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Halsey Beshears

Lionfish tagging, hunting pythons, designating reefs: bills pass House committee

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If anyone has ever tried to insert a passive integration transponder tag into a lionfish, they may have an idea of how seriously the Florida House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee is viewing control of invasive species. Under House Bill 587, lionfish become one of three invasive species animals, along with python snakes and tegu lizards, the state would seek to better control through a pilot project that includes state-sponsored hunting and fishing, and the requirement that pet shop owners…

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Final push for fundraising before 2017 Session kicks off

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Think of it as the last hurrah before the 2017 Legislative Session. Members of the House and Senate can’t raise money while the Legislature is session, putting a 60-day pause on fundraising each year. And while that may be good news for their most loyal contributors’ pocketbooks, it does mean you can expect a mad dash for last minute fundraising before clock starts on the 2017 Session. House Majority, the fundraising arm of House Republicans, has a bevy of fundraisers…

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‘Whiskey and Wheaties’ bill squeaks out of House panel

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whiskey and Wheaties

House members served up a sour version of the “whiskey and Wheaties” bill Wednesday as it barely cleared its first committee. The Careers and Competition Subcommittee cleared the legislation (HB 81) by a vote of 8-7, with the panel’s chair, Monticello Republican Halsey Beshears, voting against it. This is the fourth year a version of the bill has been filed. It aims to repeal the Prohibition-era state law requiring businesses, such as grocery chains and big-box retailers, to have separate…

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Mark Wilson calls House push to eliminate Enterprise Florida ‘a political conversation about ideology’

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Addressing what he called the “obvious elephant in the room,” Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson criticized Florida House members who backed an effort to end economic incentive programs, calling the move political. “I want to be blunt for a few minutes,” said Wilson. “This is not a Legislature trying to seek how to diversify the economy and how to grow trade. This is a political conversation about an ideology that frankly is silly.” Wilson made his comments during the 2017…

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More legislative hopefuls file to run in 2018, 2020

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The list of legislative hopefuls just keeps getting longer. State elections records show dozens of members of the state House and Senate have filed to run for re-election in 2018, and several more are looking ahead to 2020. Sen. Dorothy Hukill is one of those thinking about her next election. State election records show she filed to run for re-election in Senate District 14 on Feb. 3. Hukill, who was first elected to the Florida Senate in 2012 after serving…

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House panel votes to kill Enterprise Florida, VISIT FLORIDA

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A Florida House panel Wednesday cleared a bill that would eliminate the Enterprise Florida economic development organization, the VISIT FLORIDA tourism marketing agency, and a slew of economic incentive programs – the first step of a long journey through one chamber of the Legislature. The Careers and Competition Subcommittee OK’d the proposal (PCB CCS 17-01) by a nearly party-line vote of 10-5. One Democrat voted for it, Miami’s Roy Hardemon, and one Republican was opposed, Sarasota’s Joe Gruters – an ally of…

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House panel begins discussions about economic incentives

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A Florida House subcommittee took its first stab at addressing economic incentives during a panel discussion Wednesday. While the two-hour House Careers & Competition Subcommittee meeting gave experts a chance to weigh-in on economic incentives, the crux of the discussion centered around a single question from Rep. Halsey Beshears, the committee’s chairman. Beshears asked the panel — which included Chris Hart IV, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida; Cissy Proctor, the executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Development; and…

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