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Sen. Jack Latvala

Jack Latvala now has $3.84 mil on hand for possible 2018 run

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Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala has $3.84 million in the bank two weeks before he plans to announce whether or not he will run for Florida governor.

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Pinellas legislative delegation to meet Sept. 21

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Pinellas County lawmakers will hold their first public hearing ahead of the 2018 Legislative Session next month, the delegation announced Tuesday. Delegation Chairman and Clearwater Republican Rep. Chris Latvala announced the Sept. 21 meeting Tuesday and said it will be held in the Arts Auditorium at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater campus from 9 am to noon. During the meeting, Pinellas County’s three senators and eight representatives and their staff will introduce proposed local bills, give presentations focusing on economic development…

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Senate holds off on school funding until House acts on higher education

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The Senate has teed up a compromise school-funding bill designed to help send the Legislature home from its special session. But the senators held off a final vote until the House makes good on its promise to OK an economic development bill that contains $60 million in higher education projects. The Senate passed the latter bill, HB 1-A, earlier in the afternoon, on a vote of 34-2 (with Jeff Brandes and Perry Thurston dissenting). Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala conceded that…

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Senate avoids loading down schools funding bill with hostile amendments

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The Senate rejected amendments Thursday that might have blocked a meeting of minds with the House on public schools funding — including bids to tie the legislation explicitly to economic development investments. “These issues have been parsed out separately,” said Sen. Gary Farmer, who offered both amendments. “Let’s put them together. And let’s candidly assert ourselves as the Florida Senate. Let’s make a statement about what our policy is. Let’s send the House one bill, one package,” he said. “Let’s…

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Budget panel sends schools, economic development, Medicaid bills to the floor

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The Senate’s versions of legislation pumping money into public schools, hospitals, Enterprise Florida, and Visit Florida — and establishing a regulatory framework for medical marijuana — cleared the Appropriations Committee Thursday. The votes — either unanimous or nearly so — sent the measures to the Senate floor. They also augured confrontations with the House involving oversight of economic development grants, and spending on Medicaid and public schools. Chairman Jack Latvala appeared determined to hold his ground. For example, of a…

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Senate votes to override veto of public education budget as ‘insurance’

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The Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of the public schools budget — as an “insurance policy” intended to keep the schools open after July 1 if this week’s special session of the Legislature breaks down. “This is an insurance policy. We just don’t want to get to a situation where we end up without having our (education) finance program funded,” Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala said. “You know as well as I do that we’re in contentious times…

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Jack Latvala tells Pensacola crowd that Tallahassee’s becoming too much like D.C.

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If Jack Latvala runs for governor — and, mind you, he’s not saying he is — it would be to keep career politicians from taking over Tallahassee like they have done in Washington. “They start out as legislative aides, they become House members, then they become senators, with very minimal experience in the real world,” Latvala told an audience in Pensacola Friday. “The real world, to me, is making a payroll, paying workers’ comp insurance. We couldn’t get a workers’…

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