Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Judge invalidates Florida’s congressional districts, appeal is likely: A circuit court judge threw out Florida’s congressional redistricting map Thursday ruling that the Florida Legislature allowed for a “secret, organized campaign” by partisan operatives to subvert the redistricting process in violation of the state constitution. Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ordered two of the state’s 27 districts to be redrawn to bring the map into compliance with the state’s new Fair District amendments. The 41-page ruling, issued late Thursday, raises questions now about whether the congressional map will be redrawn before the November elections or revised later. Any change in the political lines for Congress would have a ripple effect on other races, though not until the 2016 election cycle. Read more
Corrine Brown calls redistricting decision ‘seriously flawed’: Rep Corrine Brown, who teamed up with Republicans in the early 1990s to carve out a heavily African-American district, blasted the court decision calling her district into question. In a statement the Jacksonville Democrat said: “The decision by Judge Lewis is seriously flawed. It completely fails to take into consideration the rights of minority voters or to recognize federal law, specifically the 1964 Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights and clearly supersedes the state’s Fair Districts standards… Prior to the 1992 election, Florida had not had a federal African American representative since Josiah Thomas Walls, in 1871, a time span of 129 years.” Read more
Rick Scott takes lead over Crist in new poll, thanks to independents: A new poll shows Florida can expect a close gubernatorial contest in November with independents starting to break Gov. Rick Scott’s way. The poll of likely voters from WFLA and Survey USA finds Scott with a small lead over former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite in next month’s Democratic primary despite having spent most of his political life as a Republican. Scott takes 45 percent in the poll of likely voters while Crist takes 43 percent. While 7 percent back other candidates, 5 percent remain undecided. A Survey USA poll released on June 24 had Scott with 43 percent and Crist at 42 percent. Read more
Medical marijuana: Who supplies the suppliers?: Under the new medical marijuana law, five Florida nurseries will be allowed to grow cannabis. But one very big question remains: How will they get the ganja in the first place? In the federal government’s eyes, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it’s illegal to transport across state lines. “Easiest way to do it is a nondescript white van moving along I-10,” said state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, co-sponsor of the bill that allows the use of certain strains of marijuana for specific medical purposes. “How these entities get started is clearly not something set forth in the law I passed,” he said. “I think anybody looking for some sort of comforting immunity is going to be sadly disappointed.” Read more
Federally funded health center may be refusing job applicants with pro-life views: Sara Hellwege lost a chance for a job at the Tampa Family Health Centers because of her pro-lifereligious beliefs, a U.S. District Court lawsuit alleges. Federal law prohibits taxpayer-funded health-care facilities from requiring health professionals to prescribe so-called abortifacient forms of birth control, or contraceptives that kill fertilized embryos, if health workers object on religious or moral grounds. Hellwege, a recently graduated nursing student and licensed Georgia health-care practitioner, never got that far. Read more
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