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Richard Corcoran releases new committee assignments

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran released his committee assignments for the 2018 Legislative Session Thursday with just a few changes from 2017, notably some freshmen getting vice chairmanships and new chairs for the Ways and Means and Commerce Committees. Corcoran’s changes in committees look more like mid-term adjustments for the two-year term, rather than the wholesale reshuffling that Senate President Joe Negron announced earlier this week for that chamber’s committees.

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Rick Scott names Tom Grady to constitutional review panel

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Former state Rep. Tom Grady will take Jimmy Patronis‘ place on the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday evening. In picking Grady, a Naples attorney and a friend of Scott’s, the governor passed over the three alternates he previously selected to fill an empty seat on the commission, which will review the state’s governing document for possible changes.

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Speaker contest underway for 2022 House leadership

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The last-ditch politicking has begun behind closed doors at an Orlando airport hotel. Freshman state Reps. Byron Donalds of Naples, Erin Grall of Vero Beach, Jamie Grant of Tampa and Paul Renner of Palm Coast, and most of the other 23 Republicans in the class gathered Friday at the Orlando International Airport Hampton Inn & Suites, with a vote expected sometime after noon. The meeting was closed to press and public. It appeared that more than 20 of the freshmen lawmakers…

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Steve Hayes: Tourism industry in jeopardy with House Bill 1A

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The Florida House of Representatives has recently espoused a philosophy of not “picking winners and losers,” but House Bill 1A does just that. As I watched Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, and Speaker Richard Corcoran announce their plans for a special session to discuss tourism funding, I felt hopeful for the fate of Florida’s tourism industry. However, my optimism faded when I read the strict VISIT Florida provisions tucked inside House Bill 1A. Of course, I am deeply…

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The hangover: Rick Scott vetoes ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ bill

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Saying it could hurt job creation, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a contentious bill that would have removed the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. Scott filed his veto letter of the measure (SB 106) on Wednesday night, his deadline to act on the bill. It’s the first veto of a bill from the 2017 Legislative Session. It would have removed the 82-year-old requirement, enacted in Florida after Prohibition, that hard liquor be sold in a separate store. Beer and wine…

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Big-box chains, others make one last push for ‘whiskey & Wheaties’

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Costco now is joining Wal-Mart, Target and others in one last push to get Gov. Rick Scott to sign a bill to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. Their Floridians For Fair Business Practices coalition on Friday released a tranche of letters sent to Scott encouraging him to OK the legislation (SB 106) known by the nickname “whiskey and Wheaties.” They also include representatives of Whole Foods Market, the Distilled Spirits Council and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.…

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House raises eyebrows by arguing prosecutors have no discretion on death penalty

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In a friend of the court brief bound to raise state attorneys’ eyebrows throughout Florida, the Florida House is arguing that prosecutors have no discretion with regard to capital punishment, that the state Legislature’s intent was to rest all discretion with juries. The House filed the brief in the Florida Supreme Court case of Orlando’s State Attorney Aramis Ayala versus Gov. Rick Scott. The issues, in that case, are whether prosecutorial discretion gives Ayala the power to refuse all capital punishment prosecutions,…

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