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2017 Legislative Session - page 2

Governor signs Grieving Families Act, plus four other bills, into law

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Gov. Rick Scott signed five bills into law Wednesday, including legislation providing birth certificates in cases of miscarriage and punishing the desecration of graves. Scott did not explain his reasons in his transmission letter to the secretary of state. HB 101, the Grieving Families Act, would give parents the option of receiving a state-issued certificate if a pregnancy is lost between nine weeks and 20 weeks of gestation. The measure cleared the Senate unanimously and the House over one dissenting…

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Criminal justice reform remains a top priority for Jeff Brandes

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Sen. Jeff Brandes said he plans to continue his push for criminal justice reform, advancing a multi-year process to take a closer look at the state’s criminal justice system. Brandes, who has made criminal justice reform a top priority, was in Washington, D.C. last week for the Right on Crime annual summit. The conservative-leaning organization has been working on criminal justice issues in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. Brandes said the key takeaway from the summit was that “many states are…

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House releases document listing state budget line items by county

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The House released a county-by-county list of budget line items Tuesday, ranging from a $26.8 million loan for a highway project in Alachua County to $64,820 in adult education money in Washington County. Speaker Richard Corcoran’s office dropped the list without comment, but it followed by four days Florida TaxWatch’s annual list of budgetary “turkeys” — line items included without sufficient public scrutiny or ranking low on the state’s priority lists. TaxWatch asked Gov. Rick Scott to veto projects totalling…

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Three-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday begins Friday

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The Florida Retail Federation has issued a reminder that the new disaster preparedness sales-tax holiday begins this week. Right in time for hurricane season, the state will waive sales taxes on purchases of emergency supplies starting at 12:01 p.m. Friday, ending at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. “Thanks to our legislative leaders and Gov. Scott for including the disaster preparedness sales-tax holiday in the budget, especially with Florida coming off of a year with hurricanes, tornadoes and floods,” federation president and CEO R.…

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Legislature failed transparency test this year, TaxWatch chief Dominic Calabro says

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Of the missteps the Legislature committed this year, the most egregious was a failure to live up to its promises that the budget process would be more open and transparent than ever before, according to Florida TaxWatch chief Dominic Calabro. In an interview tied to TaxWatch’s release of its annual list of budgetary “turkeys,” Calabro praised House Speaker Richard Corcoran especially for subjecting member projects to unprecedented scrutiny. Where Corcoran fell down, Calabro said, was in failing to collaborate with the…

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Rick Scott signs $180M tax cut package into law

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Florida will reduce the tax pay on business pay on rent, have two, three-day sales tax holidays, and eliminate the so-called tampon tax under a $180 million tax cut package signed by Gov. Rick Scott. Scott signed the measure (HB 7109) during an event at 3C Interactive in Boca Raton on Thursday. While the tax cut package is significantly smaller than the $618 million tax cut plan Scott proposed in January, the Naples Republican said he was proud to sign…

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The hangover: Rick Scott vetoes ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ bill

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Saying it could hurt job creation, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a contentious bill that would have removed the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. Scott filed his veto letter of the measure (SB 106) on Wednesday night, his deadline to act on the bill. It’s the first veto of a bill from the 2017 Legislative Session. It would have removed the 82-year-old requirement, enacted in Florida after Prohibition, that hard liquor be sold in a separate store. Beer and wine…

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