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Jimmie Smith

Personnel note: Rebecca Roman heads to Adams St. Advocates

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A former aide to state Rep. Jimmie Smith is joining Adams St. Advocates. Rebecca E. Roman will be the lobbying firm’s newest associate. She’ll focus on health care, technology and environmental issues, the firm said in a press release. Roman grew up in Clearwater, where she worked in her father’s law office from the age of 14. She also managed a Starbucks before graduating from college. She attended Florida State University, where she got degrees in philosophy and in political science. Roman…

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Lawmakers seek to limit Lottery scratch-off games

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A bill that would limit the number of Florida Lottery scratch-off games and cap ticket prices at $5 was overwhelmingly approved by a House committee after lawmakers criticized the department for using the games to prey on the state’s poorest residents. The House Government Operations Subcommittee voted 12-1 in favor of the bill. Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, said the measure is aimed at setting limits to scratch-off games that he contends are the most popular in the state’s poorest neighborhoods.…

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Steve Southerland endorses Neal Dunn in CD 2

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Former U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland picked a side Monday and endorsed Republican candidate Neal Dunn, who is running for Southerland’s old CD2 seat in the Florida Panhandle. “I have examined the field thoroughly and feel strongly that Neal Dunn is the best conservative Republican candidate and is the only candidate I have endorsed for this race,” Sutherland said. “He and his wife, Leah, are conservative Christians with a long family history of military service and sacrifice.” The former congressman said the move was “not just…

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Top Senate fundraisers have slow July

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July fundraising numbers are in, though none of the big-ticket Senate races for 2016 got much action, and with the Special Session on Redistricting, it should stay that way for sitting lawmakers during the back half of August. Fort Walton Beach Republican state Rep. Matt Gaetz brought in $16,855 for the month and spent $7,629, leaving him with a formidable $441,907 cash-on-hand heading into August. Gaetz is still uncontested for the District 1 Senate seat currently held by his father, Niceville…

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Owner of fake service animal may get jail time with new law

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A new Florida law taking effect July 1 will make it a misdemeanor to pass off an unqualified pet as a service animal. The law, proposed by state Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness, will make misrepresenting a dog as a service dog a second-degree misdemeanor. The offense is punishable with up to 60 days in jail and 30 hours of community service for an organization that services people with disabilities, to be completed in less than six months. The law will…

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Campaigns for Florida Senate’s eight term-limited seats shift into gear

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As of June, none of the 12 Florida senators running for re-election is facing much of a challenge — Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemens is the only incumbent to draw an opponent so far, but it won’t derail him from another term. District 29 looks set as well, with Democratic state Rep. Jim Waldman having a clear path to take over for outgoing state Sen. Jeremy Ring. The other open seats – Districts 1, 5, 13, 19, 23 and 31…

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House-Senate healthcare fight nastily playing out on the Twitters

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The intense intra-cameral friction that defined the 2015 legislative session seems not to have dissipated after a few weeks off but rather compounded, culminating in the most antagonistic legislative hearing of the year at Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee. There, budget chief Tom Lee led a chorus of indignant senators who excoriated AHCA deputy director Justin Senior for allegedly evading Senate staff and showing favor to the House’s position on the revamped FHIX 2.0 healthcare expansion plan later approved by the committee. Charges of malfeasance,…

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