Collier state lawmakers: Success was in the House, and Senate, in 2013
Published 05/05/2013 at 5:05 a.m.
Southwest Florida lawmakers said that push for cooperation — and a clear understanding of top legislative priorities — made the 2013 session one of the best on record.
Naples lawmaker: Florida's new $74.5 billion budget 'balanced, not wasteful'
Published 05/03/2013 at 9:18 p.m.
Florida lawmakers passed a $74.5 billion budget Friday before closing out the annual 60-day legislative session. The budget includes pay raises for state workers and teachers, but doesn’t include federal dollars to cover additional people under Medicaid.
Senate, House support sales tax exemption for manufacturing equipment
Updated 05/01/2013 at 8:25 p.m.
The state Senate on Wednesday approved an amendment that exempts certain manufacturing equipment from the state’s sales tax. The amendment was tacked on to House bill 7007, which deals with economic incentives.
Texting while driving ban passes Fla. House; back to Senate
Published 05/01/2013 at 10:55 a.m. 3 Comments
The bill passed 110-6. It now heads back to the Florida Senate, where state senators can decide whether to keep an amendment tacked on to the bill or send it back to the House without the amendment.
Florida House Speaker: 'We're going to be here as long as it takes'
Updated 05/01/2013 at 3:32 p.m.
House Democrats have slowed the final days of the session, asking for bills to be read in full.
Foreclosure bill rolls through state House
Published 04/29/2013 at 11:41 a.m.
A bill aimed at speeding up the foreclosure process passed the state House this morning. House bill 87, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, passed the House on a 87-26 vote.
FGCU men's basketball team honored in state Capitol
Published 04/24/2013 at 12:26 p.m.
The Florida Gulf Coast University's men's basketball team was honored on the floors of the Florida House of Representatives and Senate on Wednesday.
Gaming cafes now illegal in Florida
Published 04/10/2013 at 6 p.m.
The storefront gaming centers that dot shopping centers and strip malls across the state are now illegal.
Naples college student asks Florida lawmakers to extend Medicaid coverage
Updated 04/09/2013 at 7:11 p.m.
A Naples college student called on state lawmakers Tuesday morning to extend health care coverage to the more than $1.1 million low-income, working Floridians.
Estero lawmaker's bill for fracking registration moves toward House floor
Published 04/08/2013 at 5:30 a.m.
Hydraulic fracturing isn’t happening in Florida yet, but a proposal inching toward the state House floor puts disclosure requirements in place before the drilling begins.
Analysis: How Gov. Scott's budget compares with House, Senate plans
Published 04/07/2013 at 7:30 a.m.
The proposals are in, and now state lawmakers will spend the remaining weeks of the 2013 legislative session piecing together a compromise before time runs out.
Proposal to create school safety taxing districts stalled in Florida Senate
Published 04/07/2013 at 7 a.m.
A proposal that could bolster how much money is spent for school resource officers has been stalled in legislative committee limbo for weeks, despite an outcry to do more to be sure schools are safe.
Done deal: Senate OKs banning Internet cafes, awaits Scott's signature
Updated 04/04/2013 at 8:44 p.m.
The state Senate on Thursday approved legislation that essentially bans Internet cafes and adult arcades. The legislation clarifies the definition of slot machines and other gaming machines commonly used in Internet cafes and adult amusement arcades.
Concerns arise about unintended consequences of Florida's gaming crackdown
Published 03/24/2013 at 7:30 a.m. 2 Comments
The Legislature’s move to prohibit businesses from giving out gift cards or other cash equivalents as prizes essentially would shutter the storefront gaming centers that dot strip malls across the state.
Florida lawmakers consider closing storefront gaming spots
Updated 03/15/2013 at 7:05 p.m. 2 Comments
The House took the first step on Friday to shutter adult arcades at strip centers by prohibiting the electronic machines and devices they use.
Local Catholics call new pope 'humble, good man'
Published 03/14/2013 at 5 a.m.
Southwest Floridians — both here and in Vatican City — rejoiced Wednesday as white smoke poured through the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel announcing a new pope had been chosen.
SW Florida Catholics' excitement for conclave in overdrive, here and in Rome
Published 03/12/2013 at 5:20 a.m.
Southwest Florida has eyes in Vatican City this week as the conclave to select a new pope begins.
Passidomo's expedited foreclosure bill moving toward state House approval
Published 03/11/2013 at 7:30 a.m.
House Bill 87 — dubbed the mortgage foreclosure bill — has received a favorable response from two state House committees and has one more stop before it goes to the full state House for a vote.
Bonita Springs leaders meet with lawmakers about slot machines
Published 03/07/2013 at 5 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE Bonita Springs city leaders had their say, now state lawmakers must decide whether to pull the lever on a request for a test run on slot machines at a Southwest Florida dog track.
Scott's message to Florida: Policies to improve jobs, education are working
Published 03/05/2013 at 5:33 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s message was simple: The state’s efforts to reduce costs and taxes are working.
Area's state lawmakers say Congress inaction could harm Florida recovery
Published 03/01/2013 at 5:15 a.m.
The vast, across-the-board federal budget cuts that go into effect today could have a ripple effect on Florida’s economic rebound, leaving some state lawmakers increasingly discontented with Congress.
Gov. Rick Scott proposes $289M for state workforce boards
Published 02/23/2013 at 8 a.m.
A continued focus on job growth in Florida means hundreds of millions of dollars may once again be funneled to workforce development boards across the state.
Gov. Scott announces $140M in transportation projects for SW Florida
Updated 02/15/2013 at 7:05 p.m.
Gov. Rick Scott visited Fort Myers on Friday to highlight Florida Department of Transportation projects along Interstate 75 as part of the Florida Families First Budget.
Monaghan dumbstruck by pope's news
Published 02/11/2013 at 5:38 p.m.
Tom Monaghan, founder of Ave Maria University, said he was dumbstruck when he first heard the news that Pope Benedict XVI was stepping down at the end of the month.
Pope's news surprises Ave Maria president
Published 02/11/2013 at 1:49 p.m.
Jim Towey, president of Ave Maria University, said Pope Benedict XVI's announcement this morning that he planned to step down at the end of the month was surprising, but not entirely shocking.
Rooney: Resignation shows pope's desire to 'put people above himself'
Updated 02/11/2013 at 11:53 a.m.
Francis Rooney, former ambassador to the Holy See, said he was somewhat surprised to hear the news this morning that Pope Benedict XVI planned to resign at the end of the month.
Before 2013 legislative session, some area lawmakers already eyeing 2014
Published 02/04/2013 at 5:25 a.m.
There hasn't been a lick of legislation passed yet in 2013, but that hasn't stopped more than six dozen state legislators from filing for re-election in 2014.
Scott's $74.2 billion state budget draws measured support from area lawmakers
Published 01/31/2013 at 9 p.m.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday recommended a $74.2 billion budget for fiscal 2013-14, which begins July 1. The Naples Republican unveiled a budget that includes a pay raise for schoolteachers, as well as a $1,200 to $5,000 one-time bonus ...
More people going to work ill because of no sick leave, experts say
Published 01/31/2013 at 5 a.m.
Got the sniffles? While conventional wisdom may tell people to stay home if they're ill, more people are heading to work when they're sick.
SW Fla. legislators lukewarm to governor's proposed $1B education increase
Published 01/31/2013 at 5 a.m.
A proposal to increase education funding by more than $1 billion in the coming fiscal year was met with tepid reviews from some Southwest Florida legislators.
New Congressman Radel sets listening tour in Southwest Florida
Published 01/27/2013 at 8 a.m. 1 Comment
A Southwest Florida congressman is taking his shows on the road.
Naples Winter Wine Festival raises $8.5 million for Collier children's charities
Published 01/26/2013 at 9:35 p.m.
It wasn't a record year for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, but Saturday's auction raised more than $8.5 million in about five hours.
Live Blog: Naples Winter Wine Festival Auction ends, estimated $8.5 million raised
Updated 01/26/2013 at 6:44 p.m.
The Naples Children & Education Foundation, sponsors of the festival and auction, will determine which children's charities will get proceeds from this year's festival, chaired by Naples residents Bob and Terry Edwards.
Mike Reagen to bid adieu to Naples Chamber
Published 01/24/2013 at 5 a.m.
Mike Reagen, the president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, announced Wednesday he plans to retire from the organization within the year. His retirement will mark the end of decade-long tenure with the chamber.
Charities of the Wine Festival: Foundation, schools, nonprofits form strong bond
Published 01/23/2013 at 5:20 a.m.
It may seem like a natural partnership, but for years the relationship between Collier County schools and the Naples Children & Education Foundation was strained.
Report: Collier elections officials rejected blacks' absentee ballots at higher rate
Published 01/18/2013 at 5:20 a.m.
A report released Thursday found that absentee ballots cast by black voters in Collier County were more likely to be rejected by the county's canvassing board than those cast by white voters.
Despite farm program extension, region's hunger program advocates nervous
Published 01/14/2013 at 8 a.m.
A last-minute extension of federal farm programs means Floridians on food stamps won't experience cuts to their benefits.
Rick Scott's midterm: Criticized Naples Republican governor defends record
Published 01/13/2013 at 7 a.m. 1 Comment
Two years ago when Rick Scott completed his improbable rise from novice politician to governor of Florida, the state had a 10.9 percent unemployment rate.Florida was reeling from an economic downturn. Homes across the state were in foreclosure. More than ...
Boat sales increase another sign economy improving, experts say
Published 01/11/2013 at 3 a.m.
More boats in the water could mean good news for Southwest Florida's economy. New powerboat sales increased 10 percent nationwide in 2012, according to a report by National Marine Manufacturers Association.
Radel sworn in as congressman, hopes for 'a new era of working together'
Published 01/03/2013 at 7:05 p.m. 3 Comments
After years of talking politics, it's time for one Southwest Florida radio personality turned politician to get to work. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Myers, was one of 82 U.S. House of Representatives freshmen who took the oath of office when ...
State's federal lawmakers still want to 'avoid the tax increases'
Updated 12/31/2012 at 10:45 p.m.
Southwest Florida's top federal lawmakers are hopeful that a deal will be reached soon to prevent major spending cuts and tax increases.
Fiscal cliff: Naples visitors tell congressmen to stop 'sitting on their duffs'
Published 12/29/2012 at 6 p.m. 2 Comments
As visitors to downtown Naples wandered along Fifth Avenue South on Saturday, the deadline for the so-called fiscal cliff was on many people's minds. But some said that, while proposed tax increases will affect their day-to-day lives, they're more upset ...
Study says 3 of 4 employers offering year-end bonuses, is area following suit?
Published 12/28/2012 at 5:30 a.m.
More private employers are expected to hand out year-end bonuses in 2012 than did in 2011, but experts said this move isn't necessarily indicative of what's to come in 2013.
Voting purges routine and usually not controversial, officials say
Published 12/21/2012 at 5:30 a.m.
It dominated the headlines and made waves on cable news networks, but by the time Election Day rolled around, a push to remove noncitizen voters from voter rolls seemed to fizzle out.
Florida bill not gaining momentum to tax online sales from out-of-state companies
Published 12/21/2012 at 5:10 a.m.
'Tis the season for online shopping, but in the frenzy to find the perfect gift Floridians could unwittingly be breaking the law.
Fiscal cliff: Most of Florida's federal politicians want to avoid tax increases
Published 12/19/2012 at 5:30 a.m.
As the deadline for the so-called fiscal cliff looms, the state's leading federal politicians can agree on this much — no one wants to go over it.
Unfair labor charges between Naples officials, firefighters now in state's hands
Published 12/19/2012 at 5:20 a.m.
The city of Naples and the union representing the city's firefighters could know sometime early next year whether either side used an unfair labor practice during contract negotiations.
State agency to hear Naples unfair labor practice complaints today
Published 12/18/2012 at 5:10 a.m.
A hearing scheduled for this morning could determine whether the city of Naples or the union representing the city's firefighters committed an unfair labor practice while negotiating a new contract.
Experts offer tips to extend life of your real Christmas tree
Published 12/05/2012 at 7 a.m.
As Christmas inches closer, Southwest Floridians are flocking to Christmas tree lots throughout Collier and Lee counties to pick out the perfect tree for Santa to place the presents under.
Christmas tree tents taking root in same places in Collier, Lee plazas
Published 12/05/2012 at 7 a.m.
For a few weeks each year, this U.S. 41 parking lot turns into Christmas central. And while the Heath stand may be one of the oldest in Naples, in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas similar sites can be found ...