Florida Five: Redistricting maps go on trial, Grayson to be Benghazi hearings’ ‘worst nightmare’

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Florida congressional-redistricting maps go on trial: After two years of legal bickering, Florida’s redrawn congressional maps go on trial today in a case that could plunge the election calendar into chaos.The League of Women Voters and other groups have alleged in court for two years that the GOP-controlled Legislature violated the 2010 Fair Districts reform when they drew legislative and congressional maps that heavily favored Republicans in a state with a Democratic-voter edge. Voters overwhelmingly passed the two Fair Districts amendments to the state constitution in an effort to strip partisanship from the once-a-decade process of redrawing legislative and congressional maps. Read more.

Alan GraysonLib. Alan Grayson vows to be Benghazi hearings’ ‘worst and last nightmare’: The hearings have yet to be scheduled for the select committee investigating the Benghazi attack, but a Democratic congressman is already threatening to derail the process. Read more.

SunRail starts charging for rides: The free ride for SunRail ends today, and the real test begins to see how many people will pay to use Central Florida’s first commuter train.SunRail debuted May 1 and didn’t charge for its first 12 days. The freebies drew a lot of joy riders, which in turn led to crowded and delayed trains much of the time. Alice Faye Sproul, for one, cannot to wait to pay the one-way base fare of $2. Read more.

Young adults learn to surf Florida’s changing political tides: Getting bills passed is an art and a science, the reason people pay lobbyists millions of dollars. But for some young Floridians, the 2014 session was a breakthrough in succeeding in the legislative arena. After more than a decade of trying, students watched as lawmakers passed a bill (HB 851) granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who have attended Florida secondary schools for at least three years. Gov. Rick Scott has promised to sign the measure.”It took a lot of courage to do what they did,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican whose support powered the bill to passage. “They’re the face of what we were trying to articulate.” Read more.

Red Lobster restaurant chain sold for $2.1 billion: Darden is setting Red Lobster adrift, but betting that it can still turn around Olive Garden’s fortunes.The company, which is based in Orlando, Florida, said Friday that it would sell its seafood chain to investment firm Golden Gate Capital in a $2.1 billion cash deal. The announcement came despite objections from some shareholders to the plan separate Red Lobster, which was announced late last year. Read more. 

BONUS: Education savings accounts program awaits Florida governor’s signature

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page


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