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2017 Florida Legislature

Joe Henderson: After GOP gives NRA another ‘gun rights’ victory, what’s next?

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This was a pretty famous case. You might remember it. On Nov. 23, 2012, Michael David Dunn was at a gas station in Jacksonville when he got into an argument with 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was there with some friends. It seems the music coming from Davis’ car was too way loud for Dunn’s taste. There was an argument, which ended with Dunn going back to his car to retrieve a loaded handgun. He had a concealed-weapons permit for the…

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Jeff Atwater’s office defends pay increases for top administrators

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The office of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who is stepping down with the conclusion of the Legislative Session, has defended pay raises for his top staff as in line with long-overdue increases throughout his department. In a letter dated Thursday to Senate President Joe Negron’s chief of staff, Cheri Vancura, Atwater’s chief of staff, Budd Kneip, said he wanted to explain the situation in light of a press inquiry. “When the CFO first arrived, we found that department personnel were…

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Talks stalled, House schedules committee review of continuation budget

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The House Appropriations Committee will meet Tuesday morning to consider a “standard operating budget,” pending progress in negotiations with the Senate over spending priorities for the fiscal year that begins July 1. House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced the move in a note to House members Monday evening. He acted after Senate President Joe Negron rejected a House proposal to enact a “continuation budget” maintaining spending more or less at existing levels. “The purpose of this meeting is to consider a…

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Sadowski Coalition seeks full funding for affordable housing in state budget

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Affordable housing advocates urged the Legislature Thursday to spend all of the state’s dedicated housing money for its intended purpose, saying that more than 910,000 Floridians pay more than half their income for shelter. Representatives of the Sadowski Housing Coalition — including Associated Industries of Florida, AARP, the Florida Realtors Association, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and the Florida Home Builders Association — appeared during a news conference to make their case. Carrie O’Rourke, of the realtors’ group, said it…

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Jeff Brandes: Legislature needs educating about flood risk

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A state senator proposing legislation to mitigate flood risk said Friday that lawmakers in Tallahassee don’t fully appreciate the extent of that risk. “I think my colleagues in the Legislature don’t quite understand the gravity of the situation — much like Congress,” said Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican. “They do not understand how serious the risk is.” But that’s understandable, Brandes said — their constituents don’t, either. “Most folks don’t understand how important the issue of flood insurance is. Most…

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Rick Scott, Legislature set for an old-fashioned ‘T’ word throwdown

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If there was any uncertainty what the main event will be in the 2017 Florida Legislature, that has been answered. It’s the throw down over the “T” word. In one corner, Gov. Rick Scott is seeking an $815 million increase in public school funding. To help pay for that, the governor wants to use the ongoing spike in property values that is expected to bring in an additional $558 million. In the other corner, House Speaker Richard Corcoran said no…

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