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Florida in focus: Big night for Florida Democrats ends in acrimony over chairman’s racial remarks

By   /   June 19, 2017  /   News  /   No Comments

Miami Herald: Big night for Florida Democrats ends in acrimony over chairman’s racial remarks

The Florida Democratic Party’s big annual fundraiser ended in acrimony Saturday night after Stephen Bittel, the party chairman, dismissed anger from lawmakers who didn’t get introduced on stage as a “childish” complaint from African-American legislators.

Bittel also said that state Sen. Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens, the Senate Democratic leader who had expressed lawmakers’ unhappiness to the chairman, was acting like “a 3-year-old.” Bittel has since apologized.

Most Democratic legislators — not only African-American ones — were upset that Bittel, looking to speed up the program to get to former Vice President Joe Biden’s keynote speech, scrapped the part where Braynon and Rep. Janet Cruz of Tampa, the House Democratic leader, would present the members of their respective caucuses. Biden noted that his appearance was keeping him from his wife on the night of their 40th wedding anniversary.

Braynon, who said he didn’t care one way or another about speaking at the annual Leadership Blue gala, nevertheless warned Bittel that lawmakers would not like being passed over. Already, the party had decided not to introduce each legislator by name, citing time constraints. Instead, Braynon and Cruz were each supposed to get four minutes each with their colleagues on stage before U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson introduced Biden.

The time has come to embrace our weakness, Tampa Bay.

When it comes to the future of mass transit, we seem to have ignored, argued and delayed ourselves right into a potentially enviable situation. In other words, our aversion to trains may actually pay off.

The world is about to change when it comes to how people travel from Point A to Point B. And one of the area’s most high-profile business owners thinks this market is uniquely positioned to take advantage of what could be a transformative — and wildly lucrative — industry.

Just imagine, Tampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternberg suggests, the bay area becoming an incubator for the driverless car revolution.

Bay News 9: Gov. Scott signs bill on tougher punishment for ‘fentanyl’ trafficking

Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill that would create tougher punishment for the pain medication “fentanyl.”

The bill was passed in an effort to get opioids off the street and dealers in jail.

Like heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The NIDA website says high doses of opioids, especially potent opioids such as fentanyl, can cause breathing to stop completely, which can lead to death. The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if the person who uses drugs is unaware that it contains fentanyl.

Under the new bill, over four grams of trafficking fentanyl would be a felony charge and if someone dies from taking the drug, the dealer could be charged with homicide.

The bill could make a big difference in Manatee County. So far this year, the county has seen more than 500 overdoses and more than 50 deaths.

Manatee County resident Amber Gordon, who is now 18 months sober, is hoping the bill will prevent others from going down the wrong path.