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Internet companies oppose Florida proposals to regulate web

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Some Florida lawmakers want to impose state-level regulations on the free-wheeling online world, and are drawing opposition from some of the nation’s biggest Internet companies including Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Ebay. The conflict is over two proposed laws. One would affect who controls a person’s email and social media accounts and the secrets they may contain when the owner dies or becomes incapacitated. The other would make the state a combatant against Internet piracy of music and movies. The bills’…

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Dorothy Hukill aims to shoot down GPS tracking

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New media technologies are forcing privacy advocates to redefine privacy. State Sen. Dorothy Hukill is the point person in the Legislature this session for people wanting to be let alone. Her drone bill swats restrictions on mini-flying robots equipped with video cameras like Seiko’s soon-to-be-released 0.4-ounce bug-size helicopter. That bill is now sitting in Appropriations. On Monday Hukill struck another blow for privacy with a measure restricting the use of GPS devices. There are more than 25 global positioning satellites…

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The week ahead at the Florida Capitol

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This week at the Florida Capitol battle lines will be formally drawn for the 2015 state budget debate. Both the House and Senate will hold floor sessions to discuss their respective budgets. Each chamber could approve a state spending plan for next year by week’s end, and given that they are presently separated by $4.2 billion the two are poised to deliver to the other a bureaucratic slap-across- the-face challenge to a duel. The differences in the spending plans can…

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‘Assignment of benefits’ a bonanza for trial lawyers and vendors, bad for consumers

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Bills are gaining momentum in both the House and Senate and to rein in a rapidly growing insurance scam in which sketchy trial lawyers and remediation firms are getting stressed-out homeowners to sign over their policy benefits and rights after a burst water pipe or similar home emergency. Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is a long-used legal tool meant to allow vendors to get paid promptly for emergency repairs to a home without having to get the policyholder directly involved. But in…

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The day that was in the Florida Capitol — March 23

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This day in Florida Politics the Senate had the Capitol to itself while the House traveled back to Tallahassee. While Senate committees considered three separate tax-cut proposals, Gov. Rick Scott kicked off a “Cut My Taxes Week” by setting up a booth in the state Capitol where an average Florida family can calculate its savings from different proposals. The Commerce and Tourism Committee approved state Sen. Dorothy Hukill’s measure to keep alive a sales and use tax exemption for industrial…

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House subcommittee passes drone bill limiting surveillance

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The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee passed a bill that would limit the use of drones for surveillance throughout the state. A bill passed two years ago was a first step in targeting the burgeoning technology and limited use of drones by law enforcement to gather evidence or intel and required a warrant. This bill would build on that foundation by banning any person, state agency or political subdivision from recording any “image of privately owned or occupied real property or…

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The week ahead in Florida politics

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At the state Capitol this week the budget begins to take shape and Rep. Richard Corcoran increasingly becomes the man to watch. By the end of the week the Senate will have released its budget allocation and Corcoran and Sen. Tom Lee, the two chambers’ appropriation chairs, will move closer to center stage as a spending plan begins to take shape. The House released its allocations, the amount of money dedicated to each spending silo; education, health care, etc., last week. The document left…

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