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Carlos Guillermo Smith

Democratic lawmakers file bill restricting guns for ‘at-risk’ individuals

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gun control bill

Following the worst mass shooting in U.S. history earlier this week in Las Vegas, two Florida lawmakers announced legislation designed to temporarily prevent access to firearms for individuals at a high risk of harming themselves or others. The bill (HB 231), filed Thursday by Jacksonville Sen. Audrey Gibson and Lantana Rep. Lori Berman – both Democrats –would allow family, household members, and law enforcement to obtain a court order with “demonstrated evidence” the person poses a significant danger to themselves or others, including…

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.

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Some lawmakers bowing out of Special Session

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(Originally published Tuesday, June 6, 2017) At least eight House members and one senator won’t be attending some or all of this week’s Special Session, set for Wednesday-Friday.  The June meeting is conflicting with some lawmakers’ plans, including one whose brother is getting married out of state. Below is a list, as of Tuesday afternoon, of lawmakers asking for and receiving excused absences for part or all of the three-day session, with reasons given: — Rep. Bruce Antone, an Orlando…

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Carlos Guillermo Smith, Amy Mercado say special session needed to end cannabis legal limbo

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Saying that the current limbo of law is bad for doctors and patients, Democratic state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Amy Mercado pleaded with Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Legislature leaders to call a special session to deal with medical marijuana. “We are here because 71 percent of Florida voters approved the constitutional right to medical cannabis. But we also are here because unfortunately once again Tallahassee politicians have thwarted the will of the people and they have refused to…

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House passes medical marijuana implementing bill, sends to Senate

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The House overwhelming approved its version of a medical marijuana implementing bill, setting the bill up for final negotiations with the Senate later this week. The House voted 105-9 to approve a bill (HB 1397) that would implement the 2016 medical marijuana constitutional amendment. “Understanding the level of pain and the level of need patients have … there is no way I would block this type of legislation,” said Rep. Amy Mercado, who voted against the bill in its first…

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Greyhound steroid ban dies in Senate

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A bipartisan bill banning the use of steroids on greyhound racing dogs is likely dead for the 2017 Legislative Session. The last committee of reference for the Senate bill (SB 512) had been Appropriations, which did not hear it Monday at its last meeting. The House version (HB 743) passed earlier this month on an 84-32 vote. “We had the votes to pass it,” said Senate bill sponsor Dana Young, a Tampa Republican. The Senate bill cleared two previous committees…

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Florida Young Democrats to hold annual meeting in Tampa next month

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Florida Young Democrats will hold their annual convention in Ybor City, just outside downtown Tampa, on May 19-21. Speakers and panelists include Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Florida House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, Winter Park State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, former State Rep. Ed Narain, felon rights restoration activist Desmond Meade, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp. Training sessions will cover transit initiatives in the Tampa Bay region, criminal justice reform, how to connect with newly activated…

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