percent. The poll does lean in Crist’s favor, as voters who backed President Barack Obama in 2012 make up 51 percent of the sampled population while only 44 percent backed Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. Obama beat Romney by almost 1 percent in Florida. Read more.

State Report says law against ‘No Fault’ fraud is reducing rate: Auto insurance costs will come down slightly, more than a year after reforms aimed at reducing fraud in the state’s “no-fault” auto insurance system were implemented, according to a preliminary analysis of rates by the state.The Office of Insurance Regulation announced Wednesday that Personal Injury Protection coverage is projected to drop an average of 13.2 percent based upon on a review of 20 insurers that provide coverage for more than 75 percent of the Florida market. Read more.

Florida funeral home offers ‘first-ever’ on-site wine cellar: Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a Florida funeral home is offering the “first-ever” wine cellar in a funeral parlor in the state, and perhaps in the country.
“Nobody wants to go to a funeral. Nobody wants to stay at a funeral home,” Seth Minson, general manager of Hodges Funeral Home, told the local NBC affiliate. “So we’ve been renovating things.”Read more.

All Childrens Hospital
Photo credit: Florida Trend

USF, All Children’s Hospital to build new research facility: Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet transferred 2 acres of state land to the University of South Florida and All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for a new research facility.The 300,000 square-foot facility is expected to generate 400 jobs, creating a “research, training and educational center to better care for pediatric patients,” according to a statement from the governor’s office. Read more.

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