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By two votes, House ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ bill cleared for floor

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In another squeaker, the House version of a bill to allow retailers to sell liquor in their main stores cleared its last committee by just two votes. The House Commerce Committee on Wednesday OK’d the legislation (HB 81) on a 15-13 vote. It’s now ready to be considered by the full House. It previously cleared the Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee by a 7-6 vote. And it hobbled out of the Careers and Competition Subcommittee on an 8-7 vote. “Any time you have an issue…

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Pennsylvania joins Florida in considering ‘whiskey & Wheaties’

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whiskey and Wheaties

In addition to the Sunshine State, Pennsylvania lawmakers have now filed legislation to break down the wall of separation between liquor and other goods. On Saturday, the Philadelphia-based Billy Penn news site reported that bills in that state’s “House and Senate would create a new category of license that would allow grocery and convenience stores to add hard liquor to their shelves.” For decades, Pennsylvanians had to purchase distilled spirits at “state stores,” government-run retail outlets, and wine and beer…

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Rick Scott rallies allies for VISIT FLORIDA

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With VISIT FLORIDA chief Ken Lawson acting as hype man, Gov. Rick Scott held a rally inside the Florida Capitol to “save” the embattled tourism organization. Scott, not typically a high-energy performer, worked up the crowd of hundreds in the building’s rotunda with the help of CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. In the background, Lawson hollered, “That’s right!” and “Yessir!” “We need to remain the tourist capital of the world,” Scott said to cheers and whistling. Meantime, dozens of…

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Special-interest groups rejoice Enterprise Florida House vote; call for Senate death knell

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When the Florida House of Representatives voted Friday to do away with the much-embattled Florida Enterprise – the program Gov. Rick Scott loyally supported and, oppositely, Speaker Richard Corcoran virulently chided – special interest groups who had worked tirelessly for its eradication jumped for joy. None celebrated more than the Florida branch of Americans for Prosperity (AFP-FL), which bills itself as the leading grassroots advocacy organization campaigning against corporate welfare, which is what Speaker Corcoran had called it in the…

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Florida’s death penalty fix heads to Rick Scott

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Florida will require a unanimous jury recommendation before the death penalty can be imposed under a bill lawmakers sent to Gov. Rick Scott on Friday. Lawmakers rushed to get the bill passed on the fourth day of their legislative session in hopes of fixing a death penalty law that’s been found unconstitutional twice since January 2016. The effort has been seen as a better-than-nothing option for both proponents and opponents of the death penalty. The House approved the measure 112-3…

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Supreme Court case reporting bill passed by House

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stacks of files and paperwork

A bill requiring the state Supreme Court to produce a yearly report on how many cases it’s finishing with opinions got the thumbs up from the Florida House on Friday. The legislation (HB 301), which has an identical companion in the Senate, was approved 78-37. The bill, by Republican state Rep. Frank White of Pensacola, would require the court to tally in detail “each case on the court’s docket … for which a decision or disposition has not been rendered within…

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House passes 6-year lobbying ban on former lawmakers, others

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The Florida House has approved extend the state’s lobbying ban on former lawmakers and statewide elected officers from two to six years. With no debate, House members on Friday voted 110-3 for the measure (HB 7003), a priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran. The bill now heads to the Senate. If signed into law, the measure would be the longest lobbying ban in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But it has raised constitutional concerns over free speech…

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