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Bruce Ritchie - page 3

Bruce Ritchie has 127 articles published.

Property rights bill responding to U.S. Supreme Court case passes House

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A property rights bill filed in response to a U.S. Supreme Court case ruling in favor of an Orange County landowner passed the House on Friday. The Supreme Court in 2013 overturned a Florida Supreme Court ruling against the late Coy A. Koontz Sr., who sought to build on 3.7 of his 15 acres in Orange County. The St. Johns River Water Management District told Koontz in 1994 that he could build if he built smaller or paid to restore wetlands…

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PSC/Duke Energy bill teed up for Senate vote after amendment withdrawn

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A Senate bill amendment to bar legislators from serving on the Public Service Commission within two years of leaving office was withdrawn on Thursday. Stat Sen. John Legg, a Republican from Lutz, had filed the amendment to SB 288, a PSC bill that was brought up on second reading Thursday. The amendment was withdrawn because of a likely rule challenge because the language is contained in another bill SB 170, Legg said. The bill was never heard in a committee.…

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House water bill language finds a new home as session winds down

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Language from a comprehensive House water bill was added on Thursday to other environmental legislation in the House over objections from Democrats. But the water bill language lacks key components of the Senate bill that is important to that chamber’s leadership, raising questions about whether the move represents gamesmanship between the two chambers. And some environmentalists say they’d prefer to see the bills die, effectively ending what some observers predicted would be the “year of water” in the Legislature. HB…

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Amendment filed to prevent legislators from going straight to PSC

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State Sen. John Legg says he considers former state Rep. Jimmy Patronis to be a friend and a fine man, but he doesn’t think he should have gone so quickly from the Legislature to the Public Service Commission. And Legg has filed a bill amendment he said is aimed at preventing that from happening in the future. Patronis, a Republican from Panama City, served in the House from 2006 to 2014, when he reached his term limits before being appointed by…

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DEP cancels deal after NY company fails to deliver state trails sponsors

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A year after signing a concession agreement with a New York company to deliver state bike trail sponsorships with advertising signs, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has canceled the deal. The reason: Bikepath Country of Mahopac, N.Y., did not deliver any sponsors or money to the state after lobbying for legislation in 2012 to provide sponsorships. SB 268 in 2012 authorized DEP to seek sponsorship agreements at seven paved trails. The bill faced opposition from some trail users who said the commercial…

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Senate bill clears final committee stop despite concerns from counties, environmentalists

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A Senate water bill passed its final committee stop on Tuesday despite continuing concerns raised by counties and environmentalists. SB 918 replaces a Lake Okeechobee pollution permitting program with more reliance on water cleanup plans, sets deadlines for establishing minimum flow levels for springs, sets timelines for springs cleanup plans and creates a statewide advisory council to recommend funding for water projects. Sen. Charlie Dean, a Republican from Inverness who is bill sponsor, said SB 918 is close to matching…

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Democrats’ amendments repealing nuclear fees voted down

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The Florida House on Tuesday voted down bill amendments that would have repealed or scaled back a 2006 state law that allows utilities to charge in advance for nuclear power plants that may never be built. HB 7109 is a bill that establishes term limits for Public Service Commission members and provides for Duke Energy Florida to issue bonds to cover the $1.4 billion cost for shutting down its Crystal River nuclear plant. Democrats offered 16 amendments but half were…

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