Florida Five: DeSantis joins ‘House Freedom Caucus,’ Grayson may run for Rubio’s Senate seat

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

Alan Grayson mulls a run for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat – Outspoken Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson represents a safe Orlando-area district, but it seems he has bigger things in mind. Scott Powers of the Orlando Sentinel reports that Grayson is talking about running for U.S. Senate, where Republican incumbent Marco Rubio looks likely to give up his seat in order to run for president. Grayson says he’s waiting to see how the Democratic field develops and is in no hurry to make up his mind. He doesn’t sound particularly afraid of his potential primary rivals… with one exception. Read more

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.

Conservative lawmakers form ‘House Freedom Caucus’ – Nine conservative lawmakers are forming what they call the House Freedom Caucus, a new thorn in the side of the House Republican leadership. In a brief news release, the founding members said they adopted the following mission statement: “The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans.” Read more

Florida senator files major medical-marijuana bill on who can get supply – Seriously sick Floridians and those who can’t find adequate prescription drugs would be allowed access to medical-grade marijuana under a major cannabis bill filed Monday by a top Florida Republican state senator. St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes’ 28-page legislation, the most far-reaching of its kind by a top legislative leader, seeks to regulate the cultivation, distribution and use of medical marijuana in Florida. The bill mirrors parts of a proposed constitutional amendment that garnered 57.6 percent of the vote. Read more

Florida strengthens child booster-seat law – A seat belt for grown-ups was uncomfortable for 5-year-old Erick Santiago, so he kept trying to take it off, his father said. At 4 feet tall and 72 pounds, Erick, who lives in Poinciana, was too big for a child-safety seat but too small to sit in a car like an adult. So, his parents this month brought him to the AAA office on Sand Lake Road, where he got a free booster seat just in time to comply with a new Florida law. The auto club is giving away the seats on Fridays during January to raise awareness of the change and help parents comply. As of Jan. 1, children must ride in a crash-tested, federally approved car seat or booster seat until they turn 6. In past years, 4- and 5-year-olds could wear a seat belt only. Read more

Florida Retail Federation says its convinced state to initiate rule-making process for craft breweries’ tasting rooms – Two weeks after they applied to have the “tourist exemption” that has allowed craft brewery tasting rooms to thrive in Florida in recent years reviewed, the Florida Retail Federation says that the Department of Business and Professional Regulation will indeed initiate reviewing that exemption later this year. Craft brewery officials fear that the move could put tasting rooms that currently exist in peril, though officials with the Big Beer establishment say that is not the case. Read more

Another winter visitor: Great white shark Katharine moving south along Florida’s coast

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


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