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Winners and losers emerging from the 2017 Legislative Session

in Peter by

Dysfunction seems to run in Tallahassee like a sine wave. We went from the collapse of 2015 – the House going home early, no budget, a Special Budget Session – to the trains-on-time Session of 2016, to the no-budget-at-the-end-of-regulation Session in 2017. We saw another Session in which we got oh-so-close to a gambling bill, only to have victory swallowed by the maw of Capitol defeat. And yes, the war of words between Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard…

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Jack Latvala blames final budget stalemate on Richard Corcoran’s ‘last-minute switcheroo’

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Working toward a final Florida state budget, news of a skirmish between the Senate and House emerges. A war of words appears to have broken out between House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Latvala ended budget negotiations after Corcoran “changed the deal” by insisting the final agreement link VISIT Florida’s $25 million advertising budget to new rules on the agency’s employee travel and salaries. Details have not been released before Monday’s vote by…

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Joe Lopano: Tampa International master plan is about living up to George Bean’s legacy

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As Tampa International Airport’s master plan expansion moves through Phase One, the Hillsborough Aviation Authority is now looking toward Phase Two. This week, the Authority approved more than $132 million to pay for construction of a retail and office space area near the airport’s new rental car facility, which is also still under construction. Over the past month, TIA CEO Joe Lopano has been making the rounds in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, keeping various local governments and agencies informed of all…

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Rick Scott says lawmakers inability to finish budget on time ‘doesn’t make any sense’

in 2017 by

Gov. Rick Scott chastised state lawmakers for being unable to complete the 2017-18 budget on time, but once again stopped short of saying whether he would veto the entire spending plan once it reaches his desk. “You would expect that when people have a job to do they’d get it done. I’ve been in business all my life, and that’s what you expect if you have a deadline,” said Scott following a stop in Naples on Thursday morning. “It doesn’t…

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Budget deal includes no money for Florida Forever

in 2017 by

The Senate accepted the House offer on the agriculture and natural resources portion of the budget, agreeing not to set aside any money for Florida Forever in 2017-18. The $3.6 billion plan zeros out funding for land acquisition. Sen. Rob Bradley said the budget includes $13.3 million — $5 million of which is recurring dollars — for the St. Johns River and Keystone Heights Lake. Bradley called it a “huge win for the region and particularly the Keystone Heights lake,” saying…

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TBARTA bill passes unanimously — now goes to Rick Scott for signature

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

By a vote of 117-0, the Florida House passed a bill to revamp the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA). With the Senate approving the bill last week, it now goes to Gov. Rick Scott‘s desk. Although Plant City Republican Dan Raulerson sponsored it in the House, that chamber actually substituted his bill with the Senate version, sponsored by Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala (SB 1672). The legislation would downsize TBARTA from seven counties to five (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Hernando), and it would change TBARTA’s focus to…

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Capitol Reax: Lake Okeechobee water storage reservoir

in 2017 by

The Florida Legislature voted to send a trimmed-down version of a bill (SB 10) to build a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. A top priority for Senate President Joe Negron, the bill aims to divert toxic algae discharges from coastal communities. The measure prohibits the state from taking private property to build the reservoir. — “Today is a momentous event. The many voices that came to the table this session – anglers, realtors, business and community leaders, and…

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