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Personnel note: Kathy Mears heading to FSU

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Kathy Mears, who served as chief of staff to two consecutive Florida House speakers, will become the new top in-house lobbyist for Florida State University. Mears, who confirmed her hiring Monday, said she will take the new role of chief legislative affairs officer. She starts Sept. 19. Mears was chief of staff to Republican House Speakers Will Weatherford (2012-14) and Steve Crisafulli (2014-16). At FSU, she will report to President John Thrasher, another former state lawmaker. It’s a homecoming for…

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Wife of FSU prof slain in London knife attack

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Florida State University officials have confirmed that an American woman killed in a mass stabbing in London was the wife of a university eminent scholar. The school issued a press release Thursday. Richard Wagner, the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Psychology, and his wife, Darlene Horton, were in London where he taught in the summer session at the university’s renowned London Study Program. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a tweet Thursday afternoon: “Extremely saddened to hear about the loss of…

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Seminoles give Leonard Hamilton a 2-year extension

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For those Florida State basketball fans hoping Leonard Hamilton would be coaching somewhere else next year, you have a mental adjustment to make. On Wednesday, FSU and Hamilton announced an agreement in principle that would keep the program’s all-time winningest coach in Tallahassee at least two more seasons. Hamilton is a two-time ACC Coach of the Year and among the top 10 winningest coaches in conference history. During his 14 years at Florida State, he has accumulated 252 victories. In…

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No more ’70s paneling: Florida Senate readies for a refresh

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Say goodbye to all those yards of fake-wood laminate: The Florida Senate will be shedding the 1970s look of its chamber with a nearly $5 million renovation this year. Senate President Andy Gardiner, in a Jan. 6 memo to fellow senators, said the remodeling will begin this summer. A copy of the memo was provided to FloridaPolitics.com on Monday. “In my view, we are guests in this building and we have an important responsibility to adequately preserve and maintain areas of the…

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John Thrasher addresses the faithful at FSU Day

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A week after Florida State University finally settled the legal matter surrounding its handling of allegations against Jameis Winston, the school’s annual FSU Day at the state Capitol went on as usual on a dreary Tuesday afternoon. FSU President John Thrasher gave the benediction amid spirited brass and fanfare, keeping his remarks short and sticking mostly to athletics. He also trumpeted Florida State’s recent gains in graduation and retention rates. State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser said FSU graduates 83 percent of its students, outpacing…

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Florida Chamber of Commerce launches 100th anniversary celebration

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is turning 100. The annual Florida Chamber Capitol Days kicked off the year-long celebration of the Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary. Founded in 1916, the organization has grown over the years along with the state. “On hundred years ago, the biggest threat facing Florida’s economy was a parasite — the cattle tick,” said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in a news release. “While the threats to Florida’s economy…

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Florida Chamber: Capitol Days focus on issues important to business community

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Florida Chamber of Commerce members are taking over Tallahassee. The 2016 Florida Chamber’s Capitol Days kicks off Wednesday. The two-day event is meant to give the business community a chance to interact with lawmakers and advocate for issues that are important to them. Edie Ousley, the chamber’s vice president of public affairs, said the annual event offers the business community a chance “to talk about issues concerning job creators throughout Florida.” “We’ll focus on business climate issues,” said Ousley, who…

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