Florida Five: Maps pit senators against each other, Conflicts boil over in divided Senate

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

Senate Pres Andy Gardiner
Senate President Andy Gardiner Photo credit: Scott Keeler, Tampa Bay Times

Senate approves district map in tense session – The Florida Senate approved a map for the state’s 40 Senate districts Wednesday in a session that turned nasty and personal, worsening divisions among ruling Republicans in what had previously been the more collegial of the state’s two legislative houses. By a vote of 22 to 18, the Senate approved a map that would force some senators to run against each other or move to have a chance to keep their seats, including two in Palm Beach County, Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, and Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach. Read more

Former Senate president Don Gaetz takes aim at Sen. Jack Latvala in rare rebuke — The personal and political conflicts that have divided Florida Senate Republicans for months reached the boiling point Wednesday as the Senate narrowly approved a redrawn redistricting map 22-18 and two powerful senators used the opportunity to point at each other for the chamber’s mistakes. Democrats united against the map, predicting it would be struck down by the court as a violation of the anti-gerrymandering rules of the Florida Constitution. Read more

Senate bill would overhaul Florida’s foster-care placements to child-centered approach – A bill aimed at reducing instability for foster children has started to move forward in the Florida Senate and would require the child-welfare system to match kids with their best placement options — rather than, as critics charge, the first beds that are handy. Sponsored by the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, the bill (SPB 7018) would require the use of a process to determine which settings — from relatives or friends to foster families or group homes — offer abused children the best chance to recover and thrive. Read more

Miami Beach candidate sued after publishing opponent’s Social Security number – The competition for a Miami Beach commission seat is turning into a bizarre new chapter for Miami Beach’s rough-and-tumble political history after one candidate, Mark Weithorn, aired his opponent Ricky Arriola’s Social Security number in a TV attack ad. Publishing an opponent’s private information is nothing new to Beach elections — the same thing happened back in 2011 to former mayor Matti Herrera Bower. Read more

CFO Jeff Atwater: Overreaching regulations costly, serve no meaningful purpose – I have often shared my deep concern with the regulatory overreach of our federal government, and the crippling impact it has had on our economy and the business men and women who labor under its growing burden. Read more

2016 Watch: Verbatim: Bush vs. Rubio

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