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Chip Fletcher

Without private funding, Confederate statue won’t be moved

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The topsy-turvy saga regarding a Confederate monument in Tampa took yet another turn Wednesday when Hillsborough County Commissioners voted that the monument will stay in front of the courthouse annex unless the private sector raises $140,000 in the next 30 days.

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Hillsborough Commission to copy Richard Corcoran’s proposal to ban texting by lobbyists?

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Hillsborough County Commissioners approved a motion on Wednesday directing their attorney to research and provide draft language on a proposal that would ban them from receiving text messages from a lobbyist during a board meeting. However, the proposal’s ultimate passage is unclear, based on comments from some members. “In the event that we did receive a text message during a commission meeting from a lobbyist related to official public business, we would have to disclose that communication by filing it with our…

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Hillsborough County Commissioners honor Kevin Beckner as he departs the board

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Kevin Beckner was feted with plaudits and awards by his colleagues on Wednesday, his last day on the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners. “My service was never about me, it was always about we,” the 45-year-old Indiana native said at a ceremony celebrating his eight years of service on the board. Term-limited out of his seat this fall, he had hoped to continue his political career by running for the Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Court seat, but lost in a bitterly…

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Hillsborough commissioners approve six-month moratorium on medical pot dispensaries

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The Hillsborough County Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to adopt a 180-day moratorium on permitting new medical marijuana dispensing facilities. The move comes 34 days before Floridians go to the polls to decide whether medical marijuana should be legal in the state. County Attorney Chip Fletcher said the moratorium will allow county staff to develop rules regarding parking, zoning, and other location criteria regarding construction of such facilities in the county. He also said his staff would be able to explore the parameters of what…

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Activists rallying to stop Hillsborough Commissioners from putting Go Hillsborough on the ballot

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The Hillsborough County Commission will vote next week on whether they want to support putting a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot to pay for transportation improvements. Critics of the proposal are already rallying opponents to speak up at that public hearing to speak against the measure. “Several of your county commissioners want to be re-elected or seek other office (sic), some of them this year. Nothing has a bigger impact on them than ordinary citizens (not paid agitators)…

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Tensions build regarding Hillsborough PTC as legislative delegation meeting approaches

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Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission (PTC) Chairman Victor Crist says that Jeff Brandes‘ recent inquiry on whether the PTC should be allowed to hire lobbyists was simply a ploy “to try to stir the pot” in advance of next week’s Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation meeting. “This is a publicity stunt by Sen. Brandes to stir the pot before the delegation meets so he can waive his hands in the air and go, ‘Oh look, here we go again, there’s another…

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Pam Bondi’s office says Hillsborough PTC can decide whether to hire lobbyists

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(UPDATED) The Florida Attorney General’s office has decided it’s up to the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission to decide whether it wants to hire lobbyists. The decision came at the request from St. Petersburg GOP state Sen. Jeff Brandes for an opinion on the issue. In a letter to Brandes on Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Ellen B. Gwynne wrote, “This is not a matter that the Attorney General may presently comment on.” She went on to quote the AG’s website, which…

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