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Jack Latvala: ‘Cooling-off’ period applies to Special Session bills

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Sen. Jack Latvala is telling fellow senators that funding bills planned for this week’s Special Session will be subject to the state’s constitutionally-mandated “cooling off” period. That potentially means, if the bills are changed, that lawmakers could be stuck in Tallahassee past Friday, when the session is scheduled to end. The Clearwater Republican, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a Tuesday memo that he and Senate President Joe Negron, an attorney, had “reviewed relevant legal precedent and accepted…

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Joe Henderson: Tallahassee gets Special Session, the public gets the bill

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After the budget compromise reached by Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, the biggest question hanging over the Legislature’s three-day special session this week is whether there is enough time for some lawmakers to grow a backbone. Only one of two things can happen. There will either be a full-blown party revolt at how this was handled, followed by points, counterpoints, then fire and pestilence raining down on the state capital as rank-and-file members…

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15 big questions facing Florida politics heading into summer

in Peter by

Summer is here — well, unofficially at least. And with it comes cookouts, summer vacations, and the start of the 2018 election cycle (again, unofficially). With a tumultuous legislative session in our rearview mirror and a jam-packed election cycle on the horizon, the answers to these 14 questions (plus a fill-in-the-blank) could shape the future of the state. — Does Gov. Rick Scott veto the budget? The Naples Republican isn’t saying whether he plans to veto the $83 billion spending plan;…

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Pinellas GOP heavyweights raising money for Rick Baker on Wednesday in Clearwater Beach

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Former Mayor Rick Baker continues building momentum in his quest to return for a third term as St. Petersburg Mayor. Coming off a successful campaign kickoff event last week, Baker, who served two terms from 2001-2010, is following with another high-profile reception Wednesday in Clearwater Beach. Co-chairs of the event – with the tagline “Proven Leadership” – include renowned attorney Brian Aungst Jr., former Pinellas GOP Chair Jay Beyrouti and restaurateur (and one-time “Mr. Clearwater”) Frank Chivas. According to the invite,…

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Fate of program for disabled children rests with Rick Scott

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Debby Dawson, who lives in southwest Florida, has a simple message to Gov. Rick Scott: The state’s existing scholarship program for disabled children is “life changing” and has helped her 7-year-old autistic son “develop by leaps and bounds.” Dawson is part of a chorus of parents from around the state who have mounted a campaign through letters, emails and phone calls urging the Republican governor to sign a sweeping education bill that will soon come to his desk. But that…

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#1 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Jack Latvala

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Jack Latvala, the 63-year-old Clearwater Republican, takes top honors in this year’s poll as he uses his clout as Senate Appropriations Chair after losing an epic battle for Senate President to Joe Negron. Now in his 15th year in the Legislature, Latvala has been supportive of most of Gov. Rick Scott’s agenda, while he contemplates his own future as a possible 2018 gubernatorial nominee – possibly with the governor’s assent. Whether he actually pulls the trigger is unknown at this time,…

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Why Jack Latvala ranks ahead of Richard Corcoran on our list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful pols

in Peter/Top Headlines by

SaintPetersBlog’s fifth annual ranking of Tampa Bay’s most powerful pols wraps up today with the (somewhat) surprising reveal that state Sen. Jack Latvala finished ahead of House Speaker Richard Corcoran. A dominant force in regional and state politics for decades, this is Latvala’s first time atop the list. But how can this be? Isn’t the Speaker of the House more powerful than any individual state Senator? Yes, of course, the Speaker is more powerful than any senator, including the Senate President. Besides the Governor, the…

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