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Joe Geller

Bill would add ‘gender identity’ to hate crimes

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Legislation filed in the Florida House would add violence against an individual based on “gender or gender identity” to the state’s list of hate crimes. Rep. Joseph Geller, an Aventura Democrat, filed the bill (HB 211) Tuesday.

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Legislature votes to tear down the ‘liquor wall’

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The Florida Legislature has voted to tear down the booze ‘wall.’ The House, on a by-a-nose vote of 58-57, Wednesday passed the Senate’s bill (SB 106) to allow retailers, at least those who choose to do so, to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. The legislation now heads to Gov. Rick Scott. If signed into law, the state will end 82 years of mandating that retailers sell distilled spirits in a separate store from other items. Beer and wine…

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House gambling bill gets thumbs up on first look

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With its chair saying he wants to “freeze” gambling in the state, a House gambling panel on Thursday cleared that chamber’s overhaul bill, including a renewed blackjack agreement between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The Tourism and Gaming Control Subcommittee OK’d the measure (PCB TGC 17-01) on a 10-5 party-line vote. But the bill, which isn’t yet assigned to another committee, differs greatly from the Senate’s gambling legislation. Its proposal (SB 8) now is cleared for consideration…

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More than a dozen South Florida House members appear to be re-elected without opposition

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More than a dozen members of the Florida House are heading back Tallahassee. As of 5 p.m., state records show nearly a dozen South Florida lawmakers appeared to win their elections Friday when they failed to draw an opponent by the time qualifying period. All of the candidates are incumbents. In House District 94, Bobby DuBose is returning to the Florida House. The Fort Lauderdale Democrat was first elected to the Florida House in 2014. Kristin Jacobs appears to have…

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Florida House passes bill mandating recess at public schools

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The Florida House wants to give kids a little down time. The House voted 112-2 on Thursday to approve a bill (HB 833) that requires public schools to provide 100 minutes of recess each week in kindergarten through fifth grade. It also applies to sixth-grade students enrolled in schools with one or more elementary grades. “This is about recess,” said Rep. Bob Cortes, the bill’s co-sponsor. “We’re teaching our children … but they also need a break. It has a…

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Write-in residency requirements bill goes down in bipartisan flames in Senate panel

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As she portrayed her SB 840 as a mostly technical bill that simply clears up a legal conflict currently circulating in the courts, state Sen. Eleanor Sobel probably was not prepared for the maelstrom of criticism from both parties that befell her effort. Following an easy and perfunctory confirmation process of a score of various agency officials — a process fraught with much more controversy than usual today — Sobel’s bill to resolve the statutory crisis that invalidated former state Rep. Jamie Grant‘s…

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