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Hillsborough lawmakers clash during Tampa Chamber’s Session look-back

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As House Minority Leader Janet Cruz notes, the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation works “as a united front” when representing their community in Tallahassee. That’s true on issues like the eleventh-hour move by the Florida Senate to push the University of South Florida out of pre-eminent status under a conformity education budget bill that passed in the waning hours of the legislative session two weeks ago. Over that matter, members acted in unison, denouncing what they said was a fundamental unfairness, leading…

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#5 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Jeff Brandes

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

It seemed that in 2017, Jeff Brandes was involved in every facet of public policy in Tallahassee, introducing 43 separate bills for consideration even before Session began. A year ago, the St. Petersburg Republican co-sponsored the initiative in the Legislature that led to the August passage of Amendment 4, the constitutional amendment giving tax breaks to companies that buy and install solar devices and equipment. In the recently ended Session, Brandes sponsored bills on autonomous vehicles (where he has been…

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Still no decision from Joe Negron on special session on pot referendum

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Senate President Joe Negron has yet to decide to join House Speaker Richard Corcoran in calling for a Special Session on medical marijuana implementation, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. Negron, a Stuart Republican, is still “in the process of having discussions with senators in response to the memorandum he sent last Thursday,” Katie Betta said in an email.  Negron had sought input from fellow senators after the 2017 Legislative Session ended without a bill to guide state Health regulators on the…

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Jeff Brandes asks for medical marijuana Special Session

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Add state Sen. Jeff Brandes to the list of those calling for a Special Legislative Session on medical marijuana implementation. “I hope that we can reconvene in a Special Session, which should include ample time for public input, to implement the will of the voters, so that patients and entrepreneurs alike may access the marketplace,” Brandes wrote to Senate President Joe Negron on Friday. This week, Negron sought input from fellow senators after the 2017 Legislative Session ended without a bill to implement…

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Suncoast Tiger Bay to perform 2017 Session post-mortem

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As the 2017 Session grinds to a halt, with only one piece of unfinished business left for Monday, lawmakers now enter the traditional post-mortem phase. On Thursday, The Suncoast Tiger Bay Cub hosts its 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up, the annual gathering for members and constituents to ask questions and (hopefully) get some answers on the 60-plus-day Session, and how it will impact both the region and Florida. This year, Session went into overtime at 63 days, as lawmakers return to the…

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Governor signs landmark ride-sharing legislation into law

in 2017 by

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Tuesday a bill that creates statewide regulations for ride-booking companies, like Uber and Lyft. “I’m proud to sign this legislation today to make it easier for ridesharing companies to thrive in Florida and help ensure the safety of our families,” said Scott in a statement. “Florida is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation because of our efforts to reduce burdensome regulations and encourage innovation and job creation across all industries, including…

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Jeff Brandes celebrates long list of legislative wins in 2017 Session

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Now that the 2017 Legislative Session is in the rearview mirror, state Sen. Jeff Brandes looks back on some big wins from the past two months. The St. Petersburg Republican is celebrating his top eight successes, which include a diverse range of issues such as renewable energy tax exemptions, statewide regulation for ridesharing, flood insurance reforms and the development of personal delivery drones. In 2017, Brandes championed the bill on renewable energy source devices (SB 90), which passed unanimously through…

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