Florida Five: Massive deal to buy sugar land dead, Gov. Scott hints at July 1 gov’t shutdown

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

Water district rejects buying sugar land for Everglades restoration – The push to buy more Big Sugar land for Everglades restoration hit a big roadblock Thursday. The agency that leads Everglades restoration rejected the chance to buy another 46,800 acres of farmland south of Lake Okeechobee. That land could be used to store water for replenishing the Everglades. A five-year-old deal with U.S. Sugar Corp. gives the state until October to follow through on buying the land. But Thursday, the South Florida Water Management District board opted to end the deal for the land, which could cost as much as $700 million to buy. Read more

Gov Scott budget tour
Photo credit: Meredyth Hope Hall, FLGov.com

Scott wants lists of critical service needs, hints at July 1 shutdown – Gov. Rick Scott directed all state agencies Thursday to draw up lists of “critical service needs … in the event Florida is forced into a government shutdown on July 1.” Scott’s memos to agencies carry an alarming tone and were issued the day after the Legislature’s chief budget-writers, Sen. Tom Lee and Rep. Richard Corcoran, struck a hopeful tone and said they had made progress toward a compromise after an all-day negotiating session in the Capitol. Read more

Florida’s lt. gov. moves closer to US Senate bid — Florida’s Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera may be taking steps to help him run for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat. Supporters of the Miami Republican announced Thursday they’re creating a super PAC that could assist Lopez-Cantera once he officially jumps into the 2016 race. Lopez-Cantera says he’s talked to both Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott about possibly running for the job. Lopez-Cantera is a long-time friend of Rubio and is backing his presidential campaign. Read more

Scott legalizes 64-ounce growlers – Gov. Rick Scott signed 27 bills into law on Thursday, including one to legalize 64-ounce growlers. “By making the sale of 64-ounce growlers legal in Florida, we are eliminating another burdensome regulation and allowing more Florida businesses to succeed,” said Scott. “We are pleased to continue to create a world class business environment where all businesses, including breweries, can succeed. I would like to thank Senator Latvala and Representatives Sprowls and Young for their work on this legislation.” Read more

Florida bill would implement online voter registration – In Florida a bill enabling online voter registration has drawn both praise and criticism. Proponents see it as a cost saving measure and a means of increasing accuracy on voter rolls. Some voters, however, worry about pitfalls. One individual posting on outgoing Duval County elections supervisor Jerry Holland’s Facebook page asked, intentionally typing in all capital letters, “HOW DO YOU VERIFY CITIZENSHIP?” Another individual wanted to know if the system could be hacked. Read more

ICYMI – Florida’s own: Alan Grayson comes unglued, curses at questions about off-shore accounts; ‘sh*tting robots’?

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