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Rick Scott signs drone regulation bill

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Gov. Rick Scott on Friday approved the Legislature’s “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act,” which gives the state authority to regulate “personal delivery devices (PDDs) and unmanned aircraft systems.” A “personal delivery device” is a machine for use on sidewalks, usually not traveling more than 10 miles per hour. Photo credit: Starship Technologies London-based Starship Technologies, for instance, makes a six-wheeled “self-driving delivery robot” that was starting to make deliveries in California and Washington, D.C. at the beginning of this year. “The bill authorizes, subject to local government regulation, the…

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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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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. Off: Hope Holt, formerly calendar coordinator in the House Clerk’s Office, is now serving as a program specialist for the Office of Professional Development. Off: Tina White stepped down as policy chief for the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Off: Dane Bennett is no longer a legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto. Off: Theresa Frederick and Isabela Dorneles are no longer legislative assistants for North Miami…

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Hillsborough lawmakers clash during Tampa Chamber’s Session look-back

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As House Minority Leader Janet Cruz notes, the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation works “as a united front” when representing their community in Tallahassee. That’s true on issues like the eleventh-hour move by the Florida Senate to push the University of South Florida out of pre-eminent status under a conformity education budget bill that passed in the waning hours of the legislative session two weeks ago. Over that matter, members acted in unison, denouncing what they said was a fundamental unfairness, leading…

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Still no decision from Joe Negron on special session on pot referendum

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Senate President Joe Negron has yet to decide to join House Speaker Richard Corcoran in calling for a Special Session on medical marijuana implementation, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. Negron, a Stuart Republican, is still “in the process of having discussions with senators in response to the memorandum he sent last Thursday,” Katie Betta said in an email.  Negron had sought input from fellow senators after the 2017 Legislative Session ended without a bill to guide state Health regulators on the…

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#12 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Dana Young

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

South Tampa resident Dana Young survived a brutal 2016 election against Democrat Bob Buesing and independent Joe Redner to get elected to the state Senate after six years in the House. “Dana Young is one of the most productive members of the Florida Legislature,” says lobbyist and Democratic fundraiser Justin Day. “She has never shied away from taking on an important or difficult issue to her constituents. Those of us who are lucky enough to call her our Senator, should rest easy…

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USF community outraged after last-minute budget language is inserted to keep it from achieving ‘preeminent’ status

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Officials associated with the University of South Florida this weekend are fervently seeking to change the language in an education conforming bill that will keep the university from achieving ‘pre-eminent’ status next year. A loss of the pre-eminent status for USF could result in losing much as $15 million in state funding. “The amount of people who are upset about this as of this morning is like anything else,” said Mike Griffin, president of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and a USF alumnus. In 2013,…

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