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House, Senate Republicans to hold fundraiser at Universal Orlando

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How do you celebrate the end of a Legislative Session? If you’re Florida House and Senate Republicans, you do it with a fundraiser at Universal Orlando. Republican leaders will hold a fundraiser at Universal Orlando on April 9 and 10. The event, first reported by POLITICO Florida reporter Matt Dixon, will benefit the House and Senate Majority Committees, which oversee legislative campaigns. Among those listed as headliners is Rep. Chris Sprowls, the Pinellas County Republican who may be the House…

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State police radios funds spared from veto list

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Gov. Rick Scott declared his plan to lay waste to nearly 300 projects amounting to some $256 million with a preemptive announcement on Tuesday. Among the roughly $82 billion in funding items left standing: a controversial appropriation of $7 million to refresh the state’s stock of radio equipment for state law enforcement agents. The radio money making the cut is a big win for Brevard-based Harris Corporation, who argued the funds are needed to replace outdated models. A representative involved in pursuing the item described…

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Brian Hodgers widens fundraising lead in HD 52 race

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Brian Hodgers increased his lead over the other three Republicans running for House District 52 with $6,750 in contributions last month. “Our conservative message is hitting a nerve in our community, and I’m very grateful for the folks who want to be part of our campaign,” Hodgers said in a news release. “I look forward to continuing to work hard to get our message of lower taxes, fewer regulations, and more freedom out to all the voters of District 52.”…

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In Florida, most legislative documents are public records

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When Florida state House Minority Leader Mark Pafford puts a 6 a.m. workout before his legislative meetings on his daily schedule, it’s a public record. When concerned parent Kimberly Jones of Plantation emails House Speaker Steve Crisafulli saying she has two children going to Florida State University and wants him to oppose a bill allowing guns on college campuses, that’s a public record too. Reporters and other members of the public can get copies of those and almost all other…

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Everglades Foundation commends lawmakers for final passage of “Legacy Florida” funding

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The Everglades Foundation lauded lawmakers Friday for passing a bill that would fund Everglades restoration efforts with up to $200 million a year. HB 989, put forward by incoming Senate President Joe Negron and Republican Rep. Gayle Harrell, would pull the lesser of 25 percent or $200 million from the money collected under the 2014 land conservation amendment each year. That money would then be spread across Everglades projects at the South Florida Water Management District and the Comprehensive Everglades…

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Property Casualty Insurers “disappointed” by failure to pass ride-sharing regulation

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The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America said it was disappointed lawmakers capped off the 2016 Legislative Session without passing insurance regulations for Uber and Lyft drivers. “Twenty-nine other states have passed legislation addressing insurance coverage requirements for TNCs, and it is past time for Florida to do the same,” the group said in a Friday email. “PCI will continue to work with lawmakers on a solution for 2017 so that this is the last year rideshare drivers and passengers…

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Florida Legislature approves $82.3 billion budget, adjourns Sine Die

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The Florida Legislature overwhelmingly approved the state’s $82.3 billion spending plan, with just one lawmaker voting against it. The Senate passed the fiscal 2016-16 state budget shortly after 5 p.m. Friday with no debate. The House approved the budget 119-1 earlier in the day. State Rep. John Tobia, a Melbourne Beach Republican, was the lone no vote. “We had a great opportunity to work together and bring forth a great budget,” said House Speaker Steve Crisafulli in remarks following the…

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