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Speaker moves ‘Eyeball Wars’ closer to House floor; docs say optometrist testimony ‘patently false’

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Florida’s “Eyeball Wars” between ophthalmologists and optometrists could soon be spilling onto the House floor. On Monday, Speaker Richard Corcoran removed HB 1037 — a controversial bill to allow optometrists to perform surgery, among other things — off the agenda of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee. A representative for Corcoran told POLITICO Florida that the measure, which seeks to expand optometry further into the practice of surgery, was one of 12 bills removed from Appropriations under Rule 7.18(c) because…

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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. On: House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee has brought on budget analyst Bryan Mielke, formerly a legislative assistant for Sebring Republican Rep. Cary Pigman. On: Brandon Miller is replacing Mielke as Pigman’s legislative assistant. On: Daniel Brackett is a new attorney for the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee. On: Angelique Rinaldi is the new legislative assistant for Port Orange…

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Final push for fundraising before 2017 Session kicks off

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Think of it as the last hurrah before the 2017 Legislative Session. Members of the House and Senate can’t raise money while the Legislature is session, putting a 60-day pause on fundraising each year. And while that may be good news for their most loyal contributors’ pocketbooks, it does mean you can expect a mad dash for last minute fundraising before clock starts on the 2017 Session. House Majority, the fundraising arm of House Republicans, has a bevy of fundraisers…

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Adam Putnam to be honored at Friends of Florida Agriculture BBQ

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Feel like a barbecue? Want to meet Republican U.S. Senate candidates? If so, a Florida Grown event next month is the place to be. Florida Grown, the fundraising committee that will likely fuel Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s 2018 gubernatorial bid, is hosting a Friends of Florida Agriculture barbecue on April 2. The event will is meant to honor Putnam, and will feature U.S. Senate hopefuls Ron DeSantis, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox. The barbecue will be held at Ben Hill…

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Florida Nurses Association praises “huge victory” for nurse practitioners, physician assistants

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The Florida Nurses Association applauded lawmakers Friday for passing a bill allowing advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances, a measure the group had put before the legislature for 22 years. “It’s been a long battle, and well worth the fight,’’ said FNA Executive Director Willa Fuller in a news release. “The passage of this bill is a huge victory for nurses and patients.” Sponsored by Sebring Republican Rep. Cary Pigman, a physician, and Miami Shores…

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Senate unanimously approves a host of environmental regulations

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The Senate unanimously passed a bill affecting an assortment of different environmental regulations. LobbyTools reports that HB 589, sponsored by Rep. Cary Pigman, in part makes it easier to obtain a water well contractor license; changes regulations around phosphate mines; allows more activities to contribute to the state’s water credit trading program; provides more oversight for stormwater management construction; and allows funds in the state’s solid waste landfill closure account to pay for a wider range of activities. The bill…

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Bill that would regulate fracking in Florida advances in state House

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A bill that would create a new regulatory framework in Florida for the controversial practice known as fracking  passed a House panel Wednesday, despite overwhelming public testimony against it. The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee approved the bill (HB 191), filed by Estero Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues and Rep. Cary Pigman, an Avon Park Republican, on a 9-3 vote. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to create fractures in rock formations, allowing natural gas and oil to…

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