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Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives annual 'State of the State' speech as Legislature opens 2014 session

12:47 PM, Mar 4, 2014   |    comments
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Video: Gov. Rick Scott gives annual "State of the State" speech

Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives his annual State of the State speech on Tuesday. Sceen capture courtesy The Florida Channel

 


 


TALLAHASSEE, Florida (WTSP/AP) - Republican Gov. Rick Scott is touting Florida's improving economy in a State of the State speech that makes a case for re-election as much as it lays out his plan for the final year of his first term.

In the prepared version of Tuesday's address, Scott talks about the economic mess Florida was in when he took office just more than three years ago.

He then discusses Florida's improving employment picture and takes credit for making the state more business friendly by cutting regulations and lowering taxes.

Scott could be facing his predecessor, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, when he seeks a second term in November. Without naming Crist, the speech clearly draws a contrast in the state's economy during each of the governor's terms.

Also happening in Tallahassee on Tuesday, Florida legislators began their their annual 60-day session.

In his own opening speech, House Speaker Will Weatherford called on legislators to let qualified Florida students pay in-state college tuition even if they are in the country illegally.

Weatherford told House members it was "hurting" kids to force them to pay higher tuition rates if they were brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

The Wesley Chapel Republican said that children should not be punished "for the mistakes of their parents."

Scott to hold Facebook Q&A

Gov. Scott announced Tuesday he'd host his first ever live Facebook Q&A on Tuesday afternoon.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m., Facebook users can pose questions for the Governor at www.facebook.com/scottforflorida

Lawmakers set agenda for new session

Legislators plan to debate everything from guns to gambling. There are also legislative proposals to raise highway speed limits, let grocery stores sell liquor, and end the use of red-light cameras.

Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz want to expand the use of private school vouchers and place restrictions on the type of retirement benefits available to future public employees. The Florida Legislature is also expected to go along with Scott's plan to cut taxes and fees by more than $500 million.

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