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Rene Plasencia

Analysis shows some lawmakers crossing party lines

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The Senate’s reputation for bipartisanship in Tallahassee appears to be well-earned, while the names of House and Senate members who most frequently voted against their parties included a few surprises, according to an analysis of votes in the 2017 legislative session.

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Rene Plasencia stars in Airbnb promotional video

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Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia and his family are starring in a new promotional internet video released Friday by the vacation rental home marketing giant Airbnb. The minute, 41-second video shows interviews with Plasencia, his wife Marucci Guzman, and their daughter, in scenes at vacation homes they have rented through Airbnb in Georgia and Tallahassee, as Plasencia and Guzman sing the praises of Airbnb. They talk about the price, convenience, and other advantages of renting lodging through Airbnb, rather than…

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House panel approves scaled back version of school recess bill

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The House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee passed its version of the public school recess bill, setting lawmakers on two very different paths when it comes to free play. The committee approved a committee substitute for the bill (HB 67) that would allow school boards to include free-play recess for students in kindergarten through third grade as part of 150 minutes per week of physical education requirement. The proposal, sponsored by Reps. Rene Plasencia and Bob Cortes, also requires school districts to…

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‘Religion in school’ bill moves past House education committee

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The Florida House advanced a bill that would allow school administrators to pray in public schools throughout the state if students initiate those prayers. HB 303 unanimously passed the House Education Committee Thursday. The measure would violate the decades-old federal provision separating church and state, and may likely be challenged at some point. However, at the committee meeting in Tallahassee, there were no oppositional voices as the bill moved passed its second hurdle. The bill’s next stop is a vote on…

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Coalition says anti-discrimination bill would boost state economy by $5B

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Bills to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would boost Florida’s economic output by more than $5 billion over the next 10 years according to a study touted by Florida Competes. The anti-discrimination advocacy group pointed to the study as part of their push for bills banning discrimination against LGBT individuals. According to the Thinkspot study, such legislation could boost the state’s standing among skilled workers, which could create about 36,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. The…

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VIDEO: Lawmakers, supporters speak out on school recess

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Sen. Anitere Flores, Rep. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia, and a throng of “recess moms” spoke with reporters Thursday in support of legislation that would mandate school recess. The Senate Education Committee this week voted unanimously to approve this year’s bill (SB 78). Its House companion (HB 67) has not yet heard a hearing. It requires school districts to provide at least 20 minutes of recess each day to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. This may well be the year the bill…

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Tallahassee entrepreneur Rick Kearney boosts Florida Competes campaign with $100K

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Florida’s effort to create statewide anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity received a substantial boost. On Thursday, Tallahassee tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Rick Kearney gave $100,000 to Florida Competes, the coalition of businesses working to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. Kearney’s check is the largest single donation to Florida Competes so far. The bipartisan Workforce Act is once again in the Florida Legislature, filed earlier this month in the House (HB 623) by Democrat Ben Diamond…

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