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Shawn Harrison kicks off HD 63 re-election bid at Tampa Theater June 29

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Republican state Rep. Shawn Harrison is holding a campaign kickoff party later this month to launch his re-election bid in House District 63. The event, hosted by House Majority 2016 and featuring special guest Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, is Thursday, June 29, beginning 5 p.m. at the historic Tampa Theater, 711 N. Franklin St. Included on the extensive list of local GOP leaders making the host committee are House Speaker Richard Corcoran from Land O’Lakes, and Speakers-to-be Jose Oliva and…

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Bob Buckhorn crosses party lines to help Shawn Harrison’s bid for re-election

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

In 2016, Democrats targeted a handful of Florida House districts they believed they could flip from red to blue. One of them was Hillsborough County’s House District 63, where the Florida Democratic Party put some money behind Lisa Montelione in her bid to oust Republican incumbent Shawn Harrison. After a close race, Harrison ultimately prevailed, 51 to 49 percent. Although off-year elections are traditionally harder for Democrats, there is hope that an energetic resistance to Donald Trump could make 2018 a year of opportunity.…

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Janet Cruz blasts USF’s treatment in proposed budget

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House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz blasted legislative leadership’s treatment of the University of South Florida, saying the school’s achievement of state “pre-eminent” status was snatched away from it at the last moment. Language in an education conforming bill late last Friday was changed, preventing USF from pre-eminence, a status that would have qualified it for millions of additional dollars in state funding. Cruz, of Tampa, asked pointed questions of fellow state Rep. Larry Ahern, chair of the chamber’s Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. …

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TBARTA bill passes unanimously — now goes to Rick Scott for signature

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

By a vote of 117-0, the Florida House passed a bill to revamp the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA). With the Senate approving the bill last week, it now goes to Gov. Rick Scott‘s desk. Although Plant City Republican Dan Raulerson sponsored it in the House, that chamber actually substituted his bill with the Senate version, sponsored by Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala (SB 1672). The legislation would downsize TBARTA from seven counties to five (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Hernando), and it would change TBARTA’s focus to…

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Lisa Montelione joins CDC of Tampa

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Former Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione has a new gig. The native New Yorker accepted a position at the Corporation to Develop Communities, Inc (CDC of Tampa) in its Career Resource Center. Her responsibilities will be developing relationships with employers in the Tampa Bay area to assist the CDC’s clients in finding jobs. “Bringing Ms. Montelione onboard expands the reach of our Career Resource Center, allowing us to have a greater impact across the Tampa Bay region,” says CDC CEO Ernest Coney. “Her dedication…

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House advances claim bill for abuse survivor Victor Barahona

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Among the claim bills advanced Thursday is one approving $3.75 million payment in the death of Nubia Barahona. The payment from the Department of Children and Families would also compensate for injuries to Nubia’s twin brother Victor Barahona. The legislation, passed by the House Judiciary Committee, was filed by Miami Republican Jose Felix Diaz and Plantation Democrat Katie Edwards (HB 6523). The case began February 2011, when Nubia Barahona’s decomposing body was found in the bed of her father’s pickup truck on I-95…

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House advances bill allowing guns in private religious schools

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A bill in the Florida legislature that could arm teachers with guns in private religious schools passed the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. The legislation, sponsored by Polk City Republican Neil Combee (HB 849), would carve out certain religious private schools from Florida law that prohibits anyone except law enforcement officers from carrying guns in K-12 schools and colleges and universities, regardless of whether those schools are public or private. The decision about whether to allow concealed guns in these schools would…

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