Sex-trafficked girls will soon have a sanctuary

The Tampa charity Bridging Freedom, which helps child victims of human trafficking, is developing a therapeutic safe house campus community at an undisclosed location in Pasco County. It will begin to accept girls this spring, once its first safe house is completed. The Bridging Freedom campus— situated on nearly 100 acres of donated land—will ultimately encompass seven homes, a lodge … [Read more...]

A focus on Florida at the 2016 RNC in Cleveland

By now, the Republican National Convention is “old news” — but to the 99 Florida delegates and their alternates—it will never be forgotten. To them, the convention was serious business, but a lot of fun, too. Here is a brief snapshot of their four days together. Leaving Tampa: Goals On the plane headed up to Cleveland, I asked some of the Tampa area delegates what they hoped would happen at … [Read more...]

Bondi asks court to clarify same-sex marriage ruling

Saying she's trying to correct the exact situation she originally tried to avoid, state attorney general Pam Bondi is asking U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to clarify his August ruling that some say would make Florida the 36th state to allow same-sex marriage. Both sides of the controversial issue are battling over what appears to be ambiguity in Hinkle's ruling, which ordered a Panhandle … [Read more...]

Pasco won’t issue same-sex marriage licenses Jan. 6

Florida is set to become the 36th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages just after the new year starts. But don't expect Pasco — or even neighboring counties — to join in. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in a Florida case, where U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle struck down laws banning same-sex marriage in August, saying the state's ban violated the 14th Amendment of the … [Read more...]

Election Day is here! And so is everything you need to know

Today is Election Day where Florida will elect a governor, an attorney general, a chief financial officer and an agriculture commissioner among others. Locally, however, voters will have to decide on representatives in Tallahassee, as well as who will represent their interests on the county commission. In last week's print edition of The Laker/Lutz News, we offered an election primer, which you … [Read more...]

Ready to vote? Here’s an election primer to help

The mute button for many television viewers has never been used more through the barrage of political ads for everything from the governor’s race, to even Pasco County Commission. But as early voting continues through this weekend, and on Election Day itself Nov. 4, all of that is about to come to an end. The governor’s race remains too close to call, while more local races like the … [Read more...]

Crist has slim lead in Saint Leo poll

With a less than two weeks until voters have to make a final decision on who they should send to (or keep in) Tallahassee, a new poll from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows Democrat Charlie Crist with a slight lead over incumbent Republican Rick Scott. However, the survey — which polled 500 likely voters between Oct. 16 and Oct. 19 — has a margin error of plus or minus 4.5 … [Read more...]

Private businesses don’t have to open records to public

While government typically hires its own people to perform various functions, there are many times when officials contract with private companies to get that work done. But does that mean the records of those businesses are now public record, like they are for the government? The answer is no, Attorney General Pam Bondi has decided. State Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, requested the opinion … [Read more...]

Bondi saves Fasano’s prescription drug program with $2M pledge

Every year since Gov. Rick Scott took office, Mike Fasano says he's had to fight to keep the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program alive. But now he won't have to worry about it for the next four years, thanks to a last-minute rescue of the program by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Using money made from a settlement with CVS Caremark, Bondi has pledged $2 million toward the … [Read more...]