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Florida spent $2.6 million to protect Scotts, other dignitaries

Florida taxpayers spent more than $2.6 million in the past year to provide protection to Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott, and to provide dignitary protection to dozens of visiting leaders, including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and dozens of governors.

The total cost is the highest in the past eight years -- in part because of a spike in security costs associated with the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. The costs are contained in an annual report to the Legislature by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

The most frequent out-of-state visitor was South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who paid six visits to the state in the past year. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell visited four times each.

The cost of security for First Lady Ann Scott showed the biggest jump in fiscal year 2013, at $225,000 from $155,000 the previous year.

-- Steve Bousquet