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Pinellas GOP lawmakers ‘have no respect for open government,’ Times editor says

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A top editor at the Tampa Bay Times fired back Wednesday after Pinellas legislators slammed the paper for calling them “Disciples of Darkness” because of transparency-related and public records measures passed this year. “I understand why they are not happy,” Tim Nickens, the Times editor of editorials, wrote in an email. “They have no respect for open government, and Florida voters have strongly supported open government for decades. They also do not like it when they are held accountable for their own voting records.’’…

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Richard Corcoran’s agenda and style get bashed (and sometimes praised) by panel of Pinellas lawmakers

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

He wasn’t on the dais, but Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s policies and public comments were front-and-center when a panel of Pinellas lawmakers spoke Wednesday in Clearwater about the recently concluded legislative session. Dubbed “the most interesting man in Tallahassee” in a recent Miami Herald profile, the 52-year-old Land O’Lakes Republican came into leadership last year with a firm and aggressive agenda, and achieved some major accomplishments in state government. And with a potential gubernatorial candidacy in the offing, opinions…

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On open records, half Florida’s legislators rate F or D

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Half of Florida’s legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year’s legislative sessions. In a “scorecard” produced by the Florida Society of News Editors and based on information provided by Florida’s First Amendment Foundation — which tracked a priority list of public records exemptions — the 160 legislators totaled three Fs, 77 Ds, 71 Cs, and 9 Bs. Each year FSNE completes a project devoted to Sunshine…

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Florida Sheriffs name Jack Latvala, James Grant, Chris Sprowls ‘legislative champions’ for 2017

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Florida Sheriffs recognized several Tampa Bay-area lawmakers Thursday for “significant contributions to and support of good public safety policies” during the 2017 Legislative Session. The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) named five legislators — including Clearwater state Sen. Jack Latvala and Reps. James Grant of Tampa and Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor —  for their “commitment to protecting the best interests of Florida citizens” and support of FSA initiatives. In 2017, Grant had sponsored HB 7059, a prolific juvenile offender bill;…

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‘You’re more partisan than me,’ says Rick Baker about Rick Kriseman — and vice versa

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Rick Baker knew for months that Rick Kriseman was going to attack him as an out-of-step Republican in a Democratically friendly city, even before entering the mayoral campaign last month. During his campaign kickoff announcement, the former St. Petersburg Mayor warned supporters  they’d be getting a dose of such rhetoric from the Kriseman camp: “Because that’s the only thing they have.” But last week, while filing papers for his official re-election run, Kriseman said that a review of who contributed to Seamless…

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Shawn Harrison kicks off HD 63 re-election bid at Tampa Theater June 29

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Republican state Rep. Shawn Harrison is holding a campaign kickoff party later this month to launch his re-election bid in House District 63. The event, hosted by House Majority 2016 and featuring special guest Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, is Thursday, June 29, beginning 5 p.m. at the historic Tampa Theater, 711 N. Franklin St. Included on the extensive list of local GOP leaders making the host committee are House Speaker Richard Corcoran from Land O’Lakes, and Speakers-to-be Jose Oliva and…

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Florida leaders react to the shooting in Orlando

in Apolitical/Statewide by

A disgruntled former employee opened fire inside a Florida awning manufacturer on Monday, killing five workers there and then killing himself, officials said. The gunman was armed with a knife and a gun but did not stab anyone, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said during a news conference. Demings said the shooter —  who had been fired in April and had been previously accused of assaulting a co-worker —  was not believed to be connected to any sort of terror…

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