Anti-LGBTQ Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi racked up $253 million in taxpayer costs over six years

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott and other top Florida Republicans frequently complain about government spending, but they have quietly spent more than $237 million on private lawyers to advance and defend their agendas, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Florida taxpayers also have been forced to reimburse nearly $16 million for their opponents’ private attorney fees. That means an overall $253 million has been spent on legal fights in the last six years, including a water war with Georgia and losing battles to test welfare recipients for drugs, trim the state’s voter registration lists and ban companies that do business with Cuba from bidding on government contracts.

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‘Love is Love’ comic raises $165,000 for Pulse victims

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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“Love is Love,” a 144-page anthology comic book, has raised more than $165,000 for the victims of the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando, according to Washington Post.

The comic book, created by DC Comics and IDW Publishing, featured characters such as Superman, Harry Potter, Batwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Contributors included Patton Oswalt and Taran Killam. “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins penned the book’s forward.

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After 2 years, Florida court defines sexual intercourse

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) It took two years and three dictionaries, but the Florida Supreme Court finally determined Thursday that “sexual intercourse” isn’t just between a man and a woman.

The question arose during a case in which a man was charged with a third-degree felony for failing to reveal to his male partner that he was HIV-positive. His lawyer argued before the state’s high court in February 2015 that Florida laws were so narrowly defined that “sexual intercourse” didn’t apply to sexual activity between same-sex partners or any activity beyond traditional sex.

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ACLU launches nationwide training on protest, resistance

By : Wire Report
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)- The American Civil Liberties Union staged a nationwide training event Saturday to make sure people are aware of their rights as protesters and urge organized, public resistance by those opposed to policies of President Donald Trump.

Organizers said the event at a sports arena on the University of Miami campus was live-streamed to locations in all 50 states. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said 200,000 people had signed up to attend one of an estimated 2,000 local events.

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2017 Watermark WAVE Awards – WAVES FINALIST ROUND

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark spent the last week sorting through and counting every ballot, and here it is – the FINAL round for the 2017 Watermark WAVE Awards!

Below are links to the FINALISTS for Central Florida and Tampa Bay/Sarasota.

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From London to LA, women’s marches pack cities big and small

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago. Oklahoma City. London. Los Angeles.

Across the globe, cities big and small saw throngs of women, men and children take to the streets Jan. 21 in a show of unity and support for women’s rights. The swarms of marchers came together in the sunshine and rain to rally against sexism, racism and hatred and to protest President Donald Trump.

The crowds were so large that some U.S. cities ground to a halt as demonstrators overwhelmed streets, train stations and parks. The more than 600 “sister marches” were held in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington a day after Trump’s inauguration.

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Florida dispensaries aim to ‘normalize’ medical marijuana

By : Wire Report
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Vials of cannabis-laced sprays, lotions and tinctures line display shelves a few steps from handbags specially designed to tote marijuana products.

A stylish kitchenette and table is on the opposite side of this Surterra Wellness Center medical marijuana showroom, space used to host educational sessions on the merits of the drug — something legal only under very strict circumstances in Florida until Amendment 2 took effect last week.

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2017 Watermark WAVE Awards – Tampa Bay/Sarasota

By : Watermark Staff
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This is the FINAL round for the 2017 Watermark WAVE Awards – Tampa Bay/Sarasota.

For your ballot to count, please take a moment to vote for your favorites in a minimum of 15 categories.

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Florida Gov. may serve as a model, and warning, for Trump

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – He was opposed by the Republican establishment. During a contentious campaign he spoke forcefully about the need to crack down on immigration. And he used millions of his own money to bolster his political career.

President-elect Donald Trump? No, Rick Scott, the current governor of Florida.

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Watermark endorses Jennifer Webb for District 69 in the Florida House of Representatives

By : Billy Manes
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As director of community partnerships at the University of South Florida, Jennifer Webb knows her way around the cacophony of dissent. She cuts a friendly character when we meet up in St. Petersburg, but she’s got the wonk-like traits that make a candidate a real politician, a life in academia notwithstanding.

“I went back to get an advanced degree, specifically because I wanted to have one foot in academia and one in the real world,” she says. “We need more really thoughtful people engaged in our process, whether that means coming up with common sense solutions through community work or through developing policies, that’s where I think certain people do the impact. That’s why I went back to an advanced degree for anthropology. And the anthropology that I do is anthropology in public policy, which is how certain policies can impact local communities and local businesses.”

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Judge extends Florida’s voter registration to Oct. 18

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge extended voter registration until Oct. 18 in the battleground state of Florida Oct. 12, due to the disruption and damage from Hurricane Matthew.

During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker agreed to extend the deadline for six more days. He had already extended the Oct. 11 deadline one day, after the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit last weekend, following the hurricane’s brush with Florida’s east coast.

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State must amend transgender teen’s birth certificate

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida health officials say they will not fight a judge’s order that would change the gender on a transgender teen’s birth certificate from female to male.

The Department of Health told the Miami Herald that it will comply with Leon Circuit Judge Karen Gievers’ order to change the marker on the 15-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident’s birth certificate. The department routinely makes the change for adults who have transitioned from one sex to the other but says it asked for guidance from the judge because the applicant is a minor and has not undergone reassignment surgery.

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