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Tallahassee entrepreneur Rick Kearney boosts Florida Competes campaign with $100K

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Florida’s effort to create statewide anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity received a substantial boost. On Thursday, Tallahassee tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Rick Kearney gave $100,000 to Florida Competes, the coalition of businesses working to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. Kearney’s check is the largest single donation to Florida Competes so far. The bipartisan Workforce Act is once again in the Florida Legislature, filed earlier this month in the House (HB 623) by Democrat Ben Diamond…

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Competitive Workforce Act filed once again in Legislature

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On Thursday, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act was filed again in the Florida Legislature, this time by Rep. Ben Diamond and Rep. Rene Plascenia on the House side, and Sen. Jeff Clemens in the Senate. House Bill 623/Senate Bill 666 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. Gender expression is not in the current bill. The FCWA would amend Ch. 760 of the Florida State Statutes (“The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992“), which bars such discrimination based on…

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Pinellas Legislative Delegation hears from frustrated beach mayor, homeowners

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Redington Beach Mayor Nick Simons and four of his constituents came to ask members of Pinellas’ Legislative Delegation to help municipalities that want to regulate short-term, vacation rentals. Delegations members heard their pain and frustration and made a move toward helping Redington Beach and a similar problem in Indian Rocks Beach. But they showed no interest in working to loosen restrictions on municipalities and counties that want the power to regulate those type rentals. “I want to see this problem…

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For Ben Diamond, Wengay Newton, a time of learning and outreach

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Tuesday is an important day for freshman members of the Florida Legislature. They’ll be sworn in and have to start making good on those campaign promises. However, there’s a lot to do before they start filing bills. “It’s going to be a learning session for me,” said Wengay Newton, who represents House District 70, which covers portions of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota, and Manatee counties. Ben Diamond, who won the race for House District 68, which covers a portion of Pinellas…

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Ben Diamond defeats JB Benshimen in HD 68 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Democrat Ben Diamond has defeated Republican JB Benshimen in the House District 68 race, 56 percent to 44 percent. “I’m so honored to have been chosen to represent our district in Tallahassee,” said Diamond. “I’m looking forward to working hard for the people of Pinellas County. I want to thank my family, friends, supporters, and volunteers for all their help in making this possible. I also want to congratulate JB Bensmihen on a well-run race.” Diamond is a first-time candidate who emerged as the…

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Charlie Crist, David Jolly fish for votes three days before election

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

David Jolly and Charlie Crist spent much of Saturday the way they’ve spent much of the past few months – casting a net for votes. Jolly, the Republican incumbent, is facing a challenge from Democrat Crist for the 13th Congressional District seat. Jolly spent the first part of the morning at an Alzheimer’s Awareness Fair at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on the University of South Florida campus in downtown St. Petersburg. His office had helped arrange the event, which included…

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Here’s where the money chase stands in Tampa Bay’s legislative races

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Tampa Bay legislative candidates have filed their second-to-last campaign finance reports before Election Day, and Republicans still look like they’ll hold onto five of the six Senate seats covering Hillsborough or Pinellas counties. Sens. Tom Lee, Bill Galvano, and Jeff Brandes have already been re-elected without opposition, while Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala only faces a write-in candidate. Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson faces Republican John “Mr. Manners” Houman in the SD 19 race, though he has been piling on to…

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