Florida Five: Newspaper ends political endorsements, School board bans religious, political materials

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

Undelivered. (State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory)

Ending political endorsements, Tallahassee Democrat surrenders to focus groups – How sad that Skip Foster, new president and publisher of the Tallahassee Democrat, has decreed that his newspaper no longer will endorse political candidates. I expect that soon he and Gannet will need to change the paper’s name to the Tallahassee No Party Affiliation. This is almost certainly a business decision. Foster, like many people running newspapers these days, is afraid of offending readers and afraid of losing circulation. The choice is – or can appear to be – between being in business or being gutless. Read more

Orange County school board bans religious, political materials distribution – A long battle of the right to distribute religious text may finally be at an end. Orange County Public Schools came under fire from multiple religious organizations after allowing Bibles to be handed out at school. “Basically, the law states that if we allow one group to distribute materials, we have to allow all groups to distribute materials,” said John Palmerini, associate general counsel for OCPS. The school board approved a policy Tuesday night that now bans passive distribution of political and religious materials. Read more

Bundl launches groundbreaking political contribution app with a lot of gusto – With much gusto, tech firm Bundl launched its innovative campaign contribution management application on Monday in Florida’s Capitol. As banners adorned downtown Tallahassee, Bundl staged a homepage “takeover” of SaintPetersBlog.com; dispatched around the Capitol was the firm’s “street team,” armed with green envelopes with coupons for free coffee. “Our marketing plan is creative and fun,” said Bundl co-founder Joe Clements. “Most political advertising is boring, we decided not to be boring, we wanted to be playful.” Read more

Jeb Bush shoots for transparency, ends up exposing too much – In the spirit of transparency with a possible 2016 presidential run on the horizon, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush released Tuesday morning all the emails he received during his eight years in office — 1999-2007. Although most were pretty mundane, some contained private information, including personal phone numbers, physical addresses and, in at least one instance, a Social Security number. Read more

Wasserman Schultz claims Grammys junket was ‘research,’ but guess who paid for it? – South Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office is claiming her appearance at the Grammy awards Sunday wasn’t a just a junket for a star-struck politician dying to rub elbows with the glitterati. It was a research trip, paid for by the congresswoman’s campaign funds. That’s the story being spun by Wasserman Schultz’s office, anyway, after a New York Times reporter posted a photo of the Democrat in the background of a television standup – a photo that rocketed around the Twitter world. Read more

Lucky Florida: Donald Trump may choose Florida over Bedminster for his final resting place, report says

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