Orlando commissioners, mayor vote to give themselves raises:
Orlando City Council voted last month to give commissioners and Mayor Buddy Dyer a pay raise, a decision that flew under the radar for some residents. Orlando's six city commissioners will receive a pay increase of 6.5 percent, bumping up their salaries to $58,000 each. Mayor Buddy Dyer, who received a 5 percent bump, will get an increase to $186,306. The increases to elected officials' salaries were included in a March 20 meeting agenda item about the approval of collective bargaining agreements between the city and employees represented by the Laborers International Union of North America and Service Employees International Union.
Ayala sues Scott over removal from death penalty cases:
Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala is suing Gov. Rick Scott in federal and state court to challenge his authority to remove her from death penalty cases after she announced she wouldn't pursue executions during her administration. Scott has already removed Ayala from the case of murder suspect Markeith Loyd and an additional 21 other first-degree murder cases. The state lawsuit accuses Scott of "unnecessarily and precipitously" creating confusion in the criminal prosecution system "just to score political points." Ayala's lawyer, Roy Austin, argued in the federal lawsuit filed in the Middle District of Florida that when Scott removed Ayala from the cases, he violated her right to due process and the rights of voters who elected her to represent them.
Orlando wants to work with West Art District owners to keep murals:
The city of Orlando is trying to strike a deal with the owners of the West Art District to keep its artwork after the buildings were cited for violating the city's mural policy. The owners of the buildings at 1011 W. Central Blvd. were scheduled to appear April 12 before Orlando's code enforcement board, but city spokeswoman Cassandra Lafser says the hearing for the West Art District property was moved to May as city staff tries to resolve the issue in private meetings.
Central Florida lawmaker blocks bill to replace Confederate statue:
Florida will continue to be represented by Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in the U.S. Capitol because one Central Florida lawmaker thinks there are just not enough statues of Walt Disney. The Associated Press reports state Rep. Scott Plakon blocked a bill to replace Smith's statue in the National Statuary Hall because he says the process was flawed. But another lawmaker says the Longwood Republican's real reason for stopping the replacement is because Plakon is "really stuck on Disney" to represent the Sunshine State. While Disney did create an empire in Orlando, he never lived in Florida.