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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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Joe Lopano: Tampa International master plan is about living up to George Bean’s legacy

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As Tampa International Airport’s master plan expansion moves through Phase One, the Hillsborough Aviation Authority is now looking toward Phase Two. This week, the Authority approved more than $132 million to pay for construction of a retail and office space area near the airport’s new rental car facility, which is also still under construction. Over the past month, TIA CEO Joe Lopano has been making the rounds in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, keeping various local governments and agencies informed of all…

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Senate adds slot machine provision onto House bill

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Senate on Wednesday tacked language onto a professional deregulation bill that could lead to the expansion of certain kinds of slot machines. The provision came under the guise of trying to move fantasy sports into the non-gambling realm before the end of the Legislative Session. Lawmakers failed to agree on comprehensive gambling legislation this year, ending their efforts Tuesday. Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican, offered an amendment to a House bill under consideration, a “Deregulation of Professions and Occupations” measure…

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Greyhound steroid ban dies in Senate

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A bipartisan bill banning the use of steroids on greyhound racing dogs is likely dead for the 2017 Legislative Session. The last committee of reference for the Senate bill (SB 512) had been Appropriations, which did not hear it Monday at its last meeting. The House version (HB 743) passed earlier this month on an 84-32 vote. “We had the votes to pass it,” said Senate bill sponsor Dana Young, a Tampa Republican. The Senate bill cleared two previous committees…

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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. On and off: Charlotte Jones has replaced Roshanda Jackson as district secretary for Jacksonville Democratic Rep. Kimberly Daniels. On: Joshua Winograd is a new legislative assistant for Delray Beach Democratic Rep. Emily Slosberg. Off: Karol Molinares is no longer Slosberg’s legislative assistant. Off: Alison Roldan is no longer a district secretary for Miami Democratic Rep. Robert Asencio. Off: Rachel Wise is no longer a district secretary for…

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House considers contentious Tampa International Airport audit

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Budget language filed in the Florida House Saturday morning would OK a controversial state audit of Tampa International Airport. As reported by Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida, Brandon Republican Sen. Tom Lee unexpectedly filed an amendment last week on the Senate floor, which proposes an audit of TIA’s renovation master plan. Lee’s amendment raised concern with two other Tampa Bay-area Senate Republicans — appropriations chair Jack Latvala of Clearwater and Dana Young of Tampa. The Senate rejected the amendment. Pensacola…

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With weeks left in Session, small-business group urges fracking ban

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

With just over two weeks left in Florida’s regular Legislative Session, a group of over 100 members of the business community released a statement Wednesday indicating support for a statewide fracking ban. “If something goes wrong, I know that will have an impact on us,” said Mark Amis, the owner of Little Tommie’s Tiki located at Boca Ciega Bay in Gulfport. “I just don’t think that we should be spending the amount of money we’re going to spend to get those…

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