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Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri backs Ed Hooper in SD 16

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is throwing his support behind Ed Hooper. Gualtieri announced Thursday he was endorsing Hooper in the race to replace Sen. Jack Latvala in Senate District 16. Gualtieri said Hooper’s “real-world, first-hand insight” will serve him — and Florida voters — well in the Florida Senate. “For as long as I’ve known Ed Hooper he has been a staunch supporter of our law enforcement and first responder community,” he said. “His background as a firefighter gives him a…

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Jack Latvala: ‘It is very possible I end up announcing something in the near future’

in 2017 by

Sen. Jack Latvala didn’t use an appearance at the Tiger Bay Club of Southwest Florida to announce a 2018 gubernatorial bid. Then again, he didn’t use it to quash any rumors about his plans for the future. “We have several members of the press here today, so if I was to specifically make an announcement, then there wouldn’t be a reason for them to come to an announcement if I had one,” said the Clearwater Republican when asked what was…

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Pinellas GOP lawmakers ‘have no respect for open government,’ Times editor says

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A top editor at the Tampa Bay Times fired back Wednesday after Pinellas legislators slammed the paper for calling them “Disciples of Darkness” because of transparency-related and public records measures passed this year. “I understand why they are not happy,” Tim Nickens, the Times editor of editorials, wrote in an email. “They have no respect for open government, and Florida voters have strongly supported open government for decades. They also do not like it when they are held accountable for their own voting records.’’…

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Richard Corcoran’s agenda and style get bashed (and sometimes praised) by panel of Pinellas lawmakers

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

He wasn’t on the dais, but Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s policies and public comments were front-and-center when a panel of Pinellas lawmakers spoke Wednesday in Clearwater about the recently concluded legislative session. Dubbed “the most interesting man in Tallahassee” in a recent Miami Herald profile, the 52-year-old Land O’Lakes Republican came into leadership last year with a firm and aggressive agenda, and achieved some major accomplishments in state government. And with a potential gubernatorial candidacy in the offing, opinions…

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Joe Henderson: Jack Latvala sounds like a candidate for Governor, even though he hasn’t announced

in Statewide by

State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater keeps saying he’ll decide in a few weeks whether he is running for the Republican nomination for Governor, but he sounds like a candidate right now. He is making himself available for interviews (always a good sign) and speaking engagements around the state. More importantly, he actually is saying things that are newsworthy and sound suspiciously like common sense. Take this quote, for example, given over the weekend to WFOR-CBS 4’s Jim DeFede on…

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Florida Sheriffs name Jack Latvala, James Grant, Chris Sprowls ‘legislative champions’ for 2017

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Florida Sheriffs recognized several Tampa Bay-area lawmakers Thursday for “significant contributions to and support of good public safety policies” during the 2017 Legislative Session. The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) named five legislators — including Clearwater state Sen. Jack Latvala and Reps. James Grant of Tampa and Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor —  for their “commitment to protecting the best interests of Florida citizens” and support of FSA initiatives. In 2017, Grant had sponsored HB 7059, a prolific juvenile offender bill;…

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With law now in place, Tampa Bay region moves closer to regional transit

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Although modest in scope, Tampa Bay area lawmakers and business officials are happy that Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation (SB 1672) they believe is the first step toward creating a regional network to push for transit. The bill changes the actual title of TBARTA. It will now be the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (it used to be “transportation”). The new agency is slightly smaller in scope in terms of geography, but not smaller than originally envisaged by Clearwater Republican Jack…

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