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Cynthia Stafford

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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House sends back Senate’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill

in Statewide/Top Headlines by
self defense

The House on Wednesday OK’d the Senate’s fix to the state’s “stand your ground” law to streamline claims of self-defense—with one change. The House version changes the measure (SB 128) to switch the burden of proof to “clear and convincing evidence,” a lower threshold than the Senate’s “beyond a reasonable doubt,” to overcome self-defense. Members voted 74-39 for the amended bill, sending it back across the rotunda. The Republican majority in the Legislature wants to shift the burden to prosecutors, making them disprove a claim…

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House wants to conceal murder witnesses’ identities

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida House is poised to approve a bill that would conceal the identities of those who have witnessed a murder from public records. House members prepared the bill for a final vote on Wednesday after the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cynthia Stafford, said it would encourage murder witnesses to come forward and bring perpetrators to justice. If passed, the bill would keep witnesses’ personal information confidential for two years after the murder occurred. The Florida First Amendment Foundation has scrutinized…

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More than a dozen South Florida House members appear to be re-elected without opposition

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

More than a dozen members of the Florida House are heading back Tallahassee. As of 5 p.m., state records show nearly a dozen South Florida lawmakers appeared to win their elections Friday when they failed to draw an opponent by the time qualifying period. All of the candidates are incumbents. In House District 94, Bobby DuBose is returning to the Florida House. The Fort Lauderdale Democrat was first elected to the Florida House in 2014. Kristin Jacobs appears to have…

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Florida lawmakers support presidential candidates, but forgot to vote in primary

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Florida legislators may have publicly backed a presidential candidate, but new research finds that several lawmakers failed to vote in the state’s primary election. Noah Pransky of WTSP reports that a number of lawmakers — just like in 2012 – simply did not take part in Florida’s March 15 presidential preference primary, including four from Miami-Dade County: Republican Rep. Erik Fresen, Democratic Reps. Daphne Campbell, Cynthia Stafford, and State Sen. Gwen Margolis. Fresen had endorsed Marco Rubio, who lost Florida…

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round. Off: John Hinchee has stepped down as legislative assistant for Longwood Republican Rep. Scott Plakon. On: Jervonte Edmonds will be Plakon’s new assistant. Off: Bryan Roberts is no longer district secretary for Opa Locka Democratic Rep. Cynthia Stafford. On: Dalie Sejour will be Stafford’s new secretary. Off: Kamia Brown has stepped down as legislative assistant for Orlando Democratic…

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Disputed real estate estoppel bill clears House panel, but has a long way to go

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Amid a heated inter-industry debate among representatives of title insurance companies and homeowners’ and condominium association managers, a bill to shift certain closing costs onto the latter passed the House Civil Justice Committee on Tuesday with two “no” votes. Republican Rep. John Wood‘s HB 203 is based on the premise that HOAs and condo associations are charging unreasonable fees, “holding hostage” homeowners trying to sell their units in HOAs and making them pay for a “letter of estoppel” from the association before…

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