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House Appropriations Committee

Lawmakers likely to face tough budget

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A key economist offered a sobering message Friday to state lawmakers: Forget having extra cash for next year’s budget. A long-range financial analysis projected that lawmakers would have a relatively slim $52 million surplus as they put together the 2018-2019 budget. But that was before Hurricane Irma blew through the state early this week.

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Cuba hardliners, U.S. defenders battle over new Donald Trump policy

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Cuba’s best friends in the U.S. used to be a smattering of Washington policy wonks and leftists who sent donated school buses and computers to the communist-led island. Five months into the Trump administration, Cuba has a new set of American defenders: a coalition of high-tech firms, farming interests, travel companies and young Cuban-Americans thrown into action by the looming announcement of a new Cuba policy. On the opposite side, hardline members of Miami’s Cuban exile community who suddenly have…

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House committee approves $1.8M claims bill for dead FSU player

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The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would give $1.8 million to the family of Devaughn Darling, who died in a Florida State University football practice in 2001. Darling’s family has been seeking legislative approval for the money since 2005, when they won a judgment of $2 million in a wrongful death suit. State law limits the amount that can be paid out in such suits to $200,000, leaving Darling’s family to seek the remaining balance through the Legislature.…

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Does splitting bill in two edge Enterprise Florida closer to chopping block?

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Democratic lawmaker David Richardson appears to be getting his Enterprise Florida wish from his conservative House colleagues. The Miami Beach state rep won’t be getting a grant from the taxpayer-supported economic incentive organization; rather he’ll soon have a chance to help abolish it. House leadership, headed by Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, will be splitting a bill aimed at eliminating Enterprise Florida and reducing Visit Florida’s taxpayer-funded tourism marketing budget by 67 percent into two bills, according to the Orlando…

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Rick Scott’s newest title – lame duck

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Gov. Rick Scott has added a new title to his resume in the last few weeks – lame duck. Sure, he officially retains the job of Florida governor until a successor takes over in 2019, but for all intents, it appears a majority of state House members aren’t waiting until then to stop listening to him. The House Appropriations Committee euphemistically threw a pie in the governor’s face Tuesday by voting to eliminate Enterprise Florida and eviscerate Visit Florida, the…

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Red-light camera ban clears green-lighted by House committee

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A House bill to ban red-light cameras cleared its final committee Tuesday and is ready for a floor vote when the 2017 Legislative Session kicks off next month. The House Government Accountability Committee approved HB 6007 with a 13-3 vote; the only no votes came from Democratic Reps. Joe Abruzzo, Carlos Guillermo Smith and Clovis Watson. Last month, the bill had made it through the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the House Appropriations Committee with similarly lopsided votes. The bill would…

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Bill to kill business incentives, Enterprise Florida cleared for House floor

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business incentives

A House bill that would abolish the Enterprise Florida economic development organization, eliminate a throng of business incentive programs, and strip the VISIT FLORIDA tourism marketing agency down to a barebones $25 million budget cleared its second and final panel Tuesday. That means the measure (HB 7005), OK’d by the House Appropriations Committee on an 18-12 vote, is ready to be considered by the full House when the 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7.  The vote was another hit to Gov. Rick Scott, an advocate…

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