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2017 Legislative Session - page 5

Jeff Brandes celebrates long list of legislative wins in 2017 Session

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Now that the 2017 Legislative Session is in the rearview mirror, state Sen. Jeff Brandes looks back on some big wins from the past two months. The St. Petersburg Republican is celebrating his top eight successes, which include a diverse range of issues such as renewable energy tax exemptions, statewide regulation for ridesharing, flood insurance reforms and the development of personal delivery drones. In 2017, Brandes championed the bill on renewable energy source devices (SB 90), which passed unanimously through…

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Education bill, key to budget deal, clears the Senate by two votes

in Statewide by

Only one of the budget conforming bills debated in the Senate Monday drew a point of order — SB 7069, to implement the House’s ideas about charter schools and teacher bonuses. It didn’t stop the bill from passing, on a vote of 20-18. House and Senate negotiators have paired the bill with separate legislation carrying the Senate’s higher education agenda. Sen. Gary Farmer raised the point of order, arguing that the education compromise violated multiple Senate rules. For example, he…

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Area lawmakers, Dozier survivor pitch Pasco forensics lab to Rick Scott

in Statewide by

Legislators from Pasco County urged Gov. Rick Scott Monday to approve legislation authorizing construction of a $4.3 million criminal forensics laboratory there that would attack the state’s 16,000-case backlog of unsolved murders. “This is not about Pasco County. This is about the entire state,” Sen. Wilton Simpson said. The project would “greatly expand law enforcement’s ability as it relates to terrorism and as it relates to cold cases,” he said. “This project is going to change lives, and it’s going…

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Senate sends $82.4 billion budget bill to the House in extended session

in Statewide by

The Senate approved an $82.4 billion state budget during legislative overtime Monday, including a raft of conforming bills implementing House and Senate priorities on matters including public schools, colleges, and universities. The 34-0 vote sent the budget bill to the House. The final Senate vote came at about 8:30 p.m. without debate, following a day spent in extensive debate over the budget package. The chamber sent the usual implementing bill over by the same margin, then paused to give the House time…

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Jack Latvala appeals to Senate to pass budget, despite flawed process

in Statewide by

Don’t let the perhaps flawed way that House and Senate negotiators agreed upon their $83 billion state budget tarnish the final bill, Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala urged Monday as the Senate took up the measure in an extended session. “We’ve done a lot of good with this budget” and “cannot get bogged down just worrying about one issue and forget all of the many accomplishments that we’ve had together this year,” he said. “If there’s fault to be had…

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Winners and losers emerging from the 2017 Legislative Session

in Peter by

Dysfunction seems to run in Tallahassee like a sine wave. We went from the collapse of 2015 – the House going home early, no budget, a Special Budget Session – to the trains-on-time Session of 2016, to the no-budget-at-the-end-of-regulation Session in 2017. We saw another Session in which we got oh-so-close to a gambling bill, only to have victory swallowed by the maw of Capitol defeat. And yes, the war of words between Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard…

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Joe Henderson: Bottom line for USF — Close, but no pre-eminence status

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Florida State Senate President Joe Negron continues to insist there was no dark conspiracy to deny pre-eminent status to the University of South Florida. He swears on a stack of legal briefs that state graduation guidelines weren’t changed at the last minute just to make sure USF wouldn’t qualify. As we now know, this is not a small thing. By failing to achieve the pre-eminent designation, USF missed out on millions of dollars — money the state’s flagship schools in…

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