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Rick Scott has a friend in White House and foes back home

in 2017 by

With a friend and a political ally in the White House, this was supposed to be a moment of triumph for Florida Gov. Rick Scott. For years, Scott complained and criticized President Barack Obama and contended he wasn’t helping Florida. Now with Donald Trump in office, Scott has worked out a deal with federal officials to provide at least $1 billion for the state’s hospitals and he obtained a promise to move forward with repairs to a federally-operated dike that…

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House links homestead exemption increase to Senate priorities

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The fate of this year’s gambling bill is being held hostage to passage of a homestead exemption increase, sources told FloridaPolitics.com Sunday night. Publicly, lawmakers have been saying that progress on omnibus gambling legislation was taking a backseat to the 2017-18 state budget talks. The Conference Committee on Gaming hasn’t met since last Thursday. The Senate is largely for some expansion of gambling in the state; the House wants to hold the line. Behind the scenes, however, House leadership made the decision to…

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Tampa Bay officials OK with TBARTA bill, now before full Senate

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Officials had high hopes for a bill to reconfigure Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA). Those same officials are now expressing some contentment following an amendment from the bill’s original sponsor, Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala. The legislation would change TBARTA’s name from the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority to the Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority, and reduce the number of counties involved in addressing the region’s traffic issues. It has been a top priority of the Tampa Bay area business establishment,…

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Mike Fernandez: If gambling in South Florida passes without referendum, ‘the wrath of the community you will feel’

in 2017 by

Mike Fernandez is expressing his disappointment in the House and Senate’s decision to “advance and dump” casino expansion efforts on South Florida. In an email to Sen. Bill Galvano and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz on Thursday, Fernandez criticized the decision to move forward with a proposal that would bring another to South Florida. The provision was part of the latest offer from the Senate as part of ongoing negotiations to strike a compromise on gambling legislation. The Senate on Thursday…

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House takes giant steps in gambling negotiation

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The Florida House made several major offers Wednesday to get a gambling deal done this session, including authorizing decoupling for dog and horse tracks if county voters OK it in a local referendum. House and Senate negotiators met in the morning in their ongoing effort to agree on an omnibus gambling bill for 2017, including an agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to continue blackjack exclusivity in exchange for $3 billion over seven years. State law requires dog and horse…

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Jose Felix Diaz: House will ‘take giant step’ in gambling conference

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The House will make its offer Wednesday morning in the Legislature’s negotiation on a gambling bill this year, state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz told reporters Tuesday night. “I expect to make significant progress in the conversation,” he said, without offering many details and saying the House’s offer was still in flux. “The earlier we get it out, the better.” The House and Senate are far apart on their respective gambling bills this session, with the House holding the line on gambling expansion,…

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Senate budges little in initial gambling negotiation

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Saying he wanted to “start taking small steps,” state Sen. Bill Galvano on Monday tendered the first offer in the Legislature’s negotiation on a gambling bill this year. The initial tender, though it largely maintains what’s in the Senate’s bill, also would classify contentious “pre-reveal” games as slot machines, and would limit two new slots facilities to either Broward or Miami-Dade counties. A circuit court ruling last month against the state said entertainment devices that look and play like slot machines, called “pre-reveal” games,…

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