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Alan Hays

Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements — both on and off — of the legislative merry-go-round. Off: Mary Kassabaum is no longer legislative assistant for Trilby Republican state Sen. Wilton Simpson. Off: Caroline Crow is no longer district secretary for Rockledge Republican state Sen. Thad Altman. On: Matthew Hunter is returning as legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto. Off: Sean Nixon is no longer legislative assistant for Cutler Bay Democratic state Sen. Dwight Bullard. Off: Kyle Langan is no longer…

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2016 state radio funds allocated; next procurement to begin this summer

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The Department of Management Services’ Joint Task Force panel detailed on Monday how $7 million allocated for state law enforcement radios last year will be spent, possibly giving a clue into how another $7 million appropriated for SLERS during the 2016 Legislative Session may be allocated as well. The funding item has been the topic of a heated intra-industry fight between two major state government vendors. Brevard County-based Harris Corporation, who holds the lucrative nine-figure contract to produce and service nearly all of…

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Lawmakers make case for dental carve-out bill at Session’s end

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On Day 60 of the 2016 Legislative Session and with passage of a bill to separate children’s dental insurance under Medicaid from other medical coverage secured, GOP lawmakers held a press conference to garner support for their plan and potentially avert a veto from Gov. Rick Scott. Senate President-designate Joe Negron and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz spoke to reporters to burnish their bill, saying it is keeping with national trends and would more efficiently administer care. Both legislators said having a separate policy and benefit…

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Legislature passes new strictures on abortion clinics

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The Florida Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that critics say would curtail women’s access to safe and legal abortions, while supporters say it simply “gets Florida out of the abortion business.” The measure to increase medical requirements on abortion clinics, sponsored by Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel, passed 25-15 after nearly half an hour of debate. After the Senate removed language pledging the state’s commitment to an “unborn child’s right to life,” which many legal observers could have added further constitutional complications,”…

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Senate passes reforms for Department of Financial Services

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An amended version of a bill reforming several laws and policies at the Department of Financial Services passed the Senate unanimously. LobbyTools reports that HB 651 is now headed back to the House. The bill, in part, creates a new grant program for volunteer fire departments and specifies that employees of state universities, special districts and water management districts can participate in the state’s deferred compensation program. Amendments added by Sen. Alan Hays and Sen. Jeff Brandes are the reason…

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Ag & Natural Resources budget panel wraps up talks

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The Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations/General Government Appropriations conference committee held their final meeting of the 2016 Session on Monday, but the late-evening meeting did not bring final closure on several unresolved line items. The House and Senate proposals remained just $6 million apart in terms of bottom-line figures – out of a mammoth $2.7 billion proposed budget silo –  but the ways the chambers wanted to spend the money were more widely divergent still. Conference Vice Chair Sen. Alan Hays began the…

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Government ops budgets inch closer but law enforcement radios dispute remains

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The Committee on Government Operations Appropriations/General Government Appropriation held its fourth and final meeting of the budget conferencing period Monday morning. Chairwoman Rep. Jeanette Nunez and Vice Chairman Sen. Alan Hays closed out “back of the bill” differences, but couldn’t agree on about a dozen line items. They will be “bumped up” for consideration by chief budget writers Rep. Richard Corcoran and Sen. Tom Lee. Among the outstanding issues were $1 million for “dependent eligibility benefit verification services,” capital depreciation funding for the Department of Management…

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