Hundreds of people marched to the Capitol Thursday in support of a statewide citizens' initiative to restore the right to vote to convicted felons in Florida and to end a 150-year-old system that permanently disenfranchises them. The march came a day after a federal appeals court in Atlanta sided with Gov. Rick Scott and other state leaders, and blocked a lower court's order that would have forced the state to impose new rules for restoring felons' rights by Thursday. The midday march was organized by pastors and preachers in Tallahassee and beyond in an effort to mobilize support for Amendment 4, which will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. ... Understand what the latest ruling means.
Much of House Speaker Richard Corcoran's April Twitter activity seems aimed at one person: President Donald Trump. The Republican and presumptive gubernatorial candidate tweeted at or about Trump in 19 of his 51 posts this month, often to compliment the president or favorably compare records. The tweets mimic the president's lingo, use his favorite hashtags like #MAGA and sometimes include slick pro-Trump graphics. Twitter is, of course, Trump's favorite mode of communication, and he's known to share posts that heap praise on him, especially if he's tagged in it. ... Speaking of Trump, the tab for his Mar-A-Lago visits it in and it's expensive.
Legislators are going to leave the question of whether to expand gambling up to voters in November. After weeks of backroom diplomacy, legislative leaders announced Wednesday they couldn't agree on how to update gambling laws and therefore won't hold a special session in the next month. That means voters will decide whether they, or the Legislature, should have the power to decide if parimutuels in eight counties will be able to introduce slot machines to revive their ailing facilities. Read the latest on the failed backroom deals.
The federal agency that oversees elections has announced a crackdown on former lawmakers who continue to spend leftover campaign donations long after they left office. The Federal Election Commission announced Wednesday that it will start scrutinizing the spending of what it called "dormant" campaigns — those maintained by former lawmakers who took advantage of a loophole that allowed them to hoard unspent campaign donations for years. It comes after a Tampa Bay Times/10News investigation found that the agency ignored campaign finance reports that showed more than 100 former politicians carried on spending donations even though they were no longer campaigning. In some cases, these zombie campaigns remained open for more than a decade. Read more.
Today's contributors: Steve Bousquet, Steve Contorno, Kirby Wilson, Mary Ellen Klas and Chris O'Donnell.