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amendment

Gambling amendment now has 600K signatures

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A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at limiting gambling’s expansion in the state now has more than 600,000 signatures, its backers said Monday. Voters in Charge, the political committee behind the amendment, said it’s “over halfway towards its goal of gathering 1.1 million signatures in order to reach the required number of 766,200 valid petitions to appear on the 2018 General Election ballot.”

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Faith leaders call for payday lending interest cap

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A group of clergy is asking the Constitution Revision Commission to adopt a proposal capping payday loan interest rates at 30 percent per year. The proposed constitutional amendment was filed last Friday, records show, by Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson Jr. of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Proponents, who held a Tuesday news conference at the Capitol, said it was modeled after a similar initiative in New Mexico.

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Jeff Brandes files amendment to medical marijuana in Senate

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Sen. Jeff Brandes is proposing a sweeping change to his chamber’s medical marijuana implementation bill that would, among other things, remove a limit on the number of licenses for medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs). The St. Petersburg Republican filed the 63-page strike all amendment late Wednesday. His “Putting Florida Patients First Act” also removes a requirement that marijuana growers and sellers be “vertically integrated,” or share ownership. The amendment will be formally offered on the Senate floor Thursday, an assistant said. It would be the first…

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Medical marijuana advocates up in arms over Jeff Sessions

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The head of a medical marijuana advocacy group is criticizing President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General. Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, said in an email Friday that the Republican Sessions “has criticized the morality of cannabis users and has stated that cannabis is more harmful than alcohol.” Sessions, a former federal prosecutor, once “rebutted (President) Obama’s observation that marijuana is safer than alcohol by citing a renowned expert on substance abuse: ‘Lady…

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Amendment 4 backers want voters to see the light

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Using a favorite joke, state Sen. Jeff Brandes said he had brought together “the Baptists and the bootleggers” in support of his proposed solar-energy constitutional amendment. Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, led a news conference Thursday at Tallahassee’s Florida Press Center. “This is something Republicans and Democrats have come together on,” he told reporters. “It’s about our environment; it’s about jobs … businesses, residents and tourists will all benefit.” Florida for Solar, Inc., the committee behind Amendment 4, is doing a…

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Supreme Court takes up gambling this week

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Thanks to No Casinos, gambling is on the docket this week in the Florida Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the justices will hear oral argument in a case on whether to expand slot machines in the state. Then on Thursday, legal briefs are due in a review of a proposed constitutional amendment limiting gambling. Both matters involve the Orlando-based gambling expansion opposition group. Should the Supreme Court rule against slots expansion, that would take some steam out of the amendment drive. The proposal would “ensure that Florida voters…

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Mystery ballot questions in St. Pete election cruise to approval

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All four ballot questions on the St. Pete ballot Tuesday were soundly approved by voters. None won by less than about 25 points. Referendum question number one, asking voters whether the city should approve “permanent use restrictions over a portion of city owned submerged lands in Tampa Bay” was approved with 85 percent of the vote. That referendum refers to submerged lands near North Shore Park. It would give City Council the authority to create permanent restrictions on land use in…

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