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Senators begin filing general bills for 2018 Session

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

State senators on Wednesday filed the first tranche of general bills for the 2018 Legislative Session, with an assortment of new ideas and old stand-bys.

The old: Sen. Lauren Book, a Broward County Democrat and mother of twins, filed for the second year legislation to exempt diapers from the state’s 6 percent sales tax. An effort this year, which included baby wipes, died in committee.

Sen. Jeff Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat, filed the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act,” a measure that aims to expand legal protections against “sexual orientation and gender identity” discrimination. A version of the bill has been filed for nearly a decade.

The new: Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, introduced a bill that would create a legal right to sue by concealed weapon license-holders who weren’t allowed to take their gun into a place of business and then were injured “as the result of an unlawful or reckless act by another person, or an attack by a vicious or wild animal.”

And Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Port Orange Republican, filed legislation to create a third-degree felony of “animal hoarding.” It’s defined as “keeping a large number of companion animals in overcrowded conditions” and “failing to provide such animals with minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and medical care.”

In all, 36 bills had been filed by midday Wednesday, according to the Florida Senate website. Session begins Jan. 9, with the first committee week this Sept. 12-15.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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