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2017 Legislative Session - page 3

Governor signs 16 bills into law

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Foster families will get free annual passes to Florida state parks under a bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday. Sponsored by Rep. Larry Lee in the House and Sen. Aaron Bean in the Senate, the new law provides families who operate a licensed family foster home free family annual passes and a discount on base campsite fees at Florida State Parks. Families who adopt children with special needs would be eligible to receive a one-time family…

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Why Jack Latvala ranks ahead of Richard Corcoran on our list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful pols

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SaintPetersBlog’s fifth annual ranking of Tampa Bay’s most powerful pols wraps up today with the (somewhat) surprising reveal that state Sen. Jack Latvala finished ahead of House Speaker Richard Corcoran. A dominant force in regional and state politics for decades, this is Latvala’s first time atop the list. But how can this be? Isn’t the Speaker of the House more powerful than any individual state Senator? Yes, of course, the Speaker is more powerful than any senator, including the Senate President. Besides the Governor, the…

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Big-box chains, others make one last push for ‘whiskey & Wheaties’

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Costco now is joining Wal-Mart, Target and others in one last push to get Gov. Rick Scott to sign a bill to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. Their Floridians For Fair Business Practices coalition on Friday released a tranche of letters sent to Scott encouraging him to OK the legislation (SB 106) known by the nickname “whiskey and Wheaties.” They also include representatives of Whole Foods Market, the Distilled Spirits Council and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.…

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Chris Sprowls looks back on successful legislative session

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Now that the 2017 Legislative Session is in the history books (for the most part), Florida lawmakers are beginning to take stock. And Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls is no different. Sprowls offers his own post-Session review, in an email to supporters highlighting some of his major legislative actions in the House over the past year. At the top of the list is HB 221, the landmark ride-sharing legislation co-sponsored by Sprowls and recently signed into law by Gov. Rick…

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Still no decision from Joe Negron on special session on pot referendum

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Senate President Joe Negron has yet to decide to join House Speaker Richard Corcoran in calling for a Special Session on medical marijuana implementation, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. Negron, a Stuart Republican, is still “in the process of having discussions with senators in response to the memorandum he sent last Thursday,” Katie Betta said in an email.  Negron had sought input from fellow senators after the 2017 Legislative Session ended without a bill to guide state Health regulators on the…

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Despite lack of deal, Seminole Tribe still paying state millions

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The Seminole Tribe of Florida has given the state of Florida another multi-million dollar payday. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation reported that the tribe paid $19.5 million in gambling revenue share on Monday. The department regulates gambling. That money includes revenue share from banked card games, specifically blackjack. The tribe also offers slots. It has Vegas-style and other gambling at seven casinos around the state, including Tampa’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, but has blackjack only in Tampa and Hollywood. Monday’s deposit brings the total amount paid by the…

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Jeff Brandes asks for medical marijuana Special Session

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Add state Sen. Jeff Brandes to the list of those calling for a Special Legislative Session on medical marijuana implementation. “I hope that we can reconvene in a Special Session, which should include ample time for public input, to implement the will of the voters, so that patients and entrepreneurs alike may access the marketplace,” Brandes wrote to Senate President Joe Negron on Friday. This week, Negron sought input from fellow senators after the 2017 Legislative Session ended without a bill to implement…

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