TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott has approved 71 transportation contracts worth nearly $90 million.
The governor’s office announced the action Thursday, a day after the state Senate’s Democratic leader complained that the new Republican governor’s 90-day freeze on state contracts is delaying job-creation.
The approvals are dated Wednesday. That’s when Sen. Nan Rich of Weston had urged Scott, who ran on a job-creation platform, to lift his hold on $400 million in transportation contracts approved before he took office last week.
One of Scott’s first acts was to suspend all state contracts of $1 million or more until they could be reviewed by the new administration.
League of Cities: Florida should pay for ‘good ideas’
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida’s cities say the state should “pay for its own good ideas” instead of handing the bill to local taxpayers.
That’s among several recommendations the Florida League of Cities made in a report Thursday to Gov. Rick Scott.
It notes Scott wants to make state government accountable and suggests one way would be to avoid laws and regulations that increase costs for cash-strapped cities unless the state pays for them.
The report also opposes the idea of a tax cap, saying that would starve cities of services and infrastructure needed to attract new businesses and the jobs they bring. Job creation is another of Scott’s priorities.
Cities, too, want pension law changes to cut the cost of that employee benefit.
Pasco County deputy hits pedestrian with cruiser
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Authorities say a Pasco County sheriff’s detective hit a pedestrian while driving his agency vehicle.
The sheriff’s office reports that Detective Bruce Cohen, who serves with the economic crimes unit, was driving an unmarked cruiser Wednesday night when he hit a woman who had stepped into the road.
Cohen stopped and called for help. The woman, who has not been identified, was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was listed in serious condition.
Authorities haven’t said whether Cohen was on duty at the time of the crash. He remains on active duty.
New Port Richey Police are investigating the crash.
Windermere police chief posts bond after arrest
ORLANDO -- The police chief of metro Orlando’s richest suburb has posted bond after being charged with misconduct.
Authorities say Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor is accused of refusing to investigate allegations of sexual battery of a child because it involved his friend.
Authorities say 44-year-old Saylor posted $5,150 in bond Thursday for one count of giving unlawful compensation for official behavior and a one count of official misconduct. Saylor was arrested on the felony charges on Wednesday and faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.
His attorney, Mark NeJame, told reporters outside the jail that the charges are only accusations at this point.
Miami-Dade mayor recall election set for March 15
MIAMI -- Miami-Dade County Commissioners set March 15 as date for a recall election for Mayor Carlos Alvarez and District 13 Commissioner Natacha Seijas.
Car dealer and former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman was angry over a property tax increase and a growing county payroll. He gathered the signatures needed to call for a referendum on Alvarez.
Alvarez would be the first mayor of a major American city or county to be recalled from office in decades.
Suspended Daytona Beach commissioner resigns
DAYTONA BEACH -- A Daytona Beach city commissioner accused of ballot fraud has resigned.
In a letter sent to Gov. Rick Scott Wednesday, 41-year-old Derrick Henry says he resigned due to the events surrounding his election. Elections officials say Henry and campaign manager, 21-year-old Genesis Robinson, violated absentee ballot limits by obtaining 92 ballots prior to the Aug. 24 election. Henry was re-elected in that vote.
Henry’s lawyer says the commissioner’s resignation is part of a plea deal, which prosecutors say is still pending.
Woman gets 10 years for stabbing death of man
GAINESVILLE -- A Gainesville woman has been sentenced to 10 years and seven months in prison for fatally stabbing a man during an argument.
An Alachua County judge sentenced 31-year-old Lashawn Levette Littles on Thursday. She was convicted last month of manslaughter, battery and tampering with evidence.
Authorities say Littles and 48-year-old Wesley Davis got into an argument in June 2009 that escalated to a physical fight. Littles testified that the stabbing was both accidental and in self-defense.
-- Herald wire services