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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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House Democrats wake up on weed

in Peter by

Perhaps they’ve been reading the rash of vitriolic emails and op-eds from Florida for Care, or the equally brutal reporting and editorializing from the Tampa Bay Times this past weekend. Maybe it was the litany of emotional public comment at Tuesday’s hearing. Whatever it was, Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee – led by the always entertaining, snarky and whip-smart Jared Moskowitz – suddenly woke up on medical marijuana. It was a huge turnaround from just a few weeks ago. When…

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Tie score in Legislature could leave Tampa Bay Rays big winners

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

In sports, a tie means no one wins. No one loses, either. Sometimes, in politics, ties can turn out to be victories. On Monday, the Florida Senate essentially handed the Tampa Bay Rays a win with a tie, after the Commerce and Tourism Committee voted 3-3 on a bill from Thonotosassa Republican Tom Lee, which prohibited pro sports facilities from using taxpayer funds. With that, Lee’s bill was officially called out on strikes this Session. Supporting Lee (who is not on the…

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Tom Lee not backing down on claim of questionable spending at Tampa International Airport

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tom Lee insists he never wanted to air any “dirty laundry” about Tampa International Airport when he attempted to introduce an amendment to the Florida Senate’s budget last Wednesday that would have the airport independently audited. But the Brandon Republican says that there are too many unanswered questions about how the airport is being run for him to stand silent. “When you’re presented with this information, and you’re a member of the Florida Legislature, and you don’t act on at least an innocuous…

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Sparks fly with Tampa Bay GOP senators over Tom Lee’s call for Tampa International Airport audit

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sparks flew on the floor of the Florida Senate Wednesday between Tampa Bay-area Republicans after Tom Lee stated that “potential public corruption” is taking place at Tampa International Airport. The Brandon Republican then proposed inserting an amendment to the Senate budget calling for the Auditor General to review spending at the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which is currently in the midst of a billion-dollar-plus master plan renovation. “There have been allegations of gross representation,” Lee told Dana Young of Tampa (as well as the…

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Dana Young raises $150K in March for Senate re-election

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young was among the handful of Florida senators to only win a 2-year term during the 2016 election cycle. She hasn’t wasted any time gearing up for her 2018 re-election. Young, who bested Democrat Bob Buesing in the SD 18 race last November, brought in more than $150,000 last month between her campaign and political committee accounts. The bulk of the money was raised through her political committee, “Friends of Dana Young,” including $10,000 checks from…

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