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Florida Matters: The Best of 2012 Spring

We’re only three months into the year, yet 2012 is proving to be a momentous. This week Florida Matters revisits some of our top stories from a wild legislative session to a wildlife expedition trek.

Presidential politics dominated January 2012 because Republican leaders in Florida pushed up the state’s Presidential Preference Primary drawing a national spotlight. Florida Matters asked a panel of experts to examine Florida’s role in the GOP selection process.

In February, Florida Senate budget leader JD Alexander sent tremors through the Tampa Bay area when he proposed major funding cuts to the University of South Florida saying he had lost confidence in USF’s willingness to convert its Lakeland campus into the 12th public university: Florida Polytechnic. USF President Judy Genshaft rallied business leaders and residents averting a budget crisis and bringing USF’s budget cuts in line with those of other universities.

In turn, Sen. Alexander got what he wanted the 12th public university, but he and the governor failed to get their way when it came to the bill that would have privatized several state-run prisons in south Florida. Yet, several prisons including Hillsborough Correctional Institution, the state’s only all women’s faith and character based prison.

Both the senate and house included money to repair buildings at Hillsborough Correctional so it could stay open. However, Sen. JD Alexander personally deleted that allocation from the final budget bill.

In addition to the top news stories so far, Florida Matters talked with top news maker Jeff Vinik owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

And we also hear from a scientist, a filmmaker and a photographer are trying to make some news of their own as they trek the length of Florida, 1000 miles, in 100 days on a Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition.

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Tuesday at 6:30 PM | Sunday at 7:30 AM on WUSF 89.7

Monday at 10:00 PM on WSMR 89.1

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