Morning Headlines For Friday

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida taxpayers are going to pay nearly $500,000 for the state’s losing battle to keep intact a voter-approved ban on gay marriage. State officials have now reached settlements with two separate groups of attorneys representing same-sex couples that challenged the state’s ban.

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BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – Four of five Republican candidates for U.S. Senate appeared at a political forum in South Florida. Thursday evening, the candidates took part in an event billed as “Florida Future U.S. Senate.” Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and defense contractor Todd Wilcox attended. Developer Carlos Beruff’s campaign announced Thursday morning he would not be able to attend due to a scheduling conflict. The GOP primary is Aug. 30.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit asking a federal district court to block restrictions on abortions that were signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Rick Scott. The bill added new restrictions on abortion and prohibits state money from going to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood officials said the restrictions scheduled to go into effect July 1 would bar access to birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other care for thousands of patients.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Convicting a police officer for an on-duty killing hasn’t happened in Florida in nearly three decades, in part because officers are given wide latitude to protect themselves from perceived danger. That will make it difficult for Palm Beach County prosecutors as they try to convict fired Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja of manslaughter and attempted murder for the fatal shooting of legally armed black musician Corey Jones.

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Orlando already draws more tourists than any other U.S. destination. Could landing the NFL’s underperforming Pro Bowl also make Orlando a major player when it comes to attracting the biggest sporting events? Mayor Buddy Dyer is sure of it. After the NFL announced a three-year deal to move the Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Orlando, the mayor boasted that it helps the city solidify its reputation as THE U.S. sports destination. The city is hosting all manner of sporting events in the months to come, from football and basketball to Wrestlemania, providing a big economic development boost nearly a decade after city and county taxpayers approved a $1 billion upgrade to their sports and entertainment venues.

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SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) – Relatives say a Blue Angels pilot who died when his jet crashed near Nashville, Tennessee, had wanted to fly since he was a child. A U.S. official identified the pilot killed Thursday as Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Kuss’ mother, Janet Kuss, said in a 2014 newspaper interview that her son had “wanted to be a Blue Angel since forever.”

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Authorities say a 4-year-old girl from Macon, Georgia, drowned in the swimming pool at a Daytona Beach hotel. According to a Daytona Beach police report, the caretakers of Hailey Stanley left her at a kiddie pool with two boys, ages 4 and 8, while they went to the hotel bar for drinks. A tourist from Ohio pulled the girl from the bottom of the pool.

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DEBARY, Fla. (AP) _ A construction worker has been arrested after authorities say he buried his boss in dirt using a front-end loader. 32-year-old Erick Cox of Sanford was charged Wednesday with aggravated battery. Witnesses say Cox was arguing with 57-year-old Perry Byrd of Orlando at a construction site in DeBary when Cox dumped two loads of dirt onto Byrd, pinning him to the ground. The report says Cox then began hitting Byrd in the head with a 6-foot aluminum level. Byrd was knocked unconscious and sustained a “large” cut. Cox told investigators that Byrd had threatened him and ended up on the ground, where Cox says he accidentally buried Byrd’s leg in dirt while reaching for his keys.

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