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Florida House release new app, Weatherford brushes off 2014 rumors

The Florida House of Representatives released a new mobile app that House Speaker Will Weatherford said will “set a national standard.”

The app, reported by the Herald/Times yesterday, will allow users to track the legislative process on their mobile devices, with features like live streaming from the Capitol in Tallahassee and tracking of bills.

“This is the way that people are communicating with their government,” said Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican.

The app is expected to be released next week, as the 60-day legislative session begins.

Read more about it here and see the House press release here.

After the press conference, Weatherford took questions from reporters on a range of issues, including Medicaid, Citizens Insurance, the budget sequester and Internet cafes.

He brushed off questions about a potential run for governor against Rick Scott, while continuing to differ from Scott on the key issues of Medicaid expansion and across-the-board $2,500 pay raises for teachers. 

“I think people who are saying those things must not know me well,” he said about those who are whispering about a 2014 primary challenge. “I’m busy enough trying to be the Speaker of the House… I’m not thinking of any of that stuff right now.”

Weatherford did not specifically rule out the possibility, but said that he doesn’t “have any plans to do anything like that.”

Still, Weatherford said he remains “very skeptical” about the Medicaid expansion, which Scott embraced last week.

On reforming Citizens Insurance, the Speaker said: “We have to take an incremental approach,” emphasizing that Florida lawmakers must be “sensitive” to the rates that Floridians are paying. He also said he was concerned about recent reports about Citizens’ corporate culture over the years, which he called “troubling.”

Weatherford also said he expects the House will pass a moratorium on Internet cafes, and potentially more strict legislation to crack down on them.

Finally, the Speaker commented on the incoming sequester, stating that he was concerned about it and that it was yet another example of paralysis in Washington D.C. causing uncertainty in Florida’s economy.

“There’s an aura of uncertainty that continuously comes out of Washington, D.C.” he said. “And it’s probably a big reason why we’re so skeptical about things like Medicaid expansion."