Florida Five: Gov. Scott leaves DC empty-handed, Legislators set special session dates

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

Gov Scott in DCGov. Rick Scott leaves meeting with HHS Secretary Burwell empty-handed – Gov. Rick Scott’s meeting Wednesday with the Obama Administration’s top health care official failed to resolve a funding standoff, prompting him to say he will prepare an emergency “base” budget to keep state government operating after June 30. “We had a good conversation… but we don’t have a resolution,” Scott said after talking about an hour with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about renewing a $2.2 billion hospital funding program. Read more

June special session set for June 1-20 – The Florida House and Senate have tentatively agreed to a special session from June 1 to 20 to hash out lingering budget issues. Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli sent a memo to members notifying them of the dates on Wednesday. “While significant discussions lay before us, today marks a very good day for Florida as we have reached agreement on dates for a budget Special Session,” Crisafulli said. Read more

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera tells supporters he’s likely running for Senate – Florida Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera appears poised to enter the 2016 U.S. Senate race to replace Marco Rubio, telephoning political donors and activists over the past few days to gauge their support and indicate his strong interest in launching a bid, several sources have told the Miami Herald. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach became the first major Republican to declare his candidacy Wednesday, drawing a heap of conservative support that could force others in his party, including Lopez-Cantera, to quickly make up their minds about running. Read more

Guns on campus bills will be back next year, NRA’s Hammer says — Failed efforts to allow people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses and some public-school employees and volunteers to be armed will be back before lawmakers next year. Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, said Wednesday the measures will return despite running into opposition in the Senate this year. “The things that were worth working on this year will be worth working on next year,” Hammer said. “All of these good pieces of legislation will be back until they pass.” Read more

Uber revs effort for spot in special session – Uber is revving up their efforts for a spot in the Legislature’s special session. The regular legislative session ended last week without approval of a proposal for statewide regulations that would override local rules for fast-growing transportation networks such as Uber. Also, lawmakers failed to take action on new insurance requirements for the ride-sharing companies. Now, the San Francisco-based Uber has set up a web page to gather signatures from riders and supporters urging that ride-sharing issues be considered when lawmakers get together in June to negotiate a budget. Read more

Brilliant! How a handful of St. Augustine residents turned a dilapidated old ice plant into a successful craft distillery and eatery

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