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In Tampa, public officials call for common sense solutions to end gun violence epidemic

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After the bloody assault at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando nearly a year ago resulted in the deaths of 49 people, 13 members of the Florida Legislature — 12 Democrats and Miami GOP state Sen. Anitere Flores — were on the losing side of a request to hold a special session on gun regulations. Despite that attitude at the Capitol, Michelle Gajda, the leader of the state chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, says Floridians have the power to end gun violence. “There…

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Tampa Bay-area activists to ‘wear orange’ for National Gun Violence Day events this weekend

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A 10-year-old was shot in the arm and shoulder Monday by an 11-year-old in St. Petersburg. According to the SPPD, the gun was brought into the home by 17-year-old Marquis Strickland. “It’s absolutely tragic,” says Michelle Gajda, Florida chapter leader with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “There is no way for a child to get their hands on a gun that hasn’t first passed through the hands of an adult, ” she said Tuesday, adding that such an incident should in…

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Andrew Warren, Aramis Ayala blast Jeff Sessions plan for stricter sentencing in criminal cases

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

In recent years, criminal justice reform, especially in drug sentencing, has taken on more momentum, with governors in some of most conservative parts of the country embracing such efforts. In Florida, progressive State Attorney candidates like Andrew Warren in Tampa and Aramis Ayala in Orlando won their respective races last year by running on a similar platform. The two State Attorneys joined a group of current and former prosecutors last week in blasting Attorney General Jeff Sessions recent directive that the Justice Department return to…

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Julianne Holt heaps effusive praise about working with Andrew Warren in Hillsborough judicial system

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

On the same day Julianne Holt was elected to serve as the public defender in Hillsborough County in 1992, Harry Lee Coe was elected state attorney. After Coe committed suicide in 2000, he was succeeded in office by Mark Ober, who served for another 16 years, before Democrat Andrew Warren narrowly defeated him in a major upset in November. Although he’s only been on the job officially for a little more than four months, Holt says that in some ways, they’ve been the…

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Elvis Pigott says he’s the fresh new face that the Hillsborough Commission desperately needs

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

If elected to the Hillsborough County Commission next year, Elvis Pigott would become the first millennial — Americans under the age of 35, as recently defined — to serve on the board. The 29-year-old Riverview resident has filed to run for the countywide District 5, which becomes vacant next year after GOP incumbent Ken Hagan term-limits out. But Hagan hopes to stick around for another eight years, having filed to run for the North Tampa District 2 seat currently held by fellow Republican But…

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More than 500 attend Planned Parenthood annual luncheon in Tampa

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Planned Parenthood has never been more under fire from congressional Republicans than in recent years. Nevertheless, since the election of Donald Trump, the public is demonstrating they remain firmly behind the family planning organization. According to a Quinnipiac survey conducted earlier this year to coincide with the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, 62 percent of voters oppose cutting off federal funds to the organization, while only 31 percent support that action. Females are leading the Trump resistance, starting with…

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Julianne Holt expresses concerns about Rick Scott’s benching of Aramis Ayala

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After Rick Scott removed Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala from the case of accused cop killer Markeith Loyd, she announced she would not pursue the death penalty in his or any other case during her tenure. Later, Dover House Republican Ross Spano called on Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren to condemn Ayala’s actions.  Warren refused, saying that he would seek out the death penalty only in “rare cases that are so heinous, atrocious, and undeserving of mercy as to be considered the worst of the worst in our society.” At the Tampa…

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