In The News Today – December 31, 2015

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FLORIDA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

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Politico: Judge sees political intent in Senate map, sides with plaintiffs

TALLAHASSEE — In a move that could drastically alter the makeup of the state Senate, a circuit court judge on Wednesday sided with a group of redistricting plaintiffs, adopting a redrawn state Senate map almost certain to give Democrats an immediate boost.

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Tampa Bay Times:   Florida judges hire lobbyist — a former judge — to fight proposed term limits

The judges hired a former colleague, Paul Hawkes, who resigned a lifetime appellate judicial position in 2011 to avoid a trial and possible removal from office over his role in the construction of a lavish new courthouse for the 1st District Court of Appeal known as the Taj Mahal that was widely criticized for its opulence.

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Politico: Medicaid stalemate, price-gouging, and pot: A health care-policy review of 2015

TALLAHASSEE — It’s easy to forget now, amid the ongoing battle over redistricting, but health care issues dominated the regular 2015 legislative session.

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TBO: Florida Polytechnic addresses recommendations from state

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Florida Polytechnic University officials say they’re addressing recommendations from the state auditor general.

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My Palm Beach Post: All Aboard Florida to pour West Palm Beach station foundation in 2016

West Palm Beach — All Aboard Florida will begin early next year pouring the concrete that will form the foundation of its $29 million train station and rail platform under construction near CityPlace.

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TBO: Environmental group says 2015 deadliest year for panthers

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — An environmental advocacy group says 2015 was the deadliest year for Florida panthers.

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Chicago tribune: How Marco Rubio helped his ex-con relative get a real estate license

When Marco Rubio was majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives, he used his official position to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier, according to records obtained by The Washington Post.

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TBO: How the Florida Legislature can have a successful 2016 session and regain voters’ trust

The regular session ended without a budget — the one and only thing that the Legislature must pass. There were three costly special sessions called — one for completing the budget it failed to do, and two for redrawing congressional and senate districts.

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Orlando Sentinel:  Disney adds sheriff’s horse patrols, tightens gun policies 

Walt Disney World has tightened gun policies and is adding sheriff’s deputies on horseback as the theme park and other prominent public places continue to beef up security.

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Pensacola News-Journal: Gulf Power customers to see lower prices and wind energy

When you wake up on Friday, you’ll have plenty of things to celebrate — the start of a new year, your favorite team winning a bowl game, and a list of resolutions.

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WSVN: Thousands to attend Fort Lauderdale’s New Year’s Eve celebrations

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) — Early preparations are underway as Fort Lauderdale gets ready for their hottest family-friendly New Year’s Eve party.

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ABC News: Special Delivery for North Florida Woman, Firefighters

When a Citrus County Sheriff’s Fire Rescue crew arrived at a Citrus Springs home early Thursday morning, they found a woman already in labor.

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CNN: Florida mother shoots daughter she thought was intruder

(CNN)A woman in St. Cloud, Florida, woke up just before midnight Tuesday and fired a shot at a person she thought had broken into her home.

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News One:  Florida Cops Thought Dead Black Woman Was Faking After Being Kicked Out Of Hospital

Authorities are investigating the death of a 57-year-old Florida woman who was treated at a hospital but complained of other issues and eventually died as she collapsed and tussled with police.

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WPBF: ‘Ritualistic sacrifice’ investigated in Florida child’s death

CALLAWAY, Fla. —A Florida sheriff says investigators are considering “ritualistic sacrifice” among the possible reasons a 3-year-old son was killed and stuffed into a suitcase.

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