Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Author

Bruce Ritchie - page 2

Bruce Ritchie has 127 articles published.

Water, fracking bills die as Senate meets without House

in Top Headlines by

A House bill establishing comprehensive water policy was amended and passed by the Senate on Wednesday but was dead because the House had adjourned on Tuesday. And House bills dealing with hydraulic fracturing were not voted on in the Senate because their Senate sponsor said they lacked the two-thirds vote needed. The 2015 legislative session continued in an unusual atmosphere on Wednesday with the Senate taking up bills after the House adjourned amid a budget impasse over healthcare spending. A…

Keep Reading

Fracking public records bill hangs on whether supporters vote against exemptions

in Top Headlines by

State Rep. Matt Gaetz voted for a hydraulic fracturing regulation bill on Monday, but says he will vote against a companion bill that would provide a public records law exemption. The outcome of the public records exemption bill likely depends on whether Gaetz is joined by others who supported the bill to provide for fracking regulation. HB 1205, which the Department of Environmental Protection proposed to create a fracking permitting program, passed the House 82-34 on Monday. HB 1209, the bill to exclude…

Keep Reading

House rejects bill amendments to allow local bans or referendums on fracking

in Top Headlines by

The House on Friday teed up a pair of bills dealing with oil and gas hydraulic fracturing after rejecting Democratic amendments to allow cities and counties to ban the practice. Hydraulic fracturing, also called “fracking,” involves pumping sand, water and chemicals underground to extract oil and gas. Environmentalists say the process threatens to contaminate groundwater but the oil industry says it is safe. HB 1205, filed by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, a Republican from Estero, would establish a state permitting program for…

Keep Reading

Feds halt Lake O discharges after Florida pols sound alarm

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shut off discharges from Lake Okeechobee after claims of an algae bloom in waters coming from the lake. The federal agency discharges water to prevent weakening the Herbert Hoover Dike around the lake. But the nutrient-rich discharges can cause algal blooms that smother aquatic life in Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee River. “I have personally seen video and photos confirming that water adjacent to Lake Okeechobee is currently experiencing a toxic blue-green algae…

Keep Reading

Pam Bondi sends solar amendment to Florida Supreme Court

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Attorney General Pam Bondi forwarded to the Florida Supreme Court on Friday a proposed constitutional amendment that would promote solar energy use. Floridians for Solar Choice proposes a constitutional amendment that would promote local, small-scale solar energy production and prohibit barriers to solar energy. The group collected enough petition signatures for Florida Supreme Court review but still needs more than 600,000 to get the measure on the ballot. The Supreme Court reviews the amendment to determine whether it covers a single…

Keep Reading

Senate sends PSC bill back to House with changes that ‘folks in the hall’ don’t like

in Top Headlines by

The Senate on Friday voted to send an amended Public Service Commission bill back to the House after state Sen. Jack Latvala indicated that Capitol lobbyists are not pleased with it. HB 7109 would limit PSC members to serving three four-year terms and require those who lobby to register the PSC Nominating Council to register as lobbyists. The bill also allows Duke Energy Florida to issue bonds to pay for closing down its Crystal River nuclear plant, which Latvala said would save an…

Keep Reading

Bill eliminating state development review program goes to governor

in Top Headlines by

A bill that would eliminate a state review program for shopping malls, huge housing projects and other large developments passed the House on Friday and is on the way to the governor. Supporters of SB 1216 said the “developments of regional impact” program was burdensome, redundant and actually discouraged the development of planned communities. The Legislature created the DRI program in 1972 to provide for review by state and regional agencies of the effects of development on roads, schools and the environment. But the Legislature…

Keep Reading

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
Go to Top