Florida Five: Sheriffs oppose new medical marijuana bill, Student testing fix unveiled

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

Medical marijuana neon sign
Photo credit: Mysuncoast.com

Florida sheriffs oppose new medical-marijuana bill – After helping defeat a November ballot measure that would have legalized medical marijuana, Florida’s sheriffs said Tuesday they also object to a Republican lawmaker’s attempt to make pot available to patients. The Florida Sheriffs Association, meeting at Amelia Island, voted to oppose a bill (SB 528) filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that would allow medical marijuana and set up a detailed regulatory structure involving patients, doctors, growers and retail stores. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who is the association’s legislative chairman, said Brandes’ proposal included “loose language” that the sheriffs worried could allow “de facto recreational use” of marijuana. Read more

Video: NO WAY Texas Republican is letting Fla. Dem Alcee Hastings insult his state! – Sparks flew Monday during a House committee hearing yet another attempt to repeal Obamacare when Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings insulted the entire state of Texas as someplace he wouldn’t live in “for all the tea in China.” The spat started when Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess criticized the Obama administration’s high-handed unwillingness to work with Republican governors. “Had governors worked with the administration, we might not be in this position,” Hastings spluttered in response. Read more

End Pensions in Congress Act: Controversial new legislation shines light on ruling class – A Florida Republican wants to cut budgets and Congress down to size with controversial new legislation, the “End Pensions in Congress Act.” “Pensions for members of Congress represent an inappropriate use of taxpayer money, especially when the idea of a pension in the private sector is fast becoming a relic from a bygone era,” Rep. Ron DeSantis said, according to a statement released in January. There’s been no word if lawmaker jaws hit the floor when the “End Pensions in Congress Act” was first introduced, but it’s at least getting support. Read more

Florida lawmaker plans to reform student testing – A top Florida lawmaker is unveiling plans to reform student testing, cutting back on the number of tests and the time spent on them. It comes just as new rules are set to take full effect this spring. The statewide Florida Standards Assessment test rolls out next month. Results from it, and newly required course testing, will be used to grade students, teachers, and schools. But many lawmakers seem to agree the plans need to be tweaked, and soon. Read more

Sen. Marco Rubio pushes against Obama’s Cuba changes in hearing – Sen. Marco Rubio attempted to take a whack at President Barack Obama’s proposed policy changes with Cuba through a Senate panel he leads, while asserting his foreign policy credentials for a potential 2016 presidential run. Rubio convened on Tuesday the first congressional hearing on the administration’s efforts to improve U.S.-Cuba relations, which he has soundly rejected. The hearing was held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, which Rubio chairs. “The Cuban people are the only people in this hemisphere who have not had a free and fair election in the last decade and a half … They are no less deserving of freedom and democracy than the people of Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti …” said Rubio, R-Fla. Read more

Oops!! Florida man illegally killed gators for Super Bowl dinner but was arrested before kickoff: police

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