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Bill Montford

Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee plans hurricane talk

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will take up hurricane effects and recovery efforts across the business community in Florida at its first meeting of the 2018 session, Chairman Bill Montford announced Wednesday. That is assuming the committee’s hearing is not postponed because of a hurricane. Very early projections of Tropical Depression 16 forming off the coast of Central America on Wednesday afternoon have it becoming Hurricane Nate and hitting Florida — right near Tallahassee — Sunday.

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Analysis shows some lawmakers crossing party lines

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The Senate’s reputation for bipartisanship in Tallahassee appears to be well-earned, while the names of House and Senate members who most frequently voted against their parties included a few surprises, according to an analysis of votes in the 2017 legislative session.

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Darryl Rouson’s past used against him by local official during homestead expansion debate

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Darryl Rouson says that he was legitimately undecided days before the Florida Senate would vote on whether to place a measure on the 2018 ballot to increase Florida’s homestead exemption.

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Senate holds off on school funding until House acts on higher education

in Statewide by

The Senate has teed up a compromise school-funding bill designed to help send the Legislature home from its special session. But the senators held off a final vote until the House makes good on its promise to OK an economic development bill that contains $60 million in higher education projects. The Senate passed the latter bill, HB 1-A, earlier in the afternoon, on a vote of 34-2 (with Jeff Brandes and Perry Thurston dissenting). Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala conceded that…

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Bill Montford complains about school spending during scholarships debate

in Statewide by

The Senate’s leading education expert unloaded Friday on spending levels for schools contemplated in the Legislature’s compromise $83 billion state budget. During debate on extending Florida’s corporate tax exemption scholarship program, Sen. Bill Montford complained that base spending per student would decline in the public schools next fiscal year, notwithstanding a modest increase in the school budget. “In the budget that you’re going to look at Monday,” he said, “the basic student allocation next year will be $27 less than it…

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Tie score in Legislature could leave Tampa Bay Rays big winners

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

In sports, a tie means no one wins. No one loses, either. Sometimes, in politics, ties can turn out to be victories. On Monday, the Florida Senate essentially handed the Tampa Bay Rays a win with a tie, after the Commerce and Tourism Committee voted 3-3 on a bill from Thonotosassa Republican Tom Lee, which prohibited pro sports facilities from using taxpayer funds. With that, Lee’s bill was officially called out on strikes this Session. Supporting Lee (who is not on the…

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Senate panel OKs medical marijuana bill, speeds up pace for new licenses

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A Senate panel is moving forward with its version of a bill to implement the 2016 medical marijuana constitutional amendment, approving an amended version of the proposal during its meeting. The Senate Health Policy Committee approved a bill (SB 406), sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, that would implement the 2016 medical marijuana constitutional amendment. Facing a jam-packed agenda, members set aside just over an hour to tackle the bill and 15 amendments, leaving little time for public input and member…

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