Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

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James Call

James Call has 398 articles published.

How pink became a Sine Die tradition in Tallahassee

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Pink is what distingusihes the last day of Florida’s legislative sessions. Lobbyists, consultants, former lawmakers and observers, clad in pink outfits, roam the Capitol hallways during the session’s final hours. Pink is the tradition for Capitol veterans to pay tribute to the late lobbyist Marvin Arrington. “Marvin was here for a long time and he had a tradition of wearing a pink sports coat on the last day of session,” said Wayne Malaney, who lobbies for newspaper publishers. In 2002, Arrington succumbed to a…

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Governor reforms prisons with executive order

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Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Friday cracking down on the violent culture within Florida’s prison system. The order includes provisions addressing safety, transparency and holding guards, wardens and Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones accountable. Newspaper investigations have detailed a series of unexplained inmates deaths, allegations of retaliation against whistle blowers and reports of guards targeting African-American inmates. Scott directed Jones to implement a series of policies including: Requiring each employee who applies physical force upon an inmate…

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Final arguments heard in Charlotte’s Web challenge

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The latest challenge to proposed regulations for Florida’s medical marijuana law is in its final stage. Late Thursday, attorneys for the Department of Health and Baywood Nurseries filed proposed final orders with Judge W. David Watkins. The two sides repeated the arguments they made during a hearing last month. Baywood went into greater detail in its complaint about the makeup of a negotiated rulemaking committee, the lack of definitions for terms used, the absence of an appeals process for license revocation…

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Body camera public record exemption sent to governor

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Included in the package of bills sent to Gov. Rick Scott Thursday is SB 248, which creates a new public record exemption making a body camera recording by police exempt from public record disclosure when the recording is taken: Within the interior of a private residence The interior of a mental health care or social service facility In a place that a reasonable person would expect to be private “We do not want the voyeuristic public requesting video of the…

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Reporters’ roundtable: Lawmakers back again, and again, to Tallahassee

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Expect Florida lawmakers to spend a long hot summer in Tallahassee. And they will be at the state Capitol for a pretty contentious fall as well. And they just might, with a little luck, be able to fit in a holiday break before returning for the 2016 legislative session in January. That’s the consensus of a handful of Capitol reporters who spoke Wednesday at a Florida Leadership luncheon co-hosted by Sachs Media Group about the busted 2015 session that failed to…

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Speaker and Senate president agree to special session dates

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Florida lawmakers will return to the state Capitol June 1 for a special session. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner have agreed to call a special session for June 1-June 20. In a joint memo to the Legislature, Crisafulli and Gardiner said a schedule needs to be finalized and that a proclamation will be issued soon. “While significant discussions lay before us, today marks a very good day for Florida as we have reached agreement on dates…

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Tom Lee calls out Ritch Workman for comments involving his family

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Lawmakers left the statehouse last week amid a stream of insults and without a budget in place for the fiscal year that begins in July. Most observers seemed to think time away from Tallahassee would lower the temperature in the room and allow budget work to begin but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Senate Appropriations Chair Tom Lee is taking exception to comments House Rules Chair Ritch Workman made in the media about an alimony reform bill left dead on the special order calendar…

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