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Bill Hager

Thad Altman draws GOP challenger for HD 52 seat

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Longtime Republican lawmaker Thad Altman has drawn a primary challenger as he seeks re-election to the House next year. Melbourne Republican Matt Nye has opened a campaign account to challenge the Indialantic Republican in 2018 in Brevard County’s House District 52, according to the state Division of Elections website.

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State surplus money ‘gone’ because of Irma

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The Legislature’s chief economist has told lawmakers that next year’s relatively tiny budget surplus will be erased because of costs from Hurricane Irma. Amy Baker, director of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, presented a working version of the state’s long-range financial outlook to the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Friday. She explained that extra costs to the state from last year’s hurricanes, Hermine and Matthew, cost $76.2 million, meaning a projected $52 million surplus for fiscal year 2018-19 is “gone.”

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Compilation of Independence Day messages from Florida’s elected officials, political leaders

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A compilation of Independence Day messages from Florida’s elected officials and politicians: Attorney General Pam Bondi: Two hundred and forty-one years ago, our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence to ensure our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Since that historic day, generations of military men and women have sacrificed everything to protect those rights. It is because of their service that we are able to enjoy this nation’s freedoms and privileges today. So this Fourth…

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House, Senate moving closer on civil and criminal justice spending

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The main things separating the House and Senate on civil and criminal justice spending is whittling down Senate member projects and construction costs in the juvenile justice and prison systems. That’s according to Rep. Bill Hager, the lead House negotiator, speaking following a conference subcommittee hearing Saturday morning. “These are really not sticking points. It’s really the philosophical difference,” Hager said. The talks opened with a $200 million gap between the House and Senate positions — the former intending to…

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Florida House passes bill cracking down on sober homes

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A crackdown on sober home corruption took a big step forward on Wednesday after House members unanimously voted to pass a bill strengthening the state’s role in prosecuting criminal and regulatory violations. Rep. Bill Hager, a Republican from Boca Raton who is sponsoring the measure (HB 807), hopes this is the next step toward stopping problems at substance abuse treatment centers in Florida. “Based on hearings we held, we found evidence of patient brokering, insurance fraud, human trafficking, forced labor…

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House advances bills ‘cracking the whip’ on domestic abuse, child offenders, recovery centers, terrorism

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A litany of bills Tuesday show legislators intend to crack the whip on several social, criminal and commercial problems affecting the state. Each bill passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, covering issues as wide ranging as child predators, domestic violence, addiction recovery homes, skimming devices, the department of corrections, probation, terrorism — and protection of marine turtles. All the measures facing the committee were built around a single theme, improving language in bills already on the books or simply to…

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Repealing PIP, implementing Amendment 4 top priorities for Jeff Brandes in 2017

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Sen. Jeff Brandes will once again file legislation to repeal the state’s no-fault auto insurance requirement, saying it’s time for Florida to move away from the troubled system. The St. Petersburg Republican said repealing the state’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) system will be one of his top priorities during the 2017 legislative session. The decision to file the bill comes just a few months after a study revealed Floridians could save an average $81 a car if the state drops…

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