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Charles Van Zant

Bill would allow booze in All Aboard Florida stations, trains

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Future riders of All Aboard Florida would be allowed a tipple as they wait for a train under legislation moving in the Legislature. The already-approved Senate bill (SB 698) was passed by the House Friday on a 115-1 vote, with only Keystone Heights Republican Charles Van Zant opposed. The House added some changes, though, sending it back to the Senate. The alcoholic-beverage omnibus bill permits booze to be sold on All Aboard Florida trains and in its transit stations. The idea is that restaurants,…

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Jeanette Núñez’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, budget conference

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What do you do when you are asked to carry the water for a colleague running for the Florida Senate, who is looking to curry favor with a large business in his district by requesting funding for a line item nobody asked for, the state doesn’t need, and the Senate vehemently opposes? You do what Rep. Jeanette Núñez has been doing for Rep. Ritch Workman, which is to stick to a script that on the surface sounds believable, but is…

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Government ops budgets inch closer but law enforcement radios dispute remains

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The Committee on Government Operations Appropriations/General Government Appropriation held its fourth and final meeting of the budget conferencing period Monday morning. Chairwoman Rep. Jeanette Nunez and Vice Chairman Sen. Alan Hays closed out “back of the bill” differences, but couldn’t agree on about a dozen line items. They will be “bumped up” for consideration by chief budget writers Rep. Richard Corcoran and Sen. Tom Lee. Among the outstanding issues were $1 million for “dependent eligibility benefit verification services,” capital depreciation funding for the Department of Management…

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House passes incentives measure desired by Rick Scott

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After a debate that included mentions of monsters, Robert A. Heinlein and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Florida House of Representatives Wednesday passed its 2016 business and economic incentives package, including the framework for Gov. Rick Scott‘s proposed $250 million Florida Enterprise Fund. As bill sponsor Jim Boyd reminded members, it still has no funding: “This is a structure bill, a policy bill,” he said, explaining that how much money goes to incentives still must be decided in the budget process.  The legislation (HB 1325)…

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Today on Context Florida: A kick in the ovaries, Trump & torture, public notice, Art Buchwald and Ralph Arza

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Today on Context Florida: For Valentine’s Day, what did the sweethearts in the Legislature give to the ladies of Florida? A swift kick in the ovaries, says Diane Roberts. Rep. Charles Van Zant’s HB 865 would shut down all abortion clinics, urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, and make abortion a felony. Zygotes are citizens, too. Normally (if that word can be used with regard to Florida government), his pet project would languish unheard and unloved. But…

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Today on Context Florida: Florida abortions, death row inmates, welfare for the rich and National School Choice Week

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Today on Context Florida: Diane Roberts warns that Legislature’s Banana Republicans will not rest until Florida starts to be like El Salvador — minus the delicious pupusas, that is. Abortion is illegal in El Salvador — no exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother. Anyone who has an abortion, anyone who performs an abortion, can be jailed for murder. Uber-Baptist Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Misogyny Heights, figures El Salvador’s got it about right, Roberts says. His HB 865…

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Bill to repeal shacking up ban unanimously passes in committee

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Florida is one of only three states that still has a law on the books prohibiting men and women from living together if they are not married. Attempts in 2011 and again in this year’s regular Legislative Session to repeal it failed, but Hollywood Democratic state Sen. Eleanor Sobel hopes it finally will happen in 2016. On Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to support Sobel’s proposal (SB 498). The law now states that a couple found to be “living…

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